Top 10 Ways to Practice Individual Social and Environmental Responsibility PDF Print E-mail
Univetica Staff

In this age of environmental decline, cultural homogenization, and widespread ethical bankruptcy, many people are hungry for a rebirth of a values-based approach to life. Although it can be difficult to formulate universal principles in our highly fragmented global society, the importance of individual social and environmental responsibility is one thing that we can all agree upon.

In light of the unique and unprecedented challenges we face as 21st century global citizens, here are ten ways in which each of us can make a real difference in our everyday lives.

1) Ethical consumerism: Unethical labor practices in foreign countries may seem far removed from our everyday lives, but they are as real as the chair you're sitting in or the clothes you’re wearing. Buying products made in countries that have strong, equitable labor laws is one way to ensure that your purchases are ethical.

2) Support small businesses: Large corporations have their place, but small businesses tend to provide local employment and valuable community character in much greater relative quantities than big business. Many small businesses also tend to feel greater responsibility to give back to their communities.

3) Take control of your diet: Organic and local produce may be slightly more expensive, but the extra price provides real value to the community. Organic farms create less pollution and treat animals more ethically, and local produce creates an even much smaller carbon footprint.

4) Volunteering: Unlike other activities that promote social and environmental responsibility, volunteering has immediate effects that you can see first-hand. It can also have personal benefits: gaining skills, being introduced to new people, and helping build your résumé.

5) Charity: If you can afford it, consider setting aside a small portion of your income for thoughtful charitable giving. It's one thing to be generous with your family and friends, but helping provide resources to organizations that do good for the world is an important mark of a good citizen.

6) Civic engagement: A healthy society needs community engagement and direct involvement from as many people as possible. Otherwise, the self-serving and entrenched powers within our political system are permitted to act without challenge or accountability.

7) Environmental consciousness: The natural world is the wellspring of everything we have and enjoy, and the human race has for too long treated the Earth as an expendable resource. Being a responsible citizen means respecting the planet in all its abundance, fragility, and beauty, and this respect should be exhibited in one's everyday actions.

8) Practice global citizenship: These days, it's nearly impossible to ignore events taking place in other parts of the world. While it's important to be an engaged member of your local community, a responsible citizen should also cultivate an understanding of how the local and the global communities are intertwined, and what we can do to make a positive difference for all humanity.

9) Respect the rights of all living things: Throughout history, humanity has too often treated animals as if they have no inherent value outside of the resources they provide. The issue of animal rights is complicated, but most of us can agree that all animals, whether wild or domesticated, deserve to be treated with respect and kindness as they play valuable roles in our ecosystem.

10) Stay informed: To be responsible in all these areas, one needs to be knowledgeable about not only the general issues but also the latest developments. This means learning as much as one can about these issues and staying up to date with the news and exposing oneself to a variety of opinions.


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