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15 local climate actions you take this year
Lifestyle

15 local climate actions you take this year

Make 2024 a year of action as a conscious consumer.

If you’re aware of the climate crisis, you likely have climate anxiety from time to time.

Although advocates frequently point to large corporations as the bulk of carbon emissions, with just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, individual actions still matter.

Individual actions matter because they help, but they also ground people in practices where they remain mindful of the work,” said Brooke Petry, Field Organizer at Moms Clean Air Force Pennsylvania.

Plus, small actions add up over time. “It] can also help us feel hopeful because there are tangible things that happen for the next generation that will improve pollution and that will help mitigate climate change,” she said.

Need some ideas of actions you can take, especially locally?

Here are 15 local climate actions from various local experts:

  1. Grow plants, inside or outside, depending on your space. Plant a flower garden or herbs, buy houseplants, whatever feels manageable.
  2. Switch to environmentally-friendly household products, be it soap, cleaning supplies, storage containers, etc.
  3. As appliances in your home (ex: Heat pump water heaters, electric induction stoves, and heat pumps for heating and cooling your home) fail or come to the end of their useful lifespan, make an effort to replace them with new versions that are more energy-efficient and not powered by fossil fuels. 
  4. Weatherize your home. PA has a weatherization program for low-income individuals (at or below 200% of the federal poverty level), with priority given to higher-risk residents such as the elderly, disabled individuals, families with children and high-energy users. You can also look at the Rewiring America IRA Calculator to see tax incentives or point-of-sale rebates for making the switch.
  5. Compost in the city and other zero-waste initiatives.
  6. Get a free tree planted on your street if you’re a residential or commercial property owner. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, but can also help with stormwater to reduce flooding. They also lessen the urban heat island effect, which can mean a temperature difference of 15 to 20 degrees between neighborhoods with trees and those without.
  7. Get a free yard tree planted by Tree Philly.
  8. Take public transit, walk, or bike instead of driving. Learn how to ride SEPTA or start looking into Indego, Philly’s bikeshare program. And if you have to drive, think about carpooling!
  9. Stop using plastic bags in your house and when you shop.
  10. Sign up for Solarize Philly to get solar on your house.
  11. Get a free rain barrel or other stormwater management tools for your home.
  12. Volunteer for an organization fighting for something you believe in. That might be climate change, housing, transit, or more — it’s all connected. This could include phone banking, going door-to-door, doing neighborhood clean-ups, and more.
  13. Subscribe to advocacy groups’ newsletters and follow them on social media to learn more about their work and how to get involved. 
  14. Advocate to ensure that low-income families and individuals are prioritized for receiving electrification and energy efficiency measures to ensure a just transition away from fossil fuels.
  15. Go to climate advocacy group’s events like the Transit Equity Day Outing led by PA Sierra Club on February 10 or PA Sierra Club Grassroots Team Meeting on Feb 1.

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Rebecca Gibian is an international freelance journalist and author. Her work has appeared in The Associated Press, The Guardian, The Atlantic, VICE, PRI’s The World, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others. Her reporting focuses on women nationally and internationally and she has reported from countries including Iraq, South Africa, and Indonesia. View all posts by Rebecca Gibian
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