Living Climate Justice: One Action at a Time

Climate Justice

Inspired by the book, Climate Justice by Mary Robinson, Ginger Sigmon, managing director of ND Energy, suggests everyone has a role to play in mitigating climate change and urges each of us to take small steps daily to minimize the negative effects that climate change has on global health, security, and economic welfare.

For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, ND Energy recommends Climate Justice, a good read that could jumpstart changes in someone’s personal lifestyle and potentially benefit the future of humanity.  

“I found the book to be very inspiring. It tells the story of people around the globe that are experiencing climate change first-hand and what they are doing about it. Chapter 8, Taking Responsibility, was exceptionally inspiring to me,” said Sigmon.

This chapter describes a woman, Natalie Isaacs, who decides to take it upon herself to focus on one thing each month to see what she can do in her own life to make her lifestyle more sustainable. First, she looked at her power bill. Then, she looked at her food waste and composting. She saw that these small steps could be done by people in her own neighborhood and the greater community. This led to the 1 Million Women website (, where Isaacs inspires people around the world to change their lifestyle and to take action to be more sustainable. 

Isaacs’ rationale is that you take one small step that leads to another and another. These lifestyle changes can help influence how people shop, what people consume, and how people can change the future for others by making better choices.

“I think everyone should think about their own lifestyle and the steps they can take to make contributions toward a more sustainable way of life,” said Sigmon. “This can be done singularly or in small groups, where sharing what steps have been or could be taken may also help to inspire future actions,” she said.

1200 Compost1

As an example, Sigmon said, “My latest step has been starting the compost box I’ve been wanting to get going for several years. I hope those worms like coffee grounds!”

Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary

The first Earth Day was held in 1970 on April 22 and elicited 20 million Americans, about 10 percent of the population at the time, with the aim to unite a response to oil spills, smog, polluted rivers, and wildfires. The first Earth Day is also credited for launching a series of environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Earth Day is now the largest civic event and environmental movement recognized globally every year.

This year’s Earth Day marks 50 years of raising awareness and calling everyone to action for the sake of protecting the planet and its resources. In celebration, ND Energy is hosting an online book review and discussion of Climate Justice by Mary Robinson. During each weekly session, participants will review the material of the chapters assigned and then have an in-depth discussion on the steps that have been or could be taken. Anyone is welcome to participate. Details of the event and the schedule of discussions can be found here. The first session is planned for Wed., April 29, from 12-1 p.m. (EDT).


Ginger E. Sigmon, Managing Director
Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy)
University of Notre Dame

About ND Energy:

ND Energy is a University Research Center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at or 574-631-4776.