I know I’m not the only one feeling the anxiety around current events. Between the political climate (within the country and around the world) and the actual climate, I’ve felt just an overwhelming sense of unease at best and true fear at worst. With incredible environmental crises around the world and an already intense election underway, I felt pretty paralyzed from even knowing what to do. The problems seem so big and I feel so small.
My personal way of dealing with things is to try to find the best organization to donate money to. I have the organizations that I make recurring donations to, but then when something pops up (like the bushfires in Australia most recently), I donate. I believe that by donating to reputable/ethical companies, my donation can get in the hands of experts who know exactly how to spend that money to make the biggest impact. Finding reputable charities can actually be a bit of a challenge (especially when a crisis pops up and all your social feeds are flooded with new “organizations”), but it’s so worth the extra leg work to ensure your donation isn’t going to waste.
Beyond donating though, sometimes I can still feel helpless… and sometimes I just feel completely furious.
I don’t want to be a keyboard warrior using hashtags to feel like I’m ~doing something~. I don’t want to be silent either. (Though I don’t necessarily mean on social media… I still want my platform to be a break from the news– I’m no journalist and you can get much more accurate information easily elsewhere. There are also just so many issues, it would be impossible, and irresponsible, for me to cover them all.)
After the 2016 election, I wrote this post because I was feeling much the same way that I do now. Since I wrote that, I moved twice so getting involved locally was pretty difficult. But it’s been heavily on my mind, especially now that the next election isn’t too far away. Now that I’m in a town (and state!) for the long haul, I knew it was time to get more involved. I hope no one shames me for this, but I honestly felt like I didn’t know where to start… so it was easier to not start. I was paralyzed. (Maybe you feel the same way?)
And then I read this opinion piece and I don’t know what it was about this one versus any of the other articles I read daily, but it resonated with me on a big level. Something clicked and I was like, “Yes. I want to PLAY football, not just watch it on TV.”
Even just recognizing that, true, I’m not going to solve all of the world’s problems in my lifetime, relieved me of some of that paralyzing pressure. I sat down one night and wrote down a couple of the big issues that weigh especially heavily on me. I’m still figuring out exactly how I can maximize my effort locally, but I started inquiring about efforts in the town’s Facebook group and got connected with a few AMAZING people who pointed me in the right direction. (Cannot recommend this enough– I just put out a feeler and overnight had multiple emails with recommendations, links, and more information!) It was doubly motivating to find people who were already active and cared about the same things that I did… and I made progress to getting myself set up so I’m doing everything I can.
The one thing that I keep thinking back to is the one about sustainability (though I think it’s applicable to nearly everything): We don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly; we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” Again, I see this applying everywhere. It’s not a matter of doing all the things perfectly or even expecting to solve issues perfectly– it’s about everyone doing what they can.
So, what have I done and what have I committed to myself to doing in the future?
– Recurring donations to my preferred candidate for the 2020 election; volunteered to do door-to-door canvasing and phone banking.
– Applied for three boards in our town (sustainability, downtown development, & the library); committed to attending monthly local borough council meetings
– Recurring donations and product donations to a local food bank; applied to volunteer
– Researching local tutoring and mentoring programs
Would love to know what you’re doing in your own town? Or hear what you’re committing to doing starting now!!