Action Plans

Download an editable pdf of each step of your action plan here:

Session 1: Step One — Personal Energy Footprint

Session 2: Step Two — SMART Goals

Session 3: Step Three — Outline Actionable Items

Celebration and Call to Action: Step Four — Implement

Sustainable Energy for All

Sustainable Energy For All Sustainable Energy for All is a UN global initiative focusing on energy usage. Its three major goals to be completed by 2030 include ensuring universal access to modern energy services, reducing “global energy intensity” by 40%, and increasing the use of renewable energy by 30 % globally. The UN site for Sustainable Energy for All gives detailed background of the cause and why the United Nations is involved. The Sustainable Energy for All website is the official website of the initiative and details the events, commitments, and activities of Sustainable Energy for All. Also a great source of further resources and relevant documents.  

Natural Resources Removal and Consumption

Mountaintop Removal Mining:

Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining A video from Yale Environment 360 and MediaStorm on the environmental and social impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Coal Mountain River Watch Coal Mountain River Watch is a non-profit that works in communities in southern West Virginia that have been affected by the mountaintop removal practices of coal mining companies. CRMW gives background into the history of mountaintop removal and its impacts on the environment and surrounding communities.

Mountain Justice Mountain Justice advocates for the abolition of mountaintop removal and works to contribute to the growing grassroots organizing, public education, and non-violent civil disobedience of citizen action. The website gives background to their cause, many facts and resources about MTR destruction in multiple states, discusses previous anti-MTR actions, and has detailed steps for further action.

EarthJustice EarthJustice is a public interest law firm dedicated to the protection of the environment, the animals, and the resources that are being unjustly sourced. Their Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining campaign is based off of “Mountain Heroes” telling their story and advocating for the cause. Site includes an educational video about mountaintop removal and multiple blog entries.  

Earth Observatory The Earth Observatory gives a photographic history from 1984 to 2010 of the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia due to mountaintop removal mining, including a brief background into MTR.


GasLand GasLand is an American documentary film written and directed by Josh Fox. The film focuses on rural landowners and looks into the hydraulic drilling process called “fracking” to find the lies, contamination, and destruction caused by the process being used to tap into America’s “Saudi Arabia of natural gas”.  

Oil Spills: For more information about deep ocean oil extraction and the impacts of oil spills on communities and ecosystems, check out our discussion course Just Below the Surface: Perspectives on the Gulf Coast Oil Spill and its suggested resources.  

Governmental Legislation & Campaigns

Fossil Fuel subsidies: works to build a grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis, and the Action Fund works to empower citizens to speak up in order to influence policy and policymakers. The campaign includes contacting congress about ending fossil fuel subsidies and changing the focus to green jobs and clean energy.  

Earth Policy Institute The Earth Policy Institute, led by Lester Brown, is focused on planning a sustainable future through the implementation of a new economic model based on renewable resources including solar, wind, and geothermal energy. The website includes numerous datasets highlighting population and society, climate and energy, food and agriculture, and economy and policy.

EPA’s State Climate and Energy Program The EPA’s State Climate and Energy Program helps states create and develop programs and policies that can aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy costs, improve air quality and overall health while achieving economic development goals. The website includes resources on the EPA’s efforts, case studies, state and regional policy, and detailed information on all aspects of climate change mitigation and policy efforts.

Cap and Trade:

Citizens Climate Lobby The purposes of Citizens Climate Lobby are (1) to create the political will for a sustainable climate and (2) to empower individuals to have breakthroughs in exercising their personal and political power. Lobby Teams are comprised of at least five Partners. Teams practice speaking together, visit their members of Congress and write letters to their MOC’s together. Their website features a FAQ section on carbon fees and dividends:

Annie Leonard’s The Story of Cap and Trade

Energy Resources: Introductions, Statistics, & Solutions Energy Literacy Advocates (ELA) is a public education advocacy group striving to improve energy literacy in order to create and maintain a responsible and comprehensive national energy policy. supplies information on all facets of energy and energy usage, and outlines the necessity of taking action.

Human Footprint Human Footprint is a documentary produced by National Geographic. The 92min film portraits what makes up an average human life currently, and the impacts each human’s life makes. The impacts portrayed include lifetime waste and total fuel consumption in each person’s 2,475,526,000 seconds on Earth.

4 Home Improvements You Can Make This Year This infographic from AvantBlog offers four suggestions for practical home improvements you can make to save money and energy. The infographic offers helpful information about consumer savings as well as how easy or difficult the change is to make.

Let’s Go Solar Solar energy and all its financing nuances can be confusing. provides simple, actionable information to help homeowners easily determine if renewable energy is a sound financial choice where they live.

The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises edited by Richard Heinberg and Daniel Lerch The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises, edited by Richard Heinberg and Daniel Lerch, is a compilation of articles discussing the main drivers of the new century, including renewable energy, urban agriculture, social justice, and systems resilience.  

Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair with Energy by Amanda Little In Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair with Energy,journalist Amanda Little discusses the history and future of America’s energy crisis through a solutions-oriented adventure story. The story travels to an offshore oil rig, Kansas cornfields, the Pentagon, a Superspeedway, and laboratories researching renewable energy.  

Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air by David MacKay Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air, written by Professor David MacKay, is a free downloadable book introducing policy and energy innovation by analyzing and explaining a myriad of statistics in a straightforward and comprehensible manor.  

Our Choice by Al Gore Our Choice, written by former Vice President Al Gore, presents solutions to the climate crisis brainstormed through Gore’s multi-year dialogue with the leading experts in the energy and resource sector.

Nuclear Issues

The Hanford Nuclear Site on the Columbia River in Hanford, Washington, is of particular concern to Pacific Northwesterners, and highlights the connections between weapons manufacturing and nuclear power production. A mostly decommissioned nuclear production site, Hanford is currently home to a commercial nuclear power plant and is the most contaminated nuclear site in the US. Find out some basic information about the site here. Here’s an assessment of the costs of the site by the Willamette Week. And find out about Columbia Riverkeeper’s work to restore the site here.

Finding Common Ground Links

Finding Common Ground with Climate-Change Contrarians  In Professor Scot Denning’s op-ed article “Finding Common Ground with Climate-Change Contrarians”, Denning discusses his visit to a Heartland climate change conference, where he was opposing many of the main arguments regarding the validity of climate change. In this article he discusses how he found common ground with those he disagreed with by first asking basic questions, creating a personal relationship with the audience, and emphasizing the basics before he continued on to disprove their arguments.  

How to Find Common Ground in the Bitter Climate Debate In this Yale Environment 360 interview with scientist Katharine Hayhoe, Hayhoe discusses how she has found common ground with climate change skeptics by being patient and answering their questions, and by relating climate change to the impacts on their lives and the lives of those around them. Hayhoe also explains that she supports brainstorming with skeptics solutions for the environment that all sides can agree on.  

Green Lifestyle Guides

Beyond Lightbulbs: The Jones Household Goes Carbon Free in 10 Years  by Brooke Jarvis and Doug Pibel  Brooke Jarvis and Doug Pibel’s article “Beyond Lightbulbs: The Jones Household Goes Carbon Free in 10 Years” is an easy-to-read and incredibly doable guide to reduce carbon emissions and, over 10 years, become carbon free. The article provides a system for calculating carbon footprints and provides solutions for abolishing that carbon footprint.

Top Ten USA Top Ten USA is an interactive website focused on helping consumers with choosing energy efficient products. The website evaluates appliances and products including cars, dishwashers, and water heaters, and states the top ten of each type of product, why it is on the list, and how much energy is saved in purchasing the product.  

Climate Change Begins at Home by Dave Reay Climate Change Begins at Home, written by climatologist Dave Reay, first summarizes the state of affairs of climate change, and explores the climate impact at home. Making use of case studies, calculations, and lifestyle studies, Reay provides valuable information on housing, gardening, food, money, transportation, and the true meaning of “doing your bit.” 

How to Live a Low-Carbon Life by Chris Goodall Chris Goodall’s How to Live a Low-Carbon Life supplies information and facts on current energy consumption in households, and is a readable one-stop reference guide to calculating CO2 emissions and reducing each person’s carbon footprint.  

Carbon Nation  Carbon Nation is a film written and directed by Peter Byck that specifically addresses climate change solutions. The documentary wants everyone, even those who doubt climate change, to watch and learn about solutions to make a better world. The film interviews and introduces an array of characters and business owners to help raise awareness and provide solutions to reduce carbon emissions and increase fresh air.  

How Bad Are Bananas?  By Mike Berners-Lee Mike Berners-Lee’s How Bad Are Bananas? is part green-lifestyle guide and part popular science as it educates readers about informed ways of living and teaches carbon-savvy purchasing options. Berners-Lee compares the carbon footprint of large events, but also discusses the carbon emissions used to send an email or buying a block of cheese.

Infrastructure and Large-Scale Change

Before the Lights Go Out by Maggie Koerth-Baker Before the Lights Go Out describes a unique approach to the climate crisis and the future of structured action. Author Maggie Koerth-Baker argues that we cannot change the world simply by buying a Prius or changing to renewable household energy. Rather, she argues that change must come from infrastructure change because “This isn’t just about sources -it’s about systems.”  

Climate Pragmatism: Innovation, Resilience and No Regrets by Rob Atkinson, Netra Chhetri, Joshua Freed, Isabel Galiana, Christopher Green, Steven Hayward, Jesse Jenkins, Elizabeth Malone, Ted Nordhaus, Roger Pielke Jr., Gwyn Prins, Steve Rayner, Daniel Sarewitz, and  Michael Shellenberger Climate Pragmatism: Innovation, Resilience and No Regrets,released by the Hartwell group, discusses a strategy to restart climate change efforts after the fail of the UNFCCC process. The strategy includes energy innovation, building resilience to extreme weather, and support of no regrets pollution reduction measures. Climate Pragmatism: Innovation, Resilience and No Regrets focuses not on the validity of the scientific argument, but rather on the politically feasible forms of action that will best help decarbonization.  

World on the Edge by Lester Brown Earth Policy Leader Lester Brown’s book, the World on the Edge, gives informative descriptions on the civilization’s biggest dilemmas as a consequence of the stress we have put on our world and offers a road map for solving the climate change crisis.

“The Long-Term Energy Efficiency Potential: What the Evidence Suggests” by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) gives a detailed report of the long term energy efficiency potential suggested by statistical evidence. The article furthermore supports advances in large-scale energy efficiency as the smartest investment for America.  

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones In The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, Van Jones addresses two of the largest crises: socioeconomic inequality and environmental catastrophe, and discusses how the new wave of environmentalism, the “investment” wave, can aid in solving both problems. In the book Jones advocates for a “Green New Deal” where government is seen as a partner rather than a bully and focuses on the importance of light rails and bus systems in creating a green infrastructure.

De-Bunking Climate Myths

Skeptical Science  Skeptical Science’s goal is to provide peer-reviewed articles and explain what the science says about global warming and climate change. The site debunks many climate change myths by the use of peer-reviewed science.