From Individuals to Local Businesses & Beyond- What We Can Each Do
After the World War was over in 1945, people were looking for peace and prosperity. It was at this time that the United Nations was implemented. An international organization with 193 member states, the United Nations’ mission is to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; and to promote social progress, better living standards, and human rights.
Right now the United Nations has outlined specific goals for the world to reach by the year 2030, less than a decade away.
17 Goals to Transform Our World
“The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. More important than ever, the goals provide a critical framework for COVID-19 recovery. Read more here.”
WHAT CAN I DO– Some of these issues and goals are too big for individuals, or even states, to tackle. But there are several goals on the list that each one of us can do our part in to make changes happen in our corner of the world.
Poverty- see if there is something you can do to help those in need in your area. Some suggestions include supporting your local food pantries, reaching out to families in need. It essentially comes down to community and everyone supporting each other.
Education- you can offer to tutor students in need after school; sign up as a Big Brother or Big Sister; teach adults how to read (sign-ups usually available at your local library); encourage your local government to increase teacher wages; join in groups and such at your child’s school.
Clean Energy- this is such an important issue, affecting everyone around the world because clean energy equals helping the suffering environment. Environmental abuse is causing an increase in catastrophic weather events each year. How can you help? Vote for solar energy (or any other clean energy option) initiatives in your county; support local organizations that use clean energy, and adopt clean energy in your own home and business.
Climate Action- see if you can reduce your environmental impact. Some easier actions to start with include reducing water waste; eating all your food (stop food waste); weatherize your house; and buy better light bulbs- look at this fact: if people worldwide switched to energy efficient light bulbs the world would save $120 billion annually! Here are some further ideas to reduce your carbon footprint.
Responsible Consumption- consumption and production consume environmental resources in a way that continues to have destructive impacts on the planet. Our mindset needs to change, doing more with less and promoting sustainable lifestyles. Thankfully this is a growing trend in America and there are numerous platforms, groups, and resources to use if you’d like to learn about this endeavor.
LOCAL COMPANY LEADS THE WAY
When Remoov, a hauling and selling company, started they had a mission. Besides making the decluttering process hassle-free, they wanted to offer this service in an eco-responsible manner.
Reduce Waste, Increase Reuse – Remoov doesn’t collect your unwanted items and dump them in the local landfill; they take the time to separate each item into the best category: sell, donate, recycle, or responsibly decommission. The end result is a reduction in waste, increase in reuse, and fair resale value. Keeping items in circulation is the first choice. If an item doesn’t sell, Remoov will then donate it to charity, or it might be better suited for a recycling facility, where things are disposed of in a responsible and eco-friendly manner. In other words, your unwanted items do not have to end up in a landfill.
Importance of Recycling– Number one, let’s look at the importance of recycling versus simply dumping items. As listed in the United Nations top 17 goals for 2030, our environment needs attention and care if we want to sustain life on the planet. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the benefits of recycling are:
- Saves energy
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
- Helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in United States
And more specifically, when looking at a report on the importance of recycling old furniture, which is Remoov’s top service, the EPA notes in one year: “…that furniture accounted for 9.8 million tons of household waste.”
Sustainable Consumption – On average, about 50% of the items Remoov picks up are collected for resale, 20% for donation, and 30% responsible disposal. Choosing second hand is one way that we can all play a part in shifting to more sustainable consumption and helping to build back better from the pandemic.
Remoov’s resale outlet, The Local Flea, is a warehouse sized consignment store that is a recycling and environmentally conscious organization, helping those who are downsizing, reorganizing- closing storage units or offices- as well as estate sellers, profit from items they no longer want, as well as providing donations to non-profit organizations. In the end, they are keeping reusable items out of our landfills.
The Local Flea is more than a consignment store: every purchase contributes to their mission of sustainability.
Buying Second Hand- A Healthier Choice– Second-hand furniture doesn’t off-gas and fill your home with noxious fumes. Cheap new furniture is often made of particleboard, which is held together by formaldehyde, a recognized carcinogen that causes eye and nose irritation. The best way to avoid formaldehyde is to buy used furniture that has stood the test of time.
Saving Resources & Reducing Waste– The furniture industry is an enormously wasteful one. From textiles and woods to plastics and resins, it takes a lot to create the items in your home, especially if they’re built to last only a few years before breaking or looking out of date. Buying second-hand reduces demand for new resources and comes without packaging.
There are many ways for individuals to join the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations. From monitoring food waste, to volunteering in your community, to voting for clean initiatives, to being ecologically aware, such as buying second hand items before automatically purchasing something new. There is so much ‘stuff’ in the world, do we really need to buy new before using what’s already available?
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