So you’ve mastered the art of recycling. What next?
With farmers markets, car free days, community gardens and more, there’s are lots of ways to get involved in the environmental well-being of your neighbourhood and city. Regardless of the focus of the activity, the real benefit to these events is that these groups strengthen group resolve to protect our surroundings, by reminding us that we are not alone, and creating like-minded communities. While these actions may seem small, if each participant carries that resolve with them, it creates a ripple effect of meaningful action across neighbourhoods. Find them at your local community centre, municipality website or good ol’ fashion coffee shop bulletin board. Bonus points: they're usually pretty fun, too.
Staying educated means avoiding sensationalized or emotionally charged news stories. Many news outlets present facts to make things seem as if it's all good or all bad, when in reality, there's a lot of both. Seek out information from independent local and national news sources and check sources for everything you read. Non-profits such as the Environmental And Energy Study Institute and peer-reviewed journals like the Scientific American are great places to use as starting points. There may be a few tough pills to swallow. You aren’t required to be an expert, but keeping up-to-date on a few topics you find important keeps the issues of climate change on your mind and will influence your everyday actions.
Let your local and national political representatives know this is something you care about. One phone call, email or vote may not seem like it will change the world, but it does infinitely more than no phone call, email or vote. Collectively, these can have tangible impacts on policies and decisions. It also demonstrates that people are engaged and aware of what’s happening in their country so politicians know their actions will have consequences in the polls. This is one of the most important acts to create real change in the world as it is an active push back against the system which has been rigged to keep us polluting. Eco-blogger and speaker Alder Wicker illustrates this hijacked system and what we can do in their article, if you would like to learn more. Unsure where to start? Try contacting your mayor’s office and asking for their plan on combating pollution in your municipality. They’re being paid by you to serve you, so don’t be afraid to take up some of their time for what’s important.
At home, it can be easy to glaze over areas of environmental impact. You recycle, bring a reusable shopping bag and maybe even compost, and then stop thinking about your environmental impact. What more could be asked of you? While those are excellent waste reduction strategies, we are often simply unaware of the amount of pollution caused by our everyday habits. For example, beef creates over 4 times more pollution than pork, poultry or seafood. Changing your consumption habits doesn’t have to radically alter your lifestyle. If completely giving up something like meat seems like an undoable task, simple reduction or substitution for lower impact meats can have a huge benefits, for both the environment and your health.
Being self-aware of your actions is the most important part of environmental literacy-- often being environmentally friendly only requires small steps and changes.
Trying to be more mindful about all aspects of your life? Have a look at our roundup of the 5 best wellness retreats so that you can practice some self-care.
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