Our climate is changing. We can expect more extreme rain events, longer heat waves, and less predictable winters and growing seasons. It's time to prepare our communities for this new reality.
It's also time to slow it down. We can still prevent the worst outcomes by reducing our emissions. While Vermont is a relatively small emitter, we care about doing our part to demonstrate solutions to climate change and we are not afraid to act. Our innovative policies and high levels of participation in climate actions at home and in our communities set a high bar for other states and the rest of the world. We can lead. It's time to take action, the Vermont way.
Here are some ways you and your organization can act now, ensuring that Vermont will prosper in a low-carbon, clean energy future.
Carbon dioxide, methane and other harmful heat-trapping gases can’t be seen, and what can’t be seen is easily forgotten during our busy lives.
The NASA video below makes those gases visible, and shows how they move around the atmosphere and fluctuate seasonally.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides this simple calculator to help measure your “carbon footprint.” Knowing how you contribute to climate-disrupting emissions is a good first step towards action.
Vermonters can save money and support a clean energy future in dozens of ways that can add up quickly! It can be confusing to navigate the many options we have for weatherizing our homes and moving to clean energy alternatives. Luckily there are many Vermont organizations ready to help!
Make your Transportation Low Carbon
Nearly half of Vermont’s carbon pollution comes from moving people and goods around the state. One of the most powerful personal steps we can take to reduce carbon pollution is to choose to live where we don’t have to travel far to get to work or run errands. It also makes a real difference when businesses locate in or near downtowns. For the growing numbers of Vermonters that must drive to work, schools, and shops, there are a growing number of low carbon transportation options available.
Go! Vermont helps Vermonters reduce the cost and environmental impact of driving with carpool matching and vanpool services, statewide bus routes, and free Go! Vermont resources to help you travel more efficiently. Local Motion provides information about how to travel more by bike and on foot.
Protect Vermont’s Nature-Based Solutions
Vermont is rich in natural resources that can help protect us from the impacts of climate change. Every undeveloped floodplain, every wetland, and every forest stand will help buffer communities from the impacts of flooding caused by more intense storms. A connected landscape of unbroken habitat will give our plants and animals the best changes for surviving a changing climate and will serve as a "carbon sink" by keeping carbon out of our atmosphere.
Make your Community Green and Resilient
Green communities are resilient communities when they have healthy trees, protected floodplains, green stormwater infrastructure, and less impervious pavement. Their open, green spaces can absorb and slow floodwaters, filter pollutants in stormwater runoff before they reach streams and lakes, and offer cooler spaces for community residents on hot days. They are also great places to live, offering benefits that can help dissuade people from moving to rural areas where they have to drive long distances to work and shop. Green, resilient communities will enhance our quality of life and help us prepare for climate change.
Learn more about green infrastructure and community forestry (coming soon)
Buy or Lease an Electric or Fuel Efficient Vehicle
Plug-in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are the cleanest cars on the road today. They're also safe and fun to drive. Vermont has embraced this revolution in vehicle technology, and you can too. Dealerships all across Vermont are bringing new models to their lots with much more electric range. If an EV is not right for you, you can make a big impact just by buying a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Recycle and Compost
At first blush, this may not seem like an important climate solution, but it is. Recycling not only keeps waste out of landfills, it also saves large amounts of energy. Vermont’s universal recycling law makes it just as easy to recycle as it is to throw something away. Pretty soon, every Vermonter will have an disposal option that keeps leaf and yard waste out of the landfill. In a few more years, we will be able to compost our food waste as well (and in five years it will be required by law). This is important because composting reduces methane, a very dangerous greenhouse gas. Get ahead of the curve and start today.
Advocate for a Low Carbon Workplace and Neighborhood
Sometimes the fastest way to make an impact is to be an advocate for change in your community or workplace. Energy committees all over Vermont are building an exciting grassroots movement to make our communities energy leaders while reducing the state’s contribution to carbon pollution. You can join or organize an energy committee where you live! At your workplace, advocate for clean energy improvements in buildings, recycling, and composting services, carpooling, bike racks, electric charging infrastructure and other steps and investments that help reduce carbon pollution.
Invest in Solutions
Even our financial investments make a difference. When you purchase shares of a company or a mutual fund that holds shares of a company, you're helping that company's share price and value increase. Instead of financing organizations that continue to extract fossil fuels, consider shifting your investments to support cleaner energy.