A Short Guide on the Ways to Encourage Sustainability In Your Neighborhood and Local Community
By Gloria Ferry
Sustainability has become a top priority within the global community concerned with preserving natural resources. Both leaders and ordinary citizens find innovative ways to use these resources that don’t harm the environment. This lifestyle change is known as a term that has been popularized as ‘going green.’
Adding to this, you may feel uncertain of what you can do to participate on a bigger scale in this conservation revolution. However, it would help if you begin with a smaller group since it’s more practical. Moreover, the best place to start is within your surroundings and mainly focusing on your district. From here, once you’ve educated and encouraged your neighbors to live sustainably and they completely understand the effects and benefits, they too will advocate this lifestyle. Hence, creating a global conservation revolution.
You can observe the ways your community affects the environment and then suggest ways to implement ‘greener’ methods where needed. In this way, your neighborhood can witness the benefits firsthand and thus could inspire families to incorporate sustainable, conscious measures into their lifestyles.
6 Simple Ways To Encourage Sustainability In Your Neighborhood
With that being said, here are simple projects you can initiate to encourage your neighborhood to become more sustainable.
- Energy Efficient Public Areas
Since most people living in your neighborhood use the same public areas, it makes sense to utilize energy-saving technology. This kind of equipment can power up parks, shopping complexes, parking lots, and streetlights. All this should be accomplished without using a high-energy consumption infrastructure.
A highly recommended energy-efficient tool to use outdoors is by using solar-powered lighting. Solar energy devices convert the sun’s rays into generating electricity that can be stored for up to eight hours. It’s a useful idea for you to find out more about SMART solar street lights if you’re keen to make your neighborhood more energy efficient.
The best way to approach this is to consult a local councilor and suggest a mutually advantageous sustainability project. Your suburb could certainly appreciate switching to energy-efficient lights that last a long time. This can, in turn, be a cost-saving initiative to the lower-municipal tax bill of your area.
- Community Gardening
One of the most beneficial methods of encouraging sustainability is starting a community garden. This type of urban agriculture has been shown to improve the environment of a region. It can also contribute to the well-being and ecology of native plants, pets, and wildlife living in the area.
Residents can collectively cultivate and own the garden of produce, which they can feed the neighborhood children via a school feeding program. They can also supply nearby restaurants and grocery stores with fresh local produce. Doing this can help decrease your suburb’s carbon footprint by reducing food waste and lowering food transportation frequency. It also ensures food is grown organically and without industrial-scale commercial farming that upsets soil ecology.
In addition to this, a significant motivation to convince your district to harvest a community garden is the impact it will have on your local water supply. The garden can be sustained during rainfalls which can help conserve water for drought periods and even prevent surface runoffs that could carry pollutants in bodies of water like rivers and lakes. Ultimately, the latter could mean that soil could contain fewer pollutants in the garden. Water would need less treatment and filtration, making it healthier to drink and use in farming.
- Public Transportation
An often-overlooked aspect of sustainability is transportation in urban areas. You may not know how individuals and families living in the same residential areas usually commute to the same places. This can be driving private cars into the city for work or kids attending schools.
Areas of urban sprawl have been identified as a sustainability problem. This is due to the transportation networks centering on single-car usage as the only solution to getting around. It has eventually led to cars being one of the most significant contributors to carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.
What’s more, cars create an enormous amount of noise pollution. This can disturb the natural habitats and ecosystems of wildlife living in your area. It could lead to animals having to migrate to find more peaceful places to live and upsetting the balance of the local ecology.
However, in recent years, this has presented an opportunity for introducing public transit. Public transport systems that involve buses, trains, trams, shuttles, and even rideshare taxis have expanded and increased their services. These were once mainly for people traveling in cities to go from one area to another, but luckily things are improving as awareness has increased.
You can be part of this change by organizing and starting a community carpool. With this, there could be fewer vehicles on the roads in your district; thus, less air and noise pollution and carbon emissions being emitted into the air.
- Develop Walkways
Relative to public transportation, sustainability can be brought into your community by providing and developing walkways for pedestrians. This can reduce the need for residents to drive or commute and further lessen the carbon emission count. Once again, this may need you to get your local government involved.
Walkable neighborhoods typically have pedestrian infrastructures such as walkways, wider pavements, and streetscapes. It also encompasses placing local shops and businesses and areas of interest closer together in the distance so people can reach it on foot.
What you can do in the meantime with a volunteer group is to maximize and beautify the already existing paths through landscaping. Planting trees and other low-growing plants can clean the air, converting the carbon dioxide from moving vehicles to oxygen that people breathe in. Not only that, placing them along sidewalks can provide shade during hot days and positive aesthetics in the environment when fellow neighbors take a stroll. To add to this, you can set up distance signs that show routes to public hub areas in your neighborhood on trees or lamp posts. A better walking environment can encourage residents to be more mobile in your area.
Lastly, aside from the pedestrians, you can also encourage people to ride their bikes or scooters when traveling to their destinations. Other than the shade and aesthetics, they can also benefit from walkways because it’s safer than riding along with moving vehicles.
- Recycling Stations
Recycling stations are among the most accessible means of incorporating sustainability into your community. These types of sorting bins have been around for over a decade. They can also be distributed in any public area with frequent foot traffic, such as parks, libraries, shopping complexes, schools, and playgrounds.
The stations are usually marked or color-coded according to the kind of waste they’ll receive. You can draw pictures or illustrations to paste onto the front of the recycling station bins. This makes it more user-friendly for children who can’t read yet or non-native English speakers to understand.
If you prefer to be more proactive, you can create stations made up of sustainable materials. They can be made DIY projects using old crates or wooden containers. Once you’ve made enough, you can offer them for public use and dispensing once you’re given suburban approval.
To get an existing bin to recycle stations, you’ll need to request your councilor’s office to be set up in your neighborhood. Alternatively, you can use regular containers and organize a recycling day in your area. You can gather some volunteers and sort all the waste into their raw substances with this. If this option isn’t viable for you, you can have the recycled waste sent to a business that can transform it into usable goods.
- Rewards Program
Another way to get your neighborhood to embrace sustainability is by creating a rewards program concerning recycling stations. An example of this can be giving out coupons and discounts for upcoming regional events and activities to participants. You can get local businesses involved to validate these tokens for their companies.
A good rewards program should offer a variety of incentives and recognize a diverse range of tasks. This can help encourage local citizens to participate in any way they can. In this instance, the rewards can be collecting a specific volume of waste to turn into compost for a voucher to a food store. Another example can be tending to a community garden for a few days a week to receive a monthly gift.
To ensure the rewards program is successful, keep your neighborhood’s values at the core of each incentive. Furthermore, your program should always remain sustainability-oriented and in line with your community conservation goals. This can galvanize your society to go green for good with proactive effort.
The abovementioned ways are just a few of the many ways to create a sustainable community. You can positively impact your neighborhood’s ecology by empowering your fellow residents to adapt to these sustainability practices. They are simple, cost-effective, and more importantly, they encourage solidarity in improving the quality of each other’s lives. This is on top of supporting a global effort to conserve vital resources necessary to sustain future generations.
Gloria Ferry is an environmentalist. She also writes blog posts related to protecting and saving the environment. Gloria loves to spend her time in her garden or do some nature tripping.