The good news about so many bad things happening to our environment is there are so many options to pick from for jumping in and adding your voice and energy to help.
I’m an optimist and I like to find the positive in life even if it is a stretch! What can I say? There’s something for everyone!
So what can you do to help?
There are sitting at home things and going out things to do. There are creative things and concrete physical things – both at home and out. There are even other kinds of fun things to do to help raise awareness or fix a situation.
At home things:
Sign an online petition, write a letter to the editor or send money to your favourite cause–even a little can help a lot! A couple of years ago I sent in a letter to the editor about living with scent sensitivities. Unbeknownst to me, someone clipped it out and saved it! A couple of years later, as in last March, I received an email asking if I was the one who’d written that letter. We have since connected and she is also connecting with others dealing with this problem. I guess my letter had let her know that she wasn’t the only one. And, when the time was right for her, she began taking action. Who might you help and/or connect with from writing a simple letter to the editor?
Going out things:
Can you stand around? Great! You could attend a rally. Like to move? Excellent! Go on a march or how about a snow shoe hike? That’s what friends of mine did here last winter. A group of about 12 of them snow shoed along a portion of the route of a proposed pipeline. They did this to raise awareness about the possible building of that pipeline to move Tar Sands Bitumen across Canada’s north. There is a lot of concern about the environmental harm from leaks and spills plus the ongoing concern of climate change and the role of the Tar Sands in that. The trek was an overnight trip so they winter camped in tents. Their picture and a caption about the purpose of the hike made it into the paper.
Do you scuba dive? Why don’t you propose a clean up dive? There is a group in Thunder Bay that regularly will spend one dive cleaning up a portion of the shoreline. They pull out of the water whatever folks have had a penchant for tossing in but shouldn’t have. Tires, metal, batteries (bad!), and other debris are pulled out. Don’t dive but want to help anyway? Great again. They need people on the shore to hand the stuff to because they can’t very well navigate the rocks in their flippers! What projects are happening where you live?
Art, music, poetry, painting, photography, video creation, story writing, you name it! Creativity is needed. Creative people through their art, music, words or images can touch people in profound and unexpected ways. Do you love nature? Share this love. Have you got a message? Share it. I’ve heard stories that propose future societies based on current science where the experiments are played out and I’ve seen shocking photographs of plastic drinking cups. They all got me thinking about my world.
As a musician, I have seen how lines of music can get in and touch people. As a videographer, I have also seen people respond to images and messages on a screen. These and other mediums communicate differently and touch differently just as nature itself does.
Concrete physical things:
Sometimes there can be nothing better than just moving our bods! Regular old manual labour activities can beautify a city when groups plant more trees or create community gardens. I mentioned the divers needed folks on shore to take the stuff they pulled out. And in the city where I did the documentary about birds, people simply walked around buildings and picked up birds. Many birds were already dead so they were added to the growing statistics, which helped the cause. Thankfully many birds were alive. Their rescue at the base of a building was followed by a car ride first to a care facility where they received an examination. If they were deemed okay, even if a bit shook up, they were then taken to a treed area in the direction they were flying in order to be released. All of this helped them get safely on their way again. Organizations doing projects or rescues need all kinds of extra hands for all sorts of diverse tasks.
Like acting? Do a creative theatre piece on a subway or bus. How does this work? In an ‘apparently’ impromptu manner you and a friend could discuss an environmental topic of concern that many people may not be aware of. For instance, you could talk about toxic chemicals in many store-bought products and how they affect boys’ development. You could mention lower sperm counts and male infertility, poorly developed anatomy, and fewer boys being born than there used to be all due to these really common products that are just sold from our stores shelves and everyone buys! Or, you could talk about how most fabric softeners contain asthmagens. They are leading causes of asthma. You could talk about a lot of things!
Be sure to include alternative products or ideas so the people around you don’t just want to jump off the nearest bridge after listening to you but can instead take positive action. You’d be acting which is fun and sharing information. Assuming your unsuspecting audience wasn’t wearing ear buds, you may have offered them information that may help them or their family.
So what can you do?
What can’t you do? There is no shortage of things and activities you can do to help raise awareness about issues that concern you. There is no shortage of things you can do in your community to lend a hand. Not all organizations need physical help but it’s likely that all could at least use financial help, even if just a few dollars. It depends on what they do. But many are working on projects and would welcome your assistance, expertise and energy. Or, maybe you could start something new.
So put on your thinking cap and let the ideas flow!
If you’ve already done stuff, can you in the comments below, please share what that was? Your actions may further inspire others who read about them here.
This is an excellent pep talk, Deanna! I’ve always been concerned/interested in/worried about environmental issues and problem. But since I learned about the whooping cranes, I’ve become more tuned in to more specific issues in Wisconsin – e.g. wetlands, wildlife habitat, and the groups working on those issues here. Two weeks ago I participated in a field trip to Necedah National Wildife Refuge led by the WI Natural Resources Foundation.
I think your work with the Thunder Bay Environmental Film Festival is a terrific example of what you’re talking about. By any chance have you shown either of these two films: Green Fire – about Aldo Leopold? or A Fierce Green Fire – a recent documentary of the history of the envirnomental movement?
My curiosity about the whopping cranes is growing since learning of them and the project to help them migrate. I note Operation Migration has a festival coming up in September. It’d be fun to attend but I’m not sure how I’d pull that off. …but it’s floating in the back of my mind….who knows….?
Regarding the films, we haven’t shown Green Fire but we have shown A Fierce Green Fire. That was the Festival’s closing film in 2013. It is a great film. I’ll mention the other one to our film researcher.