NEW COLUMN: What does climate change mean for your family?

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CHANGING BY DEGREES
LINDA ARBOGAST

You may have heard that the city of Oberlin has adopted a Climate Action Plan and has a goal of becoming a carbon-positive community by 2050.

But what does this really mean for you and your family?

The Climate Action Plan, or CAP, is designed to be a community plan where everyone has voice and everyone has a part to play. After all, it will take all of us working together to reach our goals to become a sustainable city.

By now you have likely noticed that our weather patterns are changing. We are having more extreme events, such as more rain in the spring and longer stretches of no precipitation later in the summer. Just recently it was 65 degrees in Oberlin — in the middle of January!

This past fall, my daughter carried a sign at the Climate March on Tappan Square that read, “The Climate is Changing, Why aren’t We?” Answers to this basic question and the question of how to make changes that positively affect our environment are the central theme behind this column, which is why I chose the title, “Changing by Degrees.”

There are a number of ways that we can change our behavior that support our reduced emissions goal. Each column will review one topic in more detail. For example, we will cover food waste, and answer questions like how big of a problem is it (spoiler alert: quite big!), what effect it has on our environment and what can each of us do about it.

We’ll talk about our homes: Where are the main sources of carbon emissions and what are ways we can all reduce? Let’s discuss transportation: How do we move about in our town and are there ways we can do so that are better for the planet?

In addition to reading this column, which I hope you will look forward to each month, there are a variety of ways to learn how to be more sustainable in your life. Please take a look at the Office of Sustainability’s webpage by visiting www.cityofoberlin.com and clicking on “Sustainability” under the “For Residents” tab. Here you can see whether a solar array might be right for you, read our Climate Action Plan update, find out how to get your home weatherized and also find rebates that may be available to you for efficiency measures in your Oberlin home or business.

You can also call me with questions or ideas at 440-775-7257 or stop by my office in City Hall at 85 South Main St. to chat.

In the words of young climate activist Greta Thunberg: “The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.”

Hopefully, with a bit more knowledge, we will all find ways to change by degrees.

Linda Arbogast is the sustainability director for the city of Oberlin.