No matter your field of work, no matter where you live or what role you play in
your home, workplace, or community, you and the people around
you are interacting with nature and society and have insights into
how to solve the problems associated with climate change. So that’s
where we start. Climate change solutions are not waiting for us at a
fancy delegation of diplomats in a foreign country. They are at our
kitchen table. In the book, I describe simple actions that everyone can take. Here, I offer some more specific ideas that you may find relevant.
1. You have a special role to play
If you are a republican and you care about climate change, you are in a very important position. It’s also not an easy position. I give you a lot of credit for reading this, thinking about this, and your interest in doing something about it.
2. You’re not alone
If you’re a republican who cares about climate change, know that you’re not alone. As we’ve learned the vast majority of republicans support clean energy solutions. Less fully believe that climate change is real and caused by humans, but that number increases every day. Your job is to talk to your fellow republicans about the values you share, ask them what their thoughts are on climate change, and tell them why you care about this. You don’t need to convince any one of your views. Just engaging in an honest dialogue is the most important thing we can do. Talk about it as much as you can. Make it normal to talk about it. The facts are on your side. Bring up the leading Republicans that have championed the environment highlighted in this book. But most importantly, listen to what your fellow republicans say about it. Assure them that it’s not a liberal conspiracy to take away their rights or their hamburgers. It’s about protecting our home.
3. Talk about faith
If you’re a person of faith, talk about how your faith informs your politics, and it’s clear to you that protecting creation is part of your faith. As we’ve seen in Chapter 7, across the faith community, leaders are calling for action. Point to this, and tell people how deep this runs for you.
4. Get the attention of the party and the public
For those of you that are more politically active, do what you can to get your message across: No one wants to be known as the party that denies the realities of climate change or block progress to solving it. Join with other republicans and make your voices heard. Start groups. Write letters to your elected officials. Protest. Write op-eds. Join the efforts of the republican groups for climate solutions that we discussed in the book. Post your views to social media and make it known that you’re a republican who wants clean energy and climate solutions.
5. Help work on policy solutions that embody conservative values and ways of solving problems
Research the free enterprise, market-based solutions to environmental challenges that have worked in the past, like the acid rain cap and trade program, and ozone layer depletion. Various carbon pricing mechanisms have been proposed by republicans over the years to address climate change, and previous environmental challenges. Renewable Portfolio Standards have worked across the country supported by republicans and democrats, and have led to incredible growth in renewables. Get smart on the solutions that work, that are in line with republican values and bring them up every chance you can.
1. Learn how to communicate about climate change effectively
To all of the well-meaning democrats who point to the science, point to the facts, point to the impacts of climate change. While you’re right, and all of that is true, it’s reverberating in an echo chamber. Watch or listen to a conservative news reporter talk about climate change. Hear what they’re saying about it. After the 2019 Democratic presidential town hall on CNN, Fox news commentator Tucker Carlson says that the Democrats revealed their true intentions out loud: “We’re also by the way going to have to control what people eat, how they travel, and where, what they do for a living. We’re going to have to control every detail of their formerly personal lives, we’re in charge now, of everything. That’s the message.” Carlson, believe it or not, is the second most viewed cable news show. Notice that he’s not taking aim with the science-he’s trying to paint the solutions as some kind of authoritarian take-over. Democrats’ messaging also needs to allay the fears of those who care for the earth, but are made afraid by these types of messages. The most important step is to ask for people’s thoughts and listening. Listen to their fears and concerns, and speak to that.
2. Stop using scare tactics
If your message is meant to scare people, they’ll turn away before you can say parts per million. Sure, a quick scare can jolt someone into taking a quick action perhaps, but for sustained effort, we need a positive message that makes us want to get involved. Focus on positive benefits today.
3. Stop blaming republicans
The moment you blame the problem on a republican politician or the party, any person listening who identifies with republicans is now opposed to everything you’re saying.
4. Reach across the aisle. Be committed to making this not our issue. Make everything bipartisan.
Rather than pointing fingers, we need to make this effort bipartisan like we’ve never done before. We need to hold up republicans that are leading on climate change, point out the progress that’s being made, and thus encourage Americans on both sides to feel more comfortable engaging with the issue.
5. Educate people about solutions. Spread clean energy in a bipartisan way.
Frankly, not everyone needs to understand the ins and outs of atmospheric science. What they do want to know about is how clean energy can save them money on their electric bill and provide back-up power during a storm, and increase the property value of their house. Talk about solutions that benefit people and leave the politics out of it. And try not to bore people too much with wonkiness.
6. Understand that a policy solution needs to get buy-in from the other side.
At the end of the day, it’s a give and take. We can’t try and throw every liberal policy item into a climate solution. That’ll only turn people away. In other words, try to remove the landmines that’ll make republicans wince.
7. We can’t win if it’s a bifurcated effort. We only win if all Americans support the way we solve it.
This is the key to the story. As long as proposals to climate change come from democrats and not from both parties, we’ll never get anywhere.
1. Help champion the idea that it’s not a partisan issue
As an independent, you’re someone who’s views aren’t dictated by partisan politics. You have an important role to play in this debate. You are an outside party looking at the madness of the two-party political system from a distance. You are uniquely positioned to communicate why all Americans should care about this because it affects all of us.
2. Talk to people on both sides about it and offer neutral policy ideas to the table
You can listen to both sides of the aisle, and probably can understand where both sides are coming from better than most. In a way, you can help translate for the rest of us.
3. Be willing to support candidates on either side that are strong on climate
If independents make clear that their vote is going with the climate and clean energy candidates, then can help point out that this is not a one party issue.
1. Study how your religion relates to nature from a theological perspective
Almost all religious texts refer to the sanctity of the earth, of creation, of life, in some way. Use this to help call attention to climate change and call for action based on scripture.
2. Champion that this is the moral issue of our time
From the abolition of slavery, to the civil rights movement, to anti-war movements, communities of faith have played pivotal roles in changing the narrative of the culture. Whatever your faith may be, you can add your voice to the interfaith call to protect our sacred home.
3. Provide tangible ways that members of the congregation can do something tangible in the community.
Don’t just talk about it, but give your congregation members things they can do or get involved in to know that they’re not alone trying to solve this problem.
4. Help the facility go green
Set up a greening committee among the members and explore if the congregation itself can go solar, implement energy efficiency measures, EV charging stations in the parking lots, bike racks, and set up a composting and recycling procedure for the building.
5. Help people at home do the same:
6. Provide information, access to vendors, books to read, encourage groups to form, and bring in guest speakers that can teach congregation members how to go solar, ride bikes around town, compost at home, eat plant based diets, start gardening, etc.
7. Use the Pulpit
Talk to your clergy to see if you or they can speak about climate change solutions to the congregation and perhaps dedicate sermons or events to rising awareness about it.
8. Host a Climate Courage Circle where people can get together and talk about it
Similar to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean-in circles, folks concerned about climate change can get together with their community members to discuss climate change solutions, process their emotions, or just learn more. Faith congregations are a great place to discuss building climate courage. Find out more at climatecourage.us.
1. Talk to your kids about climate change.
And when you do, try not to scare them. Teach them the science. Explain the best you can the political and social challenges. But most importantly empower them to do something. Go through this list and find things that the kids can do on their own or with you to feel a sense of accomplishment.
2. Listen to your kids about climate change.
Ask them what they’re learning in school about the issue. See how they feel about it. Make it OK for them to ask questions, express their emotions, and talk about their ideas for solutions.
3. Bring it up at PTO meetings.
How can teachers integrate climate change into all aspects of the curriculum? There are a number of great climate and clean energy lesson plans for all subjects. Push teachers to incorporate a climate lens into all subjects. Especially have them focus on solutions.
4. Push for the school to implement sustainable practices
Has your child’s school looked into going solar? Do they have a recycling and compost program? Do they teach kids about reducing waste?
5. Push for nature-learning.
Could your child’s school set up an educational garden if it doesn’t already have one? How about going on hikes and nature based field trips? Can the students learn more about native wildlife and vegetation in their area?
6. Push for sustainable healthy food at school.
The food they serve at school might have the biggest impact in reducing environmental footprint, increasing health of the children, teaching them good life long eating habits, and help them stay alert and focused in school.
7. Push for mindfulness lessons at school.
Teaching mindfulness in schools is becoming more commonplace and the results speak for themselves: higher test scores, better behavior in class, more focus, less fights, etc.
1. Refer to the parent section above
See which of these suggestions you have the power to advocate for with your school’s administration or implement in your classroom directly.
2. Lesson Plans
As mentioned above, try and create lesson plans around climate and clean energy and climate solutions into every subject area
3. Stay up to date on the latest news and science.
Bring up what’s happening in the news in your class whether that’s storms, wildfires, electric vehicles, clean energy developments, etc.
4. Watch films about it
Allowing students to watch films about climate and energy could have a big impact.
5. Have them report about the weather.
In most parts of the country, we’re experiencing extreme weather all year round. Ask them to describe what they’re noticing and the weather’s connection to climate change.
6. Get trained on how to talk about climate accurately and effectively
Look up training opportunities for educators on how to speak about climate change and encourage your colleagues to join.
7. Present the science as fact
While media outlets still present two sides to the debate, educators have a responsibility to spell out the facts. Don’t discuss it as if the science is in question. There’s roughly as much agreement in the scientific community about climate change as there is about gravity.
8. Give time for the students to discuss the issue.
How do they feel about it? Allow them to emote and discuss ideas for solutions.
9. Make them feel empowered.
Whatever you do, have it leave them feeling part of the solution, not part of the problem, or not anxious or scared.
1. Talk to your friends
One of the best things you can do to solve climate change is talk to your friends about it. See what your friends think, ask what their parents think and talk about what you’re learning in school. You have the power to make talking about climate change normal.
2. Start a club
Get together with some friends and a teacher or two and start a club to do something about climate change at your school.
3. Push your school to implement sustainability initiatives
While your school might be dragging its heels about going solar, or doing an energy efficiency retrofit, you have the power to change that. Get your fellow students together and advocate for change. You have more power than you might think!
4. Focus on climate with your assignments
Whenever you have a chance to, tailor your science projects, research papers, current events stories, about climate change and clean energy as a chance to learn more yourself and present more information about it to your peers.
5. Learn as much as you can
Do research outside the classroom. Read climate and energy related news, blogs, listen to podcasts. Keep up with what’s going on as it’s constantly evolving.
6. Host events
Get your parents and teachers to come to events hosted by students to raise awareness and get people talking about solutions.
7. Go to marches
Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager, started protesting going to school to raise awareness about climate change. Now the #climatestrike has become a global movement. Get involved. Get out in the streets. Your voice matters more than anyone’s as it’s your generation that will be most affected by climate change.
1. Join the movement
From women’s suffrage to the labor movement, civil rights to protesting the war in Vietnam, college students have historically been at the forefront of every major movement to better society. Now is the time for you to grab the baton. Join the youth climate movement, lead the movement, reinvent the movement. Whatever you do, do something, and do it boldly. In many ways, the world is looking to you for answers.
2. Start a club
Get together with some friends and come up with ways to get involved. There are a number of clubs you could start on your campus or you can come up with something new. Examples of clubs you can start would be to become a RE-volv Solar Ambassador, or start a chapter of the Sierra Student Coalition, or do a GRID Alternatives Spring Break.
3. Write, read, learn
Take as many classes, write as many papers, attend as many lectures on climate change and clean energy as you can. Believe me, the transition to sustainability over the coming decades will be a bigger part of whatever career trajectory you take more than you might imagine.
4. Use the student body to push the school
Protest. Sit in. Strike. Make a stink. As of today what originally started as a campus divestment campaign where students pressured the administration to divest the University’s investments from all fossil fuel interests has become a global phenomenon resulting in $11 Trillion being divested. Students started that. What can you start? Can your school start a revolving fund for renewable energy and energy efficiency? How about committing to 100% renewable energy? How about on-site renewables? How about becoming a zero waste campus?
5. Create alliances
Look to other schools to see what they’re doing and join student groups across the country that are involved with campus climate action. Also, create alliances on campus. Can the student groups fighting for other issues collaborate with you on hosting events and getting the word out about your shared values?
6. Be bipartisan
Remember, this problem can only be solved by building bridges. Reach out to people with opposing political views and see what you can align on, and how you might be able to work together.
7. Teach other students
Not every student knows as much about climate and clean energy as you do. Host lectures, film screenings, and education building events. Get people on campus talking about it.
8. Start a Climate Courage Circle
Get together with some friends, read this book, and talk about how you feel. What ways do you want to take action? Learn more at climatecourage.com.
Get an internship, volunteer with a clean energy or climate change focused organization. They need the help and it’ll give you good experience for when you graduate.
10. Become a RE-volv Solar Ambassador College Fellow
At RE-volv, we have a fellowship for college students who want to dive into solar energy. Our training will teach you how to bring solar finance to a nonprofit in your campus community along with a team of fellow students, as part of a network of Solar Ambassadors across the country.
1. Learn everything you can about sustainable investing
And not just because you care about climate change. Because the clean energy and sustainability revolution will transform the economy and create one of the greatest wealth creating opportunities in your lifetime.
2. Divest everything from anything related to fossil fuels
The divestment movement has now moved $11 Trillion out of fossil fuels. By 2035 even new natural gas plants will be more expensive to operate than renewables. Do you want to be left with stranded assets in your portfolio that have a 30 year lifespan but can’t compete after year 10?
3. Encourage people to put this front and center
Make divesting from fossil fuels and investing in clean energy and sustainability a standard conversation and financial product, not a niche. This should be the majority of what you’re investing in. If you invest now, you win, like early investors in tech do. If you wait until 2025 when Toyota has already turned half their fleet into EVs, then you’ll be like the investor who thought the recent tech boom was going to pass.
4. Join with other investors, advisors to discuss.
Learn about sustainability investing from others who are in the space. Get together and discuss with each other how to navigate the new space. Take classes, read books, become experts on the green industrial revolution taking place in front of our eyes.
1. Bring it up in your department or branch
If you’re a fireman see what your firehouse can do, and what all firehouses in your city or county can do. Go solar? Implement energy efficiency measures? Compost? Have an EV charging station in the parking lot? Same, if you’re a librarian, a postal employee, a police officer, a sanitation department employee, or if you work for the city, county, state, or federal government.
2. Get other people on board
Going it alone may be tough. Talk to people on your team about their ideas. See if you can get some folks together who are willing to help advocate for change within your department or branch of government.
3. Keep at it
Changes like this, especially at large institutions that have long standing practices, might not make progress overnight. Instead keep trying to raise your proposal through the appropriate channels until you’re able to make progress. It can be frustrating to motivate change from within the organization but it’ll be worth it! Keep at it!
1. Make clean energy your main talking point
As the data in the book shows, Democrats and Republicans are more aware and concerned about climate change than ever before. But clean energy has far more support universally. Clean energy is about innovation, investment, infrastructure, jobs. It’s an exciting opportunity that people can get behind that increases our security and improves our economy. As we learned in Chapter 4, virtually all Americans want to see more renewable energy, fast. This is the biggest tent pole issue we’ve seen in a very long time. Whichever side of the aisle you’re on, clean energy will excite your base.
2. Ask people about how climate affects them
More people are seeing the effects of climate change in their day to day lives from forest fires, to hurricanes, to droughts, to floods, to heat waves, to cold spells. Ask them what they’re noticing in their area. Ask them what they’re most concerned about. Ask for their input on advocating on their behalf for climate solutions tailored for them.
3. Don’t shy away from it
Speak about about climate change. Call it what it is- the biggest challenge we face. Don’t be afraid of talking about it. More people are talking about it than ever before. And speak about it in empowering ways, not doom and gloom.
4. Reach across the aisle
Support bi-partisan legislation, join bi-partisan caucuses, sit down and speak casually with people from the other side of the aisle. This is arguably the most important shift that needs to happen. Listen to the other side’s concerns. See if you can ameliorate them while still moving the ball forward. Build trust.
5. Be a clean energy champion
Advocate strongly for clean energy laws, policies, and initiatives. Not only are they popular, not only will they save money for your community, but it’s also one of the most important climate mitigation strategies available to us.
6. Do projects not just commitments
If you’re a mayor or Governor who has made a clean energy goal or commitment, you are leading the pack. You are a climate courage paragon. But don’t stop there. Make those clean energy projects happen locally, as fast as you can.
7. Make public events about it
Whenever one of your climate or clean energy initiatives has a success share it with the public. Have an event. Invite the press. Get more climate success stories in the news.
8. Educate the public on it
Do whatever you can to create more learning opportunities. Events, exhibits, community engagement, online messaging. Make climate and clean energy something that everyone is aware of and is involved in the conversation.
9. Make it your defining issue
More politicians are leading with climate change as their main platform. This is the type of climate courage that’s going to get us where we need to go.
1. Innovate new ways to make sustainability easier
This might very well have the largest ability to make an impact than anything else. If you work in tech, look at all of the items on this list. Think about how many apps can be made to help people accomplish these goals more easily? Could you make an app or tech solution that facilitates: meeting with neighbors to talk about climate change; wasting less food; eating more plant based diets; recycling and composting more; encourages more carbon friendly transportation; disclosing the carbon impact of the products you’re buying; fosters online discussion about creative solutions; creates online teaching materials for schools around climate and energy; a virtual reality program that teaches people to install solar panels (the fastest growing job in the country); apps that allow people to better utilize climate data, and so on. I’m sure there are so many ways that technology can help us organize solutions at the local level that we haven’t even dreamed of yet.
2. Stop anything you’re doing that creates a more wasteful society
This includes but is not limited to planned obsolescence of technology, using materials in your products that have toxic extraction processes, and operating power-hog data centers powered by fossil fuels.
3. Support Privacy
As technology continues to creepily watch and listen to us in our day to day lives, the implications are profound. From a climate perspective, the data is mostly used to better advertise to us. The more personal data technology tracks from us, the better the advertising becomes, increasing consumption rates. Support technology that’s not paid for by ads but by people paying for services.
4. Support Mindfulness
Tech already has, and can continue to provide tools to help people be more mindful, which will help decrease mindless consumption, reduce our footprint, and improve our mood.
5. Support energy efficiency
As the Internet of Things (IOT) becomes more effective, technology has the ability to dramatically improve energy efficiency from heating and cooling, to lighting, to appliances. Already there is a lot of activity happening in this space. Sensors that know when someone is in the room and adjusting the temperature accordingly is an example.
6. Powering your facilities with clean energy
Thankfully many big tech companies have been leading the trend in energy efficiency and purchasing renewable energy to power their facilities and big data centers that use a lot of energy. Hopefully this trend will continue.
7. Support sustainability at the workplace
See what sustainability practices to reduce food waste, compost, lower energy use, etc. could be done at your facility.
8. Coordinate sustainability activities with staff
See what volunteer efforts outside of work you can encourage staff to take individually or preferably as a group.
1. Make your industry more sustainable. Less disposable.
Understandably, health care has a lot of single use items for sanitary reasons. If there’s an opportunity to make any of the tools multi-use instead of single use, compostable or recyclable instead of landfill bound, that could have a large impact.
2. Encourage people to be healthier
Help people exercise, garden, eat healthy, and do the things that are good for their bodies and also good for the climate.
3. Connecting the dots between climate and public health
Learn about how climate impacts health and make the argument publicly.
4. Make the case internally
Make your hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office more sustainable in its daily operations.
1. Tie climate change themes into your work
Can you write clean energy and climate messages into your scripts or plotlines?
2. Create educational pieces around it
Work with celebrities to help raise the visibility of the issue.
3. Create empowering stories about solutions
Through story we can change the narrative around climate change in the culture.
4. Make it part of the normal discourse
Normalize talking about climate change by discussing it matter-of-factly and often.
1. Cover it every day
Until climate change is solved this is the number one story, every day.
2. Describe it with the language it deserves
Don’t mince your words or pull any punches. Let’s be real about what’s happening.
3. Don’t over-do it though
Don’t scare people, or drive them to despair. Include some hopefulness in your coverage.
4. Make it empowering
Talk about the good news we see with clean energy and show people how they can get involved.
5. Do not give climate deniers or doubters airtime
6. Highlight climate courage heroes as often as you can
Tell stories that are uplifting, hopeful, and positive. Find them, they’re out there.
1. Learn about organic farming
Move away from petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides, create more yield per acre, reduce your impact on the soil and the climate.
2. Diversify your crops
Quit monoculture and the carbon spewing industrial processes necessary to maintain it.
3. Create educational opportunities on your farm.
Teach people about sustainable farming and let others follow your example.
1. Talk about it
Bring it up with your neighbors and hear what people think.
2. Come up with things you can do in the neighborhood
See if you can come up with ideas together to fight climate change locally.
1. Let people work from home more and work 4 day work weeks
The less your staff are commuting back and forth to the office the better for the environment, and the happier they’ll be.
2. Provide bicycle lockers
Encourage your employees to bike to work by giving them a safe place to lock up.
3. Support public transportation
Offer benefits to those that take public transit to work rather than drive.
4. Offer sustainable retirement-plan options
Not only is it important to pull money out of the fossil fuel economy, but it’s also the wise investment decision. Remember all the soon-to-be stranded fossil fuel assets we learned about in Chapter 5?
5. Green your office
Do what you can to reduce the footprint of your office.
6. Reduce animal products
If you provide food, reduce or eliminate animal products to lower their environmental footprint.
7. Encourage staff efforts
Can your staff go solar as part of a group buy? How about volunteering as a team to plant trees, clean up the beach, or install solar? Incentivize the staff to lower their carbon footprints with competitions and prizes.