November 14, 2022
Compiled by Dayenu member Michael Orenstein in 2022
When it comes to climate action, it can be hard to know where to start. Whether you are looking for some good books or authors, or organizations to get involved with, check out the list below to get your inspiration flowing and start taking action.
Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.
One of the first books to address the environmental issues we face now.
Under a White Sky, by NPR science reporter Elizabeth Kolbert.
A fascinating book addressing damage to our environment from the Chicago River to New Orleans to the Mojave Desert. She also wrote the Sixth Extinction.
Anything by Bill McGibben, who has written over 10 books.
The Citizens’ Climate Lobby focuses on creating a broad, nonpartisan, grassroots network supporting sustainable climate-change solutions.
The National Wildlife Federation engages with communities, schools, governments, and nonprofit organizations, working collaboratively to increase wildlife populations and enhance their capacity to thrive.
The Nature Conservatory seeks to tackle climate change, protect, and make sustainable our land and water, and build healthy cities.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
As a botanist and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the author shares a collection of beautifully written essays about the importance of ecological balance and respect for all living things.
Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe
Dr. Hayhoe is a climate scientist, mother, and devout Christian who ties her faith to her need to speak out about climate change. She’s a compelling popular speaker and this book provides a lot of insight into discussing climate change with people in a way that they can begin to become engaged rather than ignore the crisis.
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells
Honestly quite grim, so be warned but this non-fiction book gives a scientifically based picture in graphic detail of our future world should we fail at addressing climate change.
Things You Can Do: How to Fight Climate Change and Reduce Waste by Eduardo Garcia
This book offers hundreds of ways to reduce your environmental footprint and information is presented in a fun, actionable way. This book would be handy to keep on your shelves.
We are the Weather: Saving the Plant Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer
This book offers a compelling blend of personal stories and bite-sized scientific information about the impact of animal agriculture on climate change. He gives a persuasive argument for how eating a more plant-based diet can be one of the biggest steps you can take as an individual to help combat climate change.
Sharon also recommends environmental coverage from The New Yorker and The Atlantic
Before the Flood (2016)
This film is a collaboration between actor and Earth Alliance co-founder Leonardo Dicaprio and National Geographic which takes its audience across the globe to view how different groups of people are being impacted by climate change and what solutions can be found.
Generation Greta (2020)
This short documentary interweaves the portrait of 9 young women from all around the globe, aged 12 to 23, in their battle against climate change. Very inspiring and available through Kanopy.
Power of Us: Confronting our Climate Crisis (2021)
Produced by a local Chicago couple who are members of Am Shalom in Glencoe, this 40-minute documentary showcases three local Northwestern students as they learn more about what they can do about climate change. This film is available on PBS to stream.
There are almost too many climate-action groups to count, but Giving Green, a think tank promoting evidence-based giving, publishes an annual guide to organizations it finds to be most effective at combating climate change.
For 2022 they are:
More information on Giving Green’s research.
Aytzim (Trees) focuses on building an ecological Jewish community. Its projects include a Green Zionist Alliance, which seeks to sustain Middle East ecosystems; regional activist projects in Washington DC and the Bay Area; and networking among eco-minded rabbis and cantors. It also keeps a blog resource guide, Jewcology.org, aiming to comprehensively cover and describe the Jewish ecological world.
Canfei Nesharim (The Wings of Eagles) focuses on environmental education in the Orthodox world. It has resources for Jewish holidays, teen programming, and a library of divrei torah.
Dayenu (It Would be Enough) focuses on promoting Jewish climate action. It organizes synagogue circles, advocates for climate-change legislation, and urges divestment from fossil-fuel industries.
Hazon (Vision) focuses on helping people reduce their eco-footbring, especially around food. Find many articles describing everything from finding meaning in food choices, to eco-holiday suggestions, to pickling techniques. It also organizes conferences and supports other Jewish eco-movements.
The Jewish Climate Action Network has a focus on Jewish agricultural education. It maintains a farm and organizes panel discussions. It is New England-based but also has branches in DC and Georgia.
The Jewish Earth Alliance focuses on organizing around specific issues. It offers monthly legislative action alerts, some broad (supporting 2021’s Build Back Better bill) and others narrower (like eliminating ozone-destroying hydrofluorocarbon emissions).
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism organizes Reform shuls around all sorts of tikkun olam projects, including domestic and Israeli environmental issues.
Wilderness Torah focuses on environmental education. Bay-area-based, it is building a retreat center and seeks to reclaim the “earth-based traditions of Judaism”
The Ecology Center hosts summer camps, field trips, scouting programs, and birthday parties; and rents out community gardens at James Park, Twiggs Park, Lighthouse Park, and a site on McCormick Boulevard. Did you know they also rent out snowshoes? The nonprofit partner of the Ecology Center, The Evanston Environmental Association, offers programs including film festivals, gardening and landscaping classes, and a native plant sale. They also have an events calendar.
The city’s Environment Board page contains the Board’s bylaws and past agendas meeting packets.
Sustain Evanston recognizes Evanston businesses for their efforts in areas like carbon neutrality and waste reduction
The city’s climate change page outlines its Climate Action and Resilience Plan.
Citizens Greener Evanston focuses on making Evanston a more environmentally just, sustainable, and resilient community.
The Evanston Bicycle Club hosts group bicycle rides.
The Evanston Interreligious Sustainability Circle approaches environmental activism through an interfaith lens. It hosts work days and educational programs.
The Evanston North Shore Bird Club organizes birdwatching trips and hosts educational programs.
Collective Resource Compost is a compost pick-up business serving Evanston, Morton Grove, and Skokie, and many other communities in the Chicagoland area.
Go Green Morton Grove works on local and regional sustainability issues, including native-plant gardening, green energy, and environmental justice. It organizes workdays and hosts information sessions.
Go Green Skokie works to promote environmental sustainability and justice.
Go Green Wilmette offers programs on gardening, birding, and environmental issues. They also organize bird walks, tree walks, a sustainable yard tour, an annual native plant sale, and clean-up and restoration workdays. They also work to promote greener practices in government and local businesses.
The Skokie Park District’s Emily Oaks Nature Center maintains a half-mile nature walk through woodlands around a two-acre pond. It hosts children’s parents’ programs, adult educational outings, and a book club. It also has facilities available for birthday parties and other events.
The Village of Morton Grove’s Environmental and Natural Resources Commission maintains a website with various links, including one to the village’s sustainability plan.
Simple Recycling is a free program offered through Evanston to help keep nondegradable items out of landfills. It’s easy to schedule a pick-up and they pick up all types of clothing, shoes, accessories, kitchenware, linens, and items less than 50 lbs that one person can carry. Evanston’s Sustainability page collects information on various environmental issues and initiatives including city resolutions and ordinances; trash collection and transfer; a recycling guide; solar, electric-vehicle and rain-barrel programs; tree protection and growth; electric-service aggregation, and financial assistance with utility payments.
The Village of Skokie’s Sustainable Environmental Advisory Commission maintains a website with links addressing composting, solar-energy programs, textile recycling, and urban gardening and hoop houses.
The Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County publishes a huge directory of businesses and organizations that accept items for reuse and recycling, weekly electronics-recycling service in Glenview, and information on recycling and disposal of hazardous waste.
The WasteShed is a nonprofit that blends sustainability, art, and education in an innovative way. The store gives new life to used art supplies and craft materials and sells them at next to nothing. They recently moved locations from Chicago to Evanston (1245 Hartrey Ave. Evanston, IL)