This week, during our Oil and Our Lifestyles: A Month of Action, we have turned our focus to community and culture, and how we can be agents of change in our respective circles of influence.

So far this month we’ve addressed the importance of taking action at home and work and looked at changes we can make in how we transport ourselves and how we eat.  We’ve looked at what we can do about plastics, a by-product of our dependence on oil, and considered how to broaden our reach beyond personal lifestyle choices to now influencing our immediate communities.

Today we bring our focus to what you can do in your immediate community to positively impact both others and the environment where you live.  Beyond signing petitions and pressuring our elected leaders to enact changes we wish to see, we must also turn our attention to the immediate circles of living communities of which we are a part.

As Grace Lee Boggs says, “We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors. That is how change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.”

Today’s proposed action is: Look after where you live.  Take one action today to serve your local community or neighborhood. 

If you’re not sure where to start, find out what one environmental justice issue in your community is, or one environmental issue that is particularly relevant where you live.  Find out what your local government is doing about the issue and contact them with questions or feedback or to ask how to get involved.  Another way to look after where you live is to find out what local organizations are doing to address environmental issues and get involved that way.  Is there a local action-oriented campaign you could join?

To learn more about how your state has been affected by fossil fuel extraction, for example, take a look at this state by state map of the impacts of fossil fuel accidents in the US from 1968-2011: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/04/fossilfuelmap.html.  If you live in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky or Texas, your states have been hit hardest. 

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