Time to Sweat the Small Stuff

How Each of Us Can Take Action on Climate

I’m feeling really good these days, mostly because of the big shift in momentum around climate action. As Bill McKibben, a noted climate change author and journalist, wrote last month, “There’s a shock-and-awe feel to the barrage of actions, and that’s the point: taken together, they send a decisive signal about the end of one epoch and the beginning of another.”

He was referring to the new administration’s philosophical and strategic shift in our approach to climate change that signals the return of the U.S. to the world stage and renewed support for science-based solutions. But it isn’t just the president’s executive orders on climate that have me energized. Republicans, too, are putting forward their solutions for the first time in many years, and Millennial and Gen Z conservatives are pushing their own climate action agendas as well.

And then there’s the largest U.S. car manufacturer, General Motors, which announced that its products and operations will be carbon neutral by 2040. Even the pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out in favor of carbon taxes, emissions caps, or other “market-based” policies to address the climate crisis.

These developments and others like them are nothing short of a seismic lean into this new epoch. If ever one needed inspiration to take personal action on climate change, it seems that now there is plenty.

Regardless of your political point of view, it is impossible not to recognize what this underscores, and what C-Change Conversations believes: we have many solutions, supported by both liberals and conservatives, to address the dangers we face from climate change. Bold leadership in government AND business and smart policy – like what we are seeing so far this year – are the pieces to the puzzle we’ve been missing.

While our situation continues to be dire, and our reliance on fossil fuels isn’t going to change anytime soon, we sense a collective exhale and a palpable sense of hope for significant progress to confront this challenge. This energizes me and lifts the weight off my shoulders so now I can focus on what personal steps I can take to further reduce my impact on greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, my actions take on more relevance because now I feel they are legitimately part of the solution.

So I say, it is time to sweat the small stuff. I am inviting you to join C-Change in being both concerned and hopeful about the potential to mitigate climate change and doing what we can in our own lives to take advantage of this exciting momentum, namely: support issues with your voice and vote, make consumer choices that reduce your carbon footprint, and take personal action in the ways that work best for you.

Start with the simple things. TALK about climate change with friends and family, and in your communities and organizations; SUPPORT AND DEMAND action from local, state, and federal leaders that address climate change; and VOTE. Vote in every election in which you are eligible, from the school board to the presidency of the United States.

At home, there are simple, satisfying ways to reduce your carbon footprint immediately and a ton of good books and documentary films to help you learn more about the issues. Choose one or go big. Many will not only help the planet, but save you money as well.

Here are some of the things I have done and recommend:

  1. Read: Climate of Hope by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope and Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken.

  2. Watch: Biggest Little Farm, A Plastic Ocean, Chasing Ice, David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.

  3. Do an energy audit on your household. Here’s how.

  4. Switch out your old light bulbs for LEDs.

  5. Opt in to a renewable energy source from your electricity provider. Here’s how. If your state isn’t included on this list, contact your local utility to find out how to select a renewable energy provider.

  6. Reduce emissions from food choices by eating leftovers, composting, eating less meat, and buying locally.

  7. Pre-cycle consumer purchases: choose loose produce over packaged, glass and paper packaging and containers over plastic, bar soap over bottled, bulk items over single-use.

  8. Source locally when possible, recycle and donate items no longer in use.

  9. Consider buying an EV, hybrid, or a very fuel-efficient car.

  10. Support non-profits working in this space.

And most of all, be hopeful and optimistic! Let’s build on the momentum of this new epoch by taking action wherever we can. Small, individual actions collectively won’t seem so inconsequential after all. It’s time to sweat the small stuff.

If you have questions or have suggestions on other ways to make a difference, please email

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

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