Sustainability is such a broad and global concept that it can be overwhelming to figure out how to participate. Start by finding an area of sustainability that appeals to you and look for ways to make an impact within it. Sustainability is a community journey, and by doing your part you’re contributing to the whole group.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – These three little words are classic when it comes to sustainability and there’s a reason they’ve lasted so long – they work. They are quick and easy ways to create an impact. Start by buying products with less packaging, which helps reduce resource use and waste. Reusing items like water bottles and shopping bags also helps reduce waste. With single-stream recycling and drop-off bins popping up in grocery stores and shopping centers, recycling has become even easier. Any one of these is a great way to start your sustainability journey.
Energy Conservation – Turning lights off, using LED bulbs and utilizing power strips to reduce ghost energy are all easy and effective ways to reduce your energy consumption. Small changes can have a big impact; at Darden we’ve been able to reduce our energy consumption just by adjusting the lighting in our restaurants.
Water Conservation – Water is a precious resource and you can help protect and preserve it by rethinking daily habits like, turning water off when brushing your teeth. Planting native plants and changing the fertilization schedule for your lawn can impact water quality and quantity in your local aquifer.
Animal and Habitat Preservation – Animals have a big impact on our environment. From the pollinators to the scavengers, each one can influence our quality of life and the health of the natural places around us. You can help keep their environments growing strong by participating in lake and habitat cleanups or by planting trees and community gardens. Volunteering at your local nature conservancy is also a great way to get involved.
Wellness – Physical and emotional wellbeing are an important part of living a fulfilling and sustainable life. The health of our community depends on the health of its people. Fortunately, many of the activities that keep you healthy also reduce your impact on the environment. You can increase your physical activity and reduce fuel emissions by leaving the car at home and walking or biking to work or other local destinations, like the grocery store. While you’re there be sure to pick up plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, which have the added bonus of little to no packaging, so you’re reducing your waste too!
Taking a practical approach to sustainability is important because it should be something that you can continue to do without even thinking about it. Remember that you don’t have to do it all, just as community cleanups and tree plantings go, everyone does their little part and collectively they achieve something beautiful.