A scary fact about the future

It’s happening again. 2015 is on track to be the warmest year on record. We had a pretty excruciating winter too with Boston breaking the all-time record for seasonal snowfall. The prediction is that these patterns are only going to get more extreme. Our climate is changing. Whether or not it is a direct result of our actions, natural for our planet, or both (my hypothesis), it’s happening. Things are changing, and we must adapt, as historically, we have. But how?

The warmest June on record. photo courtesy of Earth Simulator via Mashable

The warmest June on record. photo courtesy of Earth Simulator via Mashable

Some cities already understand this important fact, and are incorporating infrastructure to encourage Small Acts toward changing consumption habits easy. On my recent trip to Oregon I was absolutely blown away by the variety of innovative ideas made available to residents and businesses to practice sustainable habits.

Oregon is ahead of the game

For 44 years Oregon has required that landowners replant up to 200 trees per acre when trees are harvested or after wildfires or controlled burns. Reforestation represents a key activity in preventing further climate change. Most of the restaurants we ate at were locally owned and used locally sourced, often organic, produce and dairy. Portland provides a composting bin for residents, which is hauled away weekly, processed into nutrient rich compost, and is sold to landscapers. The trash bins in the arts district sport upcycled street signs. Even the toilets in the PDX airport have the dual flush option for liquid or solid waste to save on water. 

Time to Transition

Another important initiative that’s happening across the country is a program called Transition Streets. Transition Streets teaches easy steps for adopting sustainable habits, building relationships with your neighbors, and saving money on your utility bills. Neighbors come together monthly for several months (or on your decided schedule) to cover the material in the provided workbooks. The program is tried and tested, and began in the U.K. with participants saving over $950 per year in utility costs. Coming together to make these small changes makes the experience more pleasant and provides a support system for learning to adapt to the current and coming changes. After a successful pilot of the program, it will be officially launching in Charlottesville in late July, as well as many other cities across the U.S. in the coming months.

We are choosing the future we will see, right now

As we continue to pack more activities, responsibilities, work, media, and stuff into our lives, and we never seem to have enough time in the day, we often choose convenience and ignore the consequences. Soon we will no longer be able to ignore those consequences. The planet is starting to remind us what we have done to it, to our home; the only one we have. Maybe you don’t live in a city where your compost can be hauled away from the curb, but that doesn’t mean you can’t compost in your backyard or take your compost to a community garden or city market.

We always have a choice and that choice always produces a result. What result do you want to be your legacy; to leave for your children and grandchildren? The changes appearing in our climate and oceans that we are seeing now are from the choices we made years ago. NOW is the time to start practicing Small Acts to make the future better or even just to make it less catastrophic. It’s no longer a complicated problem we’ll deal with in the future. Now is the only time we have to make a difference; to choose action over convenience; to transition. We’ll never be perfect, but we can be better. 

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