Ready for some January good news?  Some of our favorite sources are The Optimist Daily newsletter, and the “Good News” section of the weekly Climate Change Resources newsletter, offering free doses of positivity.  

Health is Wealth

The above is one of my mother’s favorite expressions. Another: The best things in life are free. She lived to 86, attributing her good health to finding reasons to smile. The Optimist Daily shares Sweden’s Säg hej! (say hello!) campaign, spreading warmth during winter with smiles.

A Small Leak Will Sink A Big Ship

Warns Benjamin Franklin who added  “beware of little expenses.”  My mother would agree. I still hear her voice: lights off when you leave a room.  

“What are some easy ways to save 20 percent on your heating bill this winter” This is a Washington Post article listed in Climate Change Resources weekly curated newsletter.  “10 Ways to Save Energy, Waste, and Money With a More Sustainable Home” (Earthwatch) includes tips like heat only the rooms you use (and wear a sweater), ease up on the AC (use shades, open windows), sun dry your laundry (it’s healthier!), wash clothes in cold water (they keep longer), and plant some trees (“thoughtfully positioned trees can lower your home’s energy needs by up to 25% a year. Not to mention their carbon-sinking super powers.)” The author looked into solar panels and “ran the numbers on our house and decided solar was very much worth it.” She took out a 10-year solar loan to pay for the installation “basically swapping our electric bill for a similar but fixed loan payment. And then, after Year 10, we should get another 10 to 20 years of completely free renewable electricity.”

“Freeze More. Waste Less” is the secret to freshness, savings, and reducing food waste, according to NRDC.  Americans toss away $120 each month in uneaten food – it’s money saved if you use your freezer. You might know that a third of food grown in the U.S. is wasted. Did you know that percentage has increased in the past five years? Ooops, wrong direction — unthoughtful waste while families go  hungry, and any scraps, an organic resource, can be recycled into soil food. 

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Isaac Newton said. Climate-wise, progress is evident as reported in Climate Change Resources: 1) U.S. emissions are on track to fall by as much as 3% in 2023 (Scientific American); 2) Electrified” vehicles — hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles — hit a record 17.7% of U.S. car sales during the third quarter of this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration; 3) Electric vehicles are better than gas-powered cars in winter (Technica).

While 87% of American consumers want to buy products with social and environmental benefits (Forbes), apparently we need those products. “US has highest per person emissions” (Christian Science Monitor), tells us that our destiny is in our hands. Our choices and actions matter. We can turn this around. Other countries are, and big strides have been taken by Curacao, Aruba, Ukraine, Syria, Denmark, Venezuela, United Kingdom, Greece, Nauru, Jamaica. As reported in CNN, Americans want to go in this direction too – 73% say the federal government should develop its climate policies with the goal of cutting the country’s planet-warming pollution in half by the end of the decade.

Local Values = Local Awareness

Mark Haubner notes a rising awareness in his 20 years of work on climate disruption, tipping points and solutions. The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication survey shows 65% of Americans are “Concerned” or “Alarmed” – a significant increase from 20 years ago when this number was about half.

We on the East End value our shared Peconic Bioregion, and our public officials are paying attention, designing and implementing actions that lessen environmental destruction and help nature regenerate. Let Nature do what she knows how to do best. To support that, what we need to do is to design and construct sustainably. 

The best town Climate Action Plans, according to Mark, a member of the Riverhead Climate Smart Community Task Force,  are those using the science of Drawdown “We  know which solutions are best and have the highest local impact and positive return.”  Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island have taken the lead, and their willingness to share knowledge and collaborate has made it easier for towns like Riverhead to design and implement its own Climate Action Plan.

Action in Motion

We are starting to reap the benefits of our Action Plans. East Hampton is celebrating clean renewable energy feeding the local grid – from the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project off Montauk.  And Riverhead town is tackling a waste stream issue – diverting food scraps and turning them into compost to regenerate our soils.  It seems like a promising forecast for more positive news in 2024.

Former Locavore, now a Climatarian, sailor, beachcomber Mary Morgan lives in Orient with her husband Tom, naturalist and mushroom forager, early founders the local chapter Slow Food East End in 2004. Four years ago Mary co-founded a grassroots East End effort inspired by Project Drawdown dedicated to local solutions to reverse global warming. 

Mark Haubner has been recycling newspaper since 1965, and not seeing his example being followed by everyone on the planet, started learning Science Communication in earnest about six years ago. He got a Certificate in Sustainability and Behavior Change from the University of California at San Diego (the daily commute was grueling) and now writes Community Based Social Marketing programs for the various nonprofits with which he is involved.

Climate Local Now is a partnership between the East End Beacon and Drawdown East End, whose mission is to inspire local solutions to reverse global warming. 

East End Beacon
The East End Beacon is your guide to social and environmental issues, arts & culture on the East End of Long Island.

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