Having a local 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? How do you get a group started?
Now, we’re into the third phase of the challenge. The activism phase. The phase where you get to get a little outside of yourself and work on bringing change at a whole new level.
Today, I’m challenging you to find or create a local zero waste group!
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Cue the music *One is the loneliest number….*
When you’re just one person, making mega lifestyle changes, it can feel pretty gosh darn isolating. It can feel very *Us vs. Them*. It’s hard to find answers to the problems you might have, and it’s just not as fun.
After all, it’s been proven that having accountability increases the chances of achieving goals.
And, while having an online community is great, having an in person community is EVEN BETTER.
First step is trying to plug into an existing community. Chances are, somewhere out there, there’s already a group in your town. Here’s my top tips for finding them.
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 activities for the groups.
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.
If you started a new group, consider adding your group to Facebook or Meetup.com.
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.
Don’t forget about digital town bulletin boards like one on your local .gov website and reach out to your local paper!
5. Help! I don’t have ANYTHING!!
If you don’t have anything, then it’s time for you to start it! Create a group on meetup.com or Facebook. Kick the group off with hosting an event.
Maybe it’s just a time to get together, sip coffee, and chat about sustainability.
Make sure that you set a regular meeting time. Start with once a month, and then ask the members to publicize the group their friends and then maybe tackle and event together.
Once you find this community there is so much you can do together.
work on a bag ban
Start a "Straw on request only," campaign. Get my script!
host a talk
show a documentary
Host a DIY workshop
Together, there's so much you can achieve!
Creating a group is a great way to be a steward of your own community and truly grow the zero waste movement.
I personally believe, 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.
If you’re looking for a more in depth guide on hosting events, workshops, etc. I go into more detail in my book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste. It’s available for pre-order and I would love it if you checked it out!
take the challenge!
Finding a local community is one of the best ways to enact change in your town. Online community is awesome, but it’s the real life community that get’s it done!
My challenge for you is to find your local zero waste community. I outlined several different places for you to try and find them. Join up with that group and go to one of their meetings.
Will you take the challenge?
Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.
I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.
PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.