Concrete Steps from Quaker Earthcare Witness’ Sustainability, Faith & Action Working Group
Many of these suggestions are based on the work of Paul Hawken and his team of scientists in their book DRAWDOWN and their website, www.drawdown.org.
Individual/Meeting: Install solar panels; buy 100% clean and renewable electricity wherever possible or create your own local energy aggregate; use LED bulbs.
Policy: Support state and local legislation and initiatives enabling cities and counties to form green electricity aggregates.
FAMILY PLANNING, EDUCATING WOMEN & GIRLS
Household: Consider your family size carefully. The most effective way a person can reduce their carbon footprint is by having one fewer child.
Policy: Support and protect Planned Parenthood and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund or similar reproductive health agencies; donate to the QEW population offsets fund.
Household/Community: Buy only as much food as you need; give away (ie to a food bank) excess food or compost any waste.Eliminate or reduce your meat consumption as much as possible. Provide information on home composting and local food banks; demand weekly home and business green-waste pick-up with your garbage service or a location for drop-off; make it easy for restaurants to give away excess food; patronize caterers and other businesses which have plans for responsible recycling of excess food and offer “ugly” produce.
Policy: Advocate for laws which require food selling markets to give away food waste to charities, as animal feed or to composting companies.
Support humane treatment of domestic animals.
Household/Community: When building or remodeling, use the highest standards of green energy efficiency, non-toxic design and materials.
Policy: Support energy efficient building codes; support infill of cities.
LAND USE, LANDSCAPING & GARDENING
Household/Community: Plant native plants to support complex ecosystems including pollinators; plant edible gardens; in arid areas use drought-tolerant plants and xeriscape practices; use gray and rain water.
Policy: Plant and protect forests and wildlands; support educational planting projects at schools.
Household/Community: Do ride sharing, public transportation, walking, and riding bikes; switch to hybrid vehicles or electric vehicles when economically feasible.
Policy: Support electric vehicles, mass transit, telepresence, high speed rail, electric bikes, trains and ridesharing.
Coolants continue to be identified as significant greenhouse gases, much more damaging than CO2. A recent international agreement calls for phasing out these materials starting with developed countries in 2019. Be aware that coolants in refrigerators or air conditioners are an important concern and that appliances with new coolants are becoming available.
Household/Community: While new agreements and the markets are sorting themselves out, we suggest postponing buying new refrigerators and other appliances using harmful refrigerants if possible. Dispose of existing appliances carefully to avoid unnecessary emissions or leaks at a site that will drain and store the refrigerant.
Policy: Encourage your county or state to provide facilities to contain, store, and purify refrigerants of their harmfulness. Encourage your city and/or county to provide convenient community disposal sites for toxic materials such as paint, batteries, and fluorescent, and LED lights.