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  • Phoenix Medley

My Ideas for Living a More Sustainable and Generous Life


Sometimes it’s easy to feel as if we aren’t doing enough. Oftentimes I’ll see people going on expensive mission trips to help those in need, or people donating thousands of dollars to charity. I, like many, don’t have the resources to help others in this way, but there are plenty of options for people who just want to help others, their communities, and the world, without having to spend money that they may not have.


1. Volunteering

When we get caught in all of the world's problems, we often forget that our own communities also need help from time to time. Your skills can be put to work while you also help to support your local community. Use websites like VolunteerMatch.com to sort through volunteer opportunities in your area. Some go-to ways to give back in your community are volunteering at libraries and animal shelters. The key to volunteering is volunteering for things that you're interested in. If you love gardening, start or work on a community garden. If you like sewing, make blankets for a children’s hospital. Even with my busy schedule of school and social obligations, I volunteer my time at two organizations. I volunteer my time at both SEED Impact as a blog writer and with YouMom, an organization that helps educate and empower mothers-to-be. I chose to volunteer with YouMom because I find education to be the most important and empowering thing anyone could give to a person.


2. Donating and Buying Used Clothing

I love shopping at vintage clothing stores and consignment shops. It is one way I choose to help the environment and community. In order to cut down on textile waste, instead of buying new fast fashion, you can buy and/or donate your pre-used clothes to organizations such as Goodwill, The Red Cross, or The Salvation Army. These organizations can take your donations and make them available at a cheaper price for those who need them, or environmentally conscious people like myself. They use your money from the purchases of the clothing to help others in need by offering community outreach programs like job training for those with barriers preventing them from being employed, helping people during crisis or helping abused women and children get back on their feet.


3. Supporting Small/Local Businesses That Give Back

You can also support the Earth and your community by supporting small businesses that give back. There are many businesses that donate money and resources to help a cause every time you make a purchase:

  • Yuhme, which creates sustainable water bottles out of recycled materials, provides clean, drinkable water for Central African communities.

  • THINX creates sustainable pads, and educates the youth about their bodies through their EveryBody program.

  • United by Blue removes one pound of trash from the ocean for every purchase.

By purchasing merchandise from shops like these, you’re not only supporting ethically and sustainably made products, but you’re also indirectly giving back to the communities that these companies support.


The issues of the world can feel impossible to solve at some times, but if you take it little by little, and slowly work up to living a more sustainable and generous life, the issues don’t feel as big.

Phoenix Medley, age 16, began volunteering with SEED Impact in 2020. She connects with SEED Impact’s client-partners and researches topics of interest. She enjoys writing to support their work, and as a way of drawing more attention to their passion, vision, challenges, and life-giving outcomes.


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SEED Impact is fiscally sponsored by Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.