How To Help The Environment In Your Community: Top Ten Tips

If you’re ready to take your environmental actions to the next level by helping your neighborhood become more green, these are the Top Ten Tips to follow. ​​By taking simple steps to green your community, you can truly see first hand how connected you are to the environment and how much of an impact even small actions can have on making the planet a greener place.

  1. Start An Eco Club – There may or may not be an already established  environmental club in your area. If not, now is the chance to grab your family and friends and get started! It’s empowering and honestly wonderful to connect with  like-minded individuals and make new friends while you’re at it. It feels great to join with local eco-groups and connect with other neighbors who have similar values. You can organize hikes, park meetups, trash pick-ups, and other events that help green the community. Some ideas include:
  • Organize seminars, debates, lectures and popular talks for the town on environmental issues.
  • Campaign against plastic grocery bags.
  • Organize rallies, marches, human chains and street theatre at public places to spread environmental awareness.
  • Take action against environmentally unsound practices like garbage disposal in unauthorized places or the enormous problem of cigarette butt waste.
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  1. Organize A Trash Pick-Up – Litter on the sidewalk, in the streets, or in people’s yards. Plastic pieces are so detrimental to wildlife that getting it out of the environment and into recycling or proper trash disposal is so important. Organize a trash pick-up day with a group of friends, co-workers, your neighbors, or even a group of family members. Bring bags and gloves and head to an area like a big park or a beach, where you can spend about 30-60 minutes helping green the community by picking up garbage. Hopefully this will encourage people who see you in action to think about littering and maybe even entice them to pitch in.
  1. Enhance Your Neighborhood– the goal for his project is basically to encourage residents to do more walking! What are some ways you can make walking even more enjoyable in your neighborhood? You may need to connect with your local government before making some of these changes, but ideas include: 
    1. Planting more trees to provide shade.
    2. Hanging cafe lights.
    3. Painting cement retaining walls.
    4. Installing Little Free Libraries (also a place to share canned goods).

All of these ideas improve the ambiance and walkability, reducing local greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. Community Compost – The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has forums, workshops, and guides for those interested in running community composting programs. You could also take a page from Compost Now in New Orleans, where residents can drop frozen food scraps off at composting bins at the library. Local farms turn that food waste into nutrient-rich compost.
  1. Community Garden- You might not have enough space for your own backyard garden, but you can join (or even start) a local community garden. Many of these are funded by a mix of donors, membership dues, grants, and city funds. With a plot of your own, you can harvest your own food, which means you’ll rely less on produce that’s traveling long distances—in plastic and cardboard containers—to your grocery store. The American Community Gardening Association has a search tool that’ll help you find a community garden near you, or you can submit information about your own garden project. 
  1. Neighborhood Environmental Committee- Talk with your neighbors to consider creating a neighborhood environmental committee. You can brainstorm ideas to make your community more sustainable in ways that require minimal effort, whether that’s using HOA funds to plant more trees or organizing clean-ups in nearby parks.
  2. Change Light Bulbs- In your home (and share this information with all your contacts and neighborhood connections), switch out any incandescent bulbs for LED light bulbs. Typically, energy-efficient bulbs use anywhere from 25 to 80 percent less energy than incandescents and can last three to 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you live in a co-op or apartment building, you can advocate that LED bulbs be used in shared spaces if they aren’t already. An analysis from the Consumer Federation of America found that a household using 20 lightbulbs could save $1,000 or more in a decade by using LED bulbs instead of incandescent or halogen bulbs. 
  3. Adopt A Road- These street or highway programs are set up for you to commit to picking up trash along a stretch of the roadway a few times a year. Ask your neighbors, friends, co-workers, or members of any clubs you belong to join.
  1. 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. If you rather plant a new foliage, you and your neighbors could help improve air quality in your community, especially as the saplings take root and grow larger. 
  2.  Clothes Swap – Landfills receive 11.2 million tons of textile waste in a single year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency statistics from 2017. Instead of churning through fast fashion trends, organize a clothing swap with friends and neighbors. It’s really a win-win situation as everyone gets new items for their wardrobe; it’s a fun connection-type community activity; you’re keeping a sustainable ‘green’ circular economy going, and any leftover items can be donated to shelters, homeless projects, or other organizations serving those in need.

BONUS: Get Political – Use your voice to make sure your community council members are doing everything they can to help the environment. From planning more green spaces to offering incentives for eco-building, there is so much that council members can do. Make your voice heard by reminding them of the role they play in greening the community.

Additional Actions– The following links to the related articles are all different ways you, your kids, your family, and your community can get involved in sustainable and environmentally conscious actions for a healthy planet.

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