Updated: Jun 15, 2020
4 Individual Steps You Can Take
Broaden your knowledge: read the articles listed below and linked throughout this post, talk about them with your friends and family, and try to see where you can learn from those around you - and what you might have to share with your community too!
Examine your lifestyle: think about ways you can shrink your footprint, like recycling, switching to a commute that uses carpooling, public transportation, walking, or biking, using a reusable water bottle, eating less meat (since meat uses a lot of additional resources, as articles like this one cover: Eat less meat: UN climate-change report calls for change to human diet) and more - check out the Center for Biological Diversity’s 12 Ways to Live More Sustainably!
Get involved: look up what groups are present in your local area and check out a meeting, like a campus group (the University of Oregon’s Climate Justice League is pictured below) or a community group (like your local 350.org or Sunrise Movement chapter); alternatively, research and reach out to a local nonprofit to see what kind of service opportunities and projects exist with which you could assist!
Vote: many people cannot afford to alter their lifestyles or spare the time to learn more about sustainability and get involved with a local group - so for those of us who can, or even if you can’t, it’s really important that you vote in local, state, and federal elections for decision makers who care about sustainability!
3 Articles to Read
Teen Vogue’s 9 Climate Activists of Color You Should Know
The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC)’s History of the Environmental Justice Movement
2 Thoughts to Keep in Mind
Sustainability is not just about a fancy buzzword synonymous with environmentalism! It is also about building communities and systems that support all members of society, especially communities that have been and continue to be marginalized - from people of color to poor people to indigenous folks to disabled people and more.
According to the best available climate science (Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C), the world has to reduce our carbon emissions 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and 100% by 2050 in order to reduce the impact of climate change. We can still make a difference, as long as we act quickly!
1 Important Reminder
Everything that you do makes a difference. There is no one perfect way to be sustainable, and taking even a small bit of action in your life can make a huge difference for the world. Don’t let anyone tell you that “you aren’t sustainable enough” - making an effort is what’s important to help save our beautiful planet!