Albuquerque, N.M., and Portland, Ore., have completed greenhouse-gas "inventories" of the amount and sources of emissions generated directly through internal city operations and by the broader community. Some cities have begun to assess the emissions from products manufactured elsewhere that are used locally.
Regular people are also doing it, such as those that attend the Climate Master program developed by my organization at the University of Oregon. Through this 10-week program, participants are taught how to think systemically and discover the full range of their emissions. Small towns such as Corvallis, Ore., big cities such as Denver, and individual groups in Maryland are now considering launching Climate Master programs.
The next step is to dream of new ways to lower our carbon footprint. Dreaming starts by envisioning what an ideal low or carbon-free condition would look and function like.
Dreaming leads to the design stage, where innovative ways of achieving the ideal are planned. Albuquerque established the nation's first municipal capital budget set-aside specifically dedicated to energy reduction and renewable energy projects. Portland developed a climate action plan through extensive community involvement. Xerox established the "Energy Challenge 2012," which involves the entire company, engages its full business value chain, and integrates climate protection into core business strategies and practices.