Sustainability performance is measured by the triple bottom line accounting framework of people (social), planet, and profit. Companies track their success in the social sphere through key indicators such as volunteer hours completed, money donated, and people reached. You can increase your own social sustainability performance by getting involved. You can get involved by volunteering internationally and closer to home and by engaging in sustainability discussions.
Fig. 1. A picture of the Georgia College library.
Around the world there are many ways to get involved with sustainability. Many international opportunities can be found right here at Georgia College. If you are considering traveling abroad, Georgia College’s International Education Center can assist you with searching, applying for, and completing your studies. While studying abroad, consider completing a program that focuses on Sustainable and Environmental Development, Sustainability, or Environmental Action. A list of current study abroad programs offered can be found here.
To find opportunities on campus, make sure to register with the Give Center and use Give Pulse, to find volunteer opportunities near you. Throughout the semester, there are many events that positively impact the environment. Earth Day and Earth Fest are both celebrated on Front Campus and staffed by many Georgia College students. Georgia College also features over 160 student organizations who garden, do beach and street clean-ups, fundraising for environmental causes, and many other activities as well. There are also volunteer opportunities available through Georgia College’s Office of Sustainability. You can find volunteer opportunities outside of campus through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Volunteer Match and Serve.gov are both sites that can connect volunteers with causes they are passionate about.
If you do not have time to volunteer, you can always support sustainability by donating to an organization of your choice. The IRS and Charitynavigator.org both have search engines for finding charitable organizations and non-profits that support a variety of causes. Try searching for areas of sustainability that you are passionate about and finding an organization that specifically addresses that area. Environmental organizations help combat pollution, help with conservation, develop sustainable practices, and protect land. Use sound judgement and make sure to research how and where organizations uses their donations before giving.
Time and money are not the only ways to get involved – knowledge is another way as well. Keeping up the latest environmental news and discussing it with others helps combat misinformation and apathy. You can get environmental news from site such as Reuters, NPR, The Weather Channel, and NASA Climate News. Always make sure to fact check any news article you read to avoid false information. Consider contacting your local congressmen to learn what they are doing for environmental issues. The United States’ Find Your Representative provides contact information of all U.S. representatives and their respective websites. Take time to learn what your representatives believe about climate change and sustainability. Remember to be professional, civil, and respectful when contacting any representative, no matter their views.
Protecting the environment takes many forms and you can take part of any of them starting today. If what’s been presented in this article does not work for you, you can always create your own event or make a difference a little at a time. So, go out there and get involved!