Sustaining Orange County: Six Ways to Do Your Part

The realities of the global climate crisis can seem overwhelming. Every day, there’s new information about how the environment and human health are being threatened. And the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic has people wondering about possible parallels.

But there are plenty of Orange County residents fighting to make positive change. We highlight that great work here—from green businesses and university researchers to volunteer groups and civil servants. Passionate locals are working together to create a sustainable future; let them inspire you to take action in ways large and small.


“When people ask, ‘What should I start with?’ I always tell them to pick something you are actually going to do,” says Margo Finlayson of The Climate Reality Project. “You can always add more later.”

1 Avoid plastic water bottles, bags, and other single-use items.
Why: Plastic doesn’t biodegrade and is made from petroleum.
How: Reusable water bottles, straws, and tote bags

2 Limit unnecessary travel.
Why: Air travel and gas-powered cars produce a lot of carbon dioxide.
How: Public transportation, biking, walking, electric cars, carpooling

3 Be energy-wise.
Why: Reducing energy use helps decrease fossil-fuel emissions from power plants.
How: LED lights, Energy Star certified appliances, renewable energy sources such as solar or wind

4 Save water.
Why: Reducing the amount of water you use helps decrease the energy used to treat and deliver water.
How: Take shorter showers, use the dishwasher, choose drought-resistant landscaping.

5 Eat more plant-based food and less meat.
Why: Plants require much less water, land, and energy to grow.
How: Start with Meatless Mondays.

6 Buy less new clothing.
Why: Textile production is one of the top polluting industries.
How: Invest in long-lasting pieces rather than fast-fashion trends that will end up in landfills, or shop second-hand.

Read more from this cover story at orangecoast.com/sustainingoc

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