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Micro-sustainability focuses on the small environmental actions that collectively result in a large environmental impact. Micro-sustainability centers on individual efforts, behavior modification and creating attitudinal changes, which result in an environmentally conscious individual or community. Micro-sustainability encourages sustainable changes through "change agents", which are individuals that are encouraged; and therefore, foster positive environmental action inside their sphere of influence. Examples of micro-sustainability include recycling, turning off unused lights, programming thermostats for efficient use of energy, reducing water usage, changing driving habits or patterns in order to use less gasoline or modifying buying habits to reduce waste and consumption. The focus is on individual actions, rather than organizational practices. These narrow, small ticket, community level actions have immediate local benefits. If widely imitated, they have a cumulative, broader impact.
The remaining large-scale plans for sustainability, categorized under the term macro-sustainability, are in most cases addressed by governments, multi-national corporations or companies. They combat global issues including climate change, and reliance upon petroleum-based energy sources. Businesses primarily focus on the business case and return on investment of changes such as their source of energy or the way they transport or manufacture products. Governments confront these larger issues through increased regulation, subsidies, and investment in new technologies and energy sources.
- MacRae, Patti; Garringer, Michael (et al.) (2007). "Strategies for Finding and Building Local Support for Your Program: Collected Training Supplements and Materials from the MRC Web Seminar on Microsustainability". Mentoring Resource Center. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- "Carbon Manna Unlimited announces "The Micro Sustainability Prizes" for Innovations in Markets-based "Micro" Paradigms". Skynewswire.com. January 18, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2012.