It’s nearly impossible to avoid hearing about how the world is changing because of human pollution. You might watch the news in the morning and hear about the rising temperature of the earth or watch a documentary about ice caps melting. It may encourage you to take steps to live a greener life, but you can become discouraged if you feel like you’re on your own.
If that’s the case for you, you’re not alone. It’s great to help the earth by going green, but you’ll make more of a difference if you get others to join you. Many people feel this way, which is why communities are pulling together to become more eco-friendly.
Read on to learn how you can help build sustainable communities if you want to try, but can’t figure out where to begin. You don’t need to become famous to make a difference in the world. Try these easy tips with the people around you to make the planet a better place to live.
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1. Redesign Your Landscaping
Whenever someone decides to change their landscaping, it requires days or weeks of planning. You have to figure out which kinds of plants will grow where you live and where they’ll thrive in your yard.
Meet up with neighbors who want to go green and talk about planting drought-tolerant plants. They’ll hold up under the summer heat and require little watering. You’ll all save yourself from using excessive amounts of water, which reduces your overall waste.
2. Pick Up Recycling
Some neighborhoods have recycling programs, but not all of them. Don’t stress about recycling if there’s no program to do it for you. Start one on your own!
Talk with other neighbors about picking up each other’s recycling regularly, according to a group schedule. Everyone will do their fair share of hauling everything to your local recycling center and limit how much of your trash goes in landfills.
3. Volunteer to Clean Up
When was the last time you volunteered in your community? It’s easy to get caught up in your busy personal life, but remember to give back to help your city’s environment. Get a few friends together, and volunteer to pick up trash at nearby parks once a month. Underfunded city employees will be grateful, and so will the wildlife that would otherwise live surrounded by litter.
4. Invest in Solar-Share Programs
After meeting up, your community may feel like solar panels would make the most significant impact on the planet. If you don’t have the collective budget to install them right now, invest in a solar-share program instead. Community solar is when residents buy into a local solar-electric system and get credit on their electric bill for funding alternative green energy.
This credit could make a huge difference in your monthly utility bill. Areas with energy deregulation cause people to pay more expensive electric bills, which makes solar energy more appealing. After everyone buys into community solar, you’ll have more money in the future for sustainable neighborhood projects.
5. Create an Online Community
Meeting up regularly and living next door to each other is a great way to get your eco-friendly group started, but there may be future complications. Some people may not be able to meet every month or lose track of their accomplishments.
To keep this from happening with your group, create an online community so everyone stays up to date. Post about your efforts, update a calendar everyone can use and celebrate every achievement, big or small. You’ll encourage everyone and keep up the group communication more easily than if you relied on word of mouth.
6. Buy Local Foods
Most of the time, when someone wants to go green, you’ll hear how they started buying local foods. When you look at the statistics, your neighbors will want to join in on the challenge.
The transportation of food to supermarkets is one of the most significant culprits contributing to carbon dioxide emissions. A recent study found mass food production accounts for 83% of emissions from the food industry. Local farms create much less waste when raising their crops and animals, so schedule group trips to your town’s farmers’ markets to get what you can from the farms near you.
7. Build Composting Stations Together
Want to take things beyond sorting out your recycling bin? Invite everyone over and build composting stations together, so you can reuse your remaining waste. You can make bins on even the tightest budgets. Think about using materials like pallets, trash cans or even cardboard boxes. You’ll break down your waste naturally and have a chemical-free fertilizer ready for all your new drought-resistant plants.
8. Host Fun Challenges
Even when you’ve prepared yourself with a list of sustainable ideas, you might need to get your neighbors excited to join the cause. Host fun challenges to get everyone to jump in with you. Give out prizes for things like who saves the most energy compared to the previous month or who recycled the most plastic bottles.
Think about the green efforts you want to start with, and turn them into challenges with fun prizes to get everyone excited to participate. Depending on the award, you may even draw in people who usually wouldn’t join, like if you offer a pizza party or movie theater gift card.
Consider Your Community
If you want to make a difference, you’ll need to consider what your community needs. It may already have a door-to-door recycling program or public park pickup team. See if any of these activities will help you build more sustainable communities, then get your neighbors excited to help you out.