Taking Effective Action on Ecological and Community
For your convenience, I've gathered
my Ask EcoGirl print columns into themes, often with additional
NOTE: This COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL is
AVAILABLE FOR SYNDICATION, CUSTOMIZATION &
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT
ECOGIRL, including how she can appear in your publication,
see the main EcoGirl
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
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!
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
- 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.
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.
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?
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!
Change and Tradition ( November
- 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
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!
Sources for Environmental Info ( September
- 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.
- ALSO SEE
* 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.
OTHER PRINT ARTICLES I'VE
WRITTEN ON THIS THEME
- * "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.)
MORE OF MY PRINT ARTICLES
- * 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
- * North Bay Bohemian. I also wrote several articles on
these topics for the Bohemian's Green
* 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.
Sign up for my low-volume writing announcement list (1-3
emails a month), to get emails when my new print articles are
published, at www.patriciadines.info/EList.
- Connect via Facebook, to show your support for my work,
and get inspiring and useful eco-info in your Newsfeed www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.
Explore and sign up for my blog at www.patriciadines.info/LTEblog.
- I hope that you find this information useful. I welcome
your throughts and feedback! (You can email me at 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