It’s February now, so you’re most likely done with that whole “go to the gym three times a week” thing. But here’s one resolution you can (and should) keep: getting active with local environmental issues, organizations, and initiatives!
As you probably know, there are endless environment and sustainability-related things to get involved with on campus and in Austin (including the Campus Environmental Center, wooo!). The following are just a few of my faves
If you’re interested in local parks and green spaces…
- Each year, the Austin Parks Foundation hosts It’s My Park! Day, a citywide day of service in which volunteers are invited to complete specific improvement projects in their favorite parks. If you have a particular project in mind, you can even become a team leader and work with APF to plan and implement that project. Last year, over 3,000 Austinites volunteered to complete about 100 projects citywide. This year’s It’s My Park! Day is on Saturday, March 5th. Registration opens on February 9th!
- Keep Austin Beautiful has endless opportunities to get involved. You can participate in a cleanup in your favorite park, your neighborhood, or even on Lady Bird Lake. KAB can also help plan a park cleanup for your organization (or just your friend group, because why not?)
If you’re itching to become an environmental activist…
- If you constantly find yourself griping about Austin’s helter-skelter bike lanes, horrible traffic, or all of the above, consider getting involved with cycling advocacy org Bike Austin. With plenty of events, advocacy initiatives and volunteer opportunities, you can use your skills and interests to make biking in Austin easier, safer, more accessible and more fun.
- The Sierra Club is one of the oldest environmental organizations around. But that doesn’t mean that these folks are behind the times- in fact, it’s the Club’s younger members who are some of the most active in Austin. ‘Young Sierrans’ in town meet up for regular happy hours, workshops, events and volunteer projects. Check out the Austin Sierra Club Outings Facebook page for opportunities!
If fresh food is your thing…
- Grab a plot at Concho Community Garden. Semester dues are super affordable and plot owners are free to grow just about anything. Gardening at Concho is great for novices and experienced gardeners alike. Plus, plot owners and volunteers become part of a like-minded community that’s passionate about sustainable, local food.
- If you aren’t down to commit to plot ownership just yet (or can totally see yourself WWOOF-ing in the future), the UT Microfarm is another fantastic resource for participating in sustainable, local agriculture. Check out one of their weekly work days, and if you’d like to get more involved, ask about one of their internships.
- Volunteers are always welcome at Sustainable Food Center (they also have super cool internships!). You could work at a farmer’s market, help maintain a teaching garden, or even help with cooking demos. Or, if you’re just looking for a fun, one-off way to learn more about sustainable food, try one of the center’s cooking or gardening classes.
If you hate to waste…
- Sign up to have your scrapple collected by the Compost Pedallers. This friendly, super-local service picks up your household organic scraps by bike (!) and delivers them to local growing spaces, turning waste into resources and helping boost Austin’s agricultural production. The Pedallers offer student discounts and rewards, too!
- If the Compost Pedallers aren’t in your neighborhood yet, consider collecting your scraps and biking them over to the nearest community garden once a week. As long as you keep your scrapple in an airtight container (or in the fridge!) you should be safe from weird smells and pests. Just make sure to talk to someone at the garden to be certain that you’re composting the right stuff in the right place– and then feel super great about yourself knowing that you’re keeping valuable resources right in your neighborhood!
- Host a Green Event! Shameless self-promotion here, but if you’re a part of a student organization that’s hosting on-campus events this semester, consider working with our team to cut the waste and make your event as Earth-friendly as possible. We can offer composting and recycling services, help you choose products, food, and marketing strategies that are kind to the planet, and come up with customized solutions for any eco-problem- from recycling unusual items to creating custom educational materials! Email us at email@example.com to get started.
There’s no time like the beginning of a new year to get involved (plus, with all this sunny weather there is absolutely zero reason to be indoors!). So get out there and change the world!
— Lauren, Green Events Coordinator