Saturday, March 4, 2017

Make a Difference Where You Live

Since the election, let alone inauguration, the onslaught of negative information, angst and fear is overwhelming. While it may make for great SNL ratings, the long-term effect of a continuing barrage of this type of news isn’t healthy. This is not to say you should just ignore what’s happening. That’s not smart either as there is too much at stake. Rather, limit what and how much you read or listen to so that you know what’s going on without becoming traumatized by it. Check sources for accuracy and please, the situation is bad enough without reposting canned messages from various groups to Facebook and other social media sites. Not only are many of the messages shaming and damaging, it's not helping to further our ability to work together to create strong and diverse communities that support all of us.

Recently, my community has been heavily impacted by fire, which resulted in my writing on my Facebook page. It is amazing how obsessed one can become over the current political situation. Two fires in our town, made me realize once again that it all starts in our homes and communities and we need to take care of these first and foremost. If they're in order, the rest will fall in line.

Some of the most effective and sustained changes come from the grass roots up and the individual can make a difference. The “power of one” can move mountains.

 Change is about action. Leaders and good followers are both needed To that end, below is a guide to aid you in helping families, communities, and ultimately the country thrive. Note that in an effort not to repeat myself too much, as I’ve dealt with aspects of this before, there are a lot links to previous posts/topics that relate. If it seems like there is more on “purchasing power” it’s because I haven’t really covered that topic before.

LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE: Small acts- such as a kind word, a helping hand or being present during someone’s difficult day-can be major changes in other peoples’ lives. Take the first step. Check out

For family and friends who may be sick on injured, check out the following:
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD: Vote! Write/call your local and national representatives on issues that concern you. Work with condition specific organizations (e.g. American Lung Association) to lobby for health care changes that will make a difference. Run for local office and/or support someone who is running and shares your viewpoints. Donate/volunteer for organizations that work to keep air and water clean. Participate in how your town, state and country is governed. 

PURCHASING POWER: When, where and how you shop can have an impact so become an empowered and careful consumer. Not only will this be helpful to your wallet, but you can make political statement, aid the environment, and reduce waste as well as unnecessary clutter.

Is it a Need or a Want: We are continually assaulted by a constant barrage of advertisements, from many different sources, about what you must have in order to be happy, content, valued etc. Stuff does not make you happier.

We have gone from investing in good quality products to the over consumption of mass-produced goods, many of which are not needed and are designed for a short life. Disposable doesn’t mean it disappears.

So before you make a purchase of any type, ask yourself the following questions:
• Do I have something that already could serve the same purpose or is it something I could borrow or could I make it myself? Do I really need it?
•  How will I recycle, compost it or reuse it when I’m finished with it? Our landfills are rapidly overflowing, thrift stores are bulging with unwanted and discarded items, and third world countries are being negatively impacted by not only our consumerism, but our need to “do good” by foisting our excess on them. Is Your old T-shirt hurting African Economics? 

Buy to Last a Life Time: If we make purchases that are designed to last a life time, be repaired and even passed on to the next generation, we can help reduce the problem occurring in landfills all over the country.

Sustainable Purchasing: Our purchases have a wide array of hidden impacts-environment, health and even social, check out the following links about healthy and sustainable purchasing:
Environmental Working Group’s Consumer Guides: Includes a wide array of ways to find out what’s harmful and what’s beneficial such as cosmetics (they rate 80,000 personal care products) Healthy Cleaning products (ranks 2,000 household cleaning products) and even Rate Your Plate (rates over 80,000 products). 

When you shop reduce packaging by bringing your own bags (recycled t-shirts make great totes) even for bin items.

Shop Local, State, Country: The dollar you invest in your community is an investment in your surroundings, so ultimately it’s an investment in your self. However, not all communities offer everything. Shop locally, your state and your country.  Check these lists for made in the USA

Experience Over Things: There is a large body of research that has concluded that experiences are a better buy than things. Traveling to an interesting place will provide more lasting satisfaction than upgrading your car, even if they cost about the same amount. That sounds strange at first, because a car lasts longer than a two-week vacation. But the vacation involves anticipation ahead of time as well as memories afterward. The vacation is more likely to be with someone else, and social activities tend to promote happiness more than solitary activities. Experience Over Things: The Future of The Consumer Economy 


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