Act Local: Meet your Neighbors!

[This post belongs in a series of 7 entries written to build community and receive donations to support the Climate Ride, a 320 mile cycling pilgrimage I made in October, 2011.  Several entries focus on and celebrate the particular efforts of each of the 4 NGOs I designated to receive funds I raised for the ride.]


I’m in the three week countdown until the Climate Ride!  My NGO of the week is Green America, an extraordinary national co-op offering its members free information & consultation, educational grass-roots tool-kits on topics ranging from socially responsible investing to getting off of junk mail, and lots of discounts for earth-friendly, sustainable products and services.  Formerly known as Co-op America, Green America has made BIG change possible, by empowering communities at the local level.  AND…It just so happens, Green America wants to help me in my fundraising this week, so if you’re tempted by the word FREE, please keep reading.


This week: Green America

Their mission: To harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.

Geek Treat:  Today, 23.5 million Americans live in food deserts, or communities where residents have little access to fresh, healthy food. Residents in food deserts commonly rely on convenience stores and fast food outlets, which mainly sell high-fat, low-nutrition food.  This summer,First Lady Michelle Obama announced the California FreshWorks Fund (CAFWF), a $200 million public-private loan fund that will provide financing for over 1500 grocery stores and other healthy food outlets in the state’s food deserts.  AND…Thanks to the Calvert Foundation, you can invest in this fund with as little as $20.


And now…Act Local: Meet Your Neighbors!


The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual.
The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.


This weekend, as each of us is remembering where we were 10 years ago, on the 11th of September, I’m thinking about neighbors, literally and figuratively.  The phrase, “think global, act local,” gets all its employment because it’s really true.  Change begins with one breath, one phone call, one neighborly, “hello,” offered on the street – or in my case – a dinner invitation from over the fence.  Do you know your neighbors by name?  Have you ever asked them for a lawn rake or a cup of sugar?


Dinner with my neighbors

Neighborhood Bike Ride


In my work as a sustainability consultant, we went to great lengths to explain that    “sustainability” isn’t just about “going green.”  Living and acting sustainably is connected to health, and economics and tending the unique culture of our communities, as well.  I became a member of Green America sometime after 9/11.  Reading their publications and participating in their simple, informative grassroots actions have empowered me to start a Low-Carbon Diet group in my neighborhood, switch to a community bank, join a local car-share, make Berkeley a Fair Trade Town, and even grow food that I can share with my neighbors (admittedly, my garden prowess has room for improvement!).


Making Fair Trade Neighbors

In a world where the problems can be so large and so plentiful, it brings me JOYto support my neighbors and their local business endeavors.  Together, we’re sharing our resources and finding true wealth.   As we remember September 11th and the change that rippled around the globe that day, may we find heart and take action….locally!   The next 10 people who donate $50 or more to my campaign will receive a FREE year-long membership.  I told you there was a FREE part!  How cool is that?


Neighborhood Dance Party!

Thank you all so much for your support!