Seeds of Change: Continuing to Grow Community-Based Activism
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Alongside Oceansweek, one of the other main themes of Stop Trashing It this month was Community! Now, this word can have so many meanings that the possibilities for blog posts and content were endless.. but my take on the theme community was focusing on my own neighbourhood!
If I’m being completely honest, I had lived in my current apartment for over a year and hadn’t spoken to a soul on my block until we all became house-bound from the COVID-19 crisis. It’s not as if my neighbours are unfriendly, but we’re all just pretty busy - typical in today's busy world. We’d give each other a nod in passing, but we’d never stop to chat. It wasn’t until COVID-19 picked up and lockdown kicked in that I really began to open up to my community. We started exchanging waves while sitting out on the front step and friendly hellos on our evening walks.
Over the past few months, there have been numerous times where my neighbourhood has shed warmth during stressful times. We’ve all clapped for healthcare workers, chalked messages of encouragement, hung Nova Scotia Strong signs and twinkle lights and lit candles on our porches in memorial of lost that have been lost. Because of their actions, my partner and I chose to kneel in our front yard for George Floyd to show them we stand with the BLM movement and made inclusive signs for pride month to post up in our window. My neighbourhood now feels like a community, and I want them to know that we will continue to spread warmth and love here.
Now that our daily lives are returning to normal post-pandemic, I wanted to continue with this concept of community/neighbourhood activism! One thing that is extremely important to me (aside from the aforementioned movements), is the environment. I sat with this, mulling over different ways in which I could share my love and passion for the environment in my community - here's what I came up with:
Free seeds to save the bees!
My thought process was that this project could be part beautification - part environmental activism! My neighbourhood has so many families that I thought it was a great opportunity to get their hands in some dirt, teach kids about the importance of flowers and diversity in nature and show them that this is something that is extremely important to me. And just maybe it’ll open a few minds and hearts into creating a more bug friendly community.
I bought a sack of bulk lupin seeds, grabbed an old paper bag from my recycling bin and went to wor making up seed packets to share with my neighbourhood. I cut up the brown paper bag into small squares, sprinkled about 20 seeds in the centre, folded them up, scribbled 'lupins' on the front and sealed them with a staple!
I chose lupin seeds as they are quintessentially Nova Scotian and bees just love them! They’re fairly easy to grow and they’ll keep popping up year after year!
Once my seed packets were done, I put them out in my yard with a couple of handmade signs. I even chalked messages on the sidewalk encouraging pedestrians to stop and grab a packet on their way. I left them outside on a beautiful day and by the end of day 2, they were all gone! I’m hopeful that we’ll be seeing some lupins pop up over the next few years - you can bet you’ll see them in my yard!
Outside of this idea, there is a multitude of ways in which we can make a difference in our communities. As I said before, that word has so many meanings that the possibilities are endless! Here are some other ideas I came up with to further community-based environmental activism.
Circulate information sheets on waste sorting in mailboxes
Use chalk as a way to spread messages on sidewalks (Save the bees, leave the dandelions, eat local, buy secondhand, leave your leaves in the fall, etc.)
Put up signs in your windows showcasing what you’re all about! Encourage discussions!
Host a community clean up (see Arienne's cleanup this month!)
Have a yard sale to give your stuff new life (Tell your neighbours and invite them to participate as well - maybe even host a neighbourhood event!)
Make a call and request better bins for waste sorting at the park
Make signs reminding park park-goers to clean up after themselves
And if possible, don't forget to be involved politically! There are so many ways in which your voice and your values can be shared through political decisions.
Although this post is coming out at the end of the community themed month, and COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, it doesn't mean we can’t actively be working toward positive change in our own communities every day. That means checking our privilege, listening to the voices and concerns of others, speaking up, taking action and remaining driven to enact change!
You don’t always need a big march or grand gesture to make a difference, all you need is passion and an open mind to sew the seeds for change.
Drew is a creative person who is passionate about the environment, inclusivity/accessibility, family and art! Through her education at Saint Mary’s University and personal growth, Drew has turned her life around and now strives for a low-waste and low-impact lifestyle. Drew is currently completing a Master’s of Resource & Environmental Management and wishes to eventually pursue a career in environmental management and would be happy to find herself working within waste management, active transportation, urban planning and environmental education. When she’s not at school or busy with her job as a waitress, you’ll find her cuddled up with her cat Marshmallow, painting, thrifting or making vegan cooking videos for fun on Youtube!
Halifax is where Drew was born and raised and it’s where she feels
she’s meant to make her mark and enact positive change.