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Big and Little Ideas for Coping with Climate Change
Big and Little Ideas for Coping with Climate Change Image

It seems like every new day brings increasingly more urgent news about the Climate Crisis! Feeling overwhelmed? It’s understandable. The issue is so big that it’s hard enough to wrap one’s head around the issue, let alone develop strategies to solve it. 

By the end of this century, sea-level rise may displace 13 million people in the United States alone! These kinds of facts cause us stress, and while part of coping with this kind of stress should involve the nurturing of a healthy body and mind, taking action is often an equally effective way to ease anxiety. Here at LA Stormwater, we believe that every individual is a custodian of our planet, our waterways, and our ocean’s health. Every action helps, no matter how small! 

Last month’s Global Climate Strike was a massive acknowledgment of our collective anxiety and the power of unified action. As a follow-up, we’re acknowledging this eco-anxiety and highlighting and recommending some pragmatic, LA-specific ideas for productive personal action! Keep reading for our remedies to climate change anxiety.

1) Acknowledge the anxiety, you are not alone! Fear in the face of a changing climate is something an increasing number of people are feeling, and this fear is not bounded by country or party lines. A 2019 Gallup Poll found that 54% of US residents ages 18- 34, 38% of those 35- 54, and 44% of those 55 or older worry a “great deal” about global warming. The first step to moving past anxiety and into effective action requires us to acknowledge our fears and to find others that share our concerns  trust us, you are not alone.

2) Worried about climate change? Mobilize! We’ve got 11 years. People all over the country are stepping up to demand that their representatives treat the issue of climate change with the seriousness and urgency it requires. Earlier this year, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, warned that “We are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet,” and stressed that 11 years are all that remain to avert catastrophe.

Los Angeles has joined with cities across the world to develop Climate Action Programs and city-specific versions of the Green New Deal. Read these documents, discuss them with friends, family, and neighbors, raise concerns and bring these concerns to your representatives!

3) Work with your neighborhood to develop your own micro-adaptation plans. While LA is planning several city-level responses to climate change, there are lots of things we can do on an individual level to encourage movement in the right direction, and to start reducing the impact that your household and community has on the environment. It will take a unified global effort to mitigate climate change, but still, decisions that happen in one house can spread to the homes of friends and neighbors, and as more people get involved in discussions, our individual impact can quickly snowball! Just remember that climate change isn’t an isolated issue. Solving a crisis of this scale requires conscious (and patient) input and collaboration from everyone.

4) Take action at home! Need some help getting that neighborhood mitigation and adaptation plan going? Here are some of our ideas: 

  • Reduce water consumption by switching to California native, drought-tolerant plants
  • Practice seasonal planting. With cooler weather and first flush right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start planning your planting! Plants that go into the ground between November and March will have the best chance of developing deep roots and thriving when the next summer’s heat returns. 
  • Reduce your contribution to ocean pollution and the stress it causes in fish and wildlife populations by reducing or eliminating the application of pesticides and fertilizers in your yard altogether. Need help with alternative pest control methods? The UC Master Gardeners are a fantastic resource!
  • Keep water on your property by creating rain gardens (slightly sunken areas) to trap and absorb water. Rain gardens prevent ocean pollution by stopping water from running into the street and picking up pollution as it’s carried to the nearest storm drain. The parkway is also a potential spot for a rain garden!
  • Discuss solar panels and distributed energy sources with your neighbors. Energy shutdowns will be less far-reaching if there are smaller, and more distributed energy sources within and throughout Los Angeles’ communities! Not to mention your energy bill will be lower. 


Concerned about climate change? Have a specific question or suggestion? We’re listening! Email us at lastormwater@lacity.org.

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