Doing your part for the better of planet is no longer an option, it’s our duty. We only have 1 planet, which we need to preserve for next generations.
Many people think that making small gestures, such as recycling, using reusable bottles & cups isn’t making enough impact, so they abandon the idea altogether. They couldn’t be more wrong! Lets put this into perspective: If every person living in Vancouver, used a reusable cup for 1 day only, we would save over 650,000 cups from the landfill in 1 day. Your small gestures matter; keep making them.
Being a champion of sustainability in your community can sound to some like a project, don’t overthink it! Just do what you do daily and spread awareness when/if the time is right. All you can do is try your best & hope the others will follow.
What does community mean to you?
Community can mean many different things, to different people. Community can quite literally be your local community – your neighborhood, local school, church, sports associations etc. To me, community are those you surround yourself with, let into your life and share day to day moments. For many, community can also involve work colleagues; there are no right or wrongs here. Whatever community means to you, go with that when I dive deeper into this topic.
To learn how to introduce sustainability practices in your local community, continue reading below.
What does sustainability mean to you?
This will look differently for each of us; due to number of external factors, which we often have no control over. You need to take into account time & effort required to be involved, affordability and level of importance. Whatever it means to you and how you wish to execute it, is your personal choice.
Here are some key areas in which you can be a sustainability champion and influence decision making in your community:
- Get to know your neighbours: Getting to know your neighbours and creating a small community within, is not only a long term benefit creating safety in numbers, but also an amazing source for sustainability, in case you didn’t know. Since I can remember, my mother would trade baby clothes with her closest friends, and being the youngest out of them all, I would get those well worn onesies! In addition, borrowing small appliances which we don’t own but require for a single project can not only be cost effective, but will save you space.
- School Tours / Family Vacations: Choose local campsites for your children’s school tours, allowing them to be with nature and limited resources. This will teach them the importance of being with nature, the joy of simple things and how to be scrappy – make things from only available natural resources. You can also opt for camping trips vs expensive all inclusive hotels, where food & beverage goes to waste each day.
- Local Shore Clean Ups: Organize or take part in a local shore/forest clean up. You don’t need to get involved with organizing, as that can be time consuming, but can still join already existing clean ups. Sharing those details across your network/social media will allow for maximum exposure and give an opportunity for others to join should they wish. It also makes for a great afternoon out with the family. For more on shore clean ups, you can take a look here. In addition, shore clean ups are a great way for a team building activity or volunteering your time for the greater good.
- Shop 2nd hand: Thrifting is not only fun but also saves you $$. I admit, thrifting isn’t always a success, but the thrill of potentially finding a treasure is one of a kind. Giving pieces a second life rather than buying from the ever growing fast fashion contributes to overall sustainability goal. Facebook Marketplace is also a great resource for 2nd hand items, from homeware to vehicles etc.
- Free Community Resources: Shopping 2nd hand is great, but getting things for free is even better! Make sure you join your local Buy Nothing Project where you can give away and request items you need. It’s like online shopping, for free! You’d be surprised how many individuals are striving for the same goal as you and are willing to let unused items go for someone else’s benefit. In addition, if like me, you are an avid reader Little Free Library Project will keep you occupied with the newest and intricate reads. The aim is simple, you take a book, you leave a book. This way everyone gets to enjoy new stories for free and the books remain in the circulation throughout your community. You can take a look to see if there are any registered Little Free Libraries in your area here. What’s great about this project is that you can also create & register your own library if there isn’t one available in your local area!
- Children Sporting & Art Events: As previously mentioned being a sustainability champion does not need to take much effort. Go about your day to day and be a champion when the opportunity presents itself. Your children’s sporting events or art shows are a great opportunity. Bring reusable cups, encourage other parents to bring reusable water bottles, lunch boxes etc. Show others how easy it can be to incorporate sustainability into your daily lives. This will also teach your children to be more environmentally friendly from the young age.
- Be Aware: Another great way to spread awareness is to make sure you are on the lookout for new initiatives that might be taking place in your neighborhood and sharing them with others. Be present in your community! Shop in local stores, promoting local farmers, use mesh fruit & vegetable bags, brag about them!
- Creating a little local garden is also an excellent idea for adult-child activity, be that at school or at home. Teaching your children about the importance of planting new trees, growing fresh, organic vegetables can be a rewarding experience.
- Lastly, be an advocate! You don’t need to talk about this all day every day, but if you keep it top of mind, chances are, those who you surround yourself with, will want to do better.
For tips on how to champion sustainability in your workplace, take a peek here.
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