As we look into the future, the climate realities facing us all are still dire. So what can you — just one person, or just one organization — do that can make any sort of real impact?
Turns out, plenty!
You already know the basics: buy locally, avoid wasteful packaging, reuse, recycle, and reduce fossil fuel consumption.
The Shift Network asked three nonprofit allies for their short lists of effective actions you can take, right now, to support sustainable living, shrink your environmental footprint, and help reverse climate change.
Kahea Pacheco is co-director of the Women’s Earth Alliance, a decentralized and global organization focused on protecting the environment and empowering women’s leadership, with a U.S.-based team in Berkeley. WEA’s unique model is to identify grassroots women leaders in environment action, invest in their training, and support their efforts.
· Shop vintage clothing and local makers. “Fast fashion” production comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions and 85% of textiles end up in landfills yearly.
· Support women in organic, regenerative agriculture. Globally, women in agriculture are often unpaid or underpaid — and receive less credit, land, agricultural education, information, and resources than do men.
· At the farmer’s market, search out women-led booths, farms, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.
· Invest in girls’ education in your local schools. This ensures that the next generation has STEM and ecologically oriented skills required to transition to a green economy.
For a deeper exploration of the intersectional issues related to women, race, and the environment, listen in on an interview I conducted with Kahea Pacheco: Women on the Front Lines of Climate Change .
Vinit Allen is also a core team member of the Pachamama Alliance in Asheville, co-founder of Planet Earth Arts, and was executive director of Sustainable World Coalition, publishers of the Sustainable World Sourcebook. He and his wife, Rajyo, created and run the Samasati Sanctuary retreat center in Asheville, North Carolina (USA).
· Aim for a locally grown, plant-based diet with sustainably harvested protein sources—and compost unused food.
· Reduce single-passenger auto travel with carpooling or public transportation, and buy electric or hybrid cars. Even better: recharge them with your home’s rooftop solar.
· Buy from companies that prioritize sustainability and social justice practices. Make purchases and conduct banking locally with organizations that are community-minded.
· Make eco-buddies. Get your friends, family, co-workers, and social media friends to join you in your efforts.
Lynne and Bill Twist, with John Perkins, co-founded the Pachamama Alliance, a global community working to empower people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture, and to integrate Indigenous wisdom with modern knowledge to foster environmental, spiritual, and social sustainability on the planet.
Pachamama Alliance is Shift’s featured nonprofit partner at our upcoming Dreamwork Summit, and Shift’s founders donate monthly to support their programming. In addition. Pachamama is one of the organizations for whom Shift has earmarked pre-IPO stock, so they’ll be getting a big financial boost when Shift eventually has an IPO.
· Shift your worldview. We are not separate from humans who live elsewhere, and humans are not separate from other species and the Earth. We are interdependent and interconnected.
· Think of nature as being alive. It’s not a machine made of parts we can use and discard. It’s not a collection of commodities. It’s a living system.
· Be content with enough. The idea of infinite economic growth disregards the ecological limits of resources and energy. We are more than what we accumulate. Consume a little less. Live in balance with nature a little more.
· Work for social justice, in ways large and small. Social justice is inextricably linked to climate justice.
· Stop thinking of resources, species, and even some people as being throwaway resources. The Earth—and all her denizens—are sacred.
We imagine that some of the suggestions above are things you’ve heard before, while others may be new. And while it may not be possible to adhere to all of their advice, we do sincerely hope that you’ll identify at least a handful of actions that feel actionable in your own life – and put those into practice… starting now.
Working together, we have the power to make a dent towards reversing climate change – and we are doing it.