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10 Ways to inspire your community to go green

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Green up your community

For years, we have been hearing about and pondering the reduce-reuse-recycle environmental mantra. More and more people are looking at ways to reduce their ecological footprints: bringing reusable totes to the grocery store, recycling aluminum cans and driving less. Greening our own lifestyles may not be enough, though. Here are 10 ways to inspire our communities to join the effort.

Shopping at farmers market

1Talk about it.

To inspire green efforts in your community, you first need to be part of it. Talk to your neighbors, find out what's going on around you, and get involved. Become a leader and start community chats or book clubs aimed at discussing green initiatives.

2Eat local.

Food grown locally doesn't have to travel far to get to your plate, thus conserving energy and emitting fewer greenhouse gases in transport than something grown across the continent or half a world away. Check out your local farmers' markets, and freeze or can seasonal food for year-round enjoyment.

Check out 10 farmers' market shopping tips. >>

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Buy local.

Buying locally produced goods is a huge boost to your community's economy. Consider your local artisans for unique gifts around the holidays or special occasions instead of big-box retailers. Then, by all means, tell your friends about it!

4Join active organizations.

With so many community organizations across the nation, your hometown is sure to have environmental groups as well. Check out your options and choose a group whose philosophies are in line with yours and that has active community projects.

5Educate children.

Take advantage of opportunities to educate children on environmental awareness by reading to them in schools and libraries.

6Organize a carpool.

Does your child's school have a carpool system? Could your employer use a local carpool coordinator? Inspire those around by starting and organizing a carpool that will benefit the environment and save people money and time, too.

6Start a website.

The Internet is a great way to communicate a message in which you believe strongly. Start a Facebook page, set up a Twitter account or find a free website through Yola or Ning to start the green conversation. Be sure to include the green options in your own community.

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Woman donating box of food

Organize donation drives.

Collect donations for recycling programs take used household items, such as shoes, clothing and appliances, and donate them to a community improvement project or recycle them for other uses.

9Pose a challenge.

A little friendly rivalry can spark a lot of community action. Sites such as 18Seconds.org are playing a key role in pitting town against town in the battle to get greener.

10Get politically active.

Local politics can be much less intimidating -- and more productive -- than national politics. Making connections, exerting pressure and getting involved are easier when you live among the people you are trying to influence. Whether you're campaigning against unwelcome development or seeking to influence local policy in a more positive direction, make your voice heard.

Try one or all of these ideas to spark and inspire the community around you to go green.

More ways to inspire your community

How to be an eco-friendly parent
Give back to your community: Donate your time
How to green every part of your life

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