Last weekend over 500 people in Dallas sat in a room together for TEDxSMU and listened to bright minds. We listened to very inspiring and talented individuals - Bobby Haas (National Geographic Photographer); William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind); Tanya Pinto (Baal Dan Charities); Lewis Warren (Pianist); just to name a few .
Throughout the day we would break and be immersed in conversations with other like-minded individuals. At one point, it hit me: there is something we can do to change the world if we would just get off our ass and do it. That was my takeaway from last Saturday. It was actually Jody Williams who said it. Turk Pipton of The Nobelity Project referenced one of her quotes during his talk. Williams said:
"There's nothing magical about change. If someone wants to change the world, it takes getting up off your ass and caring enough to take the first step to contribute to change on an issue you care about."
I've been saying this a lot to myself in the last week - "get up off your ass and contribute to change." It's so simple if we just stop being lazy and do something/anything. Pick an issue and "take the first step."
Another speaker at TEDxSMU, Dave Gallow, said this:
"Climate change is not something we are trying to avoid. We are living in it."
And I also liked the Kennedy quote that was referenced during Bobby Haas' talk:
"Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man."
So, on that note, here are 11 things Dallas is doing to fight global warming and 11 ways you can get involved:
1. Recycling in Dallas is too easy not to do it!
Dallas launched the "too good to throw away" recycling program back in 2006 to make it easy for residents to recycle. How did they make it easy? With convenient single stream recycling, meaning no sorting is necessary! Now do your part:
Order your blue recycle roll cart for your home/neighborhood or see a complete list of locations to drop-off your recyclables.
You have the power to choose which electric provider is right for you. Visit the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) Guide to Electric Choice in Texas: PowerToChoose.org. For a list of Green Providers in Dallas visit the US Department of Energy.
3. Dart to Dallas Events
Save gas emissions by parking your car or walking from your house to the nearest DART station. Dart to special events like the State Fair Try out Where's My Bus?® on the DART mobile website to find out the actual time your bus will arrive.
Did you know? DART Rail trains have the same emissions as a golf cart and DART buses use 8.7% less energy per passenger mile than a typical car.
Well, now you know.
4. Bike to Work/School/Errands 1 Day a Week
Feel good about the environment and feel good about yourself. Bike one day/week to work, school or run a few errands. Reduce the number of CO2 emissions it would have taken had you been in your car.
The City of Dallas has a 1,000 lane mile bike route system for commuting and alternative transportation use that covers the entire city. The bike routes were selected by local cyclists as the best way for bicyclists to get around town for work, school, and errands.
Check out our Urban Cycling Tips and the Dallas Bike Plan Map.
Nine counties with the North Central Texas region are in violation of the national 8-hour ozone standard and therefore unhealthy to breathe as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The North Central Texas Council of Governments started the Employer Trip Reduction Program to reduce the number of commuter trips to work.
Try Parking It will log your contributions to clean air by giving you an estimate of miles saved and harmful emissions reduced each time you submit your alternate commute.
Currently there is no system in place to account for the number of commute trips reduced when people utilize alternatives to driving alone to work. By tracking this information, NCTCOG is able to calculate the amount of air quality emission reduced and the number of miles saved.
7. Get Involved with The North Texas Clean Air Coalition
The Employer Trip Reduction program can't be done without the help of your employer. The NTCAC works with your employer to implement ETR program and help to encourages employees to make better choices when commuting to/from work.
Get involved by attending one of their monthly outreach events or by educating your employer about the ETR program.
8. Become an Earthkeeper's Docent at the Texas Discovery Gardens
Teach children about environmental life in a garden. You will lead a one-hour hands-on class that introduces children to nature. Contact Neli Spurrell at 214 428 7476 x 27 or Edu@TexasDiscoveryGardens.org
9. Join Keep Dallas Beautiful
Keep Dallas Beautiful, Inc. is an all-volunteer, non-profit community 501(C)(3) organization that focuses on:
- Litter Reduction
- Beautification & Community Improvement
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Their mission is to engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environment and make Dallas the cleanest, most beautiful city in which to live, work and visit.
10. Sign up for Free Alerts/Tips from Air North Texas
By signing up with Air North Texas you will receive:
- Air Pollution Watch and Warning Alerts. Prior to forecasted Air Pollution Watch and Warning days, an e-mail will be sent with tips to improve air quality and limit time spent outdoors.
- Clean Air Mail. The monthly Air North Texas e-newsletter will include air quality news and tips for reducing emissions, and in many cases, saving money.
- Transportation Experts. Commute smarter, save trips, reduce ozone-forming emissions. Air North Texas is a local transportation resource to help make commutes and clean air choices easy.
11. Attend a Community Green Event This Month
Check greendallas.net for green events happening in your neighborhood. This month check out Sustainability Brown Bag on Hazardous Building Materials Lunch or the 2nd Annual Sustainable Technologies Forum.
What other ways can residents in Dallas get involved in the fight against climate change?
About Blog Action Day
Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be the largest-ever social change event on the web. One day. One issue. Thousands of voices.
Why Climate Change?
Climate change affects us all and it threatens more than the environment. It threatens to cause famine, flooding, war, and millions of refugees.
Given the urgency of the issue of climate change and the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December, we think the blogosphere has the unique opportunity to mobilize millions of people around expressing support for finding a sustainable solution to the climate crisis.