Individuals can take actions in their normal day to day activities and encourage family & friends to take similar actions. Small individual actions, when combined with the efforts of (millions) of others around the World, will have a huge impact on helping to reduce poverty and protect our planet from further environmental damage. More detailed SDG specific actions are provided in the WCYDo APP and in other parts of this website under the 5Ps - People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships in the section "your impact".
However, the UN suggests a series of general actions the "lazy" activist could adopt:
Level 1: Things you can do from your couch
- Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.
- Stop paper bank statements and pay your bills online or via mobile. No paper, no need for forest destruction.
- Share, don’t just "like". If you see an interesting social media post about women’s rights or climate change, share it so folks in your network see it too.
- Speak up! Ask your local and national politicians and authorities to engage in initiatives that don’t harm people or the planet.
- Don’t print. See something online you need to remember? Jot it down in a notebook or better yet a digital post-it note and spare the paper.
- Turn off the lights. Your TV or computer screen provides a cosy glow, so turn off other lights if you don’t need them.
- Do a bit of online research and buy only from companies that you know have sustainable practices and don’t harm the environment.
- Report online bullies. If you notice harassment on a message board or in a chat room, flag that person.
- Stay informed. Follow your local news
Level 2: Things you can do at home
- Air dry. Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine. If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.
- Take short showers. Bathtubs require gallons more water than a 5-10-minute shower.
- Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to provide meat than plants
- Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad. You can also do this with take-away or delivered food, if you know you will not feel like eating it the next day. You will save food and money.
- Compost—composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
- Recycling paper, plastic, glass & aluminium keeps landfills from growing. Buy minimally packaged goods.
- Avoid pre-heating the oven. Unless you need a precise baking temperature, start heating your food right when you turn on the oven.
- Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency. Adjust your thermostat, lower in winter, higher in summer.
- Replace old appliances with energy efficient models and light bulbs.
- If you have the option, install solar panels in your house. This will reduce your electricity bill!
- Get a rug. Carpets and rugs keep your house warm and your thermostat low.
- Don’t rinse. If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine.
- Choose a better diaper option. Swaddle your baby in cloth diapers or a new, environmentally responsible disposable brand.
- Shovel snow manually. Avoid the noisy, exhaust-churning snow blower and get some exercise.
- Use cardboard matches. They don’t require any petroleum, unlike plastic gas-filled lighters.
Level 3 : Things you can do outside your house
- Shop local. Supporting neighbourhood businesses keeps people employed and helps prevent trucks from driving long distances.
- Shop Smart-plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys. Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items. Though these may be less expensive per ounce, they can be more expensive overall if much of that food is discarded.
- Buy "Funny Fruit"—many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or colour are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilises food that might otherwise go to waste.
- When you go to a restaurant and are ordering seafood always ask: “Do you serve sustainable seafood?” Let your favourite businesses know that ocean-friendly seafood’s on your shopping list.
- Shop only for sustainable seafood. There are now many apps that will tell you what is safe to consume.
- Bike, walk or take public transport. Save the car trips for when you’ve got a big group.
- Use a refillable water bottle and coffee cup. Cut down on waste and maybe even save money at the coffee shop.
- Bring your own bag when you shop. Pass on the plastic bag and start carrying your own reusable totes.
- Take fewer napkins. You don’t need a handful of napkins to eat your takeout. Take just what you need.
- Shop vintage. Brand-new isn’t necessarily best. See what you can repurpose from second-hand shops.
- Maintain your car. A well-tuned car will emit fewer toxic fumes.
- Donate what you don’t use. Local charities will give your gently used clothes, books and furniture a new life.
- Vaccinate yourself and your kids. Protecting your family from disease also aids public health.
- Take advantage of your right to elect the leaders in your country and local community.