Protect the Parks: finding your community

By Jane Park

I am the queen of Facebook groups. I’m not kidding. I’m in 39 non-school related Facebook groups, as of Jan. 26. 

You’re probably asking, “Why, Jane? Why so many groups?”

Illustration by Jane Park

I find a sense of community in Facebook groups. There are a lot of support groups, meme groups and common-interest groups, with members across the globe sharing advice and listening to your ideas.

A month ago, I came across a Facebook group called “Zero Waste, Zero Judgment” while searching for a sustainability group to join. The group welcomes anyone who is trying to go plastic or waste free. 

If you’re looking for a wholesome, judgement-free and active group about sustainability, this one’s for you. The topics span all sorts of subjects, from asking where to buy a certain product to boasting about a recent zero-waste victory. 

Members are free to post links about recent environmental studies, their personal experiences, recipes, thoughts about topics and achievements, after a post has been approved by a moderator. 

This group is an incredibly helpful way in supporting each other’s zero-waste journey. I’ve been able to learn a lot from every post I’ve seen, whether the person who posted it was young or old, female or male. 

This goes for all groups as well. According to LA Times, Facebook groups are generally very useful and supportive for those who lack the personal connection they need in real life. These groups are also more diverse and international. 

One reason why I love my Zero Waste group is because no one will patronize me for my age or scrutinize me for a mistake. In every group I’m in, when you post something, usually there are at least five people online who are willing to help you with your problem or validate your success. Facebook groups like Zero Waste is home to a huge community that shares your interests. 

In fact, the positivity overwhelms the small amount of negativity. There are usually a few haters lurking in every post, and some people judge others despite the group’s name. However, those people are usually retaliated against, and mods (short for group moderators) can interfere if the situation escalates. 

Groups like Zero Waste give me hope for the future. They tell me not to give up on trying to live a sustainable lifestyle, despite the lack of acceptance in today’s society. 

Facebook might be dead to most individuals in my generation, but I know that I will continue to use it for the mass amounts of support and advice I can receive with a touch of a button. Zero waste will continue to be my goal, and I know that with the right support, I can achieve it. 

As Zero Waste Chef Anne-Marie Bonneau once said: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” I know that in every step of my zero-waste journey, I’ll have thousands of people walking alongside, supporting me.