How To Increase Sustainability
We all play an important part in the sustainability of our communities. Businesses and residents alike can have an impact on the way green initiatives are adapted and passed down for generations to come. The more people are invested and participating in these initiatives, the more likely they are to have a lasting impact.
Becoming sustainable means that a community’s residents are choosing to be intentional in their day-to-day activities and asking themselves, “What does this mean for the environment and for my neighbors now and in the future?”
For many, the most daunting part of supporting sustainability is getting started and getting everyone involved. While that can be a big hurdle to tackle, making bite-sized changes can have a huge impact long-term, and it will only get easier with time. Here are some tips on how you can increase the sustainability of St. Louis as a resident.
Support Eco-Friendly Businesses
Before making a purchase, do some research on each business’ practices and what they do in terms of social responsibility. Small and large companies alike have a direct impact on the sustainability of a region. A company worth your support and purchasing power is a company that has a corporate social responsibility policy or is local to the greater St. Louis region, making quality products that will last.
One example of a business that is mindful in terms of sustainability is 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. They
pick up unwanted items and ensures that they are properly disposed of or donated if their condition allows. They are intentional in the way they do business, but they also support a number of other initiatives such as Clayton High School Football Boosters, Connections to Success and their Dress for Success Midwest program.
Advocate for Sustainable Policies
Getting involved in local government is an easy way to ensure that the future of your community is one worth looking forward to. Choose some key issues that are important to you and have a great need in your area and advocate for those policies by calling your representatives, speaking out about the issues and spreading the word with those around you. By participating in change at the policy-level, you are ensuring that lasting resolutions are being put in place.
Find an Alternative Way to Commute
St. Louis is fortunate to have excellent public transit options. MetroLink and MetroBus are easy, convenient and totally accessible and will allow you to travel throughout the city with ease. If you are lucky enough to have a short commute, consider riding a bike or walking to work each day.
If you are unable to commit to these alternative commute options five days out of the work week, consider dedicating one day a week to an alternative commute. Every decision you make in your day-to-day will make a difference in the sustainability of St. Louis.
Support Farmers Near You
When was the last time you went to your nearest farmer’s market? Have you ever held a subscription to a CSA? These are two easy ways to ensure that you are shopping local and supporting businesses that need it most. If you can’t afford to purchase all your groceries this way, consider choosing a few items that you will always get from farmers in your areas. For instance, if you often find yourself using tomatoes in cooking, commit to supporting a local tomato farmer instead of purchasing your tomatoes from a grocery store chain. This will help you progress over time to a more sustainable way of consuming.
Get Involved with Volunteer Opportunities
A strong volunteer network is directly linked to a strong community. Find a cause that you can connect with and dedicate a set number of hours each month to helping advance its mission while doing something that feels good for you. Some examples could include tutoring children at a local school, picking up litter at the park, getting involved in a skills-based volunteer opportunity where you can teach a group of individuals something new or hosting a food drive for your local food pantry. There are endless ways to better your community. Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll inspire others to do the same.
Participate in Your Community
Free outdoor yoga events, neighborhood association planning committees and other similar community-focused opportunities will allow you to meet new people and further your knowledge
of your neighbors. This is an important step when it comes to staying motivated in the direction of sustainability and caring for those around you.
Grassroots sustainability efforts in smaller communities are critical to making the world a better place. By practicing mindfulness in your daily decisions and thinking about the long-term effect of more sustainable options, you will be contributing to the larger picture of a more sustainable city and a more sustainable world for all to live in.