Sit back for a moment and consider the ways the reader can have direct access to local issues. Focus on personally accessible issues, not guns and violence, not celebrity gossip (unless the reader can rid us of it), not the Middle East, not Putin, not the Mexican border. These news items are not issues that can be altered on your property or even in your neighborhood.
In truth, each of us will have a slightly different list. Some issues will be front page issues; some will be back page. To keep our focus on advocacy at home, the mariner will provide a short but important list:
Utilities (water, gas, travel)
Global ecology (air, water, chemicals)
Food (water, quality, chemicals, land use)
Specie ecology (Microsystems, estuaries, wildlife)
Neighborhood gestalt (trash, abandoned housing, loose pets – and your house!)
Local organizations (scouting, youth clubs, nursing homes, PTA, Lions Club)
Many newspapers, even if online versions and especially local newspapers
Two or three respected soft cover journals, even if they’re at the library
Personal blog and twitter communication
Physical effort (scheduled time, communication, achieve goals)
Goodness, the mariner tried to keep this post short! However, what one can do as an advocate to improve his/her immediate environment is virtually endless.
What one notices about advocacy at home is that issues have a direct relationship to people and other species. Feelings of fairness and, as John Forbes Nash would put it, equilibrium, are important. Reading to a bedridden patient in a nursing home does more for the reader and the patient than winning a debate over voting rights. Advocacy at home can be won by the reader – without the political free-for-all that rocks the world.
Further, it is amazing how little space can have such great accomplishment. Pick up a used soft drink cup in the gutter and the appearance of the street has been changed for blocks in each direction. Planting a small pot of petunias will brighten the day for everyone who sees it.
Many projects will require more effort but the nature of advocacy at home is to make the most of small changes.
The mariner will address the list in ensuing posts.