Confronting Climate Change: What Can I Do?

You can help protect your family, friends, and communities from climate change by using less energy, making smart travel choices, weather-proofing your home, and choosing sustainable behaviors every day.

The bad news is that human actions are the primary cause of climate change. Our everyday activities like driving gas cars and using electricity require energy, and this energy is largely created by burning fossil fuels, like oil, gas, and coal. The burning of these fossil fuels gives off greenhouse gases that trap too much heat in our atmosphere, disrupting natural systems and resulting in climate change. We drive a lot and use a lot of electricity, which means we’ve burned a lot of fossil fuels (and released a lot of greenhouse gases) in order to reach our energy needs.

The good news is this: if our actions are the cause of climate-affecting emissions, that means we all have the power to protect ourselves and our children from the worst effects of climate change by making alterations in our everyday choices. You can make a big difference in the fight against climate change by using less energy every day. In Delaware, we are also working to get our energy from clean, renewable resources like the sun and the wind, instead of from fossil fuels. This way, we can meet our energy needs without making climate change worse.

Here are some positive actions you can take every day on your own or with your family and friends that save energy (and often money as well!). Together, we can make Delaware healthier, more beautiful, and climate-smart.

Turn off lights when you leave a room.

Unplug chargers when not in use, or use a power strip to easily turn off multiple devices.

Switch to energy efficient LED lightbulbs, which come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. These bulbs only cost $1-2 per year to light and will last 10 years.

Use a clothesline or indoor drying rack instead of a dryer.

In the summer, open windows and use fans instead of air conditioning.

In the winter, keep blankets and sweaters around the house instead of cranking up the thermostat.

Use a programmable thermostat for day and night time temperatures—don’t pay more than necessary to heat/cool an empty house.

Look for the EnergyStar label when buying new appliances.

Consider installing solar panels. Solar panels lower your electric bill as you only pay for the energy you don’t produce. Financing plans, grants and tax incentives may be available to mitigate the upfront cost.

Install flow-restrictors on faucets and shower heads to save hot water.

Wash clothes in cool or warm water.

Seal cracks and gaps that may leak air and cause drafts.

Put weather-stripping around windows and doors.

Put foam outlet covers behind electrical outlet plates to stop air leakage.

Make sure that pipes, walls, and crawl spaces are properly insulated.

Have your HVAC system serviced and updated to make sure it runs efficiently.

See if you qualify for Delaware’s free Weatherization Assistance Program.

Walk, bike, or skateboard to nearby places instead of driving.

Take public transportation like buses and trains.

Take a “stay-cation.” Explore Delaware’s state parks and great attractions locally instead of flying far away for vacation. Commercial flights are a large source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Carpool with neighbors, friends and coworkers.

Plan errands and daily driving trips in one efficient trip.

Avoid idling your vehicle.

Drive an electric or plug-in hybrid electric car. They cost less to fuel than gas cars and Delaware has rebates to make vehicles more affordable.

Keep your car regularly maintained. Proper tire pressure and oil and filter changes make your car more fuel efficient.

Recycle boxes, cans, cups, paper, and bottles.

Dispose of old electronics and appliances at specified recycling centers.

Minimize food waste in your kitchen. Food waste is a significant source of greenhouse gases.

Learn about and support renewable energy projects in and outside of Delaware.

Carry refillable water bottles and coffee mugs instead of using disposable ones. Many convenience stores and coffee shops give discounts for using reusable mugs, and many also have mugs you can use if you’re planning to sit and stay a while. Just ask the barista!

Use reusable tote bags for shopping and groceries.

Support local agriculture at produce stands and farmer’s markets.

Buy local products and shop at small businesses.

Get crafty. Take a Saturday afternoon to refurbish old items instead of buying new ones. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Build a community garden. Plants filter carbon and pollutants out of the air and add beauty to your neighborhood.

Explore possibilities for green infrastructure like rain gardens and urban trees.

Research solar panels and other renewable energy projects. DNREC’s Green Energy Program has helped support thousands of solar projects on churches, schools, fire stations and more.

Help maintain walking and biking trails by picking up litter.

Organize community carpools and rideshares.

Get talking! Talk to your neighbors about ways you can work together to make your community healthy, environmentally-friendly and climate-ready.

Be an active part of local boards and committees, and attend public meetings. Many important land-use and environmental decisions are made at the local level.

Make an emergency kit in the event of an extreme storm or event.

Drink extra water on hot days.

Use public air conditioned spaces to cool down, like a mall or library.

Sign up for weather alerts to be prepared for the day.

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