Everyday Activism: Little Effort, Big Results
I've enacted a simple strategy to make a difference.You can too, and it feels great.How good it feels to make a big impact with little effort..
These days, most of us are concerned about the condition of our world.
The UN just released a dismal “health report” about the state of our planet, which mentions a million species at the edge of extinction. Just today I read about the many starving grey whales beaching themselves on the western coast. And then about how rubber balloons burst in air then fall to the ground where turtles mistake them for jellyfish and eat them. Of course these are just a couple examples of the many environmental problems we face. To begin to chip away at these issues, many years ago I began taking everyday action to foster solutions. Recently I created the Everyday Activism Facebook Page where we share stories and support one another. It’s a particularly poignant strategy and its mission statement is simple: “Little effort for big results.” Or: “Little steps for max change.” This model is for those of us with not enough time. And it’s easy. It just requires some chutzpah (courage and passion). One of the best ways to exert everyday activism is with businesses. An example: ask a health food store not to carry a product that contains unhealthy ingredients. I asked my local health food store (that also sells cleaning products) not to carry Mrs. Meyer’s soaps; they didn’t realize Mrs. Meyer’s contains synthetic fragrances and other not-so-good-for-us ingredients, as described here in Why I Think Mrs. Meyer’s Stinks.
The owners were unaware and glad I told them, so they discontinued the product. Here’s another real-life example, and one of my favorites because it’s so easy and makes a big difference: You’re out to dinner and you get the rest of your meal to-go. You notice it’s packaged in styrofoam or plastic. Ask to speak to the manager and kindly let them know the dangers of the product and suggest an alternative, such as biodegradable to-go containers. You can also give them the name and contact of a company that carries them, like this one. Or this one. I carry these companies’ contacts on a little business card-like piece of paper I made to give to them! If businesses complain about the price, you can say you understand, and then follow that with the simple logic: “The environment’s in bad shape; we all have to make inconvenient changes.” Also be sure to tell them they can brag about using earth-friendly products. I’ve done this many times and it’s been well-received.
These simple acts can save tons of wasteful products like plastic and styrofoam each month. And how much time did it take? A few minutes. Other examples of everyday activism I’ve engaged in include: 1) A petition asking Trader Joe’s not to use synthetic fragrance in their dishwashing liquid and hand soaps 2) A petition to end aerial pesticide spraying in my neighborhood 3) Asking a local restaurant not to use bleach to wipe down tables and offering a powerful antimicrobial Seventh Generation product as a substitute 4) Testifying at the local county government building against new oil rig development and banning Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate products Every day we see the sad news on social media. We might respond with a sad or angry emoticon and throw down a few words of compassion. Everyday activism is a way to turn our emoticons into real change . . . just a little effort for big results . . . for you, your children, the thousands of animals we share the planet with, and for the Earth itself. This replenishing Earth-based meditation practice can help fuel your activist heart for the the natural world. So, pick something, one thing that really bugs you that really want to change. At breakfast, or right now, think of the best way to make the biggest impact for the least amount of energy. You might fight locally against single use plastics, pesticide spraying, leafblowers, machine noise, or a lack of recycling in local stores. Whatever you’re even mildly passionate about. And it feels good when you get to watch the change happen that you’ve instigated! Whatever your poison, everyday activism is about making our troubled world our shared concern and healing. It’s about being a humble, local hero and living as a protector for what you love. It’s putting your action where your mouth is. Please visit Everyday Activism and ask for support or tell us your story. **** Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., M.A., is a Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, mind-body integration, and climate change, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. His latest creation is the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at jackadamweber.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter, where he can also be contacted for medical consultations and life-coaching. His new book on how to cope with climate change will be released in early.
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