"So", she asked, "what does an earthwise person do, exactly, if they really want to walk their talk?" Well, as it happens, I have a list. My friends and I are engaged in a wide variety of projects and volunteer work (1) Here are some examples:
* Companion Animals: Working with, companion animal rescue groups by fostering, helping with adoptions, doing shelter work, etc.
* Wildlife Rescue & Rehab: Working with and supporting groups that do wildlife rescue, rehabilitation & release of orphaned and/or injured wildlife.
* Habitat: Serving groups work to restore habitat & supporting native plant education in our community.
* Art: Creating art, websites, blogs and/or writings on natural themes in order to awaken others to the beauty and power of nature. Please note: We also get out there and put our back into it - it isn't enough to inspire and inform, we also have to do the work, like helping to clean up a local waterway or park.
* Eco-education: Working to teach children about nature and the web of life and supporting groups that get them outside and in contact with nature.
* Mentoring: Volunteering in our local schools & groups to help the next generation learn, grow and thrive.
* Conservation: Working to support the preservation of open space, forests, wild lands and vanishing species.
* Guiding Others: Offering educational workshops, hikes, birding walks, and other events related to these issues.
* Water Use & Clean Up: Getting involved with water issues such as river clean up, coastal protection, water wise gardening, etc.
* Community Organizing: Doing grass roots organizing, fund raising & networking for various earthwise & ecological causes.
* Gardening with joy and purpose: Learning about and creating urban gardens either to grow food or sustain wildlife.
* Food Issues: Educating ourselves about organic & sustainable farming and supporting ethical, local growers by shopping at farmer's markets and grocery stores that list where our food comes from and how it was grown and/or raised.
* Improving and protecting our neighborhoods: Working to establish and support green spaces, parks and hiking trails.
* Taking on city hall: Actively encouraging our local governments to use native plants and trees in neighborhoods & public spaces.
* Recycling & Waste: Raising awareness about recycling and wise use issues.
* Animal Heroes: Working with groups that train service animals and rescue & rescue groups.
* First Responders: Working with groups that aid abused animals and/or people all those caught in disasters
* Working for the future: Helping to create communities which are economically and environmentally sustainable and socially just, both here and overseas.
* New Media: Using social networks and other forms of new media to make people aware of our work and connect with like-minded others. Again: it is not enough to tell someone about an event or cause, we need to be the people who show up and do the work.
Finding a Group
Interested? Then contact Volunteer Match and see how you can become involved, ask your friends where and how they volunteer or just look around your neighborhood and see what needs doing.
Somewhere, somebody needs your skills.
If you are unemployed right now you may be feeling scared, isolated, angry and depressed. I've been there. Trust me, this is a good way to keep busy and make connections while you look for work or retrain. You never know what could come out of this work. We often find jobs because of who we know, not what we know, so get out there and meet some folks and do some good at the same time.
Leave your room, please. It won't cure everything but it will you avoid the depression, feelings of helplessness and lethargy that comes to so many people this time of year. Get out there and see what you can do.
It only takes a few hours a week and most places let you set your own schedule. Also, many groups will encourage you to volunteer along with your kids. Why not take the chance to show them how useful and powerful they can really be?
Note for Parents: You can deduct the cost of the sitter.
Fees paid to a sitter to enable a mother (sic!) to get out of the house and do volunteer work for a charity are deductible as charitable contributions, even though the money didn't go directly to the charity, according to the Tax Court. The Court expressly rejected a contrary IRS revenue ruling.
Is Environmentalism Our New Religion?
Pagan & Earthwise Groups Doing Charity Work
(1) If we can't work directly with a group, we can often be found donating and/or gather supplies or helping to raise funds for same.
Are you engaged in such work? Write to me and let me know what it is and I'll add it to the list.
Art: Dancing the Bear Dream by Susan Seddon-Bouleet