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December 2, 2013

Ways to Help the Environment: Mobilize Action

There are many ways for each of us to help the environment, whether by changing our personal routines to conserve energy, or by educating friends and coworkers on environmental issues. But the ability to mobilize a larger group can produce great results.

Save the Green

Save the Green by Neloy Bandyopadhyay.

Local Outreach

Starting small can be the easiest, quickest way to see results in your community. Whether it be a neighborhood clean-up or a city-wide fundraiser for a local river or park, connecting with local citizens is rewarding for everyone. Start with maybe a school for students of any age to get involved with volunteering to clean up a highway, beach, riverbed, or park. You can also ask friends, family, or community members in your own church, workplace, club or team to for possible fundraising projects or donation drives. You can reach out to students in universities connected through the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), or get ideas from the EPA about acting locally.

Non-profits and local businesses are also great partners for encouraging local action to help the environment. If you know of a non-profit that is already doing clean ups around your city or involved in environmental work, you can contact them to get involved with their events, or even suggest one of your own. Local businesses are also very welcome to supporting organizations or an organized event for a good cause. In Jacksonville, for example, the St. John’s Riverkeeper, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the St. John’s river in Florida, has community business partners that donate a small portion of sales or support events towards cleaning the river. There are many ways to draw support from your own local businesses and organizations. If you wanted to host a fundraiser dinner for cleaning up a watershed in your city, local restaurants might be willing to donate in-kind with rental space or food donations. Not only is it good promotion for their business, but it can draw many more people to your cause.

Online Tools

There are also many online tools you can use to find active environmental groups in and around your town. Besides a general search, there are many ways to find online campaigns that help environmental causes. Examples include Indiegogo and Kickstarter, popular websites for crowdfunding for all different sorts of projects, including solving environmental issues. There are also volunteer databases, like VolunteerMatch or Idealist.org that can help you find volunteer opportunities with environmental organizations.

There are now tools online that make searching for environmental projects even easier. Creeklife is an online platform to search for and fund opportunities to save watersheds. Using maps overlapping hydrological unit codes, you can easily find a local group or activist seeking help or funding to clean up creeks or places that contribute to water runoff pollution. There are three types of people that use the site: action persons who are individuals that are willing to give money to fund a cleanup or related activity; Cleaners, who are looking to help out and work; and Watershed stewards, who verify that an action has been done, as well as add new events occurring in their towns and neighborhoods. As a new, up-and-running tool, it is a great niche website for those who want to reduce water waste and support local water sources for a global impact.

There are many ways to stay in tune with your environment and produce activity among neighbors and citizens. One just has to ask!

Posted by Mark Contorno

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