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  • Eugenie Lewis

3 Steps Towards a Greener Future

What a Summer it’s been! Our team has taken this time to rest and reflect on the work of the past few months and to set our sights on the future. During this time one theme has continually emerged: a concern for the interconnected problems facing our world today – problems of social justice, climate change, and physical and mental well-being. With these issues in mind, we've decided to start a new series: Inspired Careers. We'll be exploring creative solutions and applications for those interested in pursuing education and careers that make a difference.

In today's article, we're focusing on the issue of climate change. It is hard to ignore the fact that we are facing a climate crisis that becomes more visible and impactful every day around the world. Every year, we are setting new records for temperatures, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and countless other weather and climate events. Daunting as these issues are, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. I’ve provided some organizations and resources to help you begin your journey towards a greener future.

Project Drawdown

Project Drawdown is a non-profit organization that provides climate solutions by sector. These are goals that must be pursued globally, simultaneously, and with determination. One example is their solution for curbing greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Reduced food waste

  • Health and education

  • Plant rich diets

These are all areas that we as individuals are capable of working on. While policy solutions will be required to reduce the effects of climate change, there are many non-policy solutions as well. I urge you to check out their website and see which solutions resonate with you.

The Climate Reality Project

The Climate Reality Project is led by former vice president Al Gore. The Climate Reality Project leadership sees this year (2021) as a key turning point to take meaningful climate action. They have created Our Climate Moment which endorses five pillars of change. They include:

  1. Just transition to clean energy. This involves making a commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2035, while at the same time creating millions of good jobs and healthy communities nationwide.

  2. Zero-carbon transportation. Transportation is the largest source of US carbon emissions. Policies are needed to transform this sector so as to shrink emissions and support transportation options, such as electric cars and buses, while making rapid transit choices more available.

  3. Climate justice and public health. Many low income, Indigenous and communities of color are most impacted by climate change and fossil fuel pollution. These communities would experience the benefits of expanded regulation of fossil fuel emissions and water quality. Most acutely though, we will all benefit from continuing to have a livable planet.

  4. Building green communities. This involves prioritizing climate-smart, energy efficient housing and infrastructure to ensure that our communities are safe, healthy and sustainable for the long haul and helps with economic recovery.

  5. Protecting democracy is enhanced by legislation that protects against future voter suppression.

I recently became a Climate Reality Leader and connected with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Climate Reality Project. Note that there are Climate Reality chapters throughout the United States.

Taking Action in Congress

In planning a recent trip to Washington DC, I contacted the office of my Congressman, Ted Lieu of the 33rd district of California. I was able to set up a virtual meeting with Daniel Yim – a senior policy advisor on energy and the environment. He shared with me the importance of taking action now regarding critical infrastructure legislation and climate provisions. As a result of our meeting, I identified a list of senators on the budget committee and wrote to each one of them. The goal is to make sure that Biden’s infrastructure legislation passes and includes strong climate provisions. I urge people to become informed and take action now to support this critical legislation. A good way to stay informed is to sign up for notifications from organizations that monitor legislation on Capitol Hill. I’ve listed some great resources for staying informed below:

We need “all hands-on deck” to address climate change. I urge you to become educated, involved and take action on a personal and societal level. The sustainability of all forms of life on earth are at stake. If we want to secure a healthy present and future for our families, communities and children, it is essential that we all engage.

Lets all come together to support a healthy planet!

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