Taking Action for Environmental Sustainability

Written by Roxci Bevis, DRBIPA Program Coordinator – August 25, 2020

Nature is so amazing because it provides everything we need. It is not just a place to go to get some fresh air, it is home. Utilizing all that our natural environment has to offer us while appreciating its irreplaceable benefits is sustainability at its finest.

Sustainability happens when we meet our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. But is environmental sustainability really possible when we have collectively started to use more resources than what is safe for the planet each year? Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. And for 2020, this day unfortunately just passed us by on August 22nd.

Shocking, right!? We can’t solve the problem overnight but there are a few things we can all do now to take action:

  1. Hold politicians accountable. You can call, write, or email your MLA or MP to let them know what environmental policy changes you support and what you want them to focus on.
  2. Shop used. Stop by the thrift store when in need to save useful materials from ending up in the landfill and to save the natural resources to make something new. All while most often supporting a charity in need as well.
  3. Avoid one-time use items. Try alternatives like beeswax wraps and glass containers for lunches. Or plain recyclable paper and newspaper instead of printed wrapping paper for gifts. It’s sounds about time for the handkerchief to make a serious comeback, too.
  4. Volunteer. Sometimes the best way to take action is to support a local non-profit organization or charity working on environmental conservation efforts or policy change projects. Checkout Langley Volunteers for a list of places to volunteer in our community.
  5. Repair and reuse everything. Fixing broken items like electronics, toys, and appliances can reduce the environmental impact of having a replacement manufactured from raw materials. It also saves goods from having to be transported from far away.

Of course, our society’s waste and overconsumption problems do not fall solely on us as individuals. But there is a lot more we can do than just recycling and banning plastic bags. We can take action for an environmentally sustainable future by volunteering, contacting our legislative representatives, and avoiding one-time use items. And we can always choose to take a moment before purchasing something new – to think about the journey of that product from start to finish, all the materials and energy used, and if the item can be repaired or if there is an alternative easily available.

Sustainability depends on the actions we take now. What do you think is the best way to directly reduce our environmental impact right now? We’d love to hear your comments on social media!