How You Can Make a Difference
It’s important for all of us to look for ways to make a difference beyond our own households. Use your power as a citizen to engage with your community – whether school, neighborhood, business, or place of worship – and vote with the environment in mind. By coming together as communities, we can have a positive impact on our world, and keep our oceans healthy for future generations.
Join people like you in actively supporting community-based efforts:
- Conserve energy
- Reduce energy use for electricity by installing automatic light switches that turn off lights when a room is empty, and using power strips to turn off appliances when they are not in use.
- Reduce energy use for heating and cooling by installing programmable thermostats, using ceiling fans instead of air conditioners, making sure equipment is maintained for optimal efficiency, insulating water heaters, and planting shade trees near windows with eastern or southern exposure.
- As a city, Boston is changing its street lamps to LED lights, which will result in almost $3 million in annual savings. http://www.cityofboston.gov/publicworks/lighting/led.asp
- Promote sustainable food sources
- Support local and seasonal food providers through efforts such as Community Supported Agriculture, local farmers markets, and community gardens.
- Find a local CSA. http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
- For example, Cambridge, MA, has 13 active community gardens. https://www.cambridgema.gov/ccc/communitygardenprogram1.aspx
- Reduce waste
- Encourage your community to choose products made from recycled materials.
- Host or attend a clothing swap.
- Show your support for reducing the amount of plastic in your community. Join towns such as Concord, MA, in banning single-use, plastic water bottles and Brookline, MA, in banning plastic bags.
- Raise support for town- or citywide composting. See state composting regulations and suggestions from the state Department of Environmental Protection: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/recycle/reduce/composting-and-organics.html
- Somerville, MA, has begun a curbside compost collection pilot program. http://somerville.wickedlocal.com/article/20150731/news/150739763
- Reduce reliance on fossil fuels
- Support community initiatives for solar energy. Become a Solarize Massachusetts community. http://www.masscec.com/get-clean-energy/residential/solarize-mass .
- Join towns such as Easton, MA, that have committed to reduce their fossil fuel use. http://www.easton.ma.us/easton_residents/emergency_information/easton_dpw/docs/Criteria_3__Easton_Energy_Plan_and_Baseline.pdf
- As part of Seattle’s climate action plan, residents and businesses can choose to buy their electricity from renewable sources. http://www.seattle.gov/light/green/greenpower/greenup.asp
- San Diego is an example of a large U.S. city that has committed to 100 percent renewable energy. See http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/26/san-diego-mayor-renewable-energy-plan-kevin-faulconer
- The states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont are working together in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electric power generation. https://www.rggi.org/
- Support alternative transportation
- Join community efforts to expand options for alternative transportation – including public transportation, the creation of designated bike lanes, or bike-sharing programs.
- The Hubway bike-sharing program now includes Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville. See https://www.thehubway.com
- The city of Chicago’s climate action plan incorporates improvements in public transit, bicycling, walking, car sharing, energy-efficient vehicles, and the development of transit-oriented neighborhoods. http://www.chicagoclimateaction.org/pages/transportation/14.php
- Participate in conservation programs
- Get involved in community efforts, such as coastal habitat restoration projects in the Live Blue Ambassador and Live Blue Service programs.
- Think – and act – globally and locally! Join a local environmental organization and support global conservation efforts.