Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time

Week # 5 – Giving Back Something Big

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February 2, 2014

I’ve now officially been doing this challenge for a month. I can’t believe how fast time is going! And I still have so many ideas for future challenges. Sometimes I get really impatient and I want to do all the challenges all at once, but then I get really overwhelmed. Which is kind of the point of this whole project – as dire as the state of the world seems sometimes, we can’t save the world all at once. Baby steps, one step at a time, slow and steady. It’s making the steps that count, and eventually the steps will get bigger.

A number of youth have recently learned that lesson as well, and will hopefully be able to put what they learned into practice. Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to volunteer at a youth environmental conference – Something Big . My daughter and I helped (yes, she actually did help rather than destroying things) with set-up and registration for the conference, and stayed for the keynote speakers. I was really excited to be helping out at this event, because it’s definitely the kind of thing I would have attended when I was in high school.

I used to do lots of this kind of volunteer work, and when I became a parent I really missed getting out, meeting new people and feeling like I was contributing to a cause in a positive way. So this week’s challenge is to continue giving back, and increase my volunteerism with environmental organizations.I actually started this project just before Christmas, helping with the Ecology Action Centre’s annual Christmas Tree Campaign. Every year they take orders, and in mid-December folks can pick-up their locally sourced, sustainably harvested, organic Christmas tree. They’ve been doing this project for several years, and it’s one of their biggest fundraisers.

Since I can’t devote all of my time to helping the environment, hopefully some of these fine folks can, and helping them helps us all. My goal is to volunteer at least once a month, for a few hours. I’m on an e-mail list with the EAC,which sends out weekly volunteer opportunities, so hopefully this won’t be too difficult. It’s just making the time.

It seems that Nova Scotians in my demographic have a harder time finding the time to volunteer. In a 2012 report by Statistics Canada, people aged 25-34 contributed an average of 127 volunteer hours per year, compared with over 250 hours by those aged 45-54. There are probably a number of reasons for this, including school and home commitments. If I volunteer three hours per month over 12 months, that’s only 36 hours per year. But I shouldn’t let the numbers discourage me, because from the organization’s perspective, 36 hours is better than no hours. “Quality” vs. “quantity” is also an important consideration – the type of task an individual participates in may have more of an impact in helping an organization reach their goal than the number of hours the individual contributes.  Or at least that’s what I’d like to believe :-)

After our little adventure at the youth conference, we stopped by Fluffy Bottom Babies to check out some cloth pull-up style training pants, and Nature’s Cove General Store to find some local meat. But those are posts for another day.


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