Climate Change Connections: Taking action

One day at a time: A climate change action calendar.


“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” —Chinese proverb

Listening to all that is out there in the news and in everyday conversations, the amount of information about climate change can be overwhelming, but maybe there is a simple solution: each of us doing our part, with one day at a time as our goalpost, and applying this aim every day.

Imagine if for one month we all followed a calendar of action, all of us on the same page, causing change for the better, for our Island, for our planet. Think of what that could lead to!

Below is a calendar for the month of January 2024, designed to put us all on the same page for action, large or small, about climate change. This is a way of replacing being overwhelmed with a genuine feeling of being purposeful, empowered, and being a steward for our precious Island and our beloved Earth.

  • Get a rain barrel, and use it for multiple purposes like watering your plants, washing your car, etc.
  • Walk the trails on the Island, one a week, alone or with friends, and get closer to nature. Let it lift your spirits and inspire you to climate change action.
  • Google nearby off-Island trail hikes, and plan trips to them.
  • Take the bus — ridership is free through March 31.
  • Write to your representatives, and express pressure to super-speed climate change legislation.
  • Read up on rewilding your yard.
  • Ask tree people here on the Vineyard what trees are best for the Island environment, so you can plant one in your yard.
  •  Plan a vacation to one of the national parks.
  •  Think of diplomatic ways of asking people not to leave their car engine running for more than five minutes, which is state law on idling your car. (Thirty-one states plus D.C. have idling-car laws.)
  •  Make a concerted effort to find ways to cut back and buy less in the new year.
  •  Study career choices that address climate change.
  •  Create something all your own that has to do with climate change.
  •  Use vinegar as a cleaning product, instead of products that contain chemicals.
  •  Study the climate action plan, “The Vineyard Way – Connected to Our Past, Committed to Our Future,” and get ideas for more actions, online at
  • Be mindful of how much plastic is being used in everyday life, and try to curtail your use of it, replacing plastic with glass and other nonplastic alternatives. Remember to recycle.
  • Write a letter to the editor about your ideas for climate change action.
  • Attend climate committee meetings in your town.
  • Conserve water in the kitchen and bathroom. Use your dishwasher, rather than wash dishes by hand; the dishwasher uses considerably less water. Before putting your dishes in the dishwasher, don’t rinse them off. Just scrape the food particles off.
  • Check out climate change events at the town libraries.
  • Check out a book from the library, or buy a book, on climate change action. Examples: “The Climate Change Action Handbook,” by Heidi A. Roop, or “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth,” by the Earthworks Group.
  • Contact the Vineyard Power energy coach to learn about installing solar panels, heat pumps, and buying an electric vehicle, online at
  • Sign up for the Island Climate Change Action Network monthly newsletter at
  • Attend the student Protect Your Environment Club’s Climate Café on Jan. 21, 10 am, at Rosewater; the topic is “Protecting and Restoring Nature.”
  • Compost your food scraps for use in the garden. Buy a composting machine that sits on the kitchen counter.
  • Shop at secondhand stores.
  • Call someone you know who knows a lot about climate change, and exchange thoughts and ideas.
  • Encourage restaurants to use compostable takeout supplies, and thank them when they do.
  • Reflect more on what you can do, instead of what you should do, and think of how rewarding it was to take action, and keep it up!
  • With your family and/or friends, come up with one last intention for climate change action for this month, and perhaps for keeps.

Happy New Year to all of you!

For more information or to share ideas, email Doris Ward at