Happy almost spring daily actors!!!

With blossoms popping and green growth all around, can’t you just feel spring’s verdant emergence? There’s also something else in the air, a sense of urgency and importance, as we struggle with the housing crisis, the climate crisis and more and more community members having a harder time getting by. And YOU can impact each of these issues while getting skilled, connected and empowered, RIGHT NOW by joining our March programs!

Spring is making its way on to the scene

With urgency and emergence all around, NOW is the time to build the collective will to prioritize climate action. How?

We start with the only power we have, our daily acts, and we focus on three critical areas. First, we begin with ourselves, all change starts with awareness, in each of us. Second, we take action to live what we value. From here, we use the power of our voice and personal action to inspire and engage our neighbors, co-workers, schools, churches and municipalities: unleashing the full power of our communities.

Start with an Inner Climate Change
In the best-selling book, Atomic Habits, James Clear writes, “The biggest barrier to positive change at any level – individual, team, society – is identity conflict.” Goals and plans are important, but the core issue is our underlying beliefs about who we are. First you decide whom you want to be (as a person or community) then you prove it to yourself with small wins. It’s so easy to underestimate the transformative power of such small daily choices and building good habits. We gain motivation by making choices that show us we are in control, while affirming our values and goals, linking our small tasks to larger aspirations.

In the face of the climate crisis, who do you wish to be, how do you want to act? What values do you want to drive your actions? To gain more specific awareness about the impact of our choices and focus the actions you want to take, you can do a quick, easy eco-footprint calculator, one of many to choose from.

Take Action at Home and Revive the Three R’s!!!
After you align with who you want to be and assess your eco-footprint, where will you take action? Recently Petaluma Mayor Teresa Barrett said to me that when it comes to the 3 R’s of reduce, reuse, recycle, people have mostly forgotten about the first two. At the time, I was taking apart a broken garden umbrella to reuse the pole and thinking, you are absolutely right! As the most resource-consuming human generation ever, just using less and reusing more would greatly address many of our problems.

As noted in the climate solutions book Draw Down, while Daily Acts focuses a lot on solutions to save water in the landscape, to grow more food and to reduce environmental toxins; when combined, reducing food waste and moving to a plant-rich diet is far and away the greatest climate change solution. So eating less meat, and when you do, buying local, organic, even carbon-farmed meats (which we are fortunate to have in the North Bay) is a critical place to take climate action. Air travel is another big one. For most of us, there are ample ways to reduce our resource use.

To set ourselves up for success, having clear, specific, and inspiring but doable goals is important. Even more important, is having a supportive environment and good habits that are conducive to changing how we do things. But at the core, affirming who we want to be is the greatest way to affect long-term change. After affirming who you want to be and making choices to sacrifice a little comfort, convenience or cost-savings, consciously acknowledging these values-aligned choices makes an important difference as well.

Even spring blossoms floating in stormwater cause a ripple

Get Civically Engaged
If we are serious about reclaiming our future, about a safe climate and richer, more resilient lives and communities, individual action alone won’t do it. WE MUST BE CIVICALLY ENGAGED. This has to be part of our identity. Engage your neighbors. Show up at city council meetings and send money and emails to support local groups and state and national initiatives like the Green New Deal. In the last two days, I’ve encouraged two friends who’ve never spoken at a city council meeting before to do so in advance of Petaluma’s Policy-setting session in March. For real climate action, we need your voice.

Paul Hawken has asked if climate change is happening to us or for us? The whole of the living world is urgently speaking to us in the voice of fires, floods and hurricanes. Amidst the hurt and devastation of the North Bay fires in 2017, even after 17 years of daily acting, I’ve never seen a more unleashed, purposefully-empowered community rising to the urgency of the moment. THIS is what we need. But urgency alone isn’t sustainable. We need a sustained pace consciously clothed in a fierce grace that is lovingly honed and hung out to dry in the vibrant sunshine of aware daily actions. There is no greater purpose than rising to this big planetary moment.

Two daily actors who have recently inspired me to up my game are former staff member and new Petaluma City Council member D’Lynda Fischer and core volunteer Annie Stuart who is also a driving force behind 350 Petaluma, working on climate change. Like many of you I have a full plate with a lot of leadership and life obligations. But am I the “too busy” kind of person who sits aside and hopes someone else speaks my concerns and takes care of my daughter’s future in the face of such urgency? Or do I get engaged and encourage others to do the same, to save resources and save our kids’ future, one daily act at a time? Solutions to address this crisis are widely available, it’s a matter of public and political will, which begins with our personal will. How will you rise to the moment and spark an inner climate change to up your game in how you act and engage?

Luckily spring is here to help. There’s just something in the air where anything feels possible and possibly probable, when we live as if it’s so. Last Saturday, I was out in the garden fixing an old wheelbarrow, weeding the garlic, pruning fruit trees, chasing escaped chickens and texting and talking with elected officials, business leaders, friends and neighbors about how to prioritize climate action. The moment is big and the odds are long, but my hope is strong. A whole lot of daily actors and other good folks across the planet are rising up.

Take heart, take part, take action,

Trathen Heckman

Executive Director