Smithtown High School East Leadership students visited Tackan Elementary second graders to share a belated Earth Day lesson on April 25.
In each second grade classroom, a pair of high school students began their lesson with an overview about Earth Day and the importance of keeping the planet clean. Classes then read aloud from the book “I Am Earth” by Donald James McCarty and Rebecca McDonald.
The visit ended with second graders participating in a craft project. Students had paint applied to their hands and then left a handprint on a wooden pallet that had the planet painted on it.
Earth Day officially was recognized internationally on April 22, while students were enjoying spring break.
One recent morning, I drove my trash and recycling to my local waste transfer station in Connecticut. I had a single bag of garbage to dispose of, a large bin of recycling, and a few thick chunks of treated lumber leftover from the weekend’s project: building a set of wooden stairs up to my front door.
First, I dumped the recycling down one of two wide rusty metal trash chutes—clang, clang, clang! Down went a cascade of cans, plastic containers, crumpled papers, cardboard boxes, into the dark abyss below.
But what was below? I peeked around the enormous chutes—one labeled for recycling and one for trash—and I noticed each led to an open-topped shipping container meant to be transported by truck, train, or cargo ship. The lumber would go directly into another huge container. As I tossed the bag of garbage down the chute, I asked the attendant, “Where is all this trash going?” Clearly, it was headed somewhere.
“That recycling will go to another transfer station, and the garbage is going to be incinerated in Hartford,” said the attendant. “And the construction and demolition debris is shipped out of state…probably to a landfill in Pennsylvania or Ohio.”
Because “probably” didn’t sound too certain to me, I did some of my own investigating. What the attendant didn’t tell me was that the MIRA “waste-to-energy” incinerator in Hartford, Connecticut, which would burn my bag of trash, is located in close proximity to predominantly low-income Latinx and Black communities—which bear the brunt of the incinerator’s pollution burden.
The average person living in the United States creates about five pounds of trash daily. Little trash—especially plastic trash—is actually recycled, compared to how much we waste. This, though recycling and managing waste is exactly what industries and corporations selling consumer stuff tell us to do with items we are done using, and governments have long supported and encouraged it. Recycling sounds good, after all, and hypothetically if materials are reused, they’re not wasted. Right?
Wrong. Instead of being recycled or going “away”—as we expect once we haul our waste to the end of our driveways, or to our local transfer stations—our waste is most often used as a tool of oppression. It is sent somewhere else to become someone else’s burden, at the hands of waste haulers and handlers that operate in contract with municipalities and are supposed to be regulated by the government. Usually, that someone else being harmed is a person of color, an Indigenous person, a person with a low-income, or a person living in a rural community.
Trash, and the serious systemic injustice it drives, has profound effects on the physical and emotional health, finances, and futures of people living on the fencelines of transfer stations, railways, roadways, incinerators, landfills, and other trash-disposal infrastructure in underserved communities in the U.S. and worldwide.
Burning plastic and other waste is a fully toxic operation. Not only do incinerators or open burn of trash release greenhouse gases, they also emit toxic heavy metals, dioxins, particulate matter, and other dangerous substances linked to health issues like cancer, organ damage, and asthma. Then the dangerous ash from these incinerators must be dealt with: it gets dumped into landfills and ponds, causing further contamination of human communities and the natural environment we need to survive.
I learned that the scraps of lumber I’d tossed would be trucked or carried by rail from Connecticut hundreds of miles into rural and low-income parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio—where it is dumped into enormous, poorly-contained landfills.
Landfilled plastics leach toxic chemicals, including hormone-disrupting PFAS and phthalates, and these chemicals have been frequently found in drinking water. That’s because landfill liners are not made to last forever; and are often also made of plastic. Liners leak and tear, contaminating soil and groundwater; older landfills have no liners at all. Landfills emit huge amounts of climate-warming greenhouse gases, expose people to noxious odors and toxic gases, attract nonstop diesel-dump truck traffic, can spread diseases, attract nuisance animals, and reduce home equity.
With so much flammable and tightly compacted garbage crammed together, the trash trains and trucks are very prone to catching on fire. And they do, with catastrophic consequences. These vehicles are loud, large, fossil-fuel thirsty, and wretchedly smelly. They’re poorly contained, sometimes completely uncovered, and often lose trash into nature and neighborhoods as they travel. The U.S. has also historically paid money to ship trash overseas, primarily to China and nations in the Global South—though those countries that used to accept our trash are increasingly turning it away as attention is drawn to the injustices of waste colonialism.
Do you know where your plastic and other waste goes when you throw it away, or toss it in a recycling bin? Few of us are able to name exactly where our trash goes when we bring it to the curb or a local transfer station. We are frighteningly disconnected from our waste—and that disconnect enables people with wealth and power to take the trash we create and use its pollution to fuel widespread racial and class injustice near and far.
It is long past time to recognize that pollution is injustice, and that in the U.S. and around the world, entire neighborhoods are being—and many have long been—overtaken by trash, trash infrastructure, and the myriad forms of pollution that having to deal with too much trash causes. There is no such place as away, and recycling is far from the clean, green cure-all we’ve been taught. Just ask those living on the front lines.
This Earth Day, I urge you to look past quick fixes and false promises, and take a hard look at the truths behind what we waste, and think about why our world needs to waste less. Consider the impact your trash has on others; read more about environmental injustice and take action by standing up for the respect and protection of those communities worst affected by waste—and demand accountability of those people and systems who drive pollution and injustice.
Author Erica Cirino is the Communications Manager of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. She has spent the last decade working as a science writer, author, and artist exploring the intersection of the human and nonhuman worlds. Cirino is best known for her widely published photojournalistic works that cut through plastic industry misinformation and injustice to deliver the often shocking and difficult truths about this most ubiquitous and insidious material.
This includes her recent book, Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis (Island Press, 2021), in which she documents plastic across ecosystems and elements; shares stories from the primarily Black, Brown, Indigenous and rural communities that are disproportionately harmed by industrial pollution globally; and uncovers strategies that work to prevent plastic from causing further devastation to our planet and its inhabitants.
With two of our Long Island landfills closing in the near future, we will have to work together to redesign our way of handling waste.
New York State legislators, looking for ways to reduce the plastics sent to our landfills, have designed EPR bills (Extended Producer Responsibility) which require producers to reduce the amount of plastics they use and make them responsible for their final disposal, relieving municipalities of the cost. The EPR bills were not included in the New York State budget but there is hope that the legislature will pass an EPR bill before the summer.
The good news is that this week a bill that would establish as a state goal to “source reduce, reuse, recycle, or compost no less than eighty-five percent of the solid waste generated by the year 2032” was introduced by New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chairman of the Committee on Environmental Conservation, and was passed by the Assembly. We anticipate strong support in the State Senate as well.
Think about all the sources of waste on Long Island: three million people in Nassau and Suffolk (each creating almost five pounds of waste per day), thousands of businesses, dozens of municipalities, and all of these having overlapping layers of authority, interests and goals. Not only does untreated waste spread across our globe pose a major threat to our health and environment, but it also represents an unexploited source of raw material that can be used. In other words, we treat waste as garbage rather than a resource.
Current systems for collecting and disposing of household waste are part of a linear economy, often categorized as “take, make, throwaway.” By contrast, a circular economy employs reusing, repairing and refurbishing, remanufacturing and recycling to return us to a system that keeps products, materials, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer; and most importantly, produces less waste.
Fortunately we have begun to implement new ways of using our resources, many recalling systems from the past. Repair Cafes, working under the aegis of the Repair Cafe International, are creating facilities where consumers teach one another to repair their furniture and appliances. This month, a Repair Cafe will open in Greenport at 539 First Street from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 23; it will join 2,333 cafes that exist in eight countries. Learn more about this concept at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LctHCGe91gk.
There are also reuse facilities that fix, update, and sell items that have been discarded, taking the concept of a thrift shop closer to a self-supporting business that keeps waste from the landfill. Producers are looking for more markets for the items created by recycling, which would keep them out of the landfill and make recycling programs more effective.
A Fair Repair Act (S149) was introduced last year and passed in the NYS Senate. This would recognize that consumers have a right to repair the devices they own or use independent repair shops, and require that equipment be designed for durability rather than replacement or disposal. Other states have passed many such bills, but it hasn’t passed in the NYS Assembly.
We need to meet the goals of Assemblyman Englebright’s bill if we are to combat climate change. We have the tools to transition to a circular economy, which will reduce the waste in landfills. The EPR programs that have been designed can reduce the plastics in landfills and other waste depositories. But we need local municipalities and community organizations to educate consumers about what to do — what and where to recycle, where to contribute cast-offs so others can use them, how to compost and how to use the compost.
They will need the support of the county government, the farm bureau, local civic associations, community organizations, churches, and local civic associations to provide training and encourage citizen involvement.
Assemblyman Englebright’s bill was passed by a large margin, suggesting that there is broad public support for building a zero waste economy. Each of us can let our county and state legislators know that we are relying on them to lead the way. To find your elected officials, go to https://my.lwv.org.
Nancy Marr is Vice-President of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.lwv-suffolkcounty.org or call 631-862-6860.
Event to feature raffles, giveaways, plantings, disposal services, and more.
Councilmembers Joan Cergol and Salvatore Ferro, the Town of Huntington, Covanta, and Starflower Experiences are co-sponsoring Huntington’s Earth Day celebration for the first time at Manor Farm Park.
The free event will be held on Saturday, April 23 at 210 Manor Road, Huntington from 10 man, to 2 p.m. This year’s Earth Day will feature raffles, giveaways, and hands-on activities for all ages.
Free paper shredding, e-waste, and medical pill disposal services will be available to residents through Shreduction, the Town’s Environmental Waste Management Department, and the Suffolk County Police Department’s Operation Medicine Cabinet, respectively.
Other activities include a marine touch tank operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County; an exhibit of formerly wild animals hosted by Volunteers for Wildlife; water chemistry and conservation demonstrations by the Town of Huntington Maritime Department; garden planting, composting, and beekeeping demonstrations by Starflower Experiences; and face painting and arts and crafts booths for kids to enjoy.
All participants will receive a raffle ticket with the chance to win electric-powered landscaping equipment courtesy of a $2,500 donation from Covanta, including a string trimmer/leaf blower combo kit, a compost tumbler with a cart, a lawn mower, and a pressure washer. Also, several event attendees will take home a birdhouse courtesy of the Love of Learning Montessori School in Centerport.
The Town’s Planning Department will be distributing bare root tree saplings, provided by the Long Island Native Plant Initiative, to everyone in attendance, and volunteers from the Robert M. Kubecka Memorial Town Garden will be giving away vegetable and flower seedlings.
“We set the bar high for this year’s Earth Day celebration and I’m proud to say we delivered something really special,” said Councilwoman Joan Cergol. “I’m grateful to Covanta for their generous donation, plus Starflower Experiences and everyone involved that helped make this event so extraordinary.”
“Huntington’s Earth Day celebration proves that education and environmental responsibility can be fun,” said Councilman Salvatore Ferro. “We want everyone to have a great time at Manor Farm and to go home thinking about how we can protect and preserve Long Island’s incredible ecosystem.”
To celebrate Earth Day April 22, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) announced a new initiative that will keep local beaches clean.
The elected officials gathered at Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai that morning to unveil its new beach cleanup baskets, in which the town has partnered with Long Island-based nonprofit Relic Sustainability.
The group, from Remsenburg on the South Shore, collaborated with the town due to Relic’s Coastal Collaborative project, which encompasses seven preexisting stations across Long Island.
“Our goal is to collaborate the town, businesses and community members to collaborate in combating beach pollution that is a growing issue on the coast line of Long Island,” said Alex Kravitz, COO of Relic.
The stations give beachgoers the opportunity to take a basket on the beach, pick up trash and deposit it into a trash receptacle.
“What better way to celebrate Earth Day?” Romaine said. “The baskets are 100% recycled plastics. You pick one up, walk along the beach, pick up some garbage and put the baskets back. … We want this in all of our town beaches and we want to keep them clean.”
While Relic Sustainability has seven stations, Cedar Beach is the first in the Town of Brookhaven to utilize its concept.
Aiden Kravitz, CEO of the nonprofit, said the goal is to reach even more beaches.
“By the end of the summer, we’re hoping to have a bigger partnership with the county with 40 to 50 stations,” he said. “The goal of the program is to help relieve the pressure of trash on the beaches by stimulating voluntary trash pickup from the community. We view the heart of the program as a collaborative between the town, ourselves, local businesses and the community members — everybody plays a role.”
Bonner said she was excited for the new initiative because of the “tremendous garbage problem, not only on Long Island, but in the United States.”
“I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than to launch a program that addresses the litter that plagues all of our beaches,” she said. “I encourage people who come to Cedar Beach to use one of the baskets and pick up litter before they leave for home. It’s something we can all do to advocate for a better environment.”
Relic also sells organic apparel that gives back to local waters. For every T-shirt sold, they plant five oysters back into Moriches Bay.
The clothing items are available at relic-design.com.
The annual Goosehill Primary School Earth Day planting in Cold Spring Harbor was a great success! Parent volunteers came over the weekend to pre-dig holes for the students and set up planting areas. Each class took turns planting colorful geraniums, with shovels and watering cans in hand. It was a great way to celebrate Earth Day and make the school surroundings beautiful!
Photo by Karen Spehler, Publicist, Cold Spring Harbor School District
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini (D) and Suffolk County Water Authority Chairman Patrick G. Halpin announced at a press conference on April 22 the launch of a first-of-its-kind partnership to monitor Suffolk County’s groundwater and identify the source of any contaminants for the potential investigation and prosecution of polluters by the District Attorney’s Office.
“The short term goal here is to identify sources of pollution for potential investigation and criminal prosecution,” Sini said. “This sends a very important message that we will not tolerate bad actors contaminating our groundwater. The long term goal is to ensure that we leave our future generations what was left to us: the ability to turn on the faucet and drink that water with peace of mind.”
SCWA Chairman Patrick G. Halpin said the partnership will hopefully stop pollution in Long Island’s groundwater before it becomes an issue.
“It is therefore a huge victory for SCWA ratepayers and a huge victory for Long Island’s environment,” he said.
The partnership is the latest initiative implemented by the DA’s office to combat environmental crimes in Suffolk County. The monitoring of groundwater for pollutants was highlighted by a landmark Special Grand Jury report issued by the Office in 2018, which concluded that protecting the environment of Suffolk County is of paramount importance in light of the fact that Long Island sits atop an aquifer, which is the sole source of drinking water for its residents.
Sini and Halpin announced that the District Attorney’s Office and SCWA will enter into a memorandum of understanding in which the SCWA will provide groundwater data at no cost to investigators in the District Attorney’s Office to assist with its investigation of environmental crimes.
SCWA will also map and model the flow of groundwater in Suffolk County to enable the District Attorney’s Office to identify and investigate sources of pollution.
If the DA’s office becomes aware of a potential contamination site, the MOU allows for the SCWA to develop monitoring wells and conduct groundwater and soil testing to determine quality of groundwater and soil in that location. The SCWA will also analyze any groundwater samples collected by the District Attorney’s Office in the course of its investigations.
SCWA currently operates 241 pump stations with 593 active wells in its distribution system located throughout Suffolk County. The data that will be provided and analyzed through this partnership is generated in the SCWA’s state-of-the-art drinking water testing laboratory, which analyzes more than 75,000 samples per year for 400 different chemicals.
Sini has made the investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes a top priority of the Office. In 2018, he empaneled a Special Grand Jury to investigate these crimes, which resulted in the largest illegal dumping case in New York State history, known as “Operation Pay Dirt,” charging 30 individuals and 10 corporations in connection with a scheme to illegally dispose of solid waste and construction and demolition material at locations across Long Island.
During its second phase, the Special Grand Jury considered and made recommendations as to legislative, executive, and administrative action to address environmental crimes. In collaboration with State lawmakers, several of those recommendations were adopted and signed into law in December 2020.
On April 22, we observe Earth Day, an occasion that has inspired millions of people over the decades to take steps to clean up our world. Of course, your physical surroundings are important, but you also operate in other “ecosystems” – social, cultural and political. And you’ll need to consider your investment environment, too. How can you improve it?
Here are a few suggestions:
Avoid “toxic” investment strategies. The dangers of pollution helped drive the creation of Earth Day. As an investor, you also need to watch out for “toxins” – particularly in the form of unhealthy investment techniques. For example, chasing after “hot” stocks can burn you. In the first place, by the time you’ve heard of them, they may already be cooling off. Second, and probably more important, these hot stocks just may be wrong for the investment mix that’s appropriate for your needs. Another toxic investment strategy: trying to “time” the market by “buying low and selling high.” No one can really predict when market highs and lows will occur, and if you’re always jumping in and out of the investment world, you’ll likely waste time and effort – not to mention money. Instead of looking for today’s hottest stocks or guessing where the market is heading, try to create and follow a long-term investment strategy based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.
Reduce waste.From an environmental standpoint, the less waste and garbage we produce, the better it is for our planet. As an investor, can you find “wasteful” elements in your portfolio? It’s possible that you own some investments that may be redundant – that is, they are virtually indistinguishable from others you may have. Also, some investments, due to their risk profile or performance, no longer may be suitable for your needs. In either case – redundancy or unsuitability – you might be better off selling the investments and using the proceeds to purchase others that can be more helpful.
Recycle wisely.Recycling is a major part of the environmental movement. At first, though, you might not think the concept of recycling could apply to investing. But consider this: If you own stocks or mutual funds, you may receive dividends, and, like many people, you may choose to automatically reinvest those dividends back into the stocks or funds. So, in a sense, you are indeed “recycling” your dividend payments to boost your ownership stakes – without expending additional resources. And, in fact, this can be quite an effective and efficient way to increase your wealth over time.
Plant some “trees.”Planting trees has always been a key activity among boosters of the environment – with the recognition that their efforts will take years, or even decades, to reach fruition. When you invest, you must sometimes start small. By purchasing a limited amount of an investment and nurturing it over the years by adding more shares, you may one day have achieved significant growth. (Keep in mind, though, that there are no guarantees – variable investments such as stocks can lose principal.)
By making these and other moves, you can create a healthy investment environment – one that can help you achieve your long-term goals.
Michael Christodoulou, ChFC®, AAMS®, CRPC®, CRPS® is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones in Stony Brook. Member SIPC.
Ecologists (scientists who study the interactions between wild things and their environment) many decades ago coined the term “keystone species.” The term is derived from the fact that like the keystone in the middle of the top of a doorway’s arch, being the stone which supports the entire arch, keystone species in natural communities have disproportional ecological importance in maintaining the stability and integrity of the communities in which they live. Lose a “keystone” species and the community or ecosystem is adversely changed.
If we were to search the breadth and width of Long Island, might we find a keystone species? Doug Tallamy would certainly suggest oak trees as we learn in his recently released book, The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees.
Being important members of various types of forests, a dozen species of oak are native to Long Island including white oak; swamp white oak; black oak; red oak; scarlet oak (most common in the Pine Barrens); pin oak; the exceedingly rare willow oak; post oak (a coastal species); blackjack oak; chestnut oak found in rocky and gravelly soils; and scrub oak and dwarf chestnut oak, both common species forming an almost impenetrable thicket in the understory of the Pine Barrens.
What might be the elements of the oaks’ “keystoneness”?Well, there’s both their intact and fallen leaves, a resource for wildlife; those nuggets of nutrition called acorns; the nooks and crannies of the bark that provide hiding places for small moths and spiders; and the tree wood itself which, as it rots, forms cavities, creating roosting and nesting sites (think raccoons, woodpeckers, screech owls and chickadees). All of these attributes support wildlife, many species of wildlife. Not to mention, as Tallamy explains, the numerous “ecosystem services” oak trees and oak-dominated forests provide free of charge.
As but a few examples we learn that the canopy of each mature oak tree intercepts about 3,000 gallons of water annually, preventing it from running off and causing erosion, thereby helping to protect streams and rivers. And there’s the locking away of carbon that oak trees do really well, as a means to combat climate change.
Let’s take a closer look at an obvious attribute: acorns. This unique nut, high in fat, protein, and minerals is a vital food to more than just the obvious species like squirrels and chipmunks. These nuggets of nutrition sustain a surprisingly large variety of animalsincluding mice and voles, flying squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, opossum, grey fox, white-tailed deer, and black bear.
As for birds, blue jays love them (and are thought to have been the main dispersal agent allowing for the oak forests of the northern United States to become reestablished after the glaciers scoured the continent) as do crows, some other songbirds, several species of ducks, turkeys, and woodpeckers, including the acorn woodpecker which really likes them.
We learn from the book that several butterflies (as caterpillar larvae) and more than 70 moth species gain required nutrition by feeding on the fallen leaves of oaks.Further, many insects seek protection in the fallen leaf layer that accumulates each autumn to overwinter safely (think of Mourning Cloak butterflies as one species that benefits), providing a rationale to leave your leaves in flower beds, beneath oak trees, and other parts of your yard.
But it’s live oak leaves, Tallamy explains, where the value of oaks come into full focus. More than 500 species of butterflies and moths feed on oak leaves, including many geometrid caterpillars (or inchworms as we learned in our childhoods). Many hundred more other insect species eat oak leaves (or tap into the sap of oaks too), including leafhoppers, treehoppers, and cicadas, among others. These leaf-eating species, in turn, sustain many dozens of songbird species we love to watch — warblers, orioles, thrushes, wrens, chickadees, grosbeaks and more.
This book is a logical and more specific extension of Tallamy’s decade long argument, laid out in detail in two previous works: Bringing Nature Back Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants and Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard.
In these prior works he makes a compelling argument for eliminating the “biological deserts” we’ve created around our homes, due to regularly choosing non-native plants that don’t sustain local wildlife, and replacing them with native species that are part of the local food web.
In “Oaks,” Tallamy backs up this recommendation with good science. For example, working with graduate students he found that non-native plants supported 75% less caterpillar biomass than native plants. Less caterpillars means less things that feed upon them, such as the aforementioned beloved songbirds.Another graduate student determined that chickadees trying to raise young in a habitat with too many non-native species are 60% less likely to succeed due to the dearth of insects to feed their nestlings.
Tallamy weaves a clear story documenting the ecological importance of oaks for wildlife while illustrating this significance through fascinating life history details of some of these many oak-dependent species. As with his other books, Tallamy’s latest publication provides strong motivation and rationale to “go native.” Perhaps most central to the thesis of the book is that he wants you to include oak trees as a key part of this effort! What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2021 than by planting an oak and watch as it sustains life for decades to come?
Author Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has taught insect-related courses for 40 years.The Nature of Oaks is available at Book Revue in Huntington and online at www.timberpress.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. For more information on the author, visit www.bringingnaturehome.net.
Advocate for climate change to help save the planet
Climate change is an issue that impacts everyone, especially children. The impacts can be seen first-hand, as the planet warms, and human fingerprints are all over the consequences: bigger, stronger hurricanes; deadly heat waves; more intense downpours; and devastating wildfires.
In fact, 60% of Americans are concerned about climate change, according to a survey by the Potential Energy Coalition. For many moms, having a child is what made them start to care about climate change in the first place. Eighty-three percent of moms are concerned about climate change and want to do something about it.
“It’s hard to study climate change and aspects of climate change and be a mother because the data’s very real to you,” said Dr. Emily Fischer, atmospheric chemist and associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. “We need a massive shift in the way we produce energy within 10 years, the same time period I need to save and plan to send my daughter to college. We’re hoping moms will realize climate change impacts their children and that we have solutions, but we need to act relatively quickly.”
If you’re not sure where to begin, these ideas from the climate scientists at Science Moms can add up to create meaningful solutions.
Learn about climate change. Education is a powerful tool, so learning all you can about climate change is one of the best ways to get involved.
“Sorting through myriad information online can be daunting,” said Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, scientist and professor at Texas Tech University. “That’s why Science Moms was created. This nonpartisan group of leading climate scientists, who are also mothers, aims to break down climate change through simple, engaging content.”
Raise your voice. Leaders have the ability to truly take action on the scale needed to make lasting progress on this challenge, but they need to know that it’s a top priority of individuals. You can add your name to petitions and invite others to do the same, attend local meetings to voice your support for reducing carbon pollution and clean energy projects and meet with elected leaders to ensure they know you stand behind them. Of all the actions you can take, one of the most powerful is telling your representatives this is an issue you care about.
“By investing in a clean energy future and common-sense solutions that keep families and communities safe, government leaders have the ability to enact policies that escalate on a scale we could never achieve alone,” Hayhoe said. “They all need to know we stand behind their decisions to tackle this issue.”
Talk about it. In order to avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change, fast action is needed. Share what you learn with your neighbors and other parents to help make everyone more aware of the issue. Also remember that environmental concerns aren’t just for adults. Oftentimes, concern for the climate comes from children. Talking with your kids about the importance of good stewardship and empowering them to make a difference can affect how the next generation approaches concerns like climate change and pollution.
Make climate-conscious choices. There are nearly countless examples of smaller actions you can take to adapt your own home and life. Options to consider include switching to electric cars, buying green electricity (now available in 24 states), putting solar panels on your roof, insulating your house or adding more plant-based foods to your diet.
Businesses are taking action: As part of an effort to positively impact environmental change, many consumers care about the effect their shopping decisions may have on the world around them. As a way to aid in that mission, ALDI, which has never offered single-use plastic shopping bags, is aiming to make 100 percent of its private-label product packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. See video below: