Category: Monthly Climate Actions

April Featured Climate Actions

This is the month of Earth Day.  Let’s take this time to redouble our efforts to address climate change as we remember how precious this blue and green planet of ours is.  These suggestions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence.

Personal:  Cut your energy consumption by wearing clothes more than once before washing.  Washing and drying laundry comprises a large proportion of household energy use.  And even in winter you can air-dry your laundry outside on a rack or line.  It WILL dry, it just takes longer.  You’ll know it’s dry because it will no longer be stiff and frozen!

Community:  Investigate starting a tool lending library in your neighborhood.  Reduce expense and consumption while building neighborhood cooperation by sharing tools.  This video is a 1-hour webinar on how to start a tool library.

State/National/Global:  Join some friends and support divestment from fossil fuels by the Massachusetts state pension fund (PRIM) by showing up on April 7 at PRIM (84 State St., #250) in Boston from 11-1.  Bring signs and wear orange.  Make an appointment with your legislator from 2-5 that same day to lobby for the divestment bill.  This action will also be taking place May 19, June 4 and July 2.  Contact Darcy Dumont for more info:  dumont140@yahoo.com  If you are a public school teacher, state worker or state retiree, sign this divestment petition and spread the word among your colleagues!

Inform Yourself:  Here’s an inspiring 10 minute video brought to my attention by Climate Action Now:  “Indigenous communities are on the front lines of the fight against fossil fuel expansion. Watch this amazing video of the people of the Unist’ot’en camp in British Columbia putting themselves in the path of several pipelines that are proposed to cross their land.”

March Featured Climate Actions

These 4-tiered featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence.

Personal:  Reduce the amount of meat and dairy, especially factory-farmed products, in your diet. Consider these facts presented in the documentary “Cowspiracy”:

  • “Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • “Methane (emitted in abundance by cattle) has a global warming power 86 times that of CO2.”
  • “One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers.”

And this fact from the May 2014 issue of National Geographic:

  • “For every 100 calories of grain we feed animals, we get only about 40 new calories of milk, 22 calories of eggs, 12 of chicken, 10 of pork or 3 of beef”.

Community:  Get together with some friends to watch and discuss “Cowspiracy”, available for a fee online, or by buying a DVD from www.cowspiracy.com.    This feature-length film shows how “animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill.”

State, National or Global:  Find out whether your state legislator has pledged to support the two “carbon fee and rebate” bills now before the MA congress. (See below.) If they have expressed support, contact them to thank them, and if they haven’t yet made a decision, urge them to support the bills.  Most of the legislators from the Valley have already declared their support but the following have not yet:  Reps Ashe, Kulik, Petrolati, and Wagner, and Sens Downing and Lesser.

Inform Yourself:  Learn about the 2 “carbon fee and rebate” bills proposed in MA. From the Climate Action Now blog: “You don’t have to be an expert, but you should understand why putting a fair price on carbon is so important, and how the MA bills would do this. You can read talking points for the two bills and principles to consider in pricing carbon here 1 and here. 2 And, think about the “revenue neutral” vs. “revenue -positive” issue. In brief, a revenue-neutral bill sidesteps being attacked as “just another tax,” while a revenue-positive bill may be more likely to result in significant emissions reduction.”  A good source of information about Sen. Barrett’s version of the bill is here:  http://www.climate-xchange.org/ 

1  http://climateactionnowma.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Barrett-bill-2-page-flier-vs5.pdf

2  http://climateactionnowma.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Talking-Points-for-SD-1815-Sen.-Pacheco.pdf

 

February Featured Climate Actions

This month’s suggested climate actions are perfect for the cold winter days and evenings this month. These 4-tiered featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence.

Personal: Get out in nature! Yes, even in the cold and snow! Especially in the snow! Breathe in the cold air and feel how exhilarating it is. Notice how the snow sparkles with colored glints of light. Look for animal tracks that clue you in to another way of existing on this planet. Experience the peaceful silence of a gray day.

Community: Join the Valley Time Trade. VTT is an organized exchange system through which members earn hours (time credits) for time spent helping other members. One hour of service earns one hour of someone else’s time, no matter what the service. It’s a wonderful way build community with people in the valley, and be able to exchange useful services with each other. To join, go to https://valleytimetrade.wordpress.com/

State/National/Global: Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper expressing your opinion about a climate-related issue. If you want to get the attention of your senator or representative, mention them by name in your letter, and that letter will be very likely to make it to their desk, as well as informing the public about your views.

Inform yourself: Watch the 9-part documentary series on climate change Years of Living Dangerously, aired on Showtime TV in 2014, and now available on DVD. As described in Wikipedia: “The weekly episodes feature celebrity investigators, who each have a history of environmental activism, and well-known journalists, each of whom have a background in environmental reportage. These ‘correspondents’ travel to areas around the world and throughout the U.S. affected by global warming to interview experts and ordinary people affected by, and seeking solutions to, the impacts of climate change.” It has received excellent reviews on Amazon and is available to purchase there for $38. After you’ve viewed the series, donate it to your local library. CW-MARS has only 1 copy in its system!

January Featured Climate Actions

Make a resolution this year step up your level of personal action around the climate crisis. We need to act on all four levels listed below, and each month we offer suggestions to focus your efforts. These featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence and are now also circulated at the Haydenville Congregational Church, The Amherst Unitarian Society, the Co-op Power newsletter, and on the website of Climate Action Now, where an archive of past monthly actions is also available.

Personal: Keep your upstairs cool (55-60 degrees). You will cut your heating costs dramatically and help prevent ice dams by having less heat escape through the roof.

Community: Now that the holidays are over, break up the winter by organizing a neighborhood potluck. The connections made will help lay the groundwork for future cooperative ventures that increase resiliency and create connections.

State/National/Global: Attend a workshop to learn the tools of Faith-based Advocacy. The workshop will include an overview of the Massachusetts legislative process and how faith-based advocacy can be most effective. We will focus on for core issues for 2015-2016: environment/climate action, economic justice, ending mass incarceration, and immigration rights. All Souls Unitarian Church in Greenfield, Sunday Jan. 11, 12:30-2:30 pm. Includes potluck lunch. Contact Pam Kelly for more information and to register: 413 475-3605

Inform yourself: Join the discussion group for Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything. This book explores how capitalism is at the root of the climate crisis. The group begins Weds. 1/14 at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and continues 1/28, 2/11 and 2/25. You are responsible for procuring your own book. Please pre-register with Sarah Metcalf at stewartia@gmail.com.

December Featured Climate Actions

Are you more and more alarmed about the climate crisis, and want to do something, but feel overwhelmed? We need to act on all four levels listed below, and each month we offer suggestions to focus your efforts. Spread these suggestions to your friends and let’s make a snowball effect for the winter! These featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence and are now also circulated at the Haydenville Congregational Church, the Co-op Power newsletter, and an archive of past monthly actions is also available on this site.

Personal: To minimize your climate impact during holiday travels, avoid flying, driving alone or driving in a big car. Instead see if you can take a train, bus, or carpool with 2 or 3 other people.

Community: Write a letter to the editor of your favorite newspaper about a climate topic of your choice. Let’s keep the climate issue in the forefront of the public’s attention. There is no shortage of topics to write about: the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline, your thoughts on a carbon fee and rebate system, or local climate-related changes you’ve noticed just to name a few.

State/National/Global: For holiday gifts this year, honor your friends and family members by donating money in their name to your choice of organization that fights climate change. Some good possibilities:

Rainforest Action Network:          www.ran.org
Environmental Defense Fund:     www.edf.org
Sierra Club                                         www.sierraclub.org
350.org                                               www.350.org
350 Massachusetts                         www.350ma.org

Inform yourself: Take the time to read this excellent article by Al Gore that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine in June of this year. It is lengthy but worth the read. In it he discusses the optimistic economics of solar energy, the political landscape of the electric utility industry, the changing public perception about climate-related disasters, and the importance of pricing carbon, divesting from fossil fuels, and meaningful international treaties.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-turning-point-new-hope-for-the-climate-20140618?page=4

October Featured Climate Actions

October Featured Climate Actions

Did the People’s Climate March re-kindle your drive to take action to stop catastrophic climate change? Are you wondering what to do next? The suggestions below can get you re-focused on ways you can fight the climate crisis! These featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence and are now also circulated at the Haydenville Congregational Church, the Co-op Power newsletter, and in the newsletter of Climate Action Now, where an archive of past monthly actions is also available.

  1. Personal: Air seal and thickly insulate your attic and basement. These areas usually are the biggest heat-loss areas in a home, by far. Insulation without air sealing is practically useless, and you will benefit by installing considerably more insulation than recommended by the standard energy audit (typically R38). Choose an insulation contractor who is experienced at air sealing and ask him or her about whether upgrading to R60 makes sense for your house.
  2. Community: Help organize for the Oct. 20 March to the Springfield City Council to demand a Climate Action Plan for Springfield. The Springfield Climate Action Coalition will join with Arise for Social Justice, Climate Action NOW and others on October 1 at 6 pm at the South Congregational Church, 45 Maple Street, in Springfield. The purpose of this meeting is to organize for the march from the North End of Springfield to Springfield City Hall on the 20th. At that City Council meeting Springfield’s proposed Climate Action Plan will be debated.
  3. State/National/Global: Attend the Climate Change Forum at Amherst Regional H.S. on Thurs. Oct. 9 from 7-9 pm. Attending will be State Senator Rosenberg, and State Reps Story, Kocot, Kulik and Mark, as well as the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. There will be an open mike where you can comment, question, and lobby for your climate cause.
  4. Inform yourself: Read Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism and the Climate. It is described on Amazon as “a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core ‘free market’ ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems”.

July & August Featured Climate Actions

We all want to do our part to prevent climate change, right? We urgently need to act on many levels at once: personal, community, state/national/global, and keeping ourselves informed and inspired. These suggestions make it easy for you to decide what to do! These featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence and are now also circulated at the Haydenville Congregational Church, the Co-op Power newsletter, and on the website of Climate Action Now, where an archive of past monthly actions is also available.

1. Personal: Instead of exploring distant locales and foreign cultures, expand your internal horizons by exploring a new (low carbon) pursuit in your home region such as music or art lessons, personal growth, spirituality, developing friendships, deepening your local relationship with nature, volunteering, or getting involved with local activist groups.

2. Community: Make your next shopping trip to Hadley by bicycle. Celebrate the re-opening of the Norwottock bike path, now re-paved from Damon Road to the malls.

3. State/National/Global: Put your money where your values are. Check out the work of these groups that fight climate change, and donate to one or more. Some possibilities are:

4. Inform yourself: Visit your local bookstore and spend a relaxing hour browsing the environmental section. What grabs your interest? What inspires or motivates you?

 

June Featured Climate Actions

We all want to do our part to prevent climate change, right? We urgently need to act on many levels at once: personal, community, state/national/global, and keeping ourselves informed and inspired. These suggestions make it easy for you to decide what to do! These featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence and are now also circulated at the Haydenville Congregational Church, the Co-op Power newsletter, and on this site, where an archive of past monthly actions is also available.

1. Personal: Lower the temperature setting on your hot water tank to 120°. This will save you around $16/month. “Water heating is the second largest energy hog in your home, accounting for 14% to 18% of your household’s total energy costs — between $400 and $600 per year. (Heating and cooling is the #1 energy hog.) If the thermostat on your water heater doesn’t have a numbered gauge, put it midway between the “low” and “medium” marks. Keep in mind that some water heaters have two thermostats — one for the bottom heating element and one for the top”. For more info, click here.

2. Community: There’s been lots about climate change in the news lately: melting Antarctic glaciers, Keystone XL pipeline, Tennessee gas pipeline, and a string of new reports on climate change….what are your thoughts on these issues? Bring these topics up for conversations with friends, and if you’re inspired, join with a friend to write a letter to the editor or to your elected officials.

3. State/National/Global: Avoid products containing palm oil or palmitate. Palm oil plantations have become one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction. Not only is palm oil production a major global driver of human induced climate change, but it involves widespread human rights violations and imperils critically threatened orangutans.

4. Inform yourself: Learn more about the problem of palm oil plantations at http://ran.org/palm-oil. The FAQ link on this page includes additional actions you can take on this issue.

May Featured Climate Actions

We all want to do our part to prevent climate change, right? We urgently need to act on many levels at once: personal, community, state/national/global, and keeping ourselves informed and inspired. These suggestions make it easy for you to decide what to do! These featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence and are now also circulated at the Haydenville Congregational Church, the Co-op Power newsletter, and on the website of Climate Action Now, where an archive of past monthly actions is also available.

1. Personal: Use an electricity meter to find out which of your appliances are energy hogs. With the Kill-a-Watt Electricity Usage Meter or Watts Up Pro Electricity Consumption Meter, you plug any electric appliance into it and it’s easy to see how much energy is being used instantaneously or over a user-specified time period. You can see, for example, how much energy your TV consumes over a week. Both items are available on Amazon.com

2. Community: Plant fruit trees with other neighbors. Many fruit trees require more than one plant in order to pollinate. Why not plan with your neighbors to coordinate planting trees that will pollinate with each other? Local garden centers can advise on the best varieties for our region and how to get started.

3. State/National/Global: Learn here about a proposal for a Massachusetts Carbon Tax, spearheaded by the group Environmental Tax Reform. This much-needed proposal would make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to establish an economy-wide price on global warming pollution. Current efforts are focusing on convincing the Democratic gubernatorial candidates. If this effort excites you, go here to volunteer!

4. Inform yourself: The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued its updated Report on Climate Change. National Geographic website links below provide good summaries with links to the actual reports. Very worth checking out!

Part 1 issued Sept. 2013: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis here

Part 2 issued March 2014: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability here

Part 3 issued April 2014: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change here

March Featured Climate Actions

March Featured Climate Actions

Wow, there’s lots of news and action this month related to Climate Change! Each month we present suggestions for actions YOU can take to address climate change and increase resiliency in a changed climate. We urgently need to act on many levels at once: personal, community, state/national/global, and keeping ourselves informed and inspired. Would you pledge to yourself to carry out one or more of these monthly actions? These featured actions are brought to you by the Climate Action Group of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. To learn more contact Molly Hale at hellomolly@comcast.net or 585-0791. 

1. Personal: Set a goal to eat less meat and dairy, especially from industrialized meat and dairy production. Globally, “the livestock sector accounts for 9% of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65% of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure. And it accounts for respectively 37% of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants.” (1) “Fossil fuels … are [also]used to grow grain to feed to cattle, to make processed feed cake for cattle to eat, to pump water for cattle to drink, to refrigerate meat, to transport refrigerated meat, and to sell meat in supermarkets in open fridges and freezers.” (2)

2. Community: This is a crucial time to focus on the Keystone Pipeline because Secretary of State John Kerry will be issuing his National Interest Determination to President Obama soon, probably within the next 60 days or so. Consider signing the Pledge of Resistance against the Keystone Pipeline, in which you pledge to risk arrest or support others doing so if Kerry recommends the project go forward. Then sign up here to attend the Civil Disobedience training on March 15 in Springfield in preparation our local Pledge action. The training will prepare you for the protest likely to occur in late April or early May in Springfield. For more info about the protest or training contact Molly (see above).

3. State/National/Global: IMPORTANT: MARCH 7 DEADLINE. Call, email or send a postcard to Secretary of State Kerry telling him to reject the Keystone Pipeline. General info about the pipeline can be found here and the Final Environmental Impact Statement that Kerry must consider is here. Just a brief note is all that is needed and you input is important! For email comments use this link. For text you can copy and paste to use in a letter or email click here:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Energy Resources, Room 4843
Attn: Keystone XL Public Comments
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

 4. Inform yourself: Get involved with Climate Action Now MA, our grassroots, Pioneer Valley climate action group. To receive their weekly newsletter that is a clearinghouse for climate actions and info in the valley go the website at www.climateactionnowMA.org and click on “How we communicate”. Archives of past Monthly Climate Actions can be found here:

 

 

 

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