When you align your life with your eco-friendly values, you can’t ignore society’s problems and flaws. Having had this epiphany, you feel like taking action and banding people together around you. Here are a few eco-friendly campaign actions ready to go.
Running an introduction to eco-friendliness and zero waste in the workplace
The workplace is the perfect place to raise people’s awareness of eco-friendliness. It’s easy to convene a meeting there, and the management can lend its support to the idea and even benefit from it. The idea to put to the company is to run an audit on a specific point, like waste or plastic use. You review the office supplies and what the employees use. Then you present your results along with solutions, for example putting paper/plastic sorting bins in place, to discourage employees from having all types of rubbish jumbled together in their individual waste paper baskets. You can also propose that the company give everyone a mug or re-usable water bottle to avoid the use of plastic bottles and cups at the water cooler. In addition, suggest switching suppliers so as to order refillable pens rather than plastic non-refillable ones, etc. You can also volunteer to organise internal zero-plastic or zero-waste events. Lastly, you can propose a charter to the employees whereby everyone commits to abiding by actions within the company or even at home.
Putting a joint compost heap in place with your neighbours
Day in day out, we live near people in the village, street or apartment block who could be rallied to the eco-friendly cause or to joint actions. Sometimes, just getting things started is enough to see them join in. Putting a shared compost heap in place is a simple step, which doesn’t call for a big outlay and makes it possible to cut down on waste. It can be nothing more than a lidded bin, at the bottom of which you place a layer of earth, then alternate layers of earth and garden waste like leaves, petals and cut grass, on top of which you’ll throw organic waste matter. However, you have to keep an eye on the compost heap to make sure the air can circulate, and keep it supplied with dry matter like wood chippings or dry leaves. This is to prevent the waste from getting compressed and to reduce dampness. It’s best to get guidance from a composting maestro or follow a guide like those that can easily be found online (on the ADEME site for example). This kind of local action strengthens social ties and is a conversation starter, not least on the importance of cutting down on waste… A virtuous circle!
Launching a campaign against cigarette butts with the neighbourhood shopkeepers
For this action, you just need to print flyers for handing out in your neighbourhood on the subject of cigarette butts, their impact on the cost of street cleaning and the pollution that they generate. Explain also that even if you throw them in the gutter, they end up in the sea and rivers. Bearing in mind that a single cigarette butt can pollute 500 litres of water… Then you can bring another dimension to your action by presenting it to shopkeepers who can join in and propose ashtrays in their doorways with posters. You can also take it to the city hall to get a long-term campaign started, as part of village or city life, with for example, the official designation of a “street free of cigarette butts”. A great many associations are impacted by and interested in this kind of action, and that’s where you’ll find support for the staging of other events like cigarette butt or plastic litter pick-ups.
Proposing a workshop on biodiversity at your children’s school
Another way of campaigning is to introduce new concepts to people and educate them. Any parent can offer to run a workshop at their child’s school. The themes easiest to talk about are those to do with animals, like biodiversity and plastic. You explain the fundamental role of bees, for example, or the fact that birds eat earthworms, which need nutrient-rich earth, which needs microorganisms, or explain that whales feed on plankton… And that every animal needs the others to survive, just as we do. That way, it’s easy to explain the concepts of the ecosystem, co-dependency and the food chain, from infant school onwards.
As for plastic, a fun approach to the various materials, by passing around cardboard, wood and metal and soft and hard plastic items, gets the message across in a down-to-earth way. These days children are very savvy, and know only too well that marine animals suffer when they ingest the plastic that gets broken down in the sea. Having touched on the fact that recycling is not enough, it’s best to join the dots between that and consumer behaviour by presenting alternatives to plastic: showing children solid shampoo, wooden-handled toothbrushes and metal reusable water bottles alongside their plastic counterparts. A seed sown for the citizens of tomorrow.
Organising a lending system in your apartment block
This has to be the easiest measure to take: just put up a list in the entrance hall where everyone writes what equipment they have and can lend. That way, fondue sets and drills that have gone unused for three years can be of use to others. Conversely, borrowing items bypasses making unnecessary purchases. After that it’s easy to arrange eco-friendly drinks and nibbles, put a book swap box in place or make a skill exchange deal: English lessons in return for repairs. It’s a whole chain that gets formed, with nice savings to boot!
The eco-friendly approach is first and foremost about frugality and mutual aid. A single person can get a group together around a common interest, get their ideas across and make headway while feeling supported. These ideas for actions that are simple and inexpensive to put in place can lead you to make acquaintances and form a principled, eco-friendly network around you.
Campaigning is about going public, sharing and spreading the word. To do so you don’t have to look far. Local actions are often the most effective ones! Over to you!