Tools - Do Your Own Project

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Do Your Own Project

Take climate action and address other issues that your community cares about, at the same time.

Identify Local Strengths and Concerns

COLLAGES: Use photographs of climate-friendly practices taken in the Chicago region to have conversations with residents about what they are already doing that is climate-friendly, what more they want to do, and what barriers they encounter. Four collages--Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Waste Reduction, and Improved Transportation Options--focus on mitigation strategies (aimed at reducing greenhouse gases). Two collages--Land and Water--focus on adaptation strategies (aimed at helping people and nature cope with changes already underway). Now there is a LONGER VERSION OF THE COLLAGES ACTIVITY with detailed instructions for group use.

MAP GREEN ASSETS: Bring community leaders and residents together to identify local green assets and create either a hard copy or online green asset map. This will create a strong foundation for bringing diverse stakeholders together to engage in a climate action project.

DRAWING NEIGHBORHOOD MAPS: Middle school teachers in Chicago's Calumet region uses this activity to get students drawing maps of their neighborhoods. Thinking through spatial arrangements help 6th through 8th graders come to recognize what is important in their neighborhoods and could contribute to positive change.

COLLECTING CLIMATE ACTION: Identify community objects, places, and symbols that represent climate action—or the potential for climate action—and then think about how to use your “collection” to engage your community.

REMINISCENCES: Engage senior citizens in your climate action work by tapping into their green stories from the past. Invite young people to participate as well and make the activity intergenerational. This is a powerful way to reclaim sustainable practices from our communities’ diverse heritages, validate everyone's knowledge and participation, and build community pride.

Develop a Project Idea

PROJECT PLAN: What’s your approach to local climate action? For each of the community Toolkit projects, we created an approach diagram that maps out how the project idea links select strategies from the region’s climate action plans with community strengths and concerns. This tool includes a blank diagram and instructions for using it as a tool to come up with your own project idea.

CURRICULUM APPROACH: The Green Ambassadors curriculum in the Toolkit can provide ideas for structuring any research to action project, whatever the age of participants.

GET INSPIRED: As you brainstorm your own ideas, get inspired by others’.

BUDGETS AND FUNDING: Learn about how the Toolkit projects were funded and some of the creative ways in which community partners secured additional funds and assistance. Includes links to agencies, foundations, and organizations that often have resources for Chicago region sustainability projects.

STARTING THE CONVERSATION: The last page of the Toolkit's Guide to Green Cleaning offers advice on talking to different audiences about making changes in the probably habituated ways we clean house. It may be helpful to think about these approaches to starting any conversation about changing our family, communities, or city.