Sustainability Challenge

Challenge yourself to complete the 30 different lifestyle changes we can all do to bring us closer to achieving the 17 SDGs. These activities represent some of the small, daily changes we can adopt into our routines that, if we all do it, will make a big difference. Click on the challenges below to learn more about how you can make a difference.

Anyone who participates in the 30 Days of Sustainability challenge is eligible to receive a seed bookmark.


Day 1: Turn off all your lights when you are no longer using them.

The world’s cities occupy just 3% of the Earth’s land, but account for 60-80% of energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions. We can help by reducing excess energy waste in our own homes. Start by turning off any lights that are not being used.

Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. We can reduce the amount of resources needed to produce bottled water and help remove plastic bottles from our environment by using a reusable water bottle for drinks on the go.

An estimated 2 billion people in the world did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food in 2019. By shopping at local markets, you can find a selection of healthy food options in your own neighborhood.

While significant strides were made in improving the health of millions of people, more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues. You can start at home by making small changes to your everyday routine including choosing to take the stairs.

It’s reported that 617 million youth worldwide lack basic mathematics and literacy skills. Public libraries are great options for those looking to learn something new. Whether you’re a child attending storytime or an adult attending one of our classes, the library provides endless, free opportunities to increase your knowledge base.

Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. By adjusting your home temperature seasonally and even throughout the day, you can conserve energy (and money!) even by changing it a few degrees.

Around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction – many within decades – according to the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service. We can help improve the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend by making sure to pick up after ourselves.

Excessive use of water contributes to the global water stress with water use increasing worldwide by about 1% per year since the 1980s. On a local level, we should make ocean-friendly choices like reducing the amount of water used to maximize the amount of readily accessible and usable water available.

Economic and social progress over the last century has been accompanied by environmental degradation that is endangering systems our very survival depends on. We can do our part by limiting the amount of resources (like napkins) we need and reducing the amount of excess waste created.

Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Small changes such as air-drying our hair and clothes can provide effective change in the long term.

Up to 30% of income inequality is due to inequality within households, including between women and men. We can change the perception of gender roles and value in our homes by including everyone in activities such as cleaning and recycling.

According to latest projections, the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050. The equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles. Three basic principles of local conservation include reducing our resource consumption, reusing (or repurposing) materials, and recycling whenever possible.

Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015. But the pace of change is decelerating and the COVID-19 crisis risks reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty. As you’re looking to clear things out of your home, consider donating these items to organizations that help those in need.

An average household's leaks can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water annually. Repairing leaks minimizes the effects of droughts and water shortages and helps preserve the environment by reducing the amount of energy required to process and deliver water to homes, businesses, farms, and communities.

Cities and metropolitan areas account for about 70% of global carbon emissions. In Berks County we can work to improve our carbon footprint by utilizing resources such as the Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority (BARTA) bus service or the Carpool program by Commuter Services of Pennsylvania.

Shopping local can greatly help sustainability goals in a number of ways. We can support local businesses in our area including minority- and women-owned stores while also decreasing the resources used to manufacture and ship items across large distances.

Sustained and inclusive economic growth can drive progress, create decent jobs for all and improve living standards. Fairtrade allows farmers, producers and artisans to be paid a fair price for the things they make and to have better working conditions. We can make conscious choices in how we contribute to economy by shopping with companies that participate in Fairtrade practices.

For many decades, fossil fuels such as coal, oil or gas have been major sources of electricity production, but burning carbon fuels produces large amounts of greenhouse gases which cause climate change and affects everyone. Unplugging appliances not in use is a simple way to conserve energy resources and can help save you money too!

Each year, an estimated 1/3 of all food produced (about1.3 billion tons) ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices. Reduce your household food waste by making and sticking to a shopping list based on your family’s needs.

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development. You can start by promoting and protecting your own health and the health of those around you, by making well-informed choices such as washing your hands.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50% since 1990 with emissions growing more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades. By making sure your car is running properly, you can help to reduce the amount of excess fumes produced.

Buying seasonal food has a positive correlation with eating locally, because seasonal and local produce go hand-in-hand. By shopping for seasonal food locally, you can significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation.

While paper has a relatively quick decomposition period (2-6 weeks in landfills), switching your statements and bills to an online format eliminates the resources used to manufacture, print, and mail recurring paper products.

Governments, civil society and communities must work together to implement lasting solutions to reduce violence, deliver justice, combat corruption and ensure inclusive participation at all times. Exercise your right to freedom of information and share your opinion with your elected representatives.

Electronic waste grew by 38%, but less than 20% is recycled. Donate or recycle your old appliances and other technology. Working items can be used by someone else while non-functioning items can be broken down and their parts reused again. Learn more about the Berks County Recycling Center.

The global material footprint – an indicator of the pressure put on the environment to support economic growth and to satisfy the material needs of people – grew by 17.4% to 85.9 billion metric tons in 2017 as compared to 2010. We can change this number by purchasing second hand items and extending their use while reducing our material footprint.

If people worldwide switched to energy efficient lightbulbs, the world would save US$120 billion annually and conserve a considerable amount of energy. Take a look at what lightbulbs you’re using. A small change could have a significant impact on the environment (and your wallet).

Up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. We can reduce the amount of bags that end up in landfills (and in the environment) by shopping with reusable bags.

38 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2019. By turning off and stepping away from our electronic devices to do more physical activities, we can simultaneously help improve our health and reduce our energy consumption.

Global sustainability affects everyone, and we can cause greater change by working together. Practice the sustainable values you learned in areas outside of your household and encourage others at work or school to participate. Remember—we are all in this together.