Communities and citizens solving climate change

When I dipped my bike in the Pacific Ocean and started my leg of the Solutions Revolution ride I thought I knew about solutions to climate change. After travelling for three months and meeting hundreds of citizens working on a diverse array of solutions I realized that I’d known nothing before I’d left.

The Solutions Revolution crew cycled from coast to coast, filming a documentary about solutions to climate change. Instead of arriving in communities and telling people what to do about climate change we came to towns and asked people what they were doing.

In Washington State a non-profit society received an appropriation in the state budget and bought four wind turbines, which not only create clean energy for 1,000 homes –they are expected to bring in 500,000 dollars of revenue which will go to help the elderly and disabled in the community.

In eastern Chicago, John Adel is transforming an abandoned meat-packing plant into a vertical farm and hub of local food production and processing, called “The Plant”. There will be gardens and greenhouses on the roof, and multiple levels of vegetable beds on every floor. Fish tanks holding tilapia will accompany the gardens; with the nitrogen from the tilapia respiration being pumped into the soil, providing extra nourishment to the plants.

Individuals and small-scale food operations can use industrial kitchens to process food to sell in local markets; small businesses can grow, refine, package and ship food from a single location, cutting carbon and financial costs. Additionally, The Plant promises to return life and jobs a bleak and dying side of Chicago.

Those are two of the many solutions to climate change that I learned about as I cycled with the Solutions Revolution crew. My eyes were opened to the diversity of solutions to climate change that are taking place across the continent. I believe that we can’t effectively tackle climate change without leadership from governments worldwide, but also believe that governments worldwide won’t get onboard until there are enough citizens demanding it. This fall I met countless citizens who are not just writing letters voicing their concerns, but showing their personal commitment to climate change and energy sustainability by taking the lead themselves. Thanks for what you are doing.

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