Take a Climate Action!

Join the 140+ Sustain Dane community members that have taken a climate action.

Pick an idea below in transportation, food, investments, energy, and the ripple effect, or come up with your own unique action. And browse the stories from other participants in the gallery below. Share your story with us here to see it added to the gallery. We encourage you to submit as many time as you like, whenever you are inspired to share. Your stories are essential – they help us compile the impact to educate and motivate others. Together our actions have impact!

The task for each of us is more about figuring out who we are and becoming more of that. Each of us can find ways to adapt our particular skills, talents, and preferences to our local context to work toward the principles of protecting people and nature, reducing harm at its source, and increasing resilience”

Kimberly Nicholas

Author of Under the Sky We Make, How to be Human in a Warming World, 2021 Sustain Dane Summit keynote speaker

Climate Action Ideas

Before you get started, you might find it helpful to take a look at our list of suggested actions below, try out a household carbon emissions calculator to help you prioritize actions by their emissions impact, or check out the book “Under the Sky We Make” by Kimberly Nicholas which has action ideas throughout.

Transportation

Reduce or eliminate air travel

Go car-free (one or two days a week to start):

    1. Take public transportation
    2. Ride a bike
    3. Walk to get errands
    4. Work from home

When you trade in or buy a car:

    1. Switch to an electric vehicle
    2. Switch to a hybrid vehicle
    3. Switch to an alternative fuel vehicle
    4. Switch to a more efficient vehicle

Miscellaneous

    1. Batch driving for errands to reduce trips and miles driven
    2. Carpool to work
    3. Practice eco driving (De/Accelerate smoothly & no idling while not in traffic)

Food

Reduce meat and dairy in diet (like meatless Mondays or Planetary Health Plate listed below)

Seafood choices along lines of ‘mollusks are mighty (eat lots of),’ ‘feeder fish are fine (medium eat),’ & big fish are big treats (eat less of)’

Prioritize produce that is in-season locally and locally available food (support restaurants who source locally too)

Growing a garden for some of your own food

Reduce food waste:

    1. buy perishable food in smaller increments
    2. repurpose leftovers and ingredients
    3. freeze or can perishables that are about to expire
    4. donate unopened food to food banks

Planetary Health Plate includes the equivalent of one eight-ounce glass on milk (or one ounce of cheese, about the size of your thumb) per day; two eggs per week; two servings each of fish and chicken per week (about size of deck of playing cards); and two quarter-pounder beef burgers per month (pg 188)

Investments

Divest from fossil fuels in your retirement accounts and other investments

Invest in more sustainable products like ESG funds

Research your credit cards and bank accounts to choose companies that invest responsibly

Purchase goods and services from local businesses that represent the diversity in our community

“Donate to nonprofits and charities with a focus on climate stabilization, empowering women and girls, fighting poverty, and protecting nature in ways that also protect the livelihoods of local people” (pg 208)

Energy

Increase use of green energy such as

    1. Install rooftop solar panels
    2. Purchase green energy from utility (ex – MGE Green Power Tomorrow or Shared Solar)

Energy efficiency for heating/cooling in the home

    1. Manage household thermostat settings (ex – Lower in winter and when sleeping or away)
    2. Weatherize your home (insulation air sealing)
    3. Routine tune-ups on your furnace/air conditioning systems
    4. Insulate your hot water pipes

Electrify your home

    1. Heat pump to heat and cool your home (replaces furnace and central air)
    2. Heat pump water heater
    3. Induction stove instead of gas

Purchase energy star certified appliances

Conduct an online water softener optimization

Install low flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets

Ripple Effect

Transportation

    1. Communicate to your business or organization the importance of reducing air travel, supporting alternative transportation, and working remotely at least one day a week to reduce emissions
    2. Support development of walkable, dense neighborhoods with local services available that are pleasant for walking and cycling

Food

    1. Let restaurants and cafeterias you frequent know that you would like to see more plant-based food choices with emphasis on their delicious taste

Energy

    1. Lead establishing targets for renewable energy at your business or organization or support efforts to reduce energy usage. Support utility-scale renewable energy projects.

Investment

    1. Talk to your employer, alma mater, and other orgs about divesting from fossil fuels

Write to your local school board about support of sustainability for school buildings & in education

Educate a group of people on a sustainability topic that you’re passionate about

Start or join a green team

Amplify diverse voices and take steps towards inclusivity

Encourage your local grocery store to buy products from local farms

Purchase carbon offsets from a reputable organization that either prevents the release of, reduces, or removes GHG emissions from the atmosphere.

Share credible sustainability articles, news, and media with others

Attend sustainability conferences, seminars, workshops and other educational opportunities

Volunteer with sustainability organizations whose work resonates with you

Climate Action Stories

Climate Action Story—Transportation

Climate Action Story—Transportation

For my climate action commitment, I am challenging myself to lessen the impacts my transportation has on our environment and community. Already, to get around town, I primarily walk or bike whenever feasible, and take the bus if I am unable to walk or bike. I sold my...

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Climate Action Story—Food

Climate Action Story—Food

Our green team met in February of 2020 with plenty of lofty goals, one of which was to start an office compost. Not long after starting our research, the pandemic set in and that goal was pushed to the bottom of our priorities. As things began opening back up in 2021,...

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Climate Action Story

Climate Action Story

Most college students are on tight budgets and don’t have a lot of time to work on their wardrobe outside of all the time devoted to work, classes and extracurriculars. When you find out about a themed event, college students often turn to fast fashion brands like...

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Climate Action Story—Food

Climate Action Story—Food

I was pleased and encouraged to learn that switching to a more plant-based diet would have such a positive impact on climate change, especially when I considered the collective impact with others that are likely making a similar commitment. Such a switch seemed like a...

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Climate Action Story—Food

Climate Action Story—Food

I made a commitment to eat less meat, which in all honesty, wasn't a huge commitment in many ways because I only eat meat once in awhile. But it has made me consider going full vegetarian, and also about what products I purchase that extend beyond simply eating meat....

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Climate Action Story—Transportation

Climate Action Story—Transportation

My goal is to bike 2,022 miles that I otherwise would have drove in a car in 2022. With it being winter with limited hours of light, I have not bike commuted yet, but hope to start in the coming weeks with warmer temperatures and more daylight. —Chris Jimieson

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Climate Action Story—Transportation

Climate Action Story—Transportation

I have succeeded in my Transportation goal, in a somewhat roundabout way (Get it? Roundabout?? Transportation??? Anyway...). Originally I had planned to use the Madison MPO RoundTrip program to identify fellow carpoolers to avoid single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips...

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Climate Action Story—Transportation

Climate Action Story—Transportation

My commitment was to use public transportation and car pooling more to cut down on automobile use. The commitment was motivated by the experience we had during the pandemic where we were able to use only one car while the other was given to one of our kids so they...

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Climate Action Story—Food

Climate Action Story—Food

I am continuously making changes to reduce my impact on the climate and be a better steward of the earth, but food changes are one I have put off. I garden, can, dehydrate, and freeze food. I compost and vermicompost to deal with food waste. I've also gotten a lot...

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Climate Action Story—Energy

Climate Action Story—Energy

I was so inspired after the Sustain Dane Summit. Since the Summit I’ve invested in a full scale solar system for my home which will be installed this summer, and I’m helping move a national energy audit program forward for the museum field so we can all learn how to...

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Climate Action Story—Transportation

Climate Action Story—Transportation

I'm working on lowering my transportation emissions this year by assessing how much I am flying and talking to friends and family about how to reduce the number of flights I'm taking. This is hard for me because I grew up across the country and have friends and family...

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Climate Action Story—Food

Climate Action Story—Food

I wanted to significantly reduce and eventually eliminate all of my food waste. Its not as easy to accomplish as a single mother raising two children, grad school, and commuting 1 1/2 hours a day for work. I'm often exhausted, and some of the groceries I buy aren't...

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Climate Action Story—Energy

Climate Action Story—Energy

Looking into ways to reduce our carbon footprint. My husband and I have been driving electric cars for the past year and a half and we love it. I don’t miss the smell of gasoline and we halved our transportation carbon emissions. I would have loved to install solar...

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Climate Action Story—Energy

Climate Action Story—Energy

I am phasing out all of my gasoline powered equipment and replacing them with 40V rechargable battery equipment from GreenWorks (lawn mower, snow blower, chain saw). I purchase renewable electricity from my provider, Alliant Energy, so it is clean energy for these...

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Climate Action Story—Food

Climate Action Story—Food

I chose the most challenging for me out of the choices - food. I grew up working on a dairy and beef farm and have a strong love for agriculture and the memories that I have. I never worked on a factory farm and all of our animals were treated well up until the point...

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Climate Action Story—Food

Climate Action Story—Food

I've been buying local produce and subscribing to a CSA (community supported agriculture) for many years, along with building my gardening skills. The next steps for me are: 1) to be more intentional about teaching my teenage children to cook so they bring that...

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Climate Action Story—Energy

Climate Action Story—Energy

I take my commitment to this planet pretty seriously. I mostly drive an electric vehicle (powered mostly by the sun!). I’m working on a tiny house which will be solar-powered & off-grid. I recently opened a checking account with Greenpenny, bought bonds through...

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Climate Action Story—Transportation

Climate Action Story—Transportation

I'm working on lowering my transportation emissions this year by assessing how much I am flying and talking to friends and family about how to reduce the number of flights I'm taking. This is hard for me because I grew up across the country and have friends and family...

read more
Climate Action Story—Energy

Climate Action Story—Energy

I am looking for a new home, and I commit to completing an energy/efficiency audit, including location efficiency (commute, schools, etc.), as an integral part of my home decision. Looking for an opportunity that balances the opportunities to implement current best...

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Climate Action Story—Energy

Climate Action Story—Energy

2021 became the year in my household to stop talking and finally make the change from a gas powered to an electric lawn mower. With the gas mower on it's last hurrah, it only made sense to purchase the green choice when we will continue to have lawn to mow even though...

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Climate Action Story—Transportation

Climate Action Story—Transportation

Reading Kimberly's "Under the Sky We Make" broke me free from feeling powerless in the pursuit of stabilizing the climate. After better understanding my own carbon "hotspots", I felt empowered me to make small changes in my daily transportation, and hopefully created...

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Climate Action Story—Energy

Climate Action Story—Energy

Since I have already been taking action in the categories of food, transportation, and investments for the past few years, energy seemed like the best thing for me to focus my efforts on. I live in an apartment which means I am unable to make any serious changes to...

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Climate Action Story—Food

Climate Action Story—Food

Long after I'd greened up my energy and transportation emissions I resisted making a commitment to eating less meat. My grandfather was a cattle rancher and I felt a kind of sentimental tie to the idea of eating meat - even though I often opted for vegetarian choices....

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Climate Action Story—Transportation

Climate Action Story—Transportation

In December, my elementary age son started at a new afterschool program that is located within a ten minute walk of our house. With working from home most days and my commitment to reducing car travel, I am walking to pick him up at the end of the day. Total vehicle...

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Commitment Categories

At the Sustain Dane Summit, the majority of attendees made a climate commitment to focus on from now through Earth Day. The 143 commitments aligned with where people felt inspiration and a desire to take action.

    • Food – 56 people
    • Transportation – 32 people
    • Energy – 20 people
    • Ripple Effect – 19 people
    • Investments – 9 people
    • Other – 6 people