On June 1, President Trump pulled the United States out of its voluntary commitment to the Paris Climate Accord, a decision that sent shock waves around the world. As the nation that is the second largest emitter of CO2, and the greatest cumulative emissions, the US should play an equally large role as a leader in the clean energy future. Instead, efforts of other countries to mitigate the effects of climate change may be negated by the US’s continued climate denial and greenhouse gas pollution.
After this historic and upsetting exit, it is time for states, cities, businesses, and individuals to take action to ensure the US meets its commitments, regardless of what Washington does. In addition to the 192 countries signed on to the agreement, 247 mayors representing 56 million Americans, 10 states, and many corporations (including Green America’s Green Business Network) are agreeing to adopt and uphold its standards.
You can be part of the clean energy future with them. Here’s how.
1. Use your voice as an individual to encourage your city to join the growing number of entities standing by the accords.
2. Work with communities. In whatever groups you’re already part of—schools, places of worship, or civic associations, encourage your group to commit to reducing emissions. You may be able to find a local 350.org chapter to join to help connect you to resources, pressure local government, and mobilize more people towards clean energy.
3. Reduce your use of energy and water at home. Whether you’re a beginner who can’t spend a lot of time thinking about energy or someone who has been aware of phantom loads for years, we have tips for you to cut back (and probably not even notice the difference).
4. Switch to wind and solar energy for your electric utilities. The same power will come through the same wires, but instead of supporting coal power plants every time you pay your bill, you’ll be supporting clean solar or wind energy. When the sun is shining, you may event send power back onto the grid. If your home is equipped for them, and gets enough sun, getting solar panels on your own roof has a higher upfront cost, but will lower your electric bill in the future. Project Sunroof is a tool that uses Google Earth to project how much you could save depending on the sunny-ness of your rooftop, and will help you get in touch with a local solar installer.
5. Share your favorite energy-saving and emissions-reducing tips and steps you take on social media and in conversations. The more people who see their friends and family taking action on climate change, the more likely they are to do so as well.