Environmentalism can extend beyond the personal mantra of the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. By bonding together with like-minded individuals in your community, your potential impact on the Earth and your neighborhood can be greatly increased.
No matter how many people are involved, and regardless of the time commitment of its members, there are many types of projects that can bring a community group together in the pursuit of a healthy environment.
Earth Day Activities
One way to bring your community together and raise environmental awareness is by planning Earth Day activities. You could plan a cleanup day in the park, where everyone picks up litter in a common area. Have a picnic or barbecue where everyone is asked to bring reusable plates and cups from home. Try to encourage people to leave their vehicles at home for the day and to walk, take public transportation or bike to the park. Distribute "No Fliers Please" stickers for people to put on their mailboxes, and circulate environmental petitions to everyone who joins in on the Earth Day fun.
Plan informational events at your local community center. Call in local environmental researchers, biologists, teachers or environmental advocates to educate the public on their areas of expertise. You could also run workshops to teach people the basics of gardening, how to calculate their carbon footprint or how to recycle in the community.
When policymakers realize the environment is important to the community, they may choose greener policies. Write petitions to send to your representatives, with signatures from everyone in your community. If your community does not have a convenient way of recycling a wide variety of items, you may want to approach the city council with your suggestion for a curbside recycling program or for a new recycling depot. When your city is planning new buildings or complexes, your group could attend meetings and express your desire for alternative energy sources, such as solar panels.
Plan a Community Garden
One way to bring a neighborhood together is to plan a community garden. You will have to find a large, vacant plot of land and people willing to plant and care for their portion of the garden. Your group may also have to teach people garden basics. Community gardens are a wonderful way to reclaim unused land, and they benefit both the environment and the diets of those eating the healthy fruits and vegetables grown.
Organize Car Pools
It's likely that many individuals in your neighborhood commute to similar areas of your city or town for work. Car pools are a great way to use less fossil fuel and to save some money at the same time. Take turns driving, or help pay for gas if you are catching a ride.
Anne-Marie Hickey lives in Montreal, Canada, and has been freelancing for over seven years. She has written for Canwest newspapers, Mondovi Publishing and various publications in Canada. She was an editor for two years, and has worked in communications for three. Hickey has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political studies from the University of Saskatchewan.