Monthly Archives: June 2019

ABCs of Climate Change: (C)all Your Reps!

Hi Everyone! Told you I’d be back soon 🙂 Welcome to part 3 of my 10 part climate change series. First part is here and second part is here.

Now that you’re all caught up, let’s go on to letter C–Call your reps!

As many people have mentioned, smaller personal actions have much less impact than governmental or corporate actions. That’s not an excuse to opt out of personal responsibility, but it IS a good reason to bother your elected officials about climate change! I’d say it’s the most important issue you can call them about. I’m hugely concerned about gun violence, particularly in our schools. However, I know that unless we get the climate under control. we’re running out of time to discuss that issue! The clock is so seriously ticking on climate change, and unless we act soon, we will miss our window to avert catastrophic loss of human life. I’m not going to harp on how bad it will be–you’ve all seen the headlines. But please know it’s way worse than starving polar bears. Entire cities will disappear underwater as the oceans rise. Island nations will cease to exist. Yes, rich people will be able to move, as one Congressman suggested. But the vast majority of people affected will not be so lucky. The rich (us, the United States) are causing the bulk of this problem, yet others will be the ones to bear a disproprortionate amount of the cost. I don’t want the blood of millions of people (that’s not an exaggeration) on my hands, do you? Okay! So let’s make some phone calls.


First off, how do you find your reps? That’s easy!! Use the internet! If you google “find my reps” you will find many different tools to use. I like this one because it lists federal, state, and local reps as well. Remember, states can move on climate change too! Many states have, in fact, frustrated with the lack of federal work on this. So you can (and should) call your senators and representative, but also call your governor and local legislator. The state level folks get fewer calls and you’re more likely to talk to a real person and get a real response.


So now you know who to call–great! What to say? This is the part that trips people up. Now, I’m a talker. Anyone who’s ever met me knows this. So I have no problem unloading my feelings on the poor kid who answers Lankford’s phone. But many people are not so loquacious as I. So what do you do if you care, you want to tell someone you care, but you just don’t have the words? I have an answer for that, too!! Many organizations have sample scripts online. Here’s one from Citizen’s Climate Lobby (it also handily gives you your reps’ numbers if you put in your zip code).

Here’s another one from Protect Our Winters–a good one if you’re from a state that gets tourism dollars from winter sports.

You can also mention the latest article/headline you’ve seen. “Hi, I’m calling about the latest USA Today article that mentioned the XYZ Scientist Report. I’m concerned that…..” Sometimes I find it helpful to have the article in question open in front of me when I call so I can easily reference the title and date.

But you don’t need an article, or a bill in front on Congress, to tell them you’re worried about climate change!!!  Just call and ask what your rep is doing to combat climate change. Here are some talking points that I borrowed from Jennifer Hodgdon’s blog:

  • We need to protect the environment that we all live in, and preserve it for future generations.
  • We need to base our policy decisions on science and facts.
  • It is a fact that storms and extreme weather have a large adverse effect on people, plants, and animals (including agricultural plants and animals).
  • It is a fact that pollution has many health effects and economic impacts.
  • The Defense department has concluded that climate change impacts worldwide political stability.
  • Therefore, we need to take action to mitigate climate change and pollution.
  • What is Rep. XYZ doing to help combat climate change???

Don’t just vent–request info. Politely ask for a response from the Congressperson. Keep asking until you get an answer. I call once a week–Thursday afternoons. Set an alarm on your phone! Put aside a time to do it so you know you will get it done. You’ll feel so good when you do it! Even if your reps, like mine, don’t care about climate change and are doing jack squat to fix it. I get joy in knowing that I’m forcing them to think about it and hear about it, and know that they’re not getting away with it.


Which brings me to my last point–VOTE THESE JERKS OUT WHO DON’T BELIEVE IN CLIMATE CHANGE!!! According to a Yale/George Mason study, 69% of all Americans believe in climate change. (Why? Because it is a SCIENTIFIC FACT.) Your elected representatives should be among that number!! We don’t need any flat-earthers running our country–too many lives depend on it. So if your rep doesn’t care, show them the door. Press all candidates on this issue–find out where they stand and hold them accountable. It’s too dangerous just to vote along party lines here. Hurricanes and wildfires don’t care who’s Republican or Democrat when they start wreaking deadly damage. Our planet is in dire danger, and we must do everything we can to halt to procession of death. That means voting for people who can pass the laws that will make the difference. Ireland and the UK have already declared a climate emergency and are acting to mitigate the damage already done. We need to do the same, and it won’t happen unless we have smart, science-motivated people in the government. ‘Nuff said.


If you’d like to make a call but still aren’t sure how to get started–reach out to me! I would be thrilled to help you come up with the words that are right for you. I know it’s not easy to do–sometimes I’m still nervous to make calls, and I do it weekly!! But I know how important it is. Congress has too much to do to focus on each and every issue–they focus on what their constituents bother them about. So let’s make sure they’re out of excuses when it comes to climate change, okay? People want change–let’s keep demanding it until we get it.


See you next week for D–ditch plastic!!



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ABCs of Climate Change 2: (B)uy Less

Hello Everyone!


Well, it’s been an embarrasingly long time since I posted the first one of these, but better late than never, right?

That’s actually an important message in climate change–doing something, ANYTHING, is better than doing nothing at all. Like, even refusing a straw one time at a restaurant means one less straw wasted. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s not Whole 30 here. Making an effort is truly making a difference in the battle against a warming planet.

Have you seen the fatalistic articles lately that say we’re all doomed? I know I have!! Ignore them. I mean, don’t, because it’s deadly serious and we are definitely without a doubt on a trajectory towards a mass extinction, but we CAN change that! We CAN avoid that!! We need to:

a) pressure lawmakers to get it together NOW to lower our emissions;

b) vote for lawmakers in 2020 that will lower our emissions;

c) do everything in our power as ordinary citizens in the mean time to cut down on waste and lower our emissions.


Which brings me to letter B: Buy less stuff. This is perhaps the single most important thing you can do as a consumer to fight climate change. It’s easy to remember, hard to do! But I have a few tips.


Why should we buy less stuff? Well, stuff takes energy to make. Every bag of chips, every tee shirt, every dollar store dinosaur toy (just me that buys these all the time? Okay then) was manufactured in a factory. That factory burned fossil fuels to make your item, then burned more to ship it to the store where you bought it. Not to mention the energy used, as well as water, to power the lights, a/c, bathrooms, etc. at the factory. Did you know it takes 9 gallons of water to make a single disposable diaper? It does!

Then once you have your stuff, you don’t keep it forever. And when you  throw it out, it takentakes energy to get the stuff to the dump or incinerator. where it either takes more energy to burn (thus releasing the chemicals in your stuff into the air) or it just…sits there, leaching chemicals into the soil, taking up space, and releasing gases into the atmosphere. Contrary to popular belief, most stuff in landfills does not break down. There have been studies of landfills done where intact heads of lettuce have been found wrapped in newspapers from the 1940s. Because of plastic bags and how packed landfills are, it’s basically an anaerobic environment, which does not allow for things to decompose like they naturally would. If heads of lettuce aren’t breaking down, what do you think is happening to your disposable diapers? (Sorry about all the diaper talk. With a newborn headed my way in about a month, I’ve got diapers on my mind.)

But you recycle, right? Well, sort of. First off, not all cities recycle. Secondly, many cities end up burning or trashing their recycling rather than actually recycling it because we’re recycling too much and the recycling infrastructure can’t take it. Recycling programs are not federally mandated or funded, and they’re only as good as the time and energy people spend on maintaining them. China used to buy 90% of our recycling and process it there, but now they take almost nothing from us. So, don’t feel better just because you tossed that can into a recycling bin–best case scenario, it will burn energy to get recycled! And there are many more worse scenarios possible. 


So, we need to buy less. This is just inescapably true. It’s hard, I know. I myself am guilty of strolling through the dollar spot at Target, pondering whether the foam numbers for the bath will make my son smarter. Our culture is obsessed with more, bigger, and better. We buy things all the time to treat ourselves, as a pick-me-up, and as gifts for others. We buy hoping this next product will make us happier, more organized, prettier, or better parents. But the hard truth is that most of them won’t. And we’re killing the planet to lie to ourselves about it. Here are a few easy areas to start cutting back–

  1. avoid fast fashion. Besides the horrific human rights abuses perpetuated in factories worldwide, we’re wasting tons of energy making tee shirts we’ll wear once then throw out. Target, Old Navy, Forever 21, H&M…these places do not sell you high quality clothes that will last you season after season. I’m not suggesting that you buy all designer clothes–that’s not feasible for most of us. But I am suggesting you consider what you really need. I shake my head every time I pass the huge 4th of July displays at stores. Do I really need another star-spangled tee shirt? Can’t I just wear last year’s, or better yet, something I own that’s red, white, or blue?

So, skip the single use outfits. Shop second hand or vintage. Trade with a friend who’s a similar size. Shop thoughtfully and invest in some high-quality staples that will last you more than one use. ESPECIALLY with kiddos–I’m as guilty as anyone of dropping some serious cash on a cute outfit for a kid, but I know he’ll outgrow it soon and that there are scores of cute outfits at the secondhand shop that have only been worn once or twice! When you buy clothes, consider if they are really meeting a need or just a temporary pick-me-up.


2. Shop in bulk bins when you can. Food waste is coming up in a later post, but grocery stores give you a heck of a lot of stuff you don’t need. Plan ahead so you don’t make impulse purchases that end up rotting in your fridge. Think about ways to cut down on food packaging (like making your own spice mix instead of buying those little packages of taco seasoning–everything you need is probably already in your pantry.) Get a big tub of yogurt instead of little tubs. Buy a huge bag of goldfish instead of individually wrapped snack packs. Just stop buying snack packs, if you can. Bulk is better. Bulk is your friend.


3. Use the internets!! Facebook marketplace/poshmark/ parenting lists/ebay/etc all sell used stuff at great prices. It takes a little hunting sometimes, but you can score a great deal on used merch and do Mother Nature a solid as well! I bought my double stroller for $60 on facebook marketplace instead of paying $350 for it new and it’s barely used and in great condition. Let’s go back to our hunter/gatherer roots and barter for the things we need from our neighbors.  Even ordering something from poshmark and having it shipped to you is more energy efficient than buying new. Anything at all you can buy used instead of new is a big win.


Making used a part of your lifestyle takes some getting used to. You might not be able to find exactly what you want right at the second you want it. But won’t that make finding it all the sweeter when you do? I challenge you to try it for a week–other than essentials (groceries, toilet paper) can you go a whole week without buying a book, toy, or clothing item? See how long you can go! Your closet thanks you, your mental health thanks you, and your planet thanks you too.


That’s it! Coming soon (much sooner than 6 months I promise), C! C is for “call your reps.”


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