Some people aspire to lose weight, quit smoking, or read more when a new year begins. For 2013 we offer a different resolution – become a better member of your community.
Coincidentally, there are lots of ways to do just that.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Volunteer and clean up the environment – Litter, it seems, is a never-ending problem. Whether it’s on our highways, walking trails, or in the heart of the wilderness, coffee cups and chip bags seem to get everywhere.
But there are ways you can help.
One organization you can get in touch with is the Sackville Rivers Association, a non-profit group, which focuses on cleaning and maintaining the Sackville River Watershed.
Damon Conrad is a coordinator with the SRA and says they have several volunteer cleanups throughout the year.
“We primarily hold them during the spring, summer and fall months,” said Conrad. “These are open to the public, you don’t need to be a member of our association to participate.”
Postings of cleanups can be found on their website: sackvillerivers.ns.ca
Newly minted regional councillor for Lower Sackville - District 15, Steve Craig, offered some sage advice.
“One of the things people can do is just get to know their neighbours,” said Craig. “There are a lot of people who don’t even know who lives next door to them. Wouldn’t it be nice to just go out, knock on your neighbour’s door, introduce yourself and say ‘hi, I just wanted to come and introduce myself and see how things are going.’”
Craig said this is so important because if people don’t know each other within a community, it makes it much more difficult to improve it.
Buy Local – it’s a phrase consumers hear often enough, but what impact does it have on our communities?
Gordon Stevens, is the founder of ‘The Uncommon Group’ of businesses, which includes waterfront confectionary boutique Sugah! and home/personal accessory store Carbonstok. He said a dollar spent on local businesses goes much further than multi-national conglomerates.
“It comes down to keeping money circulating in the local economy instead of sending it abroad or to a big faceless organization,” said Stevens. “Where that really comes home to roost is on the impact that so many of the small businesses have on their communities.”
Stevens said that small businesses are more active in their communities than larger retailers, by fundraising for charities or giving back in various ways. He cited the recent O’Reagan’s donation to the new Halifax Central Library as a sign of what local businesses do.
“You’re not seeing Amazon sponsoring anything in Halifax,” he said. “I think people need to be conscious of the fact that there is a cost to saving a dollar.”