10 Ways to Get Involved with Saving the Planet
Every April, it’s like the holiday season at Postconsumers. Between Earth Day and Arbor Day, we feel like so much of the month is being dedicated to subjects that we find important or meaningful. This year, we’re taking the time to compile all of the information we have on topics related to the planet into a useful resource for you. But in the meantime we wanted to give anybody who hasn’t made helping to save the planet a priority some easy tips for ways to get involved. It can seem like a big and overwhelming job to help save the earth, but just like anything else it comes down to taking small, manageable steps that eventually build up. And here are ten very manageable steps that you can take to get involved.
- Educate Yourself. The Internet Can Be Used for Good.
In order to get involved, you first need to understand what’s going on with the planet. And while we’re going to tell you that you can easily use the internet to learn more about climate change and similar issues, you know as well as we do that the internet can be as full of untruths as it can be a valuable informational resource. We recommend sticking to validated sites like Mother Jones and 350.org to get your information on the realities of science and climate.
2. Look for Local Groups to Join
We concede that introverts will skip this one, but keep in mind that groups with likeminded individuals are great ways for the naturally introverted to get interactive. You may not want to join a huge environmental group in your area, and in some ways it may be better to look for smaller groups that focus on more specific areas anyway. For example, if you live in a high fracking area, consider looking for a group whose specific focus is educating and protesting against fracking.
3. Speaking of Picking a Focus…
You should pick one! Especially because the prospect of having to work to “save” all of the things that need saving with the planet can leave you feeling powerless and discouraged. Like most things, if you pick one area where you can really make an impact, you’ll not only feel like you’re more able to make a difference, you actually will be more able to make a difference! It’s much easier to put a puzzle together one piece at a time then trying to fit five pieces in at the same time.
4. Make Small Changes in Your Own Life
Once you start to educate yourself, you’ll find that even small changes in your own life and changes in the way that you think can ultimately add up and make a big impact. That’s especially true when you multiply small changes out across millions of people who may be making them. Start with something small like recycling and work your way up by adding in a new environmentally friendly practice every time you’ve mastered one. Best of all, fall in love with your idea of enough!
5. Cast Your Vote. Literally.
In America and much of the western world, we are lucky that we can prioritize what’s important to us when we elect the officials who ultimately set and enforce the laws. This is as true on a local and state level as it is on a federal level. Yet only a fraction of Americans actually get out and vote in most elections. Use the power that you have to vote — and vote for candidates who support science and measures to save the earth.
6. Cast Your Vote. With Your Dollar.
No matter how you feel about the state of the world that is implied by what we will say next, often in America what we spend our money on has a bigger “vote” in the nation’s priorities than what we do at the ballot box. That’s why it’s so important to research and spend your money on brands that support ethical social and environmental practices. If you have a smart phone, we recommend the Buycott app.
7. Sign Everything.
Ok, maybe not everything, but the more you put your name to things that matter to you, the more you may be able to influence change. We recommend a daily browse of Change.org for any petitions that matter to you, and of course take the few minutes to listen to petitioners on the street in case the petition they’re passing is something that matters to you!
8. Write Your State and Federal Representatives
You may be surprised to realize how few letters or phone calls it takes from constituents to spur an elected official into action or a position change. Since such a low percentage of the population votes, many politicians assume that only the most active people in our democracy vote and therefore the most active (the ones who write and call) represent the opinions of those most likely to vote. So make sure your elected officials know where you stand!
9. Donate. Yes. Donate.
The groups who do the most for the planet generally can’t do it without financial support, and that means from all of us. Bypass one frivolous purchase per year (most of us have many) and instead donate that money to the green charity or nonprofit of your choice. Of course, as with all charitable donations, do your research first. Not all non-profits are created equally and you want to be sure your money is going to its intended destination.
10. Take Public Transportation When You Can!
This is such a simple change to make, but if we all did it, it would have a huge impact. Any day that you can keep yourself from being a single driver car on the road and instead use public transportation is a day that you’re doing an easy and good thing to help save the planet!
Did we miss a way to get involved with saving the earth that you want to share with us? If so, just tell us about it on one of the social media channels below.
Photo Credit: Wesley Fryer via Flickr