No Impact Week, Day Seven (Sat Jan 8, 2011): GIVING BACK
“Moving towards Eco-Heaven here on Day Seven…”
1. Make a list of all the ways you contribute to your community now. Do you watch your neighbor’s kids for free? When’s the last time you held open a door for a stranger? Do you write checks to charity or volunteer on occasion?
2. How can you step up what you’re already doing and do more? Where
are you on this pyramid? (I AM AT THE MIDDLE LAYER, but make that “projects”, plural, not “project”, singular!)
3. Make a list with three columns:
1) all the charities you’d love to help out,
2) why you feel you can’t,
3) how you can address and remove those barriers.
Do your barriers — as legitimate as they may seem to you — outweigh the importance of participating? Remember: you needn’t become an “activist” or even a leader to be active in your community! Simply participating in an ongoing project is giving back and living your values. I HAVE BEEN A COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER IN SOME ASPECT OR ANOTHER *ALL* MY LIFE – IT’S HOW I WAS RAISED. CURRENTLY I AM *ALREADY* SUPPORTING THE THINGS I CARE ABOUT *MOST* WITH THE TIME I HAVE… (See below!)
4. Practice what you preach. Give. Do. Help. Change. In other words, sign up today to volunteer for a local environmental cause. How do you feel? As you give back throughout the day, ask yourself what benefits arise from volunteering. Did you meet your neighbors? Find common ground with strangers? PREACHING TO THE CHOIR HERE, DUDE! A LO-O-O-NG-STANDING, ESTABLISHED CHOIR! (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for demonstrating volunteer-ism from the get-go…heck, my mom was volunteering locally when I was in-utero!)
When I saw the first question for today, I said to Jason:
“Oh, God ! I’ve hardly been doing *anything* lately because of all the trips to California in the past 20 months to care for one dying and one remaining elderly parent”… and Jason nearly fell off his chair.
“WHAT? Are you kidding?!” he said, eyes wide open.
“You are doing an incredible amount! *Despite* the days and hours spent going back and forth to California to help out your mom in addition to running your part-time web design business. The car club, etc., will always be there. And your Mom is lucky to have you!”
Um…OK…Jason’s comment did give me pause for thought. I *do* do a lot and I think elder care of one’s parents counts as helping in your community! Never the less, maybe writing it all down, like step number one suggests, would be a good idea.
So I did…and yeah…um… I guess I managed to cram in some volunteer time inbetween caring for my Mom, even though I feel like I’ve been doing nothing but hopping on planes to help out that 78-year old mother o’ mine who, BTW, is the person who started me out volunteering for my community at age nine at the local Red Cross. (I helped organize the pamphlet closet!)
|1. I am an ardent and active member of and volunteer for The Seattle Electric Vehicle Association (SEVA). I donate my time and enthusiasm for EV’s through education, demonstration and public lobbying for EV and alternative transportation legislation. Electric cars are up and coming, folks… and my neighborhood electric vehicle, Zoe ZENN Car, is here to prove it! (See “Deb’s Electric Car” page) Like Jason said, I wasn’t able to attend as many meetings or bring Zoe ZENN Car to as many events in 2010, but watch out in 2011!|
2. I have been an active member for the past ten years (and still going strong) in the Washington Women’s Foundation, a group that engages women in the power of collective giving. Through informed and strategic grant-making, our members expand their knowledge, invest in the life of our community, and demonstrate leadership through effective philanthropy. Some years I sit on the Grant Committee. Some years, like the past two, I don’t. But I also throw in my contribution!
|3. I also donate to my community via the Seattle Foundation, whose mission is to create a healthy community through engaged philanthropy, community knowledge, and leadership. We inspire informed and generous giving to make our community — local, national and international — a vital and healthy place to live. The Seattle Foundation offers a variety of ways to pool money and donate.|
|4. I am a lifetime member of and a volunteer for Victory Music, a Pacific Northwest music co-operative that supports acoustic music in the Northwest, by fostering a community that nurtures musical growth, creativity, and the appreciation of acoustic music. (Again, both my work here and my live music performance got put on the back burner the past two years in favor of Mom and Dad, but watch out! New Deb Seymour CD due out in the spring!)|
|5. I am a listener-member of independent public radio and currently support KAOS 89.3 FM (Olympia, WA), KSER 90.7 FM (Lynnwood, WA), KBOO 90.7 FM (Portland, OR), and KPLU 88.5 FM (Tacoma, WA). I also support KTCS Channel 9 public television. (Need I say I used to be a volunteer program host at KGNU 88.5 FM in Boulder, CO, like, for nine years?)|
|6. I participate in (and sometimes host) events for my neighborhood block , donate items regularly to the Goodwill and Ballard Food Bank, pick up trash when I see it, sign petitions, write emails and letters to my congress people about issues I care about and even pet all the passing neighborhood pooches as they go by. And did I mention I adopt rambling calico cats ? (OK – she adopted me, but I let her. All my cats have been adoptees)|
As to how I can step this all up? Well, by creating 34 hour a days and 10 days a week for starters…
But seriously, I am ALREADY stepping up my commitment to Deb Goes Green by participating in NO IMPACT WEEK. Everything else gets added to as time and energy allow – more time when I have it, more money when I don’t. I’ve experienced “volunteer burnout” at many, many times in my life. In my forties, I have finally struck a balance with how much time and/or money I can give without having an impact(!) on myself. If I am to create a no-impact lifestyle, this MUST include “me” time….
…Now it’s time to*chill out* on the couch, with the cat and a book… ZZZZzzzzzz