Individual Actions

PUBLIC HEALTH

  • CDC COVID-19: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides 24/7 resources on everything you need to know about COVID-19.
  • Sign-Up to receive COVID-19, air quality, and other alerts from the Allegheny County Health Department.

REGISTER TO VOTE

FOOD SECURITY

  • Ugly CSA: For 12 weeks during peak growing season (July-September), subscribers receive a weekly box of “ugly” produce and locally sourced items. Purchasing just one Ugly CSA share saves approximately 180 lbs of good food and 2,450 gallons of water, equivalent to enough drinking water for 13 people for an entire year!
  • Become a Food Rescue Hero: 412 Food Rescue implements a solution by working with food retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, caterers, universities and other food providers to rescue unsellable but perfectly good food and getting it to nonprofit organizations that serve those who are experiencing food insecurity. Their mobile app called Food Rescue Hero mobilizes volunteers by alerting them when a food is available to rescue. Volunteers use cars, bikes, and sometimes their own two feet to move food from donors to nonprofit partners.
  • Donate your Backyard Fruit Trees or Farm Fields to Hidden Harvest: Have a fruit tree in your backyard that produces more than you can use? Donate your tree to Hidden Harvest and our volunteers will harvest the fruit and clean up the area around your tree, putting the produce to good use and protecting the health of the tree in future seasons!
  • Volunteer for Good Food Project: The Good Food Project stabilizes and transforms surplus food into healthy meals for 412 Food Rescue’s nonprofit partners and serves as a space for volunteer and community engagement and food education.
  • Volunteer for Cooking Matters: Cooking Matters courses are taught by trained volunteer instructors with experience and/or a passion for cooking, nutrition, education, health and wellness. Instructors are trained by 412 Food Rescue’s Cooking Matters staff in the Cooking Matters curriculum and can volunteer as a culinary instructor, nutrition instructor, course assistant, or grocery shopper. Each course is taught by teams of 2–3 volunteers and is hosted for 6 consecutive weeks at a designated nonprofit partner site.

URBAN GARDENING

  • National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Garden Certification: Anyone can create a welcoming haven for local wildlife. Turning your yard, balcony container garden, schoolyard, work landscape, or roadside greenspace into a Certified Wildlife Habitat is fun, easy, and can make a lasting difference for wildlife!
  • An Urban Grower’s Guide: Selling the Food You Grow in Pittsburgh: This guide is for anyone who is growing food in the City of Pittsburgh and is interested in selling it, from backyard or community gardeners to urban farmers. The resources provided in the guide cover a range of topis that one might run into when growing and selling food in Pittsburgh, from rules about zoning or safety permits to understanding liability or water access.
  • Urban Garden Map: Are you growing food in or around Pittsburgh? Get your garden on the map! Registering your community garden, community farm, schoolyard garden, or urban farm helps raise awareness and visibility of the exciting growing that you’re doing and can help people in your community get involved too.
  • New Garden Support: Do you want to start a community food garden in your neighborhood? Grow Pittsburgh supports new garden groups to get the skills and materials to start thriving community garden projects. Check out current and graduated gardens to see what communities they have supported so far and the community garden guide for some suggestions.
  • Community Garden Guide: The idea of creating a new community garden is exciting but may be daunting. The goal of our Community Garden Program is to help neighborhoods like yours create sustainable community food gardens that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
  • Grow Pittsburgh’s Tool-Lending Library and Materials Depot: The Garden Resource Center is open to any individual or group within Allegheny County. Grow Pittsburgh wholeheartedly supports backyard gardeners, community gardeners, and locally-owned small businesses who are working to produce food for themselves or others. We are currently closed and are doing delivery’s for existing users. We will accept new users when this crisis is over. 
  • Community Garden Sustainability Fund: The CGSF is a project of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Grow Pittsburgh, sponsored in part by Allegheny County Economic Development, that exists to provide material and technical assistance to existing community food gardens in Allegheny County. These include gardens managed by schools, community organizations, shelters, religious institutions and individuals. The Sustainability Fund supports projects that will improve or enhance gardens so that they may have a long-lasting positive impact as part of their communities. 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

  • Affordable Housing and Public Transit Connection: Pittsburghers for Public Transit presents infographics that explain why we should advocate for mixed-income transit-oriented development, inclusionary zoning, affirmatively further fair housing, community land trusts, active affordable housing funds, resident-led development, and tenant-led housing.
  • City of Pittsburgh Housing Opportunity Fund: The City of Pittsburgh is committing $10 million per year for the next 12 years to address the affordable housing crisis. This website contains information on their programs and links to resources in the City and County.
  • Neighborhood Legal Services: NLS secures justice and resolves fundamental legal problems for those who are low-income and vulnerable in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence Counties by providing high-quality legal services and community legal education.  Founded in 1966, NLS has provided civil legal aid to more than 1.2 million of our low-income neighbors in need of legal assistance.
  • Pittsburgh United: Pittsburgh United is a coalition of community, labor, faith, and environmental organizations committed to advancing the vision of a community and economy that work for all people.
  • Pittsburgh Union of Regional Renters: The Landless Alliance is organized to build tenant power and capacity to solve the everyday and urgent realities of renting. They work as tenants with tenants to provide support for the creation and sustainability of effective professional tenant initiatives. The union provides technical support for strong independent tenant campaigns, organizations, and businesses, direct counseling with renters to craft pathways to legal support for tenant issues, and more.

AIR QUALITY

  • Breathe Project: Breathe Project is a clearinghouse for information on air quality in Pittsburgh, southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond. They use the best available science and technology to better understand the quality of the air we breathe and provide opportunities for citizens to engage and take action.
  • Breathe Cam: The Breathe Cams are high-resolution, zoomable, 24-hour live camera feeds of Pittsburgh’s skyline, the Mon Valley and the Ohio River Valley to help you discover more about the air you breathe. Explore the Breathe Cams, take the tutorial and learn how to capture your own video footage and take action to protect our most precious natural resource—air!
  • Report an Air Quality Complaint to Allegheny County Health Use this form to send ACHD a comment or to register a complaint with the Health Department’s Air Quality Program. Enforcement inspectors respond to every citizen complaint received via the complaint line (412-687-ACHD) or this form. Please remember to include your name and email address if you wish to receive a response. Comments or complaints cannot be acknowledged without an email address
  • Smell Pittsburgh App: Smell PGH crowdsources smell reports so we can track how pollutants travel through the air across Pittsburgh. We worked with the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) to set up the app so they receive all Smell PGH odor complaints as they are submitted. ACHD can then use this information to better monitor our air quality and identify pollution sources.

CLEAN WATER

  • Our Water Campaign Pittsburgh: The “Our Water Campaign” has been fighting for publicly controlled water for almost 2 years. Our Water is too important to be left in the hands of a private corporation, especially one owned or run by a private company that only cares about profits. Take their Campaign Pledge for public water, green solutions, and good jobs. If you’d like a “Protect Our Water: Keep it Public” Yard Sign, fill out this form and they can deliver it to your house!
  • Request a Free Lead Test Kit: Click on this website to request a free lead test kit for your home. Kits are only for PWSA water customers. If you are a PA American Water or Wilkinsburg- Penn Joint Customer, please contact their customer service departments for lead testing. PA American Water can be reached at 1-800-565-7292 and Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint at 412-243-6200

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

  • GetEnergySmarter.org: Conservation Consultants Inc. (CCI) covers attic, basement, duct sealing storm windows, various smaller gaps and cracks, electrical outlets, baseboards, fireplaces, and hot water heating conservation Do-It-Yourself projects to make your home more energy efficient.
  • Duquesne Light FREE Online Energy Kit: Active Duquesne Light residents who take a three-minute energy efficiency analysis will receive a free Energy Efficiency kit through the mail! The kit contains 8 LED lamps and 2 nightlights.
  • Sound Home Energy Plan Audit: The best way to truly know the hierarchy of essential projects and the full potential of efficiency improvements for your home is to schedule an energy audit. 

RENEWABLE ENERGY

  • PAPowerSwitch.com: The official electric shopping website of the Pennsylvania website of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission! It is the easiest way you can take a stand against climate change and make a difference. While installing solar panels on your home may not be an immediate option for your family, making the switch to a utility company that uses 100 percent local, clean energy is easily in your grasp and allows you to reduce your carbon footprint today. In many cases, your energy costs will barely change as a result. 
  • Solar United Neighbors Co-Op: Why join a Solar United Neighbors co-op? They organize 50 to 100 neighbors coming together into a group, or co-op, and give you support through each stage of the solar process. Co-op participants leverage bulk-purchasing power to get discounted pricing and a quality installation, while still signing individual contracts that ensure the right system for your home.
  • PA Solar Center: Visit their resource hub for unbiased information about the fastest growing energy source in the country, find a qualified solar contractor for your solar project, and/or locate significant solar projects in your community on their Solar Map!

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

  • Electric Vehicle Charging Rebate Program: To help Pennsylvania meet its diesel emissions goals, the Wolf Administrations has developed new grant and rebate programs under the Driving PA Forward Funding initiative to improve air quality and drive transformation from older, polluting diesel engines to clean technologies.  

RECYCLING

  • RecycleThisPittsburgh: a website that provides very specific information to help Pittsburgh residents understand if a particular item you have is recyclable or not, and how to give it the best chance of not ending up in a landfill. 
  • Hard to Recycle Collection Events: Since 2003, Pennsylvania Resources Council has held Hard to Recycle collections in Southwestern PA. The goal is to provide responsible and convenient disposal for items that are not eligible for curbside recycling.  At these events, individuals have been able to recycle items such as e-waste, cell phones, polystyrene, compact fluorescent bulbs, alkaline batteries, Freon-containing appliances, tires, and more.
  • The Myth of Recycling Plastics: With the plastic industry expanding like never before and the crisis of ocean pollution growing, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the fight over the future of plastics.

AVOIDING SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

  • NRDC Single-Use Plastics 101: The Natural Resources and Defense Council provides a helpful resource in learning what are considered single-use plastics and immediate, individual actions we can take to avoid using them!
  • Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastics: To create greater awareness of the dangers of single-use plastic, support the efforts of individuals and groups acting against single-use plastic, and advocate for cleaner and greener solutions to plastic-dependence. PASUP meets monthly January through April and September through December. 
  • CIEL Plastic Reports: The Center for International Environmental Law offers many informative reports about the health, environmental, and social issues surrounding plastic.

HEALTHY HOMES

  • DIY for Safe and Healthy Cleaning: Finding “green” cleaning products that are actually free of dangerous toxins and pollutants can be difficult and sometimes more expensive. Luckily, essentially every cleaning product you might need in the household can be replaced with a harmless, natural substance or a mixture of natural substances. Try some (or all) of the green cleaning solutions for healthy and toxin-free cleaning!

PUBLIC TRANSIT

  • Beyond the East Busway: Join the grassroots campaign to plan better bus service in the Mon Valley and Eastern Suburbs! Residents and transit riders in these communities will plan where rapid bus corridors beyond the East Busway should be aligned, and identify important places underserved by transit in their regions. Pittsburghers for Public Transit will use the outcomes of this work to advocate for the funding, design, and implementation of these transit improvements through the Southwest PA Commission and the Port Authority. 
  • Fair Fares: The #FairFares policy is put forward at a critical moment as the Port Authority begins its public outreach to collect feedback on its fare structure. It is vital for riders to use these public meetings to put forward a progressive vision and values to guide Port Authority in its work.

STORMWATER MANAGEMENT

  • Nine Mile Run Stormwater Management: Stormwater runoff is the water that flows over hard surfaces, such as roads and roofs, during a rain event. In urban areas like Pittsburgh, these surfaces are often made up of impervious materials, like pavement and asphalt, and don’t allow water to soak into the ground. Nine Mile Run lists ways we all can help reduce our stormwater problems, including composting, using rain barrels, and using organic fertilizers. 

GREEN SPACES

  • Grounded Pittsburgh: Grounded works throughout Allegheny County to implement on-the-ground projects, design community plans, and build networks. Their online resources include guides to Soil Lead Safety, Native Plant Guides, PGH Mobile Tool Box, Vacant Lot Maintenance Guide, and more so that you can turn a vacant lot in your neighborhood into a shared community space!
  • Explore Local Parks: The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy can help you find a park closest to your home.
  • City Nature Challenge: The Challenge encourages people to explore nature in their neighborhood, look closely and make discoveries, and highlight the other amazing lifeforms with which we share our communities. The Laurel Highlands Climate and Rural Systems Partnership is asking the public to share their findings on iNaturalist, as well as on social media (using the hashtag #CityNatureChallenge) April 24th – 27th. Even though it’s called the “City” Nature Challenge, the Pittsburgh region includes counties surrounding it: Allegheny, Butler, Beaver, Washington, Armstrong, and Westmoreland Counties. Between rural and urban areas we share a lot of nature: water, air, animals, and plants.

TREE PLANTING

  • Become a Tree Tender: Want to get involved with the trees in your neighborhood or community? Become a Tree Tender! Tree Tenders is Tree Pittsburgh’s flagship course that teaches you all about trees and how to become an advocate for them in your neighborhood. This course covers urban forestry practices, tree biology and health, basic tree identification, proper pruning and maintenance, and instruction on how to lead your community in organizing tree plantings and tree care.
  • TreeVitalize Pittsburgh: Working in partnership with community groups, nonprofits and municipal agencies, TreeVitalize Pittsburgh has planted more than 37,000 trees since 2008 in an effort to improve the quality of life and the environment in the Pittsburgh region. TreeVitalize Pittsburgh is a joint project of Allegheny County Parks, the City of Pittsburgh, Tree Pittsburgh, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

LITTER CLEANUP 

  • Riverfront Cleanup Program: ​Allegheny CleanWays’ riverfront cleanup program is aimed at creating trash-free rivers and streams throughout Allegheny County. Volunteers work with ​Allegheny CleanWays’  staff by boarding our pontoon boat, the Rachel Carson, from which they can pick up the plastic bottles, tires and other items littering the shores.
  • Land Cleanup Program: From the DumpBusters program to large cleanup events, the work that Allegheny CleanWays does to remove debris from the region’s hillsides, open lots, and greenways is the first crucial step to full restoration of the valuable green spaces that define the City of Pittsburgh. When possible, Allegheny CleanWays works with other organizations that have a broader restoration goal in mind for the site after the cleanup, such as a trail or garden. When there is no specific goal for the land, we work with local residents to steward and restore the site.
  • Adopt a Dumpsite: There are hundreds of illegal dump sites across Allegheny County. They don’t have the money or staff to clean them all up this year, but with your help, they can start to address them. There are two ways to give – make a general donation or put your money directly toward the cleanup of a particular site. The “Adopt a Dumpsite” button will take you to a page showing five sites that need our attention.
  • CleanUp Artists: Artists look at a blank canvas and think about what could be. They look at a dump site and think the same thing. They return it to as close to a clean slate as possible, so that great things can happen. They make cleaning up an artform!

STATE POLICY

  • Pennsylvania Environmental Policy Updates: Be informed on the issues facing Pennsylvania, get the latest alerts and learn how PennFuture, a statewide environmental advocacy group, works with your neighbors to make change. 
  • Advocates for Conservation and the Environment: PennFuture’s “Advocates for Conservation and the Environment” (ACE) program organizes teams of volunteers to educate their state and federal legislators about conservation and environmental issues. ACE volunteers provide policy makers with an opportunity to learn from concerned citizens who live in their respective districts about environmental and public health issues that affect their communities.
  • Contact Your Legislator: Contact your legislator to voice your concerns about current environmental issues in your community.

SUSTAINABLE RESTAURANTS

  • Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants: Support local, sustainable businesses and restaurants. Check out Sustainable Pittsburgh’s list of sustainable restaurants within Pittsburgh.

CHILDREN’S ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES

  • Phipps Conservatory Children Programming: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ programs for children offer the perfect mix of fun and educational activities that explore science-related topics pertaining to plants, animals and ecosystems. Whether they are identifying fall leaves or making discoveries about life in our planet’s tropical forests, inquisitive kids will love learning about the natural world as their respect for the environment grows. 
  • Communitopia Workshops on Climate Change: Communitopia welcomes all educators, parents and students interested in taking action on climate change to join them for a virtual workshop! Learn the science behind climate change, how it’s impacting our community, and what you can do to make a difference! Contact  Communitopia’s Youth Educator, Lauren Palamara l[email protected], for more details.
  • Our Children Our Earth: Mindfully caring for our most precious gifts:Our Children & Our Earth! Working to support our Earth by offering sustainable solutions to replace disposables and plastics.Toys & games that nurture childhoods filled with imagination, creativity & beauty.

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWSLETTERS AND NETWORKS

  • Just Transitions to Sustainability: Patricia M. DeMarco is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. with a doctorate in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has spent a thirty -year career in energy and environmental policy in both private and public sector positions. She contributes monthly posts on a variety of environmental topics on this website.
  • MarensList: An online listing of environmental and social justice events.
  • Biophilia Network: Join Pittsburgh’s new network of creative minds working together to strengthen the bond between people and the natural world. 
  • Pittsburgh Vegan Society: The Pittsburgh Vegan Society, PVS, is a 501c3 non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness of veganism through creative education, nonviolent advocacy, and social connection in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The philosophical framework of the organization is grounded in both animal rights and environmental sustainability. PVS also serves to provide community and a place to foster connection for like-minded individuals. Visit them on Facebook.
  • Moms Clean Air Force: Moms are working in Pennsylvania to fight for clean air and a stable climate. They host events, share information about what’s going on, and create opportunities for mothers to talk to their legislators about their concerns.