You want to protect your family and the environment. Here's what you can do at home with links to make it easy.
VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET
The Sustainability Alliance certifies businesses and non-profits that are doing the most for our community, their employees and the environment. Use our list of Certified Sustainable Businesses to choose where to shop/eat/visit and which charities to support.
CONSERVE ENERGY & PROTECT THE CLIMATE
Buy green power: You don't need to put solar panels on your roof. You can get green power from your utility.
APS Green Choice https://www.aps.com/en/business/accountservices/serviceplans/Pages/green-choice-plans.aspx. You pay a small premium per kWh and you can choose to buy green power for all or just some of your usage, ramping up over time. Some people want an even cleaner source of power because APS's mix includes biomass from cut trees. So another resource is Arcadia Power. It may be slightly more expensive than APS’s program. https://www.arcadiapower.com/.
Calculate your greenhouse gases and offset them: The EPA has a simple household greenhouse gas calculator. Once you've estimated your climate impact, you can buy 'carbon offsets' which basically pay someone else to reduce their greenhouse gases by the amount you produced. That makes you climate neutral and it's likely to cost a lot less than you would think! You may be able to support specific projects like rainforest restoration or clean cookstoves or renewable energy on Native American lands.
EPA Greenhouse Gas Calculator: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/household-carbon-footprint-calculator
NRDC article, "Should you buy carbon offsets" https://www.nrdc.org/stories/should-you-buy-carbon-offsets
Conserve Energy Future, "11 Best and Most Popular Carbon Offset Providers," https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/best-popular-us-carbon-offset-providers.php
ELIMINATE TOXICS & Pollution
Find safer products. The US has over 100,000 chemicals, many of which have not been tested for effects on people or the planet. The good news is you can vote with your wallet. These websites will help you find greener cleaning products, personal care products and more.
Environmental Working Group: www.ewg.org/
Guide to Less Toxic Products: http://lesstoxicguide.ca/
Household Products Database: https://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/
Recycle/dispose of household toxic products responsibly. You can recycle batteries and electronics at Sedona Recycles (fees may apply). Motor oil can be recycled at many auto supply stores. Take household hazardous waste to local transfer stations. You can take old drugs to the sheriff's department; don't flush them!
Reduce, reuse, recycle (in that order!) Different haulers have very different recycling recovery rates. Sedona Recycles recovers around 98%. Haulers like Taylor Waste which have different bins for recycling versus trash can usually recover around 80% (but don't recycle glass.) No matter how hard haulers like Patriot try, when you put all your garbage and trash in one bin together, they can usually only recover about 20 percent.
Participate in clean ups. A number of our members have volunteer clean ups. Keep Sedona Beautiful has Litter Lifters. Oak Creek Watershed Council schedules river clean ups. Volunteer for the Forest Service by fixing trails or removing graffiti
Plant native and drought-tolerant plants. Keep Sedona Beautiful has an annual Native Plant Workshop in April so you can learn about how to integrate native plants into your landscape. Verde River Growers, a certified business, sells these plants. Native plants provide habitat and are easy to care for. Even if you don't like a spikey cactus look, there are many beautiful, colorful options for our climate.
Landscape plants for the AZ desert: http://www.amwua.org/plants/
Yavapai County extension list: https://cals.arizona.edu/yavapai/publications/yavcobulletins/droughttolerantplantsfortheverdevalley.pdf
A great community is based on knowing your neighbors, getting involved in issues you care about, and involving under-represented groups. In addition to seeking out local non-profits that work on social issues, you can also try some of these ideas:
Host a neighborhood discussion group. Darcy Hitchcock completely transformed her former neighborhood in Portland, Oregon by hosting a 6 week discussion group. It helped neighbors get to know one another at a deeper level. It turned into monthly potlucks. And when there were emergencies, neighbors rushed to help. One resource you could use is Dragonfly's Question, a novella about sustainability practices as a father-daughter story with a chapter by chapter discussion guides. Darcy would be glad to kick off your discussion group.