The argument is finally over about whether climate change is a global threat. We now know that not only were scientists correct in their warnings, but that the effects are coming more quickly than expected. NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen says we have 10 years to turn things around.
The question now is what can we do? What solutions are up to the scale of the crisis?
Our resources are a combination of some of the best science plus the most powerful actions available:
:: TAKE ACTION
:: GET INFORMED
:: TAKE ACTION
It will take major mobilization, a shift to renewables, and changes in well-worn habits, but the solutions are ready. Change starts with you. Be the spark that starts a fire of awareness and activism within your own community.
The Climate Project invites individuals to Nashville, Tennessee, to be trained by Al Gore and a team of renowned scientists and environmental educators. Trainees also learn how to present Gore’s slide show, which An Inconvenient Truth is based on. www.theclimateproject.org
1Sky is a major initiative to unite climate change activists into a collective movement calling for green jobs, emissions reductions, renewable energy, and an end to coal plants. The goal is to formulate a clear policy platform while mobilizing at the grassroots to push it forward.www.1sky.org
Green for All advocates for a strong green economy that tackles pollution and poverty at the same time. www.greenforall.org
The US Climate Emergency Council offers activist tools. www.climateemergency.org
Co-op America is a great resource for environmentally and socially responsible consumers, with information on sustainable products, companies, and investments. Their Take Action webpage features causes to fight for and easy suggestions of what you can do. www.coopamerica.org
Center for a New American Dream advocates an alternative to consumer culture. Offers guides to responsible purchasing, escaping commercialism, simple holidays, and a campaign for “Carbon Conscious Consumers.” www.newdream.org
Rising Tide North America is a decentralized network of groups and individuals organizing against the root causes of climate change. The website offers links, guides to issues, contact info for local groups, and news. risingtidenorthamerica.org/wordpress/principles
Along with yearly teach-ins that gather students and communities in climate change dialogue, Focus the Nation also has suggestions for schools, faith groups, businesses, and civic groups of how they can get involved in advancing climate awareness. www.focusthenation.org
SOS Yasuní is a website for activism and information regarding Ecuador’s plan to keep vast oil reserves in the ground to protect people and biodiversity in Yasuni National Park. www.sosyasuni.org
Stop Global Warming is a virtual march of hundreds of thousands of citizens calling on political leaders to put freezes on greenhouse gas emissions. www.stopglobalwarming.org
No War, No Warming builds awareness of the relationship between fossil fuels, the war in Iraq, and climate change by connecting organizations involved in the peace movement or the environmental movement. www.nowarnowarming.org
Bioneers holds workshops and conferences focusing on biological and cultural diversity, as well as ecology, sustainability, traditional farming, community-building, and social justice. www.bioneers.org
Based in Olympia, Washington, Climate Solutions works to accelerate action on climate change by generating investments and political movement in the region. www.climatesolutions.org
The Ella Baker Center's Green Jobs Campaign addresses the need for green collar jobs and employment opportunities for low-income people and people of color. www.ellabakercenter.org
:: CONNECT WITH ALLIES
There are many advocacy groups involved in specific aspects of the climate crisis. You can join their part of the struggle or forge connections between your work and other people's efforts.
Through the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, participating cities work towards carbon reductions set by the Kyoto Protocol and urge state and national leaders to pass greenhouse gas emissions regulations. usmayors.org/climateprotection/agreement.htm
The Best Practices, a guide compiled by the Conference of Mayors, analyzes case studies about what worked in particular cities so that other cities and groups can use their ideas as models. usmayors.org/climateprotection/bestpractices.htm
The Cities for Climate Protection campaign, a project of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, assists cities in adopting policies and implementing quantifiable measures to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and enhance urban livability and sustainability. www.iclei.org/index.php?id=810
Sierra Club Cool Cities campaign offers activist tools, best practice guides, technical information, campaign handouts, cities’ climate action plans, and a personal action guide. coolcities.us/resources.php
Transition Towns is a forum for communities working towards the Transition Initiative. Involved groups can organize, post information, and communicate with each other through the website. www.transitiontowns.org
On Transition Culture, Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Towns movement, blogs about Transition Towns and has useful links and archived articles. transitionculture.org
Solar Richmond works to bring renewable energy and green collar jobs to Richmond, California. www.solarrichmond.org
People's Grocery runs community-supported agriculture and youth-focused urban agriculture projects, and advocates for a healthy, equitable food system for urban America. www.peoplesgrocery.org
Sustainable South Bronx works at improving transportation, land-use, and waste disposal in the Bronx, and offers inspiration and ideas to other urban communities looking for an economic and environmental makeover. www.ssbx.org
Green Worker Cooperatives creates and supports green, worker-owned co-ops in the South Bronx. www.greenworker.coop
Climate Challenge is a network of youth organizations offering resources for students who want to initiate climate change solutions on college campuses. The partners list links to the most active youth-led groups out there. climatechallenge.org
The Energy Action Coalition, responsible for Power Shift 2007, is a youth-led network of organizations, supporting the youth movement for clean energy. www.energyaction.net
The Cascade Climate Network is a regional body of youth, particularly college students, engaged in climate sustainability issues. cascadeclimate.org
The Presidents' Climate Commitment is gathering pledges from colleges and universities that are committed to achieving climate neutrality. A breakdown of solutions provides a framework for setting up a campus's process towards zero emissions. www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org
The Resource Center on the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education website has assessment tools, financing strategies, and ideas for incorporating sustainability into all aspects of college and university settings. www.aashe.org
Business, environmental, labor, and community groups and leaders connect through the Apollo Alliance, which works to end America's energy dependence on foreign nations, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase green collar job opportunities. www.apolloalliance.org
A network of unions, organizations, business leaders, and local officials, the Workforce Alliance advocates for policies that support the American labor force. www.workforcealliance.org
The Industrial Areas Foundation is a network of organizations and groups working for equality and social change. www.industrialareasfoundation.org
With offices around the globe, the Climate Action Network coordinates the exchange of climate change information between non-governmental organizations that are working to activate governments towards climate sustainability initiatives. www.climatenetwork.org
Earth Share helps workplaces hold donation drives, the proceeds of which go to a network of environmental and conservation non-profits across the country. www.earthshare.org
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is evoked by the Shalom Center's Green Menorah Covenant, which urges congregations and communities to reduce fossil fuel consumption by seven-eights, or use one day's oil to light eight days. www.shalomctr.org
The Evangelical Environmental Network educates and encourages Christians to protect the Earth and call for environmentally responsible legislation. www.creationcare.org
The Evangelical Climate Initiative calls evangelical Christians to act upon the looming climate crisis and the toll it will take on the world's less fortunate, listing action tips for individuals, congregations, and church leaders. www.christiansandclimate.org
The Northwest Earth Institute's discussion courses give schools, faith groups, and communities a framework for talking about sustainability, globalization, deep ecology, and simple living. www.nwei.org
Facing the Future has educational resources on global sustainability, population, poverty, health, and consumption and offers curriculum for teachers. www.facingthefuture.org
The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is a professional association of environmental educators. NAAEE encourages educators to teach about environmental issues is a way that promotes critical thinking. www.naaee.org
The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education develops sustainability coursework and professional development programs to be used by educators and school systems. www.sustainabilityed.org
The Center for EcoLiteracy helps teachers with sustainability education by providing teaching tools and curricula and encouraging hands-on learning in the outdoors. www.ecoliteracy.org
The Environmental Education Association of Washington is a support system for Washington State educators, connecting teachers with curriculum and organizing a yearly conference.
:: GET INFORMED
Natural Resources Defense Council offers a guide to the science and threat of climate change, as well as policy primers, petitions, and carbon cutting ideas. www.nrdc.org
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues fact-heavy reports on climate change and its impact on the earth. www.ipcc.ch
The World Resources Institute is an environmental think tank that publishes studies and policy suggestions about confronting climate change. www.wri.org
The International Forum on Globalization looks at the effects of economic globalization and works at setting up diverse alternative systems. The annual IFG teach-in is captured on audio, video, and text. www.ifg.org.
Redefining Progress is a think-tank working for a just economy and a sustainable world. They offer one of the better carbon footprint calculators out there, as well as lesson plans for educators. www.rprogress.org
Grist offers a useful chart that lets you compare where presidential candidates stand on cap and trade, fuel economy, renewable energy, biofuels, coal, and nuclear energy. www.grist.org/candidate_chart_08.html
RealClimate posts commentary from climate scientists, providing a valuable resource for students and journalists looking for sound scientific analysis of the latest climate change news. www.realclimate.org
The Goddard Institute for Space Studies conducts and posts research on global change and has a host of graphs, satellite images, and analysis. http://www.giss.nasa.gov/
The Earth Policy Institute’s goal is to provide a vision of what a sustainable economy would look like. The website tracks news stories about progress toward an eco-economy. www.earth-policy.org
ClimateCrisis is the support website for An Inconvenient Truth. Here you’ll find information on why a change is necessary, as well as some tips on cutting carbon and getting active. www.climatecrisis.net
Rocky Mountain Institute publishes position papers and reports on climate solutions at many levels, including a guide of how one household went carbon neutral. www.rmi.org
The Sightline Institute researches and promotes environmental sustainability in the Pacific Northwest. www.sightline.org
The Sustainability Institute, through consulting, workshops, and leadership development, seeks to make sustainability practices widespread. www.sustainer.org
The EPA carbon emissions calculator lets you calculate your own carbon footprint, plus it gives you an idea of how many pounds of carbon you can lose by being more fuel- and energy-efficient. www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html
It’s Getting Hot in Here postsblogs about the latest news in climate change and youth activism. www.itsgettinghotinhere.org
The Film Connection has a website called Enviro-Film: Creative Solutions to Climate Change with a guide to independent and documentary films that you can rent for free. www.thefilmconnection.org/programs/770
EcoEquity's Greenhouse Development Rights set a framework for maintaining a stable climate while emphasizing global justice for the developing world. The Links page is a great resource for other organizations involved in environmental and climate justice. www.ecoequity.org
England's Schumacher College offers four-day to three-week environmental sustainability short courses to groups and individuals. www.schumachercollege.org.uk
The Au Sable Institute's four campuses in the U.S. and India teach university-level courses on environmental and sustainability issues, and also offer retreats, education, and outreach services for adults and children. www.ausable.org
The Center for American Progress is a think tank promoting stronger communities and government and policies that are for the people. www.americanprogress.org
:: CLIMATE CRISIS LIBRARY
If you prefer to read on paper and want to get deeper into the issues check out this selection of recent titles on the climate crisis, that focus not only on the problem but offer practical solutions.
Apollo's Fire, by Congressman Jay Inslee and Bracken Hendricks, investigates the people and technologies behind the many solutions to the energy crisis and the policies needed to bring these solutions into the mainstream. Island Press, 2008.
Boiling Point, by Ross Gelbspan, calls out oil and coal companies, politicians, and the media for contributing to global warming by taking part in ‘denial and delay’ strategies. Perseus Books Group, 2004.
Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free, by Arjun Makhijani and in partnership with the Nuclear Policy Research Institute and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, is a roadmap for an energy policy that will lead the U.S. away from climate disaster and towards a sustainable future. IEER Press and RDR Books, 2007.
Climate Solutions, by Peter Barnes, clearly defines the climate policies on the table, who's behind them, and whether or not they would benefit the earth and the general public. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008.
Discussion Guide on Global Warming: Changing CO2urse, a collection of essays by well-respected climate activists, tackles climate change, the solutions needed, and how we can steer towards an improved world and way of life. Northwest Earth Institute, 2007.
Earth Under Fire, by Gary Braasch, is a comprehensive look at the world-wide effects of climate change. His book presents dramatic photographs, maps and quotes from world climate science leaders. See a sample.
Earth & Word, edited by David Rhoads, is a collection of essays and sermons by theologians and environmentalists, clergy and activists who speak for the protection of the earth and the relationship between ecological and religious thought. Continuum International Publishing Group Inc, 2007.
Fair Future, edited by Wolfgang Sachs and Tilman Santarius, looks at the stresses on the world's resources today and how future global economic policies can address these issues in a just and equitable way. Zed Books, 2007.
Heat, by George Monbiot, investigates the pros, cons, costs, and possibilities behind climate change solutions and claims that we can indeed cut carbon emissions by 90% by 2030. South End Press, 2007.
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, by Thom Hartmann, details the reasons behind, the impacts of, and solutions to climate catastrophe. Three Rivers Press, 2004.
Local Action, by Tommy Linstroth and Ryan Bell, looks at the power of small, local actions in addressing global warming and bringing about positive change. University of Vermont Press, 2007.
Low Carbon Diet, by David Gerhson, gives readers tools and tips for cutting thousands of pounds of carbon out of their lives. Empowerment Institute, 2006.
The Party's Over, by Richard Heinberg, traces fossil fuel's path through the industrial revolution and the wars of the past century and looks at how our society can transition smoothly into a post-peak oil era. New Society Publishers, 2005.
Plan B 2.0, by Lester R. Brown of the Earth Policy Institute, lays out a plan to move beyond our throw-away economy and use existing technologies to restore and save our world. W.W. Norton & Company, 2006.
Plug-In Hybrids, by Sherry Boschert, reveals why car companies resist making plug-in hybrids and the people who are fighting to get these valuable cars on the market. New Society Publishers, 2006.
The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook, by Albert Bates, has hopeful, inspiring ‘recipes’ for managing your waste, changing your needs, and, if you're feeling ambitious, rebuilding civilization. New Society Publishers, 2006.
Stormy Weather, by Guy Dauncey and Patrick Mazza, proposes 101 viable solutions that nations, cities, businesses, community groups, and individuals can get behind to help in reversing climate change. New Society Publishers, 2001.
Urban Meltdown, by Clive Doucet, looks at the Earth's urban growth, its effects on global warming, and why politicians haven't moved on the issue. New Society Publishers, 2007.
Who Owns the Sky?, by Peter Barnes, discusses the need for a carbon emissions cap, the policies being considered, and proposes a plan that would return cash dividends to all of the population. Island Press, 2001.
You Can Prevent Global Warming, by Dr. Jeffrey Langholz and Kelly Turner, lists 51 easy, low-cost ways to save significant amounts of energy and money. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2003.
Inspired by our articles about green buildings, clean energy, cool cars, and sustainable food and forests? Here you can dig deeper and find out more about what is possible in a post-carbon world.
The Architecture 2030 Challenge urges the architecture industry to work towards carbon neutral buildings. Join the challenge, read the solutions, and see who's already involved. www.architecture2030.org
A promoter of sustainable architecture, the U.S. Green Building Council website gives a thorough explanation of LEED standards for all building types. www.usgbc.org
The city of Berkeley, California adopted the Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance to improve energy conservation and pricing for homeowners. Information on requirements, costs, savings, and inspections available on their website. www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/sustainable/residents/ResSidebar/RECO.html
Passivhaus is a building standard for energy-efficient residential buildings. Get information on consultations, products, and existing Passiv homes. www.passivhaus.org.uk
High Performance Building, a film released by the Rocky Mountain Institute, portrays the financial and environmental benefits of sustainable building. bet.rmi.org
Oberlin College’s Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies is a building designed to mesh with the natural environment. The school offers tours and education on high-performance eco-design. www.oberlin.edu/ajlc/ajlcHome.html
The Global Wind Energy Council promotes wind energy development on an international scale. www.gwec.net
The American Solar Energy Society promotes the importance of solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable energy options. www.ases.org
A study led by MIT, The Future of Geothermal Energy, outlines the energy potential lying under the earth's crust. geothermal.inel.gov/publications.shtml
The U.N. Chronicle features A Low Carbon Energy Strategy for the 21st Century, an article by two leaders from the Solar Energy Industries Association. www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2007/issue2/0207p63.htm
Solar Generation IV, a Greenpeace report, calculates that we can get solar electricity for over one billion people and create two million jobs in the sector by 2020. www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/solar-generation-iv
Evaluation of Global Wind Power is a scholarly paper quantifying the potential of wind power gathered on a global scale. www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/global_winds.html
An international network of engineers and scientists, the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation is developing a partnership between North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe to garner the solar and wind energies available in desert regions. www.trec-uk.org.uk
Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006, a Greenpeace report, looks at the potential, environmental impact, and policy of wind power. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/globalwindenergyoutlook
The World Energy Council works with lawmakers in developing energy plans for a sustainable world. www.worldenergy.org
Swedish company Seabased AB explores the potential of ocean wave energy. www.seabased.com
The UNDP’s World Energy Assessment discusses energy and development and looks at trends and potential in energy technology and policy. www.undp.org/energy/weaover2004.htm
Plug In America is a public awareness and advocacy group fighting to get electric cars on the American market and save existing electric cars from being destroyed. www.PlugInAmerica.org
G-Wiz is one of Britain’s earth-friendliest cars, zero-emissions and adorably compact. www.goingreen.co.uk
Based primarily in the U.K., Modec’s zero-emissions commercial vehicles are now branching out to the US and continental Europe. www.modec.co.uk
Tesla Motors has given the electric car a sportscar makeover. www.teslamotors.com
The Bus Rapid Transit Policy Center helps cities around the world plan effective, climate-friendly mass transit systems. www.gobrt.org
Vélib' has thousands of bicycles throughout Paris, which can be rented from hundreds of stations around the city. www.velib.paris.fr
SkySails and Kiteship are helping shipping companies try out renewable energy by selling massive, parachute-like sails that move boats via wind power rather than oil. www.skysails.info, www.kiteship.com
:: FOOD AND FORESTS
Greenpeace's Cool Farming report explains the environmental damage caused by industrial farming and provides solutions to reducing agriculture's impact on climate change.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations details the meat industry's contribution to climate change.
The Rainforest Action Network campaigns against America's oil addiction, environmental destruction, and climate injustice, publicizing information and ways to get involved.
The Rodale Institute's New Farm, does research, outreach and training in regenerative agricultural practices.
CarboFor is the Center for International Forestry Research's (CIFOR) carbon forestry website, connecting people to related projects and archiving hundreds of academic papers.