People and Planet. Social and economic justice. Environmental and community health. Good for BOTH people AND planet. That’s what we mean when we say green.

Nominate a project to win a green grant

The more nominations folks receive, the more great green news. That’s especially from all across the country there will be to share for people and planet. Seeing these projects all in one place will counter the usual depressing headlines. They’ll provide hope and inspiration to everyone that together, people everywhere are creating a more just and sustainable world. Again People and Planet.

Imagine you’re taking your children to the playground. You arrive to discover it covered in beer cans and cigarette butts. You don’t want your precious little ones playing in such conditions. But it’s not your job to clean up the mess — or is it?

Recycling for people and planet

As world leaders debate the right actions to take on global warming, you can make a difference in your neighborhood. By making wise choices and recruiting your neighbors. Therefore you can create a positive, nurturing environment. As a bonus, you instill the spirit of environmental stewardship in your children.

1. Organize a Neighborhood Cleanup

You could don a yellow vest and head out to pick up litter by yourself. However, getting the neighborhood involved fosters a spirit of mutual ownership over public areas. This environmental stewardship helps people of all ages treat common spaces with greater respect.

Organize a neighborhood cleanup. When selecting a date, plan your event at least one month in advance and select a time of year when more residents can attend. Recruit local merchants to provide gift certificates as prizes to those who participate. Visit hardware and landscaping supply stores to solicit donations of bags and other items.

2. Upgrade Outdoor Play Areas

Do your children play under the light of the summertime sun? While some exposure helps little bodies manufacture vitamin D, soaking in UVA and UVB rays can cause cellular damage. If it’s time to upgrade your playground, advocate for equipment with wooden roofs and sun to protect young skin.

Help parks for people and planet

Keep the environment in mind when redesigning play areas. Weave wheelchair-accessible pathways through wild areas to protect delicate flora. Add fences to preserve fragile ecosystems like wetlands that border common spaces.

3. Start a Community Garden

You can increase the sustainability of your community and declare environmental independence from part of your grocery bill. Yes folks, with a community garden. Such projects teach children valuable skills they can use on their homesteads one day. It also introduces them to biological concepts like how seeds grow into plants.

To get started, locate an appropriate plot of land and check if it’s available for use. Go online and research grants to begin your project. Block off a square or rectangle for each family involved in the project, and raise interest by printing and distributing flyers to your neighbors.
People and planet
4. Begin a Seed-Sharing ProgramOnce you’ve established a garden in your neighborhood, you want to keep it growing — without spending a bundle. Nearly every time you buy fruits and vegetables, you also get a packet of seeds. Learn how to save the seeds, and you have a ready stash to trade with others. You can swap sprouted yellow bell peppers with your next-door best friend and get some tomato plants for your plot.

5. Make Pet Waste Cleanup More Sustainable

When you take Fido for a walk, how do you clean up his waste? If you’re putting it in a plastic baggie, you’re doing the equivalent of tossing that sack into the ocean. Fortunately, online pet merchants offer rolls of Earth-friendly biodegradable bags for relatively little. If you’re in charge of restocking the containers at the dog park, opt for this version. If not, talk to your local parks and recreation department about making the switch.

6. Shop at Local Merchants

Shopping locally benefits the environment in many ways. Products produced nearby cost little in terms of carbon emissions to ship. Conversely, big box stores contribute to traffic congestion and choking particulates.

Buying local produce keeps arable land in the hands of farmers — not developers who care only about turning a profit. When you purchase fruits and vegetables, do so at the farmers market. This decision protects the homes of wildlife from getting paved into parking lots.

7. Reduce Your Traveling Footprint

Do you idle in the parent pickup day after school day? You’re releasing countless carbon emissions into the air. Instead, walk or bike your children to school when they’re young. Use your stroll as a teachable moment to discuss what they will do when they get old enough to make the trek solo. What could they do if they felt a suspicious adult was following them? They could stop into the hair salon and ask to use the phone, for example.

8. Help Plant More Trees Trees help to Clean the air of harmful emissions while releasing life-giving oxygen.  They also improve the overall aesthetics of your development. Learn how to organize a community tree planting in your neighborhood. You can entice reluctant participants by “selling” them on how the new oaks and pines will increase their property value.

9. Advocate for Positive Change

Step out of your comfort zone and attend city council and school board meetings to advocate for sustainable change. You can request more public recycling containers, or suggest improving existing bus lines to make mass transit more convenient. Whatever you can think of to make your neighborhood more eco-friendly deserves to be said — and heard.

Green Initiatives Result in Healthier, Happier Children

When you live in a sustainable neighborhood, you teach your children the importance of environmental stewardship. You also provide a clean, safe place for young imaginations to flourish.

Sources: Green America http://www.coopamerica.org