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Taking Effective Action on Ecological and Community Issues

For your convenience, I've gathered my Ask EcoGirl print columns into themes, often with additional information.


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Building Effective Community Teams (October 2013)
Community groups are an essential tool in our work of reclaiming our health, communities, and planet. That's because they help us gather together the "people power" that's needed for bigger changes. And I'm grateful for folks who participate in them. However, they often can have negative dynamics that discourage participation and harm results. Unfortunately, it only takes one person playing by abusive covert Machiavellian rules to spoil the whole project. We can create healthier dynamics, but only if everyone pitches in. I've experienced a wide range of groups, including some amazing teams, and ones that could've been great. From these and other experiences, I've developed what I think are key tips for creating happy interactions, efficient productivity, and meaningful results.
Action Groups: The First Meeting (May 2013)
Protecting our individual well-being must include acting at the community level, because sometimes that's the best, or even only path, to solution. And community action groups can help us amplify our power there. However, people often start action groups without realizing that they require specific skills. Even folks experienced in other aspects of community work can make basic avoidable errors that harm their cause and rebuff interested people. To help community groups get started on a good foundation, EcoGirl offers her list of six key first meeting errors, and their remedies. May they help improve our overall results!
Creating Sane Group Dynamics (October 2011)
A key way that we can work on eco-issues is through community groups, which allow us to join together in creating a better world. However, these groups are often so fraught with unproductive conflict and covertly harmful personal dynamics that people can shy away from them. Does it have to be that way? Or can we create productive and enjoyable experiences? In this piece, EcoGirl shares her thoughts about how we can constructively take on these groups' inherent challenges in order to build effective teams, move community issues forward, and support our own personal growth!
The Rebel & The Status Quo (June 2013)
Often people see themselves as primarily either a traditional rule-follower or a rebel change-agent. Then they can harshly judge other people who they see as being in the other camp. How much time have we spent fighting in this dynamic? However, EcoGirl feels that both these urges are within all of us, that both these roles can bring positive contributions -- and that both can be expressed in negative ways too! By stepping back and getting a better understanding of each of these roles -- and how they can give their gifts more constructively -- we can break free of the harmful part of this pattern and greatly improve the level of our outcomes, both personally and collectively. That's because this understanding can help us be more empathetic of others, bridge viewpoints, combine the value of change and tradition, reduce unnecessary conflicts, and create smarter integrated solutions for our future. Read this piece to explore these ideas further!
Skillful Aim For Your Eco-Message (March 2013)
Eco-writing doesn't have to be depressing. In fact, it's more effective when it's not! In this column, EcoGirl lists what she sees as the top harmful eco-communication approaches -- and the key principles we can use instead to encourage cheerful, constructive, and effective eco-action.
Love Your Local Activist/Change Agent (May 2011)
No matter how bad you think the world is now, imagine how much worse it would be without the change agents (by whatever label or title) who stepped back from their individual lives to imagine and create something better for their communities and our shared future. And yet those of us working for a better world today can often be considered odd ducks in this culture that's so often focused on immediate personal rewards. In this column, EcoGirl speaks up for her team of innovating pioneers, and suggests that a smart culture welcomes and nurtures its change agents, valuing their essential role in steering wisely and avoiding collective disaster. She hopes that you'll be empowered by this perspective -- and share it with others!
Supporting Effective Eco-Action (January 2013)
To protect ourselves and our families, it's vital that we integrate smart eco-behaviors into our everyday lives. However, not every problem can be addressed at an individual level. Thus we also need to regularly support community-level actions. In this column, EcoGirl talks about how we can easily fit that into our busy lives -- and help produce tangible and meaningful results that benefit everyone -- and our shared future. By joining our efforts together, we amplify our power to create a better world!
Eco-Persuasion (March 2012)
It's a question surely faced by anyone who cares for the earth: how do we persuade other people to take action on eco-issues without making ourselves crazy? In this column, EcoGirl describes a tool she's adopted from the marketing domain to help tailor her message for her audience. When we can empathetically meet people where they are, we'll more likely be able to engage with them both respectfully and effectively.
Speaking Effectively for the Earth (September 2011)
A reader asks how she can talk to her uncle, who's opposed to President Obama's recent increase in car mileage standards, because he thinks they're only harmful and that global warming isn't real. EcoGirl offers her two quick links to email him that address his key points, and offers her general suggestions for being persuasive in talking with people about eco-issues.
Is There Hope For The Planet? (July 2011)
It's easy to feel disheartened seeing all the eco-crises in the world. Is there really hope, or is an early death for the earth just inevitable? EcoGirl answers that there is hope -- to the extent that we take positive actions. That's because the future scenarios aren't black-and-white but a range of outcomes that will unfold in better or worse ways depending on the choices that we make. What's even more exciting though is that we also benefit personally by taking constructive action for the earth and proactively embracing the upcoming changes, because it reduces our pain while creating more fun, aliveness, empowerment, and business opportunity. Why would we choose anything else?
Reclaiming Our Shared Power (April 2012)
We all certainly at times can feel hopeless about all the horrible things happening in the world, and wonder if we really can do anything to make a difference. But EcoGirl believes that we have much more power to impact our world and our future than we realize -- as consumers, workers, citizens, and community members. In this column, she gives four key steps for reclaiming that power, in joyful and constructive ways. How exhilarating!
Honoring Change and Tradition ( November 2011)
Like many folks, EcoGirl has been fascinated and thrilled to see people come out onto the streets to call for major changes in our system's structures. These movements offer us a chance for the scale of change that we need to steer ourselves away from so many crises, including eco-collapse. EcoGirl offers her thoughts about how we all can respond constructively to the opportunity of this powerful moment, wherever we are; what she feels is vital for the movement's success; and how the earth's ways can (and must) be included in the new solutions. She also honors the tradition of our winter celebrations by offering organized and helpful lists full of ways that you can honor the earth in all your holiday activities.
Creating Your Personal Earth Action Plan (April 2008)
The current blossoming of green stories and claims in mainstream media can be both encouraging and overwhelming. Where on earth should we start in taking action? EcoGirl hears that a lot. So, instead of just giving you another list of tips to add to your already-stuffed do-list, this column maps out four simple steps for you to follow to uncover your personal approach to this topic. This Plan will help you both prioritize and feel excited about the impact you can have!
Great Sources for Environmental Info ( September 2008)
Our information sources can either lead us wisely or astray. Too often mainstream coverage of environmental issues focuses more on celebrities, drama, and consumerism than on the real information we need to understand and support truly effective solutions for the planet. In this column, Ask EcoGirl highlights her favorite sources for keeping informed and taking wise action.



* My EcoGirl Theme: Bringing Eco-Wisdom into our Government, Politics, and Voting

* Your specific issue of interest in EcoGirl's Theme Page Index

Return to EcoGirl's Theme Page Index.

* "Uprooting the Environmental Causes of Poverty & War," Sonoma County Peace Press, April 2009. I was delighted when the Sonoma County Peace Press asked me to write something about the environment, giving me the chance to connect environmental and social justice issues. It's another example of how saving the earth is saving us humans too! My article uses as an example the story of the Nigerian people and their journey with the oil industry. Click here to view the article, as well as bonus links for more information on the topics discussed.
* "Effective Political Action: Recovering Democracy's True Gift," Sonoma County Peace Press, Dec./Jan. 1995/6, p. 3. (Lead article in the "Participatory Government" issue.)

* My Next STEP newsletter, which has lots of information on toxics and alternatives, plus government and community-level actions. "It's your handy guide to less-toxic living." Look up topics of interest in the The Next STEP index of articles.
* North Bay Bohemian. I also wrote several articles on these topics for the Bohemian's Green Zone column. 

* I also cover these topics on my Facebook page and blog.


Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates readers about toxics and alternatives. For more information about my work for the planet, see www.patriciadines.info

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I hope that you find this information useful. I welcome your throughts and feedback! (You can email me at info [at] askecogirl.info.)
Editors: Please contact me if you'd like to publish any of these articles in your periodical, or discuss an article that I might write for you.

This entire website is (c) Patricia Dines, 1998-2014. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 3/7/14