People- and Planet-Friendly
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What can you do for the environment?
(a People- & Planet-Friendly Portal & Guide)

There are many important and valuable things you can do. Yet for many people it just seems too overwhelming. The trick is to find things that match your skills, interests, time & energy and are rewarding for you.

There are many serious problems in the environment today, and not all of us have the strength to meet them head on. One way of dealing with this is to take on a peripheral role – one where you're helping out, but don't have to face the details of the issue too often. Another way is to focus on solutions. If protesting the use of pesticides is not for you, what about starting or joining a local food co-op, or learning organic gardening? There are many fun, social, rewarding – and potentially profitable – ways to get involved.

Need some motivation? Click here for some inspiring quotes, or here for "where's the fun"?

How to get started?

Attend a workshop or other evemt. This can be a great way to meet others with similar concerns and get some ideas on where you might want to get involved. Events are an important part of a diverse and interactive education. Many are free, and others will offer "scholarships", "sliding scale", or work exchange arrangements – all you have to do is ask. Better yet, offer to help out with an event – it can be a lot of fun. See our newsletter, on-line calendar, or links to other calendars.

Visit local environmental organizations & green businesses. Browse their literature & resource library; ask what kinds of volunteer (or paid) opportunities are available; and ask what you can do at home. Try the Sierra Club of Canada, the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), the Toronto Renewable Energy Coop (TREC), or the local office of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG). Or ask the Ontario Environment Network (OEN) to put you in touch with groups in your area. See the Planet-Friendly Directory for more.

Read & Surf. There are books and publications for every interest and level of concern. Check out the collection at any good library or bookstore. In Toronto, try Grassroots Environmental Products (416-466-2841). There's also good reading material on the web – try Natural Life Magazine or New Internationalist, for example. See the Alternative Voices or the Planet-Friendly Directory.

Look inwards & outwards. To help the environment, it is good to look both inwards and outwards. First, there are many things you can do at home, at work and at play – "sustainable living". Second, you can play an important role in educating and persuading others in your community and beyond – sometimes known as "activism". Both are covered below.

(1) Sustainable Living - things you can do in your daily life

- eat/grow organics - buy less - support local, green products & services - avoid man-made chemicals - insulate - walk, bike, take transit - share - solar power - ecovillages -

Where to get started?

Grassroots Environmental Products (store & resource centre), 408 Bloor W. at Brunswick 416-944-1993 and 372 Danforth at Chester 416-466-2841

Sustainable Living Directory

Organic Opportunity Directory Includes: Consumer's Guide to Eating Organics

Solar Pioneers - buy your own solar rooftop system 416-597-8408

(2) Education & Activism

- letters to the editor - volunteering - signing a petition - talk shows -
- teaching - lobbying - demonstrations - research - fundraising -

Who, me? An activist?? The mainstream is often suspicious of activists. The assumption seems to be – despite clear evidence that the planet is being destroyed – that business & government know what they're doing. They don't! Activism is your democratic right. There is a place for every voice. "When we all think alike, nobody thinks very much". Get involved!

Where to get started?

How to be an Activist – introduction and portal to activism, education,
community involvement, and social change. Guides, definitions,
approaches, themes, stories, how to be an activist.

Ontario Environment Network (OEN) Network of 100's of non-profit, non-governmental environmental groups in Ontario. Reference & referrals; Environmental Resource Book, newsletter & other publications; semi-annual conferences; issue-specific caucuses; delegate selection; more. Membership $40; associate $15. P.O. Box 1412, North Bay ON, P1B 8K6. 705-840-2888 Fax: 705-840-5862

Canadian Environment Network (CEN) Based in Ottawa.

GreenOntario Well-organized directory of organizations, government, companies, funding, etc.

Web Networks Community. Seven hundred environmental & social activist member sites. Conferences; alerts; news; events; feeds; campaigns; action fax; market place.

See the Planet-Friendly Directory page for more organizations & web sites

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