How to support the environment even when the government won't

I have struggled to write this post.  Many of us woke up yesterday feeling disheartened and fearful for the future.  I was unsure whether or not to use this space to speak up, but I think it is important for our voices to come together.

For the next four years, many of the environmental protections put in place in our country will be in jeopardy.  While this is certainly a terrible thing, it is a fact now, and we must not let it discourage us from doing what we can to protect the environment.

How to support the environment after the election

1. Donate to and support environmental defense organizations

There are several environmental organizations that fight for environmental legislation and protections.  We need to support them, as they are even more important now.  If you live near a large city, look for volunteer opportunities.

Earth Justice
Sierra Club
Climate Science Legal Defense Fund
5 Gyres
Plastic Pollution Coalition

2. Make changes in your own life

I think this is the biggest and most effective thing we can all do.  All is not lost.  We must continue to lead by example and make environmentally conscious decisions in our everyday lives.  Leading by example is the best way to effect change in our families and communities.

If you are already making conscious decisions in your life, continue to do so, and look for more ways to support the environment in your everyday actions.

  • Bring your own reusables--grocery bags, water bottle, cutlery, coffee mug.
  • Reduce the amount of disposable packaging you purchase, and look for alternatives (more whole foods, farmers markets, buying in bulk, etc.)
  • Look for alternatives for your commute to work: walking, biking, carpooling.  Even if it's only one day a week.
  • Shop less.  Shop locally.  Support small businesses.
  • Buy used.
  • Plant a garden.

3. Talk to people about the environment and climate change

Now is not the time to remain silent.  Engage in conversation with family in friends about why the environment is important to you.  Go to state and national parks.  Discuss climate change, and the consensus among scientists.  Listen to people's concerns so they listen to you.  Read books about climate change and lend them out when you are done.  Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know by Joseph Romm and The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert are two good places to start.

And finally, we need to support those whose voices were not heard and will not be heard for at least the next four years: women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ, religious and ethnic minorities.

Jezebel has a great post about organizations you can support that stand up for the rights of the most vulnerable.  We must also support these people in our own lives and communities.

We must stand together to support peace, love, tolerance and togetherness.