In this final section, the point is made that one soldier is a good soldier – even a hero. However, one soldier will not win a war. Toward the end of the last segment, neighborhood organizations were mentioned as a form of vitality, a force that sustains a good gestalt. Many of these local organizations have outreach components that go beyond the neighborhood to address state, national and global issues. Add to the local organizations the many larger organizations that focus on various issues, and one has assembled an army of good soldiers.
Local organizations with established outreach include the majority of churches, particularly connectional denominations, where many local churches contribute to a fund-raising distribution center. Many social organizations adopt a cause beyond the neighborhood from simple causes like the Lion’s Club eyeglass redistribution to widespread campaigns like the Methodist Church’s “No More Malaria” campaign. At the following website, 51 veteran support organizations were listed:
For virtually endless numbers of wildlife organizations, use:
For organizations dedicated to improving the environment, see:
Further, government agencies abound:
If the reader is serious about stemming the tide and extending the day of Armageddon, one is in constant communication with many of these organizations. They are the reader’s army. They will be glad to receive one’s participation and financial support. The mariner endorses all of them as helping in some way although some may be better organized than others. A list of efficient organizations follows but may not cover one’s specific interest:
Do not forget the sportsmen organizations. While they may be self-serving in goals, they improve the environment to sustain the wildlife they hunt. Often on counterpoint to sportsmen is:
http://www.humanesociety.org/ which is involved in a plethora of animal rights and abuse issues around the world – not just pets.
To provide a concise wrap up to the series on Advocacy at Home, the list is briefly revisited:
Utilities (water, gas, travel): Virtually all the issues in utilities can be improved by improving your own home. Consider some modern upgrades that will reduce the use of fossil fuel byproducts. If your vehicle has a few years on it or is a larger vehicle for when you had children, consider replacing it with something more efficient. Use cloth shopping bags. Some national issues are the legislative battles between pipelines, oil wells and environment, fossil fuel versus renewable fuel, and international trade agreements that directly affect oil prices.
Global ecology (air, water, use of chemicals): Water is the most critical resource on the planet. Secondly, carbon emission already is killing sea life. Finally, the Environmental Protection Agency needs triple the budget it has to police the many chemical violators (speak constantly with vigor to each of your representatives at all levels of government). They are all sizes from gasoline stations to Dukes Power Company and the coal, gas and oil industry at large. Advocacy and policing by citizens is very effective in this issue.
Food (water, quality, chemicals, land use): Commercial food production consumes immense, almost unbelievable amounts of water. The greatest reduction of water use is to grow your own vegetables or buy home grown at farmers markets – enough to store in the freezer or can. Purchase protein products from a local butcher/locker or directly from the wharf – an interesting experience if one has never purchased fresh seafood. Finally, cut back on red meat. Land use is legislated in favor of farmers and developers; many regulations are local and hearings are open to your attendance and wise advice.
Specie ecology (Microsystems, estuaries, wildlife): You MUST step out and be an active advocate of your cause. Belong to an organization that will extend your influence. Jump in and “save a whale or a bear or a fox, etc.” with your own hands.
Neighborhood gestalt (trash, abandoned housing, loose pets – and your house!) It takes more than owning a tract in a neighborhood to contribute to a good neighborhood gestalt. Be part of the neighborhood through interaction with neighbors, organizations and charitable behavior.
Local organizations (scouting, youth clubs, nursing homes, PTA, Lions Club): There are many, many volunteer organizations in the reader’s community. In many communities, there are volunteer fire and first responder companies; dozens of volunteer organizations exist from preschool to high school; every neighborhood has unofficial neighborhood watch groups for people in difficulty on the street. Interestingly, the various motorcycle brands publish handbooks full of volunteers within a half hour of wherever the reader’s bike fails. If the reader has a bike, pass it forward and put the reader’s name in the handbook. Lastly, but importantly and entertainingly, get to know one’s police officers on a personal basis. The reader eventually will meet them while on a walk.
The mariner worked many years ago with the Maryland State Police. He joined the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). At the time, he was an independent consultant in the law enforcement sector and traveled around the country. He was able to use the FOP as his private ORBITZ and once in Washington, DC, was put up on FOP premises and treated like royalty. It takes a village – AKA neighborhood. For broader perspectives, see the list above in this post.
Many newspapers, even if online versions and especially local newspapers: Read the news headlines from Bing (news not show business), Google (news, not show business), Huffington Post, Atlantic, New York Times and other known and respected news sources. The content is better presented, more relevant, and more diverse than any television station. Local issues will be found only in local newspapers.
Two or three respected soft cover journals, even if they’re at the library: These are the journals that can be boring if the subject is not one you are interested in. However, if the subject pushes your button, there is no better source to become informed. Try:
Agenda (for your reading pleasure – excellent poetry)
American School Board Journal
InfoWorld (computer news)
Neighborhood walks: Once a week, if not more, walk all the streets of your neighborhood. If nothing else, it’s good for your health. Make a mental note of changes of any kind. Do not hesitate to introduce yourself and start a conversation with individuals you meet who obviously are not in a hurry. Ponder a future conversation that may need to be had with someone in an organization who may be interested in that change. Make note of something you and your family can do to improve a situation.
Discerning eyes: Eyes help during your walk, of course, but discerning eyes look beyond the instance to see emerging patterns and ramifications, even projecting the impact of government and zoning futures. Perhaps a park is needed for children or simply green space for other creatures.
Personal blog and twitter communication: Talk to people all the time! Email, voice, twitter, facebook, your congressmen and other government individuals, your neighbors, your fellow workers, your extended family, your merchants. If a high functioning recluse like the mariner can do it – so can you.
Physical effort (scheduled time, communication, achieve goals): It’s time for discipline. Get out of your #%@$!&!! house and do something.