Finding ways to live a more sustainable life is now more important than ever. Despite the efforts that have already been made in recent years, waste and pollution continue to increase, and climate change continues to loom over the planet. So it’s clear that more must be done if we are to stop and even reverse the damage before it’s too late.
However, it’s important to remember not to carry the burden of saving the planet all on your own. With so much happening in our world today, it’s easy to get eco-burnout, especially if you have primarily been doing everything by yourself.
Though what you do as an individual is still important, community care and group activism are just as essential and can help you push through when you are feeling perhaps a bit overwhelmed or powerless thinking about all that we must still do to protect the environment. Joining in on community efforts and working with others can remind you that you are not fighting this fight alone and that there are people all around you that you can lean on for support to help inspire you and keep you going.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the many things you can do to get involved in your community to further your efforts as an environmental activist.
Attend local events or organize events to spread awareness
If you haven’t already, do a bit of research to find out if there are any environmental activist groups or eco-conscious organizations that exist in your local area or nearby. The EPA, for example, has a list of many organizations that fight for environmental justice spread all across the nation.
Once you find some places, you can look to see if they are hosting any events that you can join in on to help or even just to learn about their efforts and what is being done in your local community. If there aren’t any groups or organizations in your area, you could try to form a group of your own and host events to spread awareness in the hopes of bringing together people like you who want to help and do more to protect the environment.
Volunteer to help plant trees
Trees are an important part of local communities not just for the shelter and natural habitat they provide, but because they also help to clean the air, provide oxygen, reduce pollution, and overall help combat climate change. If there is already a tree planting group in your area, you can volunteer or sign up to help them, or you can organize a tree-planting movement of your own.
Participate in a community cleanup
Trash and waste are serious problems that can pollute the environment and put local wildlife and habitats at risk. It can even be detrimental to human health if the trash pollutes local water systems. To help, you can volunteer with local cleanup groups that already exist, or you can host a cleanup yourself with friends, family, or anyone else that wants to join. Pay especially close attention to trash around creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, and beaches, as this can be detrimental to the wildlife that lives in those areas.
Start a community garden
In many ways, going green isn’t just about protecting the planet but about protecting your health as well. And a community garden is a great way to benefit both of those things. Starting a garden in your local community can reduce the need for shopping at chain grocery stores that largely contribute to pollution, and it can provide you and others with healthier food options. Tending a garden can also be good for your mental health and help you socialize with others.
Volunteer to help local wildlife
As mentioned above, pollution and trash can have a significant impact on local wildlife, which is essential for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. So another great way to get involved with your community is to volunteer with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation programs. Not only will this help you learn more about the local wildlife and natural habitats, but it will also do a lot of good in helping to preserve and protect the planet.
Attend or organize rallies, strikes, and marches
Sometimes, doing your part to help the environment isn’t just about what you do, but it’s also about what you say. Speaking up for the planet by making your voice heard at marches and protests can go a long way towards making big changes happen. Tons of individuals are already doing what they can to live sustainably, but it is the big corporations and organizations that have the most impact, and putting pressure on these companies can push them to make more sustainable changes.
Donate to support environmental activist organizations
Showing your support can also look like donating money to good causes that have more resources to protect the environment. You can look up organizations that have local chapters in your area, or you can donate to national and international organizations even if they don’t have a chapter in your community. Some examples include Greenpeace, The Audubon Society, The Citizens’ Climate Lobby, EarthJustice, and 350.org.
Vote in local and national elections
Voting is one of the most powerful ways to effect change that can help save the planet. The more you vote and encourage others to vote to get the right people in the office, the more we can change laws and policies that affect the environment. So make sure you are voting in your local and national elections and encouraging others in your community to do so as well.
If voting numbers are down in your area, you can also host rallies and put up posters to spread awareness and inspire others to start voting more often. You can even volunteer to help register people to vote and make sure everyone knows where their local polling locations are to increase accessibility to voting.
Lead by example
If your local community is lacking in environmental groups and activism, the best way to get more people involved and to start forming groups and organizations is to start leading by example and speaking up. That’s not to say you have to do everything yourself, but sometimes it just takes one person taking action for other like-minded people to start following suit and helping out.
Hosting just one event to spread awareness can result in a number of people in your area coming forward to start pitching in and getting involved. And before you know it, you could have a number of activist leaders in your area organizing events and groups of their own to help create a more eco-conscious community.
Another great way to encourage others to do their part is to lead by example in your own home. Doing what you can to make your home more sustainable can show others the benefits of being more eco-friendly with their daily home practices, such as saving on energy bills, living healthier, and reducing their overall carbon footprint.
There are countless things you can do and volunteer efforts you can make to start supporting your local community’s environmental initiatives. Every little act helps. And the more you get involved in your community, the less you will feel like you are carrying the burden of saving the planet on your own.
Effecting genuine change requires group effort. The more we do together as communities, the more of an impact we can have on the environment and fighting against climate change.