As recent news stories and activists like Greta Thunberg have further emphasized, our environment has reached a disconcertingly hazardous state. While it’s crucial that each civilian makes efforts to reduce their individual carbon footprint, larger communities have shown that the power of the public can be equally efficacious in combating climate change.
If we choose to see environmental conservation as a community effort, we can work together and use group influence to improve the odds that this planet will remain in sustainable health for generations to come.
In this article, we’ll go over some steps that you and your community can take to show commitment to environmental conservation. Feel free to integrate one, some, or all of these actions into your everyday life. And in all you do, remember this: By acting consciously together today, we can ensure a greener tomorrow for everybody.
Option 1: Organize an action group
It’s not an exaggeration to say there is power in numbers, so why not capitalize on that strength for the greater good? Start a petition to get a pro-environmental measure on the next ballot, or work with a group of like-minded go-getters to arrange a weekly rally where citizens can express thoughts on climate issues. Remember that what’s most important is not whether any one person is more or less “right” than another; what matters is that the community is working together to reach consensus on an issue that truly affects us all.
To get more information on ballot measures or ways to register a nonprofit action group, visit your local governmental website, or get ideas for public debate issues at https://www.epa.gov/environmental-topics.
Option 2: Start a community garden
Community gardens allow all citizens to acquire small units of land or greenhouse space where they can grow their own plants, crops, and flowers. These facilities are commonly run by larger institutions like churches or schools, but the great thing is that they can also be started by individuals.
According to the CDC, community gardens offer bushels of benefits, both for the well-being of participants and the environment. These organizations reduce emission of harmful greenhouse gases by decreasing the travel time and energy needed to transport goods from manufacturers to consumers. Community members can gather together in one place to grow and get their fresh produce without expelling fumes from an industrial truck. Furthermore, the shared space and cooperation necessary to keep these gardens functioning can create a real sense of, well, community between locals. Regardless of one’s background, a garden is a place of growth and cultivation where the unlikeliest of friendships can bloom.
Option 3: Reduce food waste
Overproduction is a serious problem in the food industry. Despite nearly 1.3 billions tons of fruits, vegetables, meats, and more going into landfills every year, hundreds of millions of people struggle with food insecurity and malnourishment. How can this be?
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, some communities have already formed co-ops where people can drop off their unwanted food products, which are then donated to populations in need so they won’t go hungry. Not only are communities combating heat-trapping methane production by reducing the size of landfills, but they’re working together to tackle the additionally difficult issue of poverty.
Option 4: Go meatless one day per week
Our current globalized system of agribusiness is extremely inefficient, producing literal tons of harmful greenhouse gases and lost resources, all for food that so often ends up going to waste or spoiling before it can be consumed. For these and other reasons, animal agriculture (think cows, pigs, chickens, etc.) is the leading producer of climate change-causing air pollutants.
Whether you’re a member of a large family, a restaurant owner, or a coach for a local youth sports team, community meals are a big part of your daily life. And for the majority of American history, meat consumption has been a quotidien ritual too. If we’re ever going to make a positive impact on the planet, that kind of eating has to change on some level.
Although we’re not all designed to become vegetarians overnight, we can all take manageable steps towards reducing our consumption of environmentally unsustainable food goods. Chat with the community or group you spend the most time with and pick a day to share a meatless meal together. Who knows? You might just whip up a new favorite meal with ingredients from your local community garden.
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