Whenever I'm feeling blue, I have a rule. My rule is to always engage in a positive and actionable task.
While I think it's good to feel all emotions and to experience them fully, it can be easy to feel trapped in a funk. I find the best way to break that is with positive action towards a goal you have.
If you're reading my blog, I hope going zero waste, becoming more eco-conscious, or even learning about environmentalism is one of your goals.
I am planning a series of posts on how to host a meet-up and how to organize a cleanup, but before you can do any of those things it would be nice to locate a community of like minded individuals.
Having a community is amazing! Together you can achieve so much and create a true grassroots movement in your town. You can talk about the environmental and social issues in your town allowing you to really create a custom and actionable plan to help everyone in your community live a greener and healthier life.
So, how do you find people who are interested in the environment?
This is always my first recommendation. There are several large groups on Facebook like Journey to Zero Waste and Zero Waste Heroes. There might also be a zero waste group for your country, city, or state!
Use the search tool on Facebook and set it to groups. Search zero waste with your country or state name and something might pop up! I know there's one for Arkansas.
In these larger generic groups, there are comment threads where people leave the country, state, or city they're living. Through these threads you can start finding people in your area.
Once you find a group in your general vicinity, create separate group (assuming there isn't one already) for your country or state. Then people will be able to find your group and niche down into smaller groups by county or city.
I also run a "secret" Facebook group that includes daily threads to help others on their zero waste journey. Click here if you'd like to join.
Another great place to look is on meetup.com. There seem to be meet-ups for everything! Just with a quick glance I see a whole bunch of groups that have a lot of zero waste potential.
Groups like litter busters, foragers, zero net energy, climate election action, climate solutions, ecology leadership group, gardening, community building, and many more that aren't directly linked to zero waste, but they're definitely applicable and could go a long way in helping you meet like minded people.
If you can't find a zero waste group plug into one that is similar. Once you start to build friendships and get to know the organizers, you can pitch zero waste ideas for the group like visiting a bulk store, zero waste DIY workshop, a litter clean-up, or even talking to city council about a straw or bag ban. There's so much that you can work to achieve!
If the zero waste projects ever become more dominant, think of starting your own zero waste meet-up where you can focus solely on those activities.
3. neighborhood apps:
Once you've found a community through Facebook or Meetup.com, try to find new members through a neighborhood app.
Next Door is a really popular app in my neighborhood, and it's a great tool used to organize community cleanups and tell neighbors about ongoing events.
Definitely reach out to your neighbors, you never know there might be a new zero waste friend right next door!
4. publicize and share:
Once the group is in the full swing of things, make sure you're publicizing your group. You want people to be able to find you and join your cause.
Ask members to share the Facebook group with their friends. Ask them to post on Next Door or to bring friends to the meetings.
The more public events you start hosting, the more your group will be in the public eye.
If you're hosting a clean up or another public event like a talk, make sure to send a press release to the local paper so they can include it too.
You'll find the more active you become in the community, the more people will want to join your cause.
5. through local business:
Don't forget to reach out to local businesses too! Now, I know what I'm going to say might sound contradictory, but if you do make a flyer... it's nice to hang it in local businesses around town.
I still think physical bulletin boards are a great way to get out a message.
Once you find this community there is so much you can do together. It's an amazing way to apply pressure on businesses for a BYOC policy, start a "Straw on request only," campaign, work on a bag ban, get involved in your local government, host a talk, show a documentary, and so much more.
It's a great way to be a steward of your own community and truly grow the zero waste movement. Getting involved on a local level is what this movement needs. I would love to see more people working with their town and community. It's an important building block in the big picture of a more eco-friendly world.
Do you have a local zero waste group? What are some of the goals you're working to achieve?