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How to Be a Climate Activist Even Though You’re Too Shy to Interrupt Anything. “You want to add your voice to the movement, make ‘good trouble,’ and stand for something for once in your goddamn life, but, unfortunately, you’re an introvert.”

Discussion  1 comment

David Rogers

If you're a retiree or someone with some free time, pay attention to local government. They often have committees addressing resilience or adaptation, and they are generally open to the public. You don't have to speak up, just showing up shows interest.

The biggest problems with these sorts of things is that they generally meet during the workday. If you're really committed, but working, you can take some time off and show up. If you're going to do that, take the time to read the agenda and perhaps prepare yourself ahead of time.

If you start showing up enough, you meet people and you can begin to form a network.

There's a bit of a useless debate about the utility of personal actions. I think personal actions are very important, because we're not making enough systemic change. Personal actions offer the power of example. They don't have to be big things.

I'm a retiree, privileged with a secure pension. My wife would like to travel. I don't want to, because I know I will never have to pay the consequences for my actions in flying to Europe and taking a cruise. I don't judge those who do, but it's not for me. So she went to Greece and took her daughter.

We do many other things. We've got solar+storage and we're net carbon negative - we create more energy than we use and the surplus goes to the grid where it helps power our neighbors' houses and we get a small credit.

We have a plug-in hybrid, because my wife had range anxiety. But with its 42mi battery range, most of our driving is in EV mode anyway.

We have energy-efficient appliances, most recently a heat-pump dryer. As much as I try to follow these things, I wasn't even aware they were a thing! They've been using them in Europe for decades. They cost more, but we don't have to pay someone $150 to come clean out the vent every couple of years, so it's a net savings over the life of the dryer. (High efficiency conventional resistive heating element dyers will complain about back-pressure, as we learned to our surprise. Even with the built-in filter, lint goes up the stack where it can accumulate and become a fire hazard, as well as decrease the efficiency of your conventional dryer. So you have to clean it out every so often, which involves getting on the roof in our case.) Heat pump dryers are better for your clothes too.

And we have a hybrid hot water heater that we run on Eco mode (heat pump) all the time. It's just the two of us, we seldom have the kind of demand that would require resistive heating.

We bought an induction range. My wife likes it because it offers the kind of instant response that you get from gas.

I'm probably going to get an electric bike soon, because I love to bike but Florida is so hot and humid in the summer that it becomes an ordeal. An electric bike would reduce the effort and add some cooling.

Do your best, and always interrogate what your best may be. Challenge yourself a little bit. Meet that, and then a little more.

Incremental changes become a path to profound ones.

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