From compost piles to low-flow shower heads to meatless Mondays, you’ve already found dozens of ways to tackle sustainability at home. Now, you want to contribute what you know to the community at large.
A sustainable community looks a bit different than a sustainable home, so you need a few more tips to help you in your quest. Here are 10 ways to motivate your hometown to go green.
1. Eat Locally
Send a message to businesses in your community by supporting local merchants. One of the best ways to put your money where your mouth is — quite literally — is to eat at local restaurants. More specifically, choose eateries that source their ingredients from nearby farms and suppliers so that your meal requires less fuel to get to the table.
2. Form a Community Garden
Urban areas don’t always provide the space you need to cultivate your own green space. Instead, you might be able to pool your community together to start a group gardening project. You and your neighbours can grow fruit, veggies, flowers and anything else that comes from the ground.
While you might have to obtain grants and permissions to get started, doing so can help your community go greener in more ways than one. For example, your garden can also house a compost pile through which locals can dispose of food waste without it ending up in a landfill.
3. Start a Neighbourhood Compost Bin
You could also promote sustainability in the community with a shared compost pile. Starting a compost pile for more than one family ensures you have enough scraps to get the soil going. Then, once you have a hearty supply, you can all start using it to grow your gardens — another win for the earth.
4. Ride Your Bike
Since you can encourage sustainability by modelling eco-friendly behaviours, choose community-facing ones to ensure you have a positive ripple effect. One way to outwardly go green is to ride your bike whenever you can as a pollution-free way to travel. Perhaps that means commuting to work on a two-wheeler or zipping around town to finish your errands. Either way, you’ll show others that they, too, can travel this way — soon, you might have some buddies joining you in the bike lane.
5. Join a CSA
Local farmers will often helm community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs). You can participate by paying an upfront membership fee. Then, throughout the season, you’ll receive produce deliveries or pick them up straight from the farm. Either way, you’ll regularly get a supply of local fruits and veggies, a much more sustainable choice than purchasing shipped-in produce from the grocery store.
6. Volunteer for Earth-Friendly Causes
Every community will present opportunities for you to partake in eco-conscious volunteer activities. Seek out causes that align with your sustainable aims. If you can’t find any group activities, you can set out on your own for a trash pick-up day, for instance. Or, if you feel extra ambitious, you could organise a volunteer event and get the community involved with your efforts.
Even if you can’t bike, you can make your regular transport greener than before while involving others in your quest. Starting a carpool with your colleagues will take a few cars off of the road each day. You’ll save money on fuel and tolls, to boot. If you don’t live near any coworkers, try and find a public transit route to work to make your commute — and community — more sustainable.
8. Plant Trees
A community tree-planting event can seriously refresh your local environment. A full-grown tree cleanses the air of more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. So, if you gather to plant a few pieces of new foliage, you and your neighbours could help improve air quality in your community, especially as the saplings take root and grow larger.
9. Push for Communal Car Chargers
Electric cars have taken the sustainable-driving world by storm. Now, the vehicles can drive faster and further without needing a charge, making them a viable option for many drivers. However, some communities do not provide the charging stations required to keep electric cars going. So, push for your community to install such stations, which will encourage more people to drive a more sustainable vehicle.
10. Vote Wisely
One of the best ways to promote sustainability in your community is at the ballot box. Do your research before heading to the polls so that you can vote for the candidate with the greenest proposed policies. If your support puts someone in office who has environmentally friendly goals, you’ll help your community with just a vote.
Go Green on a Bigger Scale
Sustainability at home is important, and your community can make it a goal, too. You can be the impetus for such eco-conscious change. Use the above tips as your jumping-off point — from there, you and your neighbours will have no problem going green together.
About the author: Emily is passionate about sustainability and blogs on her own site, Conservation Folks, about how to help tomorrow’s planet today.