Take Climate Action!
Join the 140+ Sustain Dane community members who have taken a climate action to improve sustainability in Madison, Dane County, and around the world.
We celebrate that each of us play a different role in contributing to the sustainability movement. Our Summit 2022 Keynote Speaker Deepa Iyer shared the Social Change Ecosystem Framework as a way to help us recognize our own roles and how we collectively work together. Bringing together a team to reflect on your roles using this framework can be another great way to create climate action.
Pick an idea below in the transportation, food, investments, energy, or ripple effect category. You can also come up with your own unique action. Then share your story with us. We encourage you to submit as many stories as you like, whenever you are inspired to share. Your stories are essential – they help us see the impact of our collective actions and they educate and motivate others.
“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”
Climate Action Ideas
To get you started, take a look at our list of suggested actions, try out a household carbon emissions calculator, or check out the book “Under the Sky We Make” by Kimberly Nicholas which has action ideas throughout.
Reduce or eliminate air travel
Go car-free (one or two days a week to start):
- Take public transportation
- Ride a bike
- Walk to get errands
- Work from home
When you trade in or buy a car:
- Switch to an electric vehicle
- Switch to a hybrid vehicle
- Switch to an alternative fuel vehicle
- Switch to a more efficient vehicle
- Batch driving for errands to reduce trips and miles driven
- Carpool to work
- Practice eco driving (De/Accelerate smoothly & no idling while not in traffic)
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:
- buy perishable food in smaller increments
- repurpose leftovers and ingredients
- freeze or can perishables that are about to expire
- donate unopened food to food banks
Planetary Health Plate includes the equivalent of one eight-ounce glass of 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)
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)
Increase use of green energy such as
- Install rooftop solar panels
- Purchase green energy from utility (ex – MGE Green Power Tomorrow or Shared Solar)
Energy efficiency for heating/cooling in the home
- Manage household thermostat settings (ex – Lower in winter and when sleeping or away)
- Weatherize your home (insulation air sealing)
- Routine tune-ups on your furnace/air conditioning systems
- Insulate your hot water pipes
Electrify your home
- Heat pump to heat and cool your home (replaces furnace and central air)
- Heat pump water heater
- Induction stove instead of gas
Purchase energy star certified appliances
Conduct an online water softener optimization
Install low flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets
- 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
- Support development of walkable, dense neighborhoods with local services available that are pleasant for walking and cycling
- Let restaurants and cafeterias you frequent know that you would like to see more plant-based food choices with emphasis on their delicious taste
- Lead establishing targets for renewable energy at your business or organization or support efforts to reduce energy usage. Support utility-scale renewable energy projects.
- 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
We had solar panels installed on our garage -- in 2021, we produced just over 5 MWh of electricity! We also live right on the southwest bike path and our garage (and solar panels) are very visible to anyone going eastbound towards the Capitol on the bike path So, we...
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,...
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...
At the 2022 Sustain Dane Summit, the majority of attendees made a climate commitment to focus on through Earth Day 2023. 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