Envisioning Our Climate Advocacy and Climate Savvy Work Under A New Federal Administration – part three of a three part exploration

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As we continue to advocate for environmental protections, for carbon pricing, for adherence to the Paris Climate Agreements, we must also grow our everyday climate savvy. It is essential to pair these two kinds of stewardship: advocacy and action.

I write in the midst of an eight-day bike ride from western Massachusetts to Washington, DC – #OnOurOwnSteam. We’re 11 climate activists, ranging in age from 21 – 74. We timed our ride to arrive for the April 29th Peoples Climate March, where we’ll join with hundreds of thousands of others to call for continued, strengthened and critical climate action on the part of the current administration.

And as we ride, I’m on the lookout for examples of climate savvy workers. We’ve now spent two nights as guests in churches – welcomed in to these parish houses to get cleaned up a bit, sleep and then launch ourselves back onto the East Coast Greenway (our route for this ride). These congregations have sextons, whose work is the care and maintenance of the congregation’s building. In each of these two parish houses, the lights are activated by motion sensors. We know that changing human behavior in terms of energy usage is one component to reducing our carbon footprint. Shifting to lighting control systems, especially in buildings with multiple uses, such as a parish house, ensures that lighting is available when and where needed, but not in use when no one is in a room! (And, these kinds of lighting controls are also useful in homes.)

The Greenbelt Community Church, where we’ll be in a few days, has installed a cistern. (See the article in the Greenbelt News Review, on page 4.) This cistern captures rainfall from their building’s roof and diverts that water from the storm drains. This diversion has several benefits: it allows for the rainwater to be re-absorbed by the ground, rather than sent through the stormwater infrastructure, it helps to reduce the movement of toxins and wastes from surfaces, like roads and parking lots, into brooks, rivers and lakes, and it provides a source of water for outdoor use, like gardening, in a time of uncertain and inconsistent rainfall.

Climate savvy is the knowledge and experience we can each bring to our work. As you do your job today, what is an example of your climate savvy? How are you able to steward energy or other resources, like water or soil? Perhaps you provide education and information about climate change and its effects? How do you describe that on your resume? Tell us!


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