Beyond recycling: ten things you can do to fight climate change

I recently read Joe Solomon’s piece In Defense of a Fearless Summer, in which he calls for a summer of action:

I believe by couching this Summer as a “Fearless Summer”, we can speak to the truth-telling neighbor in a fracked community who is being bullied to keep quiet, to the climate activist grandmother who stays up late at night afraid for the future of her grandchildren, and to the fresh-faced college student who is ready to take a bolder stand. As well as to the thousands upon thousands of progressives who still haven’t entered this fight–afraid that it’s a lost cause, or of what lies beyond recycling. We must all face our fears together.

When I posted it on Facebook, one of my friends raised a good point: what does lie beyond recycling? She pointed out that reducing her carbon footprint by composting, reducing her public transit use, etc. was not currently feasible for her.

This is a really common misconception, based on the environmental messaging we’ve been getting since childhood: that the way to save the planet is through individual actions like recycling, using less water, buying more energy-efficient lightbulbs.

Don’t get me wrong–these things are still a good idea. But they alone are not going to prevent global temperatures from rising to an unlivable level.

What can? Political action. Action aimed at changing our very broken economic system, and building a new, sustainable one.

Here are a few places to start. Not all of them apply to everyone, but maybe you’ll find one or two or three things you can do. And, as overwhelming as it all may feel–and believe me, I get as overwhelmed and scared as anyone–any action is better than nothing.

Ten Small Steps You Can Take to Fight Climate Change

1.) Take the Climate Pledge of Resistance. If you’re not in a position to risk arrest, you can pledge to support those who are.

2.) Attend a local meeting of

3.) If you can’t make the regular meetings, check out the calendar of your local 350 chapter and see if you can go to another event. For example, here in Massachusetts, we have weekly letter-writing parties, and there’s a dance performance benefit coming up. Get on your chapter’s mailing list to stay informed about future events.

4.) If your school, church, or town has a fossil fuel divestment campaign, sign their petition.

5.) Call out climate deniers in Congress via Twitter. If you don’t have Twitter, email works too.

6.) Contact the big environmental groups that haven’t divested from fossil fuels, and ask them why.

7.) Invest directly in solar energy through a site like Mosaic.

8.) Contribute to the campaign to build a climate justice hub in Boston, or see if there’s a similar campaign in your area.

9.) Donate to an organization that fights climate change, such as, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Better Future Project, Tar Sands Blockade, or the Climate Reality Project.

10.) Spread the word and signal-boost. Talk about why climate justice matters to you. Pass along important articles like these. Bring friends to meetings and events. If you can’t make it to an event, or if you want to support a campaign but can’t afford to donate, pass along the information on your social networks.