Human beings are social creatures. Yes, there are those of us who prefer to keep to themselves, but for most of us, we thrive on being a part of the crowd. As much as we hate to admit it, we get little butterflies in our stomachs when we find people we can connect with. And not just surface level Hi’s and Bye’s, either. We’re talking about the deeply-rooted stuff, the commonalities that make for long-lasting friendships, magical experiences, and maybe, dare we say it, love.
So what does this have to do with living an eco-friendly lifestyle?
Well, there’s strength in numbers. The Amazon Rainforest isn’t called the Earth’s lungs because it has just two healthy trees. Think about the positive impact you can make on the environment by spreading awareness and building a strong community of fellow eco-livers. No, we don’t mean starting up a whole organization (unless of course, you want to, in which case by all means, go ahead!). You can start right in your own neighborhood.
Haven’t you once wished that some of your friends would start practicing more sustainable habits just like you? There’s no better time than the present to start inspiring the people in your social circles to create and nurture eco-friendly lifestyles together!
We’ve put together a basic beginner-friendly guide to help you do just that! These are simple and actionable tips to help you create a happy eco-community all on your own.
Talk to People
This is pretty obvious, but the first step is to start getting involved with the people around you. Talk to your neighbors, your flatmates, everyone. Are they practicing eco-friendly habits already? Is there already a small initiative going on? Get in on the action by becoming more in touch with the community you already have. That’s when you can start to help it grow.
Use the Power of the Internet
Isn’t it great to be living in the 21st century? You can make your efforts even more efficient by using the internet in a multitude of ways.
You can start an online group for the members of your eco-community, so everyone can discuss and share sustainable living tips and resources instantly, and better coordinate with each other for group gatherings or events. You can even take it a step further and start a community blog, so you can educate and raise awareness of the latest environmental trends and issues happening in the world. You can even share some of Karunaki’s helpful tips to get the ball rolling!
The purpose of social media is to connect. So use it to connect.
Hold Clean-Up Events
Remember what we said about there being strength in numbers?
Community clean-ups, or any other type of recycling or sustainability-related events are very effective ways of helping the environment. 1.9 billion tonnes of litter goes into our oceans each year, and organizing a huge clean up is the most efficient way to reduce that number. Talk to local organizations, charities and public figures about ways in which you can pitch in as a community. We can guarantee they’ll welcome your support with open arms!
It’s also a great way to get everyone involved with the community and for everyone to get to know each other. We can think of no better way to break the ice than by saving the planet.
Organize a Trading System for Reusable Throwaways
Old magazines, worn clothes and other such things you no longer need don’t have to go in the trash. And that goes the same for everyone else. While you could donate to charities or sell them on Craigslist, why not do something a little more helpful by creating a system for the people in your community to trade or give away used items? One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, after all.
It doesn’t even need to be complicated. Simply write down clear guidelines and let people in your community Facebook group know what they can do with their old belongings. It’s also a good way to reduce your waste as a community and maintain a zero waste lifestyle.
Make it Fun
Sustainable living doesn’t have to be a chore. Help your fellow community members feel happier doing their part by making the process a fun one. Organize vegan nights out, recycling art competitions or recycling challenges. The possibilities are endless.
Friendly competition and group interaction are excellent ways to get people to enjoy being a part of the community. They also help to set your community apart from others and create unique experiences and an identity that make being a part of it all that much more fulfilling.
Lead By Example
Never forget, you’re also starting this community to help the environment.
As the person establishing it, it’s your job to be a role model and inspire the rest of your friends and family to practice sustainable living. Reuse, reduce and recycle; source from eco-friendly groceries; regulate water and energy usage. If you have your own personal sustainable habits or lifehacks, share them! If you have a favorite eco-friendly brand or product, let your community know where to get them. Or better yet, you can even share them as gifts to get people interested.
If you’re looking for an affordable way to get introduced to daily-use eco-friendly products, you can check out the Box Club, a subscription box that delivers an assortment of said products straight to you!
Have a Vision
Finally, it’s also good to have a goal in mind with where you want to go with your community. Do you simply want people to bond over mutual interests? Do you want to reduce the amount of plastic in the area by a certain amount? How much energy per month are you aiming to save as a collective? These are all important questions to ask yourself when you’re planning and/or managing your community. It doesn’t need to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be grandiose. It just needs to be clear and actionable, so you know what to strive for together.
These tips should be plenty sufficient for you to get started. We must warn you: it’s not easy, and you might struggle in the beginning, but with the right motivation and planning, you can definitely succeed. And the rewards are tremendous. If nothing else, it’ll feel incredibly satisfying to see all those people being brought together by none other than yourself. So best of luck to you, eco-warrior!
With love and compassion,