Just a quick intro first, Earth Law shifts our current paradigm.
What does that mean? It means that I used to look at things in a very narrow way – how convenient is it for me? What’s the price tag? How fast does it ship? It’s not that those considerations go away, it’s that they are now joined by a lot of other questions: who produced these and are those producers fairly treated and paid, is there an alternative to this that doesn’t use new resources, do I really need it, can I get it from closer?
So my paradigm has shifted from a well-trained consumer to a more thoughtful citizen of the planet, who understands that we are all connected – all things on the planet are interconnected in some way. And, I’m neither separate nor above those things but an integral part of that connected web. So what am I doing to be of service to that web?
Which brings me to ELC’s most precious component: our volunteers
Earth Law Center’s team includes 75 active volunteers right now. With just 3 full time staff, that means we have turned ourselves into a volunteer-based organization. These generous people have full time jobs, children, classes to go to and a host of other choices for how to spend their free time. Yet they choose to dedicate some of their precious hours every week to a cause they believe in – protecting our planet.
Without them, ELC could not have launched a dozen legal initiatives last year or put out our very first Annual Report. Even this blog you are reading has been posted by a dedicated volunteer with a full time job and many other things he could be doing with his time (thank you, Mo!).
While I believe ELC’s volunteers are the best, they are not the only ones sharing their expertise and talents with a cause they believe in. According to multiple studies, volunteerism is on the rise – particularly among younger adults.
Could this herald a larger paradigm shift? Think about the access economy. According to Wikipedia, the access economy is a business model where goods and services are traded on the basis of access rather than ownership: it refers to renting things temporarily rather than selling them permanently.
So AirBNB doesn’t own rooms nor does Lyft or Via own cars. Could the decreased need to own things have a domino effect on other traditional “wants” – less space needed to store rarely used things, connecting with a community, less cash needed as the list of must-buys shrinks?
By choosing a different kind of leisure activity, could we all actually be ushering in a new way of being in which we actively connect to our passions and seek to do something about it beyond clicking a social media icon?
I’d like to thank the wonderful people who make Earth Law Center possible – and for those who give their time every week to organizations who share their passions. Together we really can make a difference, and it starts with each one of us.
Want to do something yourself?
Darlene May Lee is Executive Director of Earth Law Center, which works to transform the law to recognize and protect nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. She works to build a force of advocates for nature's rights at the local, state, national, and international levels. Connect with Earth Law Center on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Read all of Darlene’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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