use your voice

Sometimes we can take action and live all the personal changes until we are blue in the face, but if other people, larger people, people with more power, aren’t on board or hearing what we’re doing, it can take more time for change to ripple through and actually happen on a larger scale. We can hasten the process by using our voices as consumers and citizens to stand up for what we believe in and demand change where we see fit.

speak up

When you see something that doesn’t sit right with you, it is your duty and privilege to speak up about it if you have the mental energy to do so. We have the power as consumers to shape the products, shape the future, and give input to what we desire and what we do not. We have the responsibility to act as stewards of the earth. What this means in daily life, is that we must speak up. Here’s a few examples/suggestions:

  • packaging dilemmas: perhaps you order something and it gets swathed in a ridiculous amount of new bubble wrap, or has unnecessary double plastic packaging (plastic sleeve and also plastic wrapped). Write the company. Tell them, “Hey I really love using your product x BUT I hope in the future you will consider switching to less wasteful packaging. We are in a climate crisis and companies like you could make a huge difference and lead the way here. Here are some ideas that could make it less wasteful:” or write them something similar, making sure to be respectful and highlight alternate changes.

  • local businesses: perhaps you head to your local supermarket, and they still offer plastic bags throughout their bulk and produce section, or plastic tissues to grab pastries. You can either ask to speak with a manager, email them, or call later to discuss alternatives- perhaps paper bags, or signage reminding customers to bring their own, with cloth bags also available for purchase. Maybe switching to tongs instead of wasteful single use plastic tissue paper. At ice cream stores, encourage them to use metal tasting spoons. If possible, connect with others in the community who also feel the same, so that the business can understand that it isn't just one person wanting change.

  • schools and city: perhaps in your city there is no competing program. You could contact the superintendent or principal and ask them to implement one, possibly sharing with them information or photos or a website for another school who has successfully done the same. Composting saves the school money because it diverts landfill waste. Band together with other parents to work with your teacher for a trash free Valentine's Day or holiday party.

  • speak your positive reviews too: when a business meets you expectations and is doing an excellent job in sustainability, tell them so. Encourage their efforts, leave a positive review for them on a media platform, recommend them to your friends.

join together

Seek out community or create it yourself. Things to consider:

  • teaching a low waste workshop in your community (see if a like minded business or your city would be willing to host you!)

  • gather together with others in the community to pick up litter; if there are chronic offenders in the litter you pick up, such as starbucks straws, or drink cups from a specific business, visit, call, or write to the applicable business, letting them know how much of their litter you picked up from your community, how you are disappointed, some ideas for change going forward.

  • visiting city hall to speak up about things you see around the community that you wish to be changed: composting accessibility, more access/options for public transit, more waterwise plants, safer biking, sustainability in schools, establishing a zero waste goal for the community etc.

  • seek out a community garden and utilize it for growing your own food, or support it with volunteer time or monetary donations if you are able. If there are none in your town, perhaps think about bringing it up to your city to establish one.

  • establishing a neighborhood swap where neighbors can swap items they no longer need to reduce consumption and landfill trash.

  • starting a clothing swap event with friends and family.

  • hosting a DIY product workshop, either publicly or within friends/family as just a fun night to hang out and make something like toothpaste, deodorant, cleaners etc.