Are you Idling on Climate Action?

How often do you idle your car’s engine? That is, sit in your car before departing and run the engine to warm the car up in the winter, or perhaps to cool down the car in the summer. Or perhaps you sit in your car after you’ve arrived and take a few minutes to catch up on all your social media and email while running your car’s engine. Is your idling really necessary? Have you considered your idling’s impact on local air pollution and your personal carbon footprint?

How often do you idle on climate action? Are you standing idly by, ignoring climate change or waiting for others to act to save the world from this existential crisis? If not each of us, then who will work to save creation for our children, grandchildren, the poor, and future generations?

Climate activist Will Grant encourages us to act on four different levels: (1) individual, (2) family and friends, (3) community (including church and school), and (4) political.

At the individual level, start educating yourself about climate change. There are lots of great books, films, and web sites to study. A good start might be to watch Climate Solutions 101 from Project Drawdown at or read Laudato Si at

You can do a lot of things to reduce your personal carbon footprint. Search on the internet for a carbon footprint calculator (there are many) or maybe this list I compiled a couple of years ago will inspire you:   

At the family and friends level, there are two great ways to act: first model personal action to your family members and friends and second, talk about climate change/action with your family members and friends (see last week’s post Fast from Silence). If you have children, don’t forget to include them!

At the community level, join some climate change groups, participate in activities like Earth Day cleanups, and, when appropriate, advocate for community action in your workplace, community center, schools and other places in your neighborhood. Support responsible, sustainable companies and organizations.

And finally, advocate for change at all levels of our wonderful democracy. Vote and make your voice heard. I created the following Contacting Your Leaders resource page which you may find useful: Using this page, it’s very easy to contact your representatives from Seattle all the way up to the White House and make your voice heard.

So stop your idling on climate action. Working together, we can help take care of our common home. 

Paul Litwin

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