In 2018, my City Council held a critical vote to decide the sustainability future of my city. The question before the Council: whether or not to default all Albany residents to carbon free power.
I’d been volunteering with my local climate action group for awhile and I knew that I was going to show up and give public comment, but I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just me and a handful of a few other concerned citizens, but a loud, confident chorus of voices, so I knew that I had to make my choice a visible choice.
So I decided to set aside one sunny Saturday afternoon for an activity I love. I printed out a poster, loaded up a playlist with music I enjoy, and stood myself down by our most central bike path and… I danced for 128 minutes…
I made quite a scene and plenty of people stopped to chat with me. I made my choice, my vote into something that other people could get involved with. I normalized this action (even if I, myself, didn’t seem normal). To maximize the power of our personal climate advocacy, we need to become leaders – people who can influence others, people who speak coherently about the choices that they’re making and people who have fun doing so.
So how do you create your own opportunity to lead in the fight against climate change? You don’t have to dance on the sidewalk, but here’s how you find something that’s right for you:
- Think of what you love most. Maybe it’s running marathons or trying out new recipes. Now decide to give up 90 minutes of your day to doing this thing in service of the planet.
- Find a message that matters. I look to groups like Napa Climate NOW! that are tracking local issues and I find an issue that matters to me and some language that says why it’s important and what others can do about it.
- Combine the two in a visible, personal way. If you love running: make your next race shirt an eye-catching top that tells people to visit a link that gives them more information. If you’re into baking, then bake a few dozen muffins and give them away in your local park with a message written on the napkins.
- If you want to make it even easier on yourself, you can combine all these by applying for Napa Climate NOW’s half-day climate leadership training which will train attendees in the basics of climate science, how to meet with and talk to leaders, and which issues are most pressing in Napa. Maybe we’ll even get creative and brainstorm some new ideas together.
And the City Council measure? It passed, making my city then one of the only California cities to default all of its customer classes to 100% carbon free power (ahead of Berkeley and San Francisco, too)! How can you maximize your climate leadership potential?