The Environment and Citizenship
These days, the environment is high on the agenda for the vast majority of people, from politicians to the man in the street. But the environment and citizenship are very closely linked and part of being a good citizen is ensuring you do your part for the environment. After all, we must act now to repair damage already done ton the environment for future generations – a key component of being a good citizen.
It is everyone’s duty as a citizen to live as environmentally friendly, or green, a life as possible, both for our sakes, the planet’s and the sake of our children and their children.
The IndividualThere are many ways in which we can live a more environmentally friendly life, and, just like charity, it begins at home. As citizens, we expect our waste to be taken away for us because we pay for this through council tax. But it costs the plant as well as the local council to take away our rubbish and therefore all good citizens should adopt the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle, in this order.
This basically means that we should try to cut down on our general consumption of things that can lead to waste first and foremost. This can mean refusing carrier bags in shops when they are not needed, and refusing to buy things which have excess packaging. It also means we should only buy the food we know we will need, so those old eggs never have to be thrown away again. When we have done this, we must reuse.
Carrier bags are again a good example. Before we recycle, we should see if there is anyway we can get extra use from items and save having to have another one – such as taking old carrier bags shopping or using shredded newspaper as pet bedding. Lastly, when we have exhausted all these possibilities, we should recycle.
So many things can now be recycled; the actual rubbish we throw away should be absolutely minimal. Do not forget, as well as recycling paper, tin, glass and plastic, we can also compost food waste to cut down on that going to landfill.
Carbon FootprintsBut there are plenty of other ways to show that you care about the environment and citizenship is high on your agenda. Carbon emissions have hit the headlines in recent years and many people are concerned with driving down their carbon footprint. This will mean doing things such as trading down to a smaller car, not using that car so often and trying to take fewer flights. Of course, taking public transport is one major way that the Government is trying to encourage us all to reduce our carbon footprint, but this is not always possible. But good citizens could do worse than trying to set up a car share scheme at their place of work.
Organisations and a Team EffortAlthough helping the environment does begin at home, we should all do our part as good citizens to encourage good environmental practices elsewhere as well, such as in our places of work. Businesses have a responsibility to be environmentally friendly, but they need their employees to cooperate. They can provide recycling bins but it is up to us to put our paper in them. In addition, people can also help to help the environment by encouraging others to do their bi. This may well be helping out with local campaign groups or manning a stall about recycling. If everyone who does something good for the environment tells one other person, then differences will soon be seen.
The environment and citizenship are inextricably linked. We may think that we are only one person and therefore cannot make much difference but if everyone made the same small changes, then bigger leaps forward would soon be made. It is our duty as citizens to both be pro-active in our attitude towards the environment and to help others to do the same.