2019 has been a year of more climate related natural disasters and now the U.S. has given official notification that it will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement next fall, while continuing to roll back regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions. The same week that the U.S. is formally withdrawing from the agreement, more than 11,000 scientists worldwide issued a warning of “untold suffering” that will be caused by climate change, if politicians and citizens do not change their ways.

Here is what they concluded: The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity. Especially worrisome are potential irreversible climate tipping points and nature’s reinforcing feedbacks (atmospheric, marine, and terrestrial) that could lead to a catastrophic ‘hothouse Earth’, well beyond the control of humans. These climate chain reactions could cause significant disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies, potentially making large areas of Earth uninhabitable.”

And here is one of their major recommendations: The world must quickly implement massive energy efficiency and conservation practices and must replace fossil fuels with low-carbon renewables and other cleaner sources of energy.”

In light of this dire prediction and urgent call to action, backed by over 11,000 scientists, how do we keep from feeling hopeless, helpless, or immobilized? The answer is simple: take action in your own life to get on the path to zero, and inspire your friends, neighbors and co-workers to do the same. You can also take steps to encourage your state and local governments to pass climate-friendly legislation.

Make 2020 the year that you commit to – and follow through on – your path to zero. So where should you start?

No matter what your living circumstances are, you can take small steps to get your life on the path to zero. If you are a homeowner, make a plan to gradually remodel your home towards using net zero energy. If you are in the market to buy a new home, learn about the many benefits of a zero energy home with the understanding that zero energy homes are affordable. Talk to a green realtor about finding a zero energy home for sale or find a local builder who can build one.

If you are in the market for a new or used car, learn more about the benefits of electric vehicles and consider a new or used hybrid or an all-electric vehicle.

If you are a builder, designer or developer learn how easy it is to design and build zero energy homes and buildings. If you have designed or built a zero energy home in 2019, submit it to Team Zero’s 2019 Zero Energy Inventory.

If you are a commercial builder or business owner considering a new building project or renovation, learn about existing zero energy commercial buildings and contact the New Building Institute for guidance on how you can easily get your commercial building to net zero energy use. If you own a business and are not planning a move, consider how other businesses are getting on the path to zero.

If you are thinking about how to get your community on the path to zero, learn what other cities are doing to get on the path to zero and check out the climate action ordinances and plans they have enacted. There are many ways to advocate for zero energy/zero carbon in your community.

One last, very important action you can take is to share this blog with friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers so they can learn how they may take action as well. Together we can make a real difference!