Movements that are successful in transforming sentiment to actionpersonally, professionally or politically, require organizing leadershipandvolunteer support. Community volunteers from all walks of life areessential for a culture of continuing environmental improvements toevolve.Explore the realms of how to act locally and how to both motivate othersand stay motivated yourself.
Whether you want basic advice on the range of ways individuals andgroupscan volunteer and make a difference for a sustainable future, or you'reinterested in learning how to become a full-fledged political activist,Carolyn Chase can answer your questions.
It's Your Democracy - Volunteer For It
What's the day of year when the most volunteers are active all at once in most countries? While hundreds of thousands observe "Earth Day" doing meaningful volunteer work, the single day when the most volunteers turn out to make a difference is: Election Day!
Our democracy is utterly connected to - and dependent - upon people's voluntary participation in all aspects of campaigning and voting.
While campaigns are said to dominated by cynical fundraising, their targets, the voters whose voices collectively matter, all have to get their act together to volunteer to get educated about the candidates and vote. Otherwise, we become willing victims.
What's part of the antidote to political cynicism and paid propaganda? Volunteer before election day and find out who's who and what's what. Share with others. You can volunteer with a campaign and really find out how the organization is run. You can volunteer with other local groups who have political committees to evaluate the candidates.
I volunteer in my area for the local Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters Chapters. They have committees that identify the current issues and cook-up questionnaires to get the candidates on the record. We interview candidates and/or do public forums to discover which ones are most oriented toward doing the best things for our environment and quality of life. We then make endorsements to help indicate to busy voters which candidates are likely to be better in moving us toward more sustainable practices.
Whether its traffic, pollution or decisions about land uses, politicians vote every day on things that make a difference - one way or another. When volunteers ask them about the things they care about and educate them about issues and options, you'll find that change can happen. You can also learn a lot about why change doesn't happen.
While it may be fashionable to diss politics, politicians and our government in general, we should never forget how important it is to understand how it works and how it can work better. The volunteer efforts of regular citizens - of all ages - can make a huge difference.
Do your part to make Election Day, another Earth Day.
READ PAST VOLUNTEERING GREEN COLUMNS
Written by: Carolyn Chase.
Passionately committed to integrating environmental awareness into dailydecision-making at all levels, personal, professional and public,Carolynhas donated morethan 5,000 hours of volunteer service work on a variety of projects andhelped recruit and manage more than 3,000 first-time volunteers forenvironmental service work.
In , she founded San Diego Earth Day, now known as San DiegoEarthWorks, a volunteer-based California non-profit corporation. She help found the Earth Day Network linking together local organizersacross the United States and around the world. Carolyn manages andmoderates severalcomputer email lists on sustainability, conservation, and Earth Dayorganizing.She has also served as the Chapter Chair for the San Diego/Imperial County Sierra Club and is currently national Chair of the Sierra Club GlobalWarming Program Committee, member of the Board of the San Diego LeagueofConservation Voters and Chair of the City of SanDiego's Waste Management Advisory Board.
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