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Take the concept of green living beyond a personal approach and into the community, your collective effort will make a huge difference.
The earth is warming at an alarming rate, and humans are running out of non-renewable resources. We dump tons of plastic waste into our oceans, destroying fragile ecosystems. And, as an individual, you’ve become increasingly aware of the impact your life has on the planet. You’ve been taking reusable bags to the grocery store, recycling and using your metal straw for months. Maybe you even began composting in hopes of reducing your waste. But are these noble efforts enough to save the planet?
On an individual level, no. Even if you make every effort to live sustainably, you likely won’t do much to help the planet in the grand scheme of things. However, if you take the concept of green living beyond a personal approach and into the community, your collective effort will make a huge difference. By getting involved in community programs and politics, or even starting eco-friendly groups, you can green not just your lifestyle, but society as a whole. And, who knows, you might make some new friends along the way!
1. Shop Local
One way you can inspire your community to go green is by shopping locally. That means frequenting local farmers’ markets and small family-owned businesses, as well as farm-to-table restaurants. The goal is to reduce food miles while supporting the local economy.
Use this local shopping time to get to know your community. Meet farmers and learn about how they grow their crops. They might even take some compost off your hands to use as fertilizer. And ask small business and restaurant owners where they source their food, suggesting local farmers as an alternative source.
You might also make occasional trips to the local thrift shop or charity organization to donate food or unwanted, lightly used items. Ask your neighbors if they have anything they’d like to donate, and offer to take it for them. Better yet, you could even host a community clothing or food drive to collect items.
Doing this will inspire your community to think twice before tossing unwanted items in the trash, and maybe even encourage your neighbors to purchase used items instead of heading to the store first.
3. Join a Co-Op
Community-supported agricultural cooperatives are also a great way to connect with others from your community. Take part in caring for a community garden and encourage others to join you. Find out where the food you’re growing goes. Does a local restaurant use it in their dishes? Does any of it get donated to those in need?
Typically, the community will give back most of the food to locals this way. Additionally, because co-ops are democratic, they inspire people to become more involved in local issues and developments.
4. Get Involved in Local Politics
Even if you aren’t one to get involved in national and international politics, your local political scene is a great place to foster sustainability in the community. In 2017, disasters cost the U.S. over $300 billion, and if communities don’t engage in reducing their impact, your local government’s budget will suffer.
Attend meetings, marches and other events to meet people who care about the environment as much as you do, and even those who don’t. And make your voice heard by contacting local politicians and lawmakers. Discuss current events, programs and local initiatives to go green. In this way, you can influence local policy and people, pushing them in a greener direction.
5. Make Recyccling Accessible
One of the main reasons people don’t recycle is that they find it inconvenient or inaccessible. So, what may seem to you like a typical trip to recycle your cans and cardboard may feel a demanding task for others. To inspire those around you to recycle, try making it easier for them to do so. For example, if you live in an apartment, consider buying a few large trash bins and placing them inside your building’s lobby, so your neighbors have a convenient place to sort their recyclables.
6. Go Public
To create the most significant possible impact, take your enthusiasm to the internet. Let everyone know about that new co-op you started or the recycling program you’re now part of. Update your social media followers on your efforts and post about the ways your community is reducing their carbon footprint. Consider starting a blog or creating a website dedicated to your passion for going green. When you post online, there’s no telling how many people you’ll reach and motivate.
Going public will encourage you to keep making efforts to personally reduce and recycle, as well as inspire others all over the world to create change in their communities. And, as more people commit to a greener lifestyle, it’s likely to create a chain reaction that will ripple through the world. So, while you may not be able to save the planet alone, your actions may inspire others to take action, creating a societal change that may, in time, do what you couldn’t do by yourself.
7. Get involved in a beach clean-up
Whether you are traveling or live close to the ocean, a good cause is to join your local beach clean up the community. It’s a much-needed mission in every single coastal shore, as you will find plastic waste such as straws, cigarette butts, cotton buds, and eventually other types of packaging. Not removing such plastics that would result in those staying over 400 years in the oceans and contribute to the current microplastic problem.
Any ideas that have helped you inspire your community? Share with us in the comments below 🙂
This post has been written by the guest blogger Emily Folk with the help of the team of editors at Ourgoodbrands.