This week, 190 leaders from around the world are gathered in Paris for the 2015 Climate Change Conference (COP21). Governments from the largest nations to the smallest, from the most wealthy to the poorest, are putting forth plans to slow global warming. With such distant dignitaries working on the problem, where does that leave you and me?
It may feel like all of us back at home are just in the audience of the climate talks. We are outside looking in, following the scenarios, the plans and the pledges. But we don’t have to just be1 spectators. We can actively participate by making necessary changes in our own back yard.
Several key actions have been identified as needed to limit the most severe effects of global warming. These are actions that nations, states and cities will be making pledges and plans around. They are also actions that each one of us can address individually, in our own homes, and in our own back yards.
- We can increase the efficiency of buildings. Think about your own home: where can you make efficiency improvements? US News and World Report offers 10 Energy Efficient Home Improvements you can make like sealing air leaks, adding insulation to your attic, and installing a programmable thermostat. The bonus you get with these improvements is that you not only make your home more efficient, you’ll use less electricity and gas, and save you money. Over the long term, you will save more money than it costs to implement these improvements. And you’ll reduce your use of fossil fuels.
- We can increase electricity generation using clean power like solar and wind. Over the last 15 years installing solar on homes around the Midwest, we’ve experienced the price of solar dropping 80%, which has been making solar cheaper for many homeowners than their existing electric provider. You can save money from day one and do your part to contribute to the slowing of global warming by switching to renewable energy. We are seeing more homeowners than ever taking this bold and smart step to reduce the amount of fossil fuel pollution entering the atmosphere.
- We can educate. Each one of us can share news and ideas for slowing global warming. When we take action at home to reduce fossil fuel usage, we can let our friends and neighbors know how they can do the same. We are in this together and the only way we will get out of it and make an impact is together.
The adage “Think Globally, Act Locally” still applies to the world’s climate crisis. Leaders on the global stage in Paris are making commitments and taking action to help alleviate this crisis, and each one of us can do the same on our own local stages too.