Making Climate Action Contagious From Neighborhoods to Cities

By path2positive

Early this month, I had the great opportunity to tour several environmentally friendly homes located throughout my community. The outing was part of a city garden tour featuring native and drought resistant landscaping, grey-water recycling systems, solar panels and a range of innovative, eco-friendly measures implemented by environmentally conscious homeowners. These homes each presented unique, practical actions that residents in neighborhoods across the nation could adopt.

From Neighborhoods To Cities

When considering which environmental action plans, elected officials often are inspired by successful examples tested by other countries, states, or cities that are on the path to meeting their unique sustainability goals. Often overlooked though, is the importance of spotlighting climate action already at work in one’s own community.

One simple way to highlight the local action of residents is through the use of sustainability tours in your city. Already underway at multiple universities and a number of cities across the country, these tours help identify the important, concrete ways in which all residents in a community can implement climate solutions—like renewable energy generation, water friendly and native landscaping.

Sustainability walking tours help residents identify ways in which they can apply practical climate solutions, and there is growing evidence that within cities, climate action is contagious. Recent research has identified a so-called “contagion effect,” showing that when one household installs rooftop solar, there is an increased chance that others in the neighborhood will follow. Mayors and community leaders should leverage this effect by encouraging residents to act, and by offering incentives for implementing tried & true plans.

How Mayors Can Help

The role of mayors and community leaders in facilitating these programs can vary depending on the size, access to resources, and needs of the community. For instance, in Claremont, California, local tours first sprung from the city’s Sustainability Plan and a Mayoral Task force.  The program has since evolved into a nonprofit organization, Sustainable Claremont, which collaborates with and receives grants to help promote citywide sustainability efforts and plans the city’s Earth Day Celebration events.

Communities and cities are increasingly committing to act on climate: and their action can’t come soon enough. Walking tours represent one solution. They are simple, low cost, community building options that leaders in any city can implement. Access invaluable resources by visiting and joining with other climate leaders at Path to Positive Communities.


Stay connected and get updates from Path to Positive.


You May Also Like

September 21, 2023

What can you do in your local community to significantly reduce climate warming emissions? Consider composting! Food waste accounts for emissions equivalent to 42 coal...

Read More

September 19, 2023

Most of us feel the responsibility to create a safe and healthy climate for our families and future generations. This includes ensuring a stable climate,...

Read More

July 25, 2023

The summer heat has set in. In fact, it’s been some of the most extreme heat the planet has ever seen. As the temperatures rise,...

Read More


Path to Positive is a program of ecoAmerica


© ecoAmerica 2006 – 2022 The contents of this website may be shared and used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International License.