How Can We Work Together to Protect the Environment?
When we’re talking about protecting the environment, the conversation often has a negative feeling attached to it.
While we can’t argue that the subject is an urgent matter, it doesn’t help when we’re all judging each other and being pretentious.
We can’t judge other people’s contribution because there are no set criteria to compare it to. Remember, nobody’s perfect and you’re probably doing something to harm the environment – whether it’s using too many plastic bags or driving a car.
It might sound cheesy – but wouldn’t it be better if we were positive and worked together to protect the environment? Connection and community always work better than disconnection and segregation.
We think it would be better to work together, and we’re going to make some recommendations.
So, how can we work together to protect the environment?
1. Eat Less Meat
Eating less meat is becoming more common as people start to realise the impact on the environment, and getting involved in a community is a great way to create consistency.
The benefits of eating less meat:
- Agricultural expansion and overfishing result in loss of habitat and destruction of species, so having one meat-free day is key to preserving these resources.
- Intensive livestock rearing would be limited if we reduced meat consumption, which would prevent greenhouse gas emissions from rising.
- Crops need significantly less water than livestock, so you’d be helping to preserve water.
We advocate avoiding meat on any day of the week, but being specific with the day keeps things simple and creates a sense of community.
What Communities Exist?
Meatless Mondays is a US-based international campaign that encourages people not to eat meat on – you guessed it – Monday.
The campaign initially started in World War One, but was mainly used to help manage sources of food in desperate times.
The campaign lost momentum after the war but was restarted in 2003 as a public awareness campaign by the Center for a Livable Future.
Stella, Mary and Paul McCartney started Meat Free Mondays in 2009 and are active on social media, YouTube and create meat-free recipes for people to enjoy as an alternative.
You can see Paul McCartney’s pledge video below (with a bonus, odd Jamaican accent).
2. Start Litter Picking
Once upon a time litter picking was something your local council made you do if you’d been in trouble. Not anymore, you can now join litter picking groups that aim to reduce the amount of rubbish on our streets.
The benefits of reducing litter on our streets:
- Waste reduction means there is less harmful waste for animals to ingest or become trapped or caught in.
- Communities that care about litter are more likely to be vigilant against those who drop litter and work together to protect their area.
- When litter makes contact with the ground harmful elements can be released into water and soil, by picking litter you’ll be preventing this from happening.
Although fines can be issued to those who litter, it’s an incredibly hard to police and probably isn’t on the priorities list for the local police.
There have also been advertising campaigns which aim to reduce litter – ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ is one of the most well known and reduced litter by 73% over four years. However, littering is still a problem throughout the world, so you often have to take other reduction routes.
What Communities Exist?
If you want to get involved in a litter pick, you could speak to your community hall, council or Citizens Advice Bureau. You can also go online and search for groups on Facebook, such as this one called ‘UK litterpicking groups.’
Some organisations that promote litter picks, such as Keep Britain Tidy. Members can host or join clean-ups, and there’s also a donate function and plenty of information about understanding litter picking and how it impacts society.
The company post their events on Facebook, so you can monitor what’s happening in your area.
It doesn’t matter how you get involved; the important thing is that everyone is coming together to help clean up the UK.
3. Manage Your Waste Production
Think about how much waste you create: weekly bin collections, tip runs and all the rubbish you have to dispose of when you’re at work or out.
The Guardian recently reported that illegal fly-tipping in the UK rose 39.6% in the last six years, which doesn’t bode well for environmental protection.
Fly-tipping is difficult to police, and offenders often aren’t prosecuted which is mainly due to council budget cuts.
Instead of just taking all your waste to a tip or putting it wherever you see fit, could someone else use it? If we are to work together here, we need to get out the ‘use and dispose of’ mentality and look at our purchases as more permanent solutions, or as something that can be passed on.
There are several benefits of donating and reusing goods:
- Prevents pollution, which is a direct consequence of producing more products.
- Reduces the amount of waste that needs to be recycled or sent to a landfill site.
- Allows products to be used to their full extent, and provides someone with something of value.
What Communities Exist?
Local Charity Events
Charities rely on the goodwill of others, and you can ensure your goods are being reused by donating to your local charity. They’ll take most types of goods, such as clothes, toys and electricals.
You can also help with their events, for example, some charities wrap up Christmas gifts for the homeless such as hats, gloves and scarves. Find out what’s on in your local area and see if there’s anything you can offer.
Upcycling isn’t just about using old goods; it’s about giving them a new life and creating something even better.
If you use a search engine like Google, you should be able to find an upcycling class near you. There are also plenty of inspirational ideas on Facebook Groups and Pinterest boards.
Here are some useful upcycling resources:
- Facebook Group – Repurpose + Upcycle = Inspiration
- Upcycling Class – craftcourses.com
- Pinterest Board – Upcycling
Other Waste Reduction Methods
- Sell Your Books – WeBuyBooks will offer to buy your books and will either resell them or recycle them.
- Join a Gardening Group – much of what we throw away could be composted so excess food doesn’t go to waste. If you’re unsure of how to compost, join a local gardening group who’ll help teach you.
- Take Cooking Classes – many people are over-reliant on plastic microwavable meals and eat processed foods because they can’t cook, explore vegetarian or vegan cooking classes if you want to go the extra mile.
- Carpool – we spend plenty of money on getting to and from work and other locations, try a service like BlaBlaCar and see if you can meet people and get a lift in the process.
Start Connecting With People & Protect the Environment
If we want to protect the environment, we have to do it together. If you took inspiration from any of the points listed above, make the first move and reach out to a group. And if the group doesn’t exist, could you create it?