We asked readers to share changes they’ve made amid environmental concerns. Here is an edited sample of their responses.
She puts an end to idling
Probably the most impactful environmental thing I’ve done and that I continue to do is asking men — and mostly men — in pickup trucks and cars to please shut off their motors while sitting and waiting or texting. Amazingly, most do so right away. I remember driving up to my tutorial student’s home, and there were five pickup trucks running while friends were chatting, and I gave them the devil for standing around with their motors running. Next visit, they were all smiles with silent trucks. Victory!
Kids are the future, naturally
When I tried to think of things I’m doing now, I could only think of a few regular ones, such as using good shopping bags and refusing plastic ones if I forget. However, I think I did a lot in the past. I encouraged kids to be kind to wildlife. We relocated turtles, joined 4-H clubs, and helped out at the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell and the New England Wildlife Center in South Weymouth. One of my sons got a degree in biology and minored in the environment. He now works for a consulting agency in Washington, D.C., which teaches countries how to manage environmental problems. So, I’d encourage parents to start early. Get kids out walking, think of summer camps that teach nature issues, visit places such as nature centers and the New England Aquarium. Your enthusiasm will cause them to think about nature and how to preserve it.
Preaching to the climate deniers
There are so many powerful films about climate change, but they preach to the converted. I made a 20-minute film that preaches to climate change deniers — evangelicals and conservative Christians. It’s called “Evangelicals for Climate Action,” and it’s being used by churches and young evangelicals to change the minds of their doubting elders, many of whom are Trump supporters. I couldn’t look my children in the eye and say, “Sorry, I didn’t do anything.”
The writer is a professor in the department of film and television at Boston University.
Book about warming is chilling
Recently, I challenged myself to read “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” by David Wallace-Wells . The news is not good. We have only a few years to make it less bad. This book has compelled me to look at every decision I make now in the larger context of climate change. From avoiding plastic bags and straws to choosing where to live, what car to buy next, and who to vote for. Now 72, I never thought that the end of my own life could coincide with the end of civilization as we know it. We have to stop looking away from climate change and start facing it, immediately. Think I’m being alarmist? I challenge you to read the book.
No to plastic, moment to moment
I have tried to be more aware about my plastic use recently. Do I need to put two limes in a produce bag, only to take them out and put them in a bowl at home? The plastic bag ban in Boston has helped me to sharpen this perspective. When I stop at the Star Market on Boylston Street for two items, I just throw them in my work bag. I have started to use my own plate when I go to the cafeteria in my job at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The cashier looked askance and informed me that my cost would be higher because of the increased weight on the scale, but to me it is worth it.
A unique lens on our surroundings
As a volunteer, I have photographed 100 different sites — beaches, rocky coasts, shore-side parks, public boat ramps, harbor walks, coves, marshes, creeks, scenic overlooks, and harbor islands — for the Massachusetts Coast Guide Online, an online map developed by the state Office of Coastal Zone Management. I have done this for two reasons: The public needs to be aware of these coastal treasures in order to advocate for their preservation and protection, and I enjoy taking photos of beautiful places. One of these coastal sites is Kings Cove Park, on the Weymouth side of the Fore River Bridge, right next to the site of a proposed natural gas compressor station. If built, this compressor station would be a serious health hazard to park-goers and residents in a densely populated area of the South Shore.
No longer just acting locally
To me, it’s increasingly clear that the scale of effort needed to combat climate disruption is huge. I try to live pretty simply, but my being car-free or buying wind power — these kinds of individual actions — are not going to have real impact. So now I focus instead on working for bigger stakes. Lobbying legislators, nagging the state and Harvard to divest from fossil fuel companies, and recruiting support for the Green New Deal seem much more to the point, so I’m putting my energy there. It seems time to move from individual action to helping create a broad-based movement for the large-scale transformation we need, so I’m also talking to people who worry about climate change but haven’t yet taken action in the public arena.