Welcome to the Climate Action Help Desk!
Hello and welcome! The Help Desk was created as part of the Solve Climate by 2030 initiative and is focused on climate solutions. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the environmental field and in the ongoing climate crisis; this page is is meant to ease those feelings by providing tangible actions for individuals to take and clear, accurate information on how others are approaching these issues. Navigate through the items below for UConn and Connecticut-specific information.
|Action||What it Looks Like||Resources & Further Reading|
|Educate (Yourself and Others).|
|Participate in the Project Drawdown Ecochallenge||Drawdown Ecochallenge is a customizable and solutions-oriented engagement program focused on reducing carbon in the atmosphere. The actions in the challenge connect to solutions highlighted in Drawdown, a book based on meticulous research that maps, measures, models, and describes solutions to global warming that already exist. Participants track and share their progress in a robust online platform, earn points for taking action, and see the real-time impact of their actions. Over eighty actions within seven challenge categories provide participants with diverse options to reduce carbon usage.||Sign up for the challenge here!|
|Calculate your Water & Carbon Footprint||Learn more about which activities and areas of life expend more energy & water than others, and how that translates to your environmental goals. Also learn about the water price of producing different items like food and electronics.||Carbon Footprint Calculators:
Water Footprint Calculator:
|Understand Environmental Justice||"The environmental justice movement addresses a statistical fact: people who live, work and play in America's most polluted environments are commonly people of color and the poor." Learn about environmental justice and how you can incorporate it into your actions and activism, starting with the article in the next column.||The Environmental Justice Movement|
|Understand Life-Cycle Assessments (LCA's)||Learn how to analyze which products are more sustainable than others through a life cycle analysis.||LCA - Complete Beginner's Guide|
|Learn from the Environmental Working Group (EWG)||This website contains many resources to help guide anyone's journey towards living a more sustainable life.||EWG.org|
|Take Environmentally-Related Courses||One of the best ways to get involved in the environmental movement is to learn about the environment. At UConn, undergraduates are required to take an environmental literacy course - if you're a UConn student, consider picking a class that seems most interesting to you!||Spreadsheet of UConn Courses|
|Create Environmental Committees Everywhere!||Create a "green committee" in groups and activities you are involved in that focuses on brainstorming and implementing more sustainable actions in the context of your group.|
|Buy Locally||Research local farms & food production facilities.
Become a patron of your local farmers markets and small businesses.
|National Farmers Market Directory|
|Reduce Food Waste & Packaging||Buy food with less packaging and go for paper packaging over plastic. Check out the linked lists of ways to reduce your personal food waste.||BBC Good Food - Reduce Food Waste|
|Become a Vegetarian or Vegan||Switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet is a great step towards sustainable eating and can improve your physical health. But it can seem like a daunting change; If you're not ready to commit to vegetarianism yet, maybe start by limiting your meat consumption.||The Beginner’s Guide To Going Vegetarian Without Getting Sick|
|Be Conscious of the Certifications & Ethics of Your Food||Check out the list of food certifications in the next column, and keep those in mind when choosing what to buy. If you're a student at UConn, consider joining the Student Farmworker Alliance to learn more about the ethics behind your food.||Food Certification Labels|
|Choose the Right Method of Transportation||Generally, in terms of lowering emissions, walking is better than biking (due to the emissions generated when manufacturing a bicycle), biking is better than the train, the train is (usually) better than the bus, the bus is better than a car (if there is no carpooling involved- if the car has 4 people in it then driving is better than a train), and driving is better than taking a plane. If you travel a lot or commute to work every day, consider attempting to take a lower emissions vehicle than normal whenever possible to reduce your environmental impact.||Climate Change & How to Travel - BBC
|When Necessary, Purchase Carbon Offsets||If you absolutely must fly or take another carbon dioxide emitting method of travel, buying carbon offsets is a quick way to reduce your impact by supporting carbon sink/energy efficiency projects.||Recommended Purchase: Terrapass|
|Support Public Transportation||Public transportation is often the best balance of energy efficiency and convenience, except when public transportation isn't upheld well enough by the ones managing it. Learn about the history of public transportation and how to support the rebuilding of public transit systems.||Voices for Public Transit
|The Three R's: Advanced Level||The three R's- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -are in their order for a reason. Learn why and how to employ this principle in the Office of Sustainability blog post linked in the column to the right.||The Three R's: Order is Important|
|Buy Less: Minimalism||Minimalism is a mindset. Living with less is a skill that must be practiced in order to be achieved, just like zero waste and many other environmental endeavors. Minimalism Calendars are a good way to get started (look up "30 day minimalist challenge" and get started with whichever plan looks right for you! It doesn't have to take 30 days either, stretch and compress the days as energy levels require)||How to Buy Less and Stop Overspending
|Go to Repair Cafes!||Instead of discarding broken items like bikes, computers, and furniture, take them to a nearby repair cafe where skilled volunteers will help you to fix them.||Repair Cafe Locator|
|Stretch the life of "single use" or broken items you already own||If you love DIY projects, this section is made for you. Repurpose old items through some creativity and a little extra time (and fun!)||One Green Planet - Reusable Home Items
|Choose Waste-Minimizing Period Products||Reusable period products can be daunting to someone who has never tried them, but they are worth a try in order to curb your period's environmental footprint. Who knows, maybe you'll find your new favorite method of managing it!||Environmental Reasons to Switch to a Menstrual Cup
|Shop Sustainably: Understand and Find More Sustainavle Products|
|Shop Secondhand Thrift Stores||Secondhand items are always a super sustainable option because every secondhand item being used is one that didn't end up in a landfill!||Thrift Store Locator
|Purchase Sustainable Cosmetics||Finding any sort of sustainable brand is difficult, but makeup is an often overlooked area where sustainability could take on a bigger role, especially since secondhand makeup is definitely not a good idea (germs) and makeup often expires more quickly than the owner can use it. With the right research and effort, your cosmetics can be less harmful to the environment just like any other item.||Skin-Deep: Search For Products
|Recognize legitimate green logos (how to identify green-washing vs legitimate)||Buying from environmentally-focused brands sounds like a great idea, but unfortunatley some companies lie or stretch the truth to come off as sustainable, when in reality they aren't. Learning how to spot greenwashing will make you a more informed buyer and will ensure that your money actually goes towards sustainable efforts.||Good on You|
|Clean Out Old Items||Donate old/extra items to Goodwill, Savers, or any charity that will gladly accept them. Check out the end of the 3 R's Blog post linked for CT local suggestions.||The Three R's: Order is Important|
|Find Trustworthy Climate Change Charities||Check out the linked articles to find out how to tell which charities are legitimate!||Tools and Tips for Environmental Donors|
|Action||What it Looks Like||Resources & Further Reading|
|First, Learn the Science.|
|Climate Change 101||Develop a good basic foundation on the science of climate change. (Start here: The Climate Reality Project)||Global Climate Change: What You Need to Know - NRDC|
|United Nations' IPCC Reports||Read the most recent IPCC reports or summaries to better understand specifics of scientific causes and effects of climate change. Reading this will help familiarize you with climate jargon.||Facing our Future - UConn Office of Sustainability|
|Project Drawdown||Review this comprehensive list of different actionable, research-based solutions to reducing carbon emissions.||Project Drawdown Table of Solutions|
|Environmental Books & Literature||Read and share books about environmental issues. Start a book club!||List from Forbes, 2018|
|Now, Communicate it Out!|
|Communicating Climate Change (generally)||"Be consistent, talk about risk rather than uncertainty, use visuals, tell human stories and give the top-line message before the caveats." (see resource to the right for more detail.)||12 Tools for Communicating Climate Change More Effectively - The Guardian|
|Get Involved with UConn Extension||Learn more about the work that UConn Extension does and participate in the Connecticut Environmental Action Day as part of their work to educate residents and students on how to take environmental action.||CT Environmental Action Day
Marc.Cournoyer@uconn.edu (Program Coordinator)
|UConn Science Communication Training Courses||Take courses in science communication to further your ability. UConn has some of our very own in the EEB department!||EEB 5480 & 5482 - Speaking to & Writing for Public Audiences
EEB 3895-004 - Science Writing for Non-Science Audiences
|Story Telling on Screen||Watch and share films & documentaries about environmental/climate issues. Bring your friends to an Environmental Film Festival! For major bonus points, create your own documentary!||EFFY at Yale|
|Training the Next Generation||Teach young people to care for the environment, in your personal life and through encouragement of your school district to add environmental courses & topics to the curriculum.||Children's Environmental Booklist|
|Check out: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication||Learn more about commnicating climate change, and about data and trends on the public's knowledge of and interest in the topic.||Yale's Program|
Make a Political Impact
|Action||What it Looks Like||Resources & Further Reading|
|Comment on EPA rule changes||1) Browse regulations and notices
2) Read a summary of the changes (example here)
3) write a few sentences explaining your opinion in the public comment portal
|Tips & Templates - Submitting a Public Comment
|Contact your representative||Find your representative and email, call, etc. them to express your interest in climate and environmental initiatives||Find your CT Representative|
|Learn about current federal bills related to climate change||1) Use the GovTrack webpage to browse bills in US Congress
2) Look up articles from trusted and diverse sources to better understand the bills
3) Take action on the bills: contact your representative!
|Learn about CT Climate Policy and Programs||Use the DEEP website to learn about political action Connecticut has taken in relation to climate change.||DEEP - Climate Change|
|REGISTER TO VOTE||Follow the instructions at usa.gov; the process should take about 10 minutes.||Every Vote Matters - NPR|
|Look at voting records||Learn about elected representatives' positions and record on voting on environmental issues, starting by using the resources in the next column.||Congress Votes - GovTrack
|Join or Support UConnPIRG||It's easier than ever to get involved with student activism in environmental issues--join online weekly meetings such as an activist class and initiatives for zero waste and renewable energy!||UConnPIRG Website|
|Join or Support ConnPIRG||Get involved with zero waste and sustainable transportation issues at the state level. You can use ConnPIRG's tools to contact your representatives, donate, or you can get more involved in their initiatives.||About ConnPIRG|
|Submit an absentee ballot||1) Find your Town clerk address
3) Receive absentee ballot
4) Fill out ballot and mail it back
|CT.gov - Absentee Voting|
Coping with Climate Anxiety
|Action||What it Looks Like, Resources, & Further Reading|
|Guide to Coping with Climate Change Distress|
|Take Action||Doing something to reduce your carbon footprint can transform anxiety into something bearable, useful, and motivating and is a significant coping strategy.
Use the Climate Action Help Desk resources to take that first step to getting involved with climate groups, lobby politicians and industry, and change individual behaviors!
|Take a Break||Keeping up with a constant stream of information about climate change takes a huge psychological toll and doesn't actually solve the problem.|
|Have Fun and Feel Good||Positive experiences are critically important for inspiring and motivating yourself (and others). Not should you take breaks from the work to do fun activities, also try to incorporate positive emotions like fun, playfulness, passion, expansion, excitement, joy, or satisfaction into your environmentalism!|
|Maintain Healthy Routines||People thrive on routines, and making sure that your routines also include some healthy behaviours creates the best of both worlds.|
|Focus on Only a Few Issues||Working in too many movements or on too many climate projects becomes unwieldy and can be overwhelming. Prioritizing and focusing your energy will lower stress levels.|
|Relational Strategies||Social support enhances psychological wellbeing and reduces psychological distress during stressful times. Sharing thoughts and feelings about climate change with trusted friends and colleagues, spending social time with your community, family and friends (both people that share values as well as those outside environmental interests), having access to a mentor, or belonging to a group of people who share your values are all ways that may buffer you from stressful feelings or provide you with alternative ways to think about or deal with stressors. Talk to your friends or therapist about how you feel!|
|Cognitive Strategies||When we are stressed our capacity to think flexibly often diminishes. At these times, we rely more than usual on mental short cuts and can fall into a host of unhelpful thinking patterns. Cognitive strategies are used to identify and replace unhelpful thinking patterns in order to develop a more realistic and empowering way of thinking about the problems.
This can involve replacing helpless, hopeless or catastrophising thinking patterns with thoughts like ‘history shows that people can change’ or 'most of the scientists believe that there’s still a window of opportunity to limit greenhouse gas emissions’. Avoid thinking about issues in a way that is all or nothing about an issue (e.g. ‘driving cars is completely bad for the environment’), or overgeneralising.
|Emotional Coping Strategies||Engaging with climate change can evoke many painful emotions, both in ourselves and in those we empathize with. You can practice regulating your emotions to manage ecoanxiety by becoming more aware of your physical body (bring awareness to your 5 senses), let yourself emote (have a cry from time to time), know emotions will pass, approach painful situations with kindness and compassion, label your emotions, recognize that others feel the same feeling (you're not in this alone!) and validate these feelings.|
|More Eco-Anxiety Resources|
|NatureRX||NatureRx is a grassroots movement dedicated to informing people about the healing aspects of nature. It is built off of research that shows that time spent in nature is good for overall health and well-being. Find a place near you where you can visit and get your dose of nature!|
|Climate and Mind Site||A clinical social worker in Seattle created this website in order to connect people struggling with climate anxiety, depression, and trauma to helpful resources.|
|Dealing with Burnout||People who are concerned about climate change and are actively trying to do something about it may be vulnerable to burning out. Learn about burnout, warning signs, and how to prevent it with this info sheet.|
|EcoAnxiety in the News||These articles include some strategies on how to deal with climate anxiety:|
|Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Guidance||This guide is meant to expand awareness of and action on climate change and mental health from a research-based standpoint. It is intended to further inform and
empower health and medical professionals, community and elected leaders, and the public, and serves as a useful resource for fully understanding the relations between climate change and mental health.
|Consult with a Therapist||Talking to a professional about how you feel and your climate anxiety may be an effective way to have support in managing, coping, and developing strategies to think about climate change, especially if you are dealing with other mental health issues or trauma. It may be difficult to find a good-fitting therapist, but here are some great strategies on how to reach out for help!|
|Join a climate empathy-focused organization||There are many different organizations that work specifically on creating support systems for conversations about climate anxiety in order to solve climate change together. Many of them have local chapters around the country and worldwide, so find one near you!
|Be Kind to Yourself!|
Big Picture Movements
|Organization||What it Looks Like||Learn More & Contact|
|Highlighted UConn Organizations|
|UConn Collaborative Organizing||Engage in intersectional activism organizing in solidarity with other student organizations, unions, and community outreach for social and environmental justice. Currently involved in CT Mutual Aid Efforts.||Contact: email@example.com
Social Media: @CollaborativeOrganizing
|EcoHusky||Get involved with environmental activism on campus, attend off-campus events (marches, conferences, film festivals) and volunteer with a passionate group of students.||Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Media: @EcoHusky
|Fridays For Future||Take part in mass action and influence UConn and state-wide policy-making. Sign up for the email list to learn more.||Contact: email@example.com
Social Media: @uconnfridaysforfuture
|UConn BAILE (Bringing Awareness Into Latino Ethnicities)||Attend events focusing on activism & socio-environmental issues in the Latinx communtiy.||Attend Awareness Sessions! firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Comprehensive Chart of Environmental Student Organizations|
|Statewide & Regional Movements|
|CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs||Build alliances among diverse constituencies to combat climate change, create jobs and promote racial, economic and environmental justice. Take part by attending their webinairs and supporting events.||Website: Protect the Climate - Work for Justice|
|Save the Sound||Protect Connecticut and the Sound region with this statewide group through a diversity of events and actions connected with CT Climate and Resiliency.||Website: Save the Sound|
|Sierra Club, Connecticut Chapter||Work to connect people to nature, and to protect our air, water, land, climate and quality of life. The Sierra Club is the nation's largest and oldest grassroots organization with approximately one 2.7 million members and supporters, and 8,000 here in Connecticut.||CT Events & Outings|
|Connecticut League of Conservation Voters||CTLCV is a bipartisan, statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to giving our environment a voice at the Capitol. Help to "elect champions who will fight for the air we breathe, water we drink, and values we share."||Participate in rallies, public forums, canvasses, and other events throughout the year: Sign up for Alerts|
|Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS)||As climate change worsens, people will continue to be displaced by related natural disasters and warring over resources. Help refugees and immigrants people establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut's communities.||Volunteer at IRIS|
|Find Your Local Land Trust||Find your local land trust with the locator tool in the next column and get involved to help preserve natural spaces.||Locator Tool|
Technology & Innovation
|Technology or Action||Useful Information & Resources|
|Resources for Learning|
|Clean Energy Sources, Distribution, & Storage: A Few Potential Key Players|
|Photovoltaics||Introductory TED Video
Detailed science of solar cells (excellent for getting started in photovoltaics research):
Explore the Solar Dominance Hypothesis (SDH), one of the founding principles of the Solve Climate by 2030 Initiative:
Location-Specific Price & Environmental Impact Estimation Calculator:
|Offshore Wind||Overview of Pros & Cons - American Geosciences Institute (with helpful links at the bottom of the article)
|Hydropower||Overview from National Geographic
Analysis of emerging technologies in the hydropower sector - includes solutions that are fish-friendly, more environmentally-friendly and small-scale.
|Geothermal||Geothermal Overview - from International Renewable Energy Agency|
|Small Modular Nuclear Reactors||A Case for SMR's
NuScale - SMR Development Company
|Energy Storage||Fact Sheet: Energy Storage - Environmental and Energy Study Institute|
|Microgrids||Microgrids At-a-Glance - Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Develop your own microgrid for your community with technology developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): HOMER Quickstart is currently free as a beta version!
|Project Drawdown||This is a comprehensive list of different solutions for decreasing carbon emissions. It includes specific and detailed methods and a cost analysis on these methods.|
|Life Cycle Analyses||Life Cycle Analyses are a means of determining a technology's environmental impact from start to end of life. LCA's for various renewable energy sources as compiled by NREL are available here.|
|Energy Systems Map||Take a look at this interactive graphic developed by Student Energy that lays out the complicated web that is our energy system.|
|Presentation from UConn Professor, Dr. Peter Luh. Highlights microgrids as an energy solution.
|Tech at UConn - Learn & Get Involved!|
|Infrastructure & Implementation|
|LEED Green Building Features||LEED is a certification granted by the US Green Building Council. LEED features reduce negative environmental impact by reducing energy consumption & promoting nature-based methods in building functions. UConn is committed to achieving gold certification on every new building built.||UConn's LEED Certified Buildings
|Anaerobic Digestion||This technology produces energy from food waste: Methane is skimmed off of food that is decomposed in a controlled oxygen-free environment. The methane is burned for energy. Burned methane produces carbon dioxide, but is less harmful burned than methane simply released into the environment. So, while this process generates carbon dioxide, the impact is net reduction of global warming potential.||Quantum BioPower and UConn have a partnership to send UConn dining hall waste to Quantum's Southington digestor facility.|
|Retrofitting||Retrofitting is the replacing of old system components with newer ones. It is meant to improve energy efficiency, and includes adding light sensors, converting to LED lighting (for reduced energy consumption) and changing low-flow shower heads, stoppers, toilets, and sinks (for reduced water consumption). These retrofitting changes are effective ways to reduce emissions from buildings.||Lighting Retrofitting - UConn Today|
|LID Features||Low Impact Development (LID) Features are architectural features built into urban environments in order to prevent runoff from occurring in large amounts. Excessive runoff causes erosion and flooding, both of which are exacerbated by a lack of pervious ground cover and an increase in volume of precipitation. Climate Change will bring more intense precipitation events that will cause dramatic flooding and erosion, especially in urban environments. LID features can help to combat the ill effects of these events by providing space for water to drain into. Examples of LID structures include green roofs, rainwater harvesting, rooftop garden, permeable pavement, pervious pavers, rain gardens, and bioretention basins.||UConn LID|
|Center for Clean Energy Engineering (C2E2)|| C2E2 is "a multi-disciplinary research center that provides leadership in education, research and innovation of clean and efficient energy systems. By catalyzing the transformation of science to systems for a global “Sustainable Energy Economy,” the center facilitates industrial and organizational development of cost-effective solutions to current and emerging global energy and environmental concerns."
Contact Dr. Ugur Pasaogullari (email@example.com) for information on how to get involved!
|Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation (CIRCA)||"The mission of the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut’s coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change on the natural, built, and human environment."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
|Use Lincus to Get Involved||Lincus is an online search platform for university research. The UConn-specific page requires a NetID login, and from there you can access UConn research publications and identify labs you might want to work with via keyword search.|