March 7, 2012

Helping the Planet - One Step at a Time

How does one make political change? I have had this question stuck in my head for months. I am a stay at home mom, which means we have one income, which means we have limited funds, which means we have no extra money to donate to causes we value. I am a stay at home mom, which means my free time is very limited, which means I don't have time to volunteer for causes we value. So. How, aside from voting, does a person like me help fuel change in our nation? We do the bare minimum "green" things like recycle, compost, eat organic foods from local sources, buy used instead of new...but that seems like stuff everyone should just DO.  

I have just been feeling lately that we have been taking, taking, taking and not giving back. Personally, my timing may not be ideal as I barely have the time and space to put our laundry away so maybe in a few years when my kids are in school most of the week I will be able to contribute to society more. I want to show our kids that we, as people of this country and land, need to give as well as take. How does one do that? 

Well, I asked my friends Brendan and Anne DeMelle. They are a very impressive couple (see Brendan here). Here is Brendan's response - it is sooo inspiring and not at all intimidating so be sure to check it out after the jump: 

Step 1) Do what you're doing - raise a kick-ass family that respects the Earth and instills values and ethics to carry the next generation through some rocky times ahead.

Step 2) Vote. It seems simple, but it's the most important one-time activity that has tremendous impact on the direction of our city, state and nation.

Step 3) Support the politicians doing a good job. I've been impressed with Mike O'Brien and McGinn, their jobs are really tough in this climate of cynicism and whining, so I do what I can to let them know I'm behind them. It may not seem like much, but it really does help to just hop on Facebook and support politicians with praise or send them an encouraging email. They are bombarded with complaints, so a well-deserved compliment is often way more valuable to them than most people realize.

Step 4) Build community. Meet your neighbors, share tools, take care of each other. It sounds old school, but it is truly the best resiliency plan there is. Strong communities survive, and modeling this basic network helps to inspire others. That's giving even though it might not feel like it.

Step 5) Chip in where you can, there are often work parties or community events that actually get shit done, whether it's stormwater drain cleaning or planting flowers in traffic-calming circles, or screening important documentaries in your home to educate your friends and neighbors about important issues.

Step 6) Guerrilla acts of kindness and positivity. When you're walking around the hood with the kids, take some seeds and plant them in random overlooked dirt patches, whether on the side of the road or in an abandoned lot. This sounds silly, but it's been proven to brighten people's moods, calm traffic and soothe our stressed out attitudes. 

Ok - how GOOD was that?!?!?!?

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