Climate Action

At the 2021 Sustain Dane Summit 143 attendees made a climate commitment to focus on from now through Earth Day. You can join the group with your own commitment by filling out this form. Over the next four months, as you make progress, encounter challenges, and reflect on your experience, use this form to share your story. We encourage you to submit as many time as you like, whenever you are inspired to share. Your stories are essential – they will help us compile the impact to educate and motivate others. You can also join the group in conversation on our Climate Action Google Group. To find it, search “Sustain Dane Climate Actions” on


We’ll have three opportunities for the Climate Action participants to meet and talk about the experience. RSVP for them using the links in this program timeline.






Make your commitment to take an action

Connect with other participants at a kickoff meeting

Thurs, Jan 20, RSVP

Complete an action, reflect on the action, & tell a story about your experience

Connect with other participants at our Lunchtime Networking

Wed, March 23, RSVP

Celebrate the impact at our April Sustainable Breakfast Series

Tues, April 26, RSVP

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.


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


    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)


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)


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

    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


    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


    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


    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.


    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 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...

read more
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....

read more
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...

read more

Commitment Categories

At the Sustain Dane Summit, the majority of attendees made a climate commitment to focus on from now through Earth Day. The 142 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