6/03/2005

From The Wilderness May 05 Newsletter - Excerpt - 12 Fun Activities for Activists

12 Fun Activities for Activists

Community Vegetable Gardens
Lobby your communities and neighbors to allow you to
plant up and tend vacant lots. If you live in an apartment
complex with a suitable roof, lobby the management
to allow you to build and tend planting boxes on
the roof. This is an activity which can foster a strong
sense of community between you and your neighbors.

Operation Johnny Appleseed
Take a cue from that activist of American folklore and
just start planting. Always save your apple seeds, pear
seeds, peach pits, grape pips, cherry pips, etc. Save
them and plant them wherever you find a likely spot.
You can do this with any hardy perennial-fruits, roots
and a select group of vegetables. You can even donate
a little money and time to the purchase and planting of
saplings, vines (grapes), bushes and brambles
(blueberries and raspberries), or runners
(strawberries).
You could also take a tip from the American Indians
and other native peoples and promote the propagation
of beneficial wild plants. The study of permaculture
lends itself to this activity.

Food Not Bombs
.. What is wrong with the Salvation Army, soup kitchens and
other charities? ... However well-meaning, those who come for the food are made to feel like beggars, beholden for the charity they
receive and dependent on the charity of others.
In Food Not Bombs, fliers are passed out announcing
an open picnic at a local park, or some such place. The
food is prepared ahead of time and laid out where everyone
can serve her or himself. And then everyone sits down to eat together.
Food Not Bombs picnics can be combined with educational
tours to identify local edible plants. You can even
show off the fruits of your free plantings or invite folks
to help out with the local community garden.

Farmer's Markets and CSA's
If you can locate a nearby Farmer's Market or Community
Supported Agriculture (CSA), then patronize the
former or join the latter. CSA's are farms dedicated to
serving their subscribers. For a yearly subscription
price, members are given a percentage of the produce.
Subscribers sometimes pitch in with the harvesting and
other activities. The farmers usually accompany their
produce with advice for food preservation.
If you can't find a local Farmer's Market or CSA, consider
organizing one.

Community Transportation Networks
This is an idea which is bound to become more popular
as gas prices go up. Form a community car pool, not
just for the commute to and from work, but to shopping
centers and elsewhere. You can set up a local network
to match up people who need to go to specific places
at specific times, so that they can share rides.
With the US becoming increasingly dependent on foreign
oil, and with US soldiers dying in oil wars, isn't it
unpatriotic for each single person to drive around by
him- or herself?

Bicycle Co-ops and Bicycle Trails
Bicycle co-ops can maintain a fleet of bicycles for the
use of members, or for temporary rental by nonmembers.
The co-ops maintain the bicycles, collect
them and return them to distribution centers. Bicycle
co-ops can lobby local communities for bicycle trails
and donate time to the maintenance of those trails.

Support Local Businesses, particularly Co-ops
How many local businesses are left in the wake of globalization?
While supporting local businesses, press to
ensure that those businesses are ethical and responsible.

Form Co-ops
There is no end to the essential services which can be
provided through co-ops. Co-ops give a community
control over the provision of necessities.

Organize Community Activities
Community entertainments such as barn dances, music
and art festivals or community theatres not only provide
entertainment, they provide venues where people can
socialize. Here you can meet like-minded folks who
would be interested in taking part in the other activities
mentioned here. These concerts and festivals also provide
forums for local artists to reach an audience and/
or inspire them with visions of where they can take their
community.
Other activities provide a pleasant setting for doing tedious
work, or group support to get things done. This
includes quilting bees, sewing circles, or fix-it fairs
where everybody can bring old appliances to fix or salvage.

Community Refurbishing Co-ops
Such groups can help to remodel homes for greater
energy efficiency, erect or refurbish community centers,
or possibly erect shelters for the homeless.

Community Energy Production Co-ops
Such organizations can provide local, community
owned and maintained, low level energy production.
Depending on local conditions, potential power sources
could be wind turbines, solar cells, hydroelectric, or
even geothermal (in select areas).

Ecovillages
Here is the ultimate activity, an entirely self-sustaining
community. This is the eventual goal towards which we
must all direct our activities if we are to have a free,
equitable and just society. That is, a society where the
quality of life makes life worth living and where we can
reside happy and contented to watch our children grow
up in a positive and healthy environment.
This is the vision which the left can hold out to the public,
a vision which cannot be matched by the right's appeal
to fear, anger and greed...

From The Wilderness Publications Home Page

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