Every individual has a responsibility to act against climate change. The degree to which actions are feasible is dependent on the person, but there are certainly small ways you can improve your energy efficiency and become a little more thoughtful and conscious about your choices. Reducing energy consumption, planting in your yard, switching to energy efficient appliances (the Energy Star label), and powering your home with green energy represent a handful of the many small and large actions you can take. Every action helps. Visit LivableRI for more great ways to take action.
Nonprofits, businesses, and community groups are excellent ways to assemble around the issue of climate change. The Audubon Society of Rhode Island supports conservation, green infrastructure, and favorable environmental legislation, and there are many opportunities to get involved. There are numerous influential environmental organizations that support great work in Rhode Island, but you should also consider broaching the issue in non-environmental circles. Start a conversation in your neighborhood or religious center. Find out what actions are tractable, and dive in!
In 2014, the Rhode Island Legislature passed the Resilient Rhode Island Act that sets goals for state reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and established the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) to coordinate planning and action among state agencies. The Act calls for significant reductions in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions: 10 % below 1990 levels by 2020, 45% reduction below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80 % reductions below 1990 levels by 2050.
Writing to your state and national legislators is an important way to participate in the political process. Although it may feel disheartening to be a single voice amid a large political conversation, remember that legislators ultimately listen to their constituencies. Your letters matter. Other civic actions, like voting and organizing, matter too. In fact, they’re critical for equitable and democratic policies, especially on issues like climate change. The fossil fuel industry holds heavy sway on government, especially at the federal level. In order for government to serve its people, your voice needs to be heard. Becoming active in local issues, like the natural-gas-burning Invenergy Power Plant in Burrillville, is crucial for promoting responsible energy policy in your community.