Posted on 23/09/2017
We create the cities we love, and the cities we love create us.
Volunteer: (noun) a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or engage in a task.
No matter the undertaking, freely giving of your time in service of someone else is one of the most effective ways to bring together and bond with your community. It could be as simple as watching your neighbor’s, kids while they go back to school, garden, streets, historic places, or as large as organizing a citywide food and clothing drive during the holidays. Whatever is within your comfort zone and means, give it all counts.
Host a documentary screening and then create a follow up action group
Simultaneously become more informed about the world around you, solidify a community of like-minded people, and partner with an organization to take action. Not to mention, impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of the latest worthy documentary at your next socially-conscious cocktail party. It’s easier than ever to host a screening of a film focusing on your cause of choice through companies like Toilet Films based on improving sanitation conditions, with an emphasis on the eradication of open defecation, but the key is not to stop there. Its easy to get overwhelmed by all the need and shut down. So, before the screening or before you leave the theater, take the time to organize and mobilize to take that extra step. Research the issue behind the film further, and partner with an organization doing good in your area of the world
Speaking of getting involved in local government, sometimes you have to take matters into your own garden-gloved hands. While the rush of planting flowers in an abandoned lot seems fairly tame, it’s not technically condoned by the authorities, if you’re feeling a little rebellious. If not, here are some ways to stay on the right side of the law, strictly speaking: Look into the zoning in your city you may find small spaces in public places where you can legally plant flowers or functional herbs and veggies, find places between the sidewalk and the street (private property) and get the owner on board with your beautification plan.
Read to your kids
Before you get too ambitious about going out and saving the world, remember the corner of the world that you inhabit. If you have kids read to them, instill themes of compassion and words of community in them at a young age. If you don’t have kids find some and read to them. According to the MHRD, only 53 percent of children are read to on a daily basis, the benefits of which could prove instrumental in shaping their futures. Don’t forget about the littlest ones; they’re going to grow up and make the rules one day.
Carpool/Bike To Work
According to research, the average car puts out about 10,000 pounds of CO2 emissions every year. So, it’s safe to say that even one carpool can make a measurable difference. Now, imagine the impact of an entire office biking or carpooling to work for many years Google’s San Francisco office started the trend back in 2008. And, in your office, it could start with you! It might be as simple as plotting the routes and making the schedule to get everyone on board. In addition, you’ll encourage bonding time with coworkers, save money on fuel, and get to office on time and everyone win.
Time for a wake-up call: If you leave any food remnants in your recyclable containers, your whole recycling bin full of environmentally-friendly materials will end up in a landfill. Know your local requirements, double check / empty out / rinse/ etc. before you toss in the bin, and get ready for the satisfaction you’ll get by kicking your recycling game up a notch. Feeling extra ambitious? If your community doesn’t have a regular bin pick up, then educated your community and offer to drive a weekly route around your block and take the recyclables to the nearest recycling plant or you could contact your local authority for this and request them to send a bin pickup vehicle.
Get informed and active in your local government
Local issues may not seem as gripping as global crises and national elections, but questions of public safety, parking, clean water, good drainage system and parks n recreation can affect us all on a daily basis. The farther down the political chain you go, however, the smaller the voter turnout. Currently, less than ten percent of the population votes on these issues. Thus the turnout doesn’t reflect the population demographics, and that may ultimately lead to inaccurate representation in local government. So, get informed, and get involved; the beauty of local issues is that their scope allows you to see real change as a direct result of action, and what could be more satisfying?
You have the power. Personally, you may feel very strongly about changing and empowering your community and, as a consumer, you have the power to mirror your beliefs with your everyday purchases. Look for good local store and needed local vendor who work honestly and treat their customer well. Support them through your purchases, support local vendors and small store and help them to earn well, help them economically. You’ll leave the store feeling good about what you bought, and perhaps even inspired to get others on board with your civically-savvy shopping.
Utilize social media
Speaking of getting people on board, it’s now incredibly easy to share your views with a massive network. Just think about your personal six degrees of separation (aka, everyone) connected on this grand internet contraption. We’re changing the very definition of civic engagement in this golden age of social media. Find an article that perfectly expresses your view on women’s rights in today’s society? Share it and help educate those who remain entrenched in certain antiquated beliefs. See a blurb about how to grow your own drought-tolerant plants? Re-tweet it, and then get to gardening. While many are cynical that this abundant sharing of relevant and important media has no tangible effect are beginning to show that this new kind of activism, can, in fact, have real impact.