May 14 is elections day in BC, Canada. One of the requirements to vote is that you have to be a Canadian citizen (check here)
What many don’t know if that voting is much more than showing up to choose a representative every four years, so you too, no matter what your status in BC is, can vote.
I’m talking about the voting you do every single day and hour with your lifestyle and the choices you make. You have more power than you were made to believe you had. You have the power of making a candidate win (or lose), but you also have the power of making things happen (or stop happening and change for the best).
How do you actually exercise this power?
- Every time you buy: do you want to improve the local economy so it really benefits you and your family? Buy local and buy from the hands of those who create, produce, care, grow and provide the actual goods and services.
- Every time you decide how to commute to work, shopping, etc. Do you ride a bike, take a bus, carpool or walk, or are you alone in your car driving for more than 30 minutes?
- What type of “gifts” you provide your children: do you provide them with memories and sharing moments, homemade treats and your time, or do you buy them expensive toys they don’t need and will throw in a few months?
- How much waste you and your family create: do you try to buy things with less packaging and less THINGS? Where do you think your waste goes? Do you know that recycling waste is not entirely done in BC (not even in Canada) and it uses dangerous chemicals and expensive energy to be converted? Do you know that most electronic waste pollutes entire towns in Asia, Africa and Latin-America where children and their mothers may grab pieces of metal to re-sell while becoming sick?
- How you dispose of your waste: are you responsible and separate garbage from recyclables from organic? What do you do with your organics? Do you compost them to heal the soil in your containers or yard, or you just throw it?
- What you eat: do you eat mostly raw and fresh vegetables or mostly meat and processed food? Is your food local or it has to travel thousands of miles to get to your plate?
- What you drink: do you drink plain water and tea or do you drink soft drinks and artificial “juices”? Do you use reusable containers for your drinks or do you buy “use once and throw” plastic bottles?
- How you spend your “free” time: do you watch TV or do you use that time to read, share with your family or tend a garden? Do you play computers or with your texting device or do you enjoy a good hike, a visit with friends or a picnic? Do you travel long distances and pay for expensive hotels or do you stay local and visit towns, museums, farms and many other local attractions?
- Where you work: do you work as close from home as you can? Do you work at a local company or business that is also helping other local people to thrive?
- What type of work you do: is your work “green” and sustainable? Do you feel proud of what you do? Is your work helping others, or the environment? Is your work something you would like your children to do? Do you feel happy and fulfilled or exhausted and frustrated after work? Is your work supporting a good cause or destroying the planet? Is your working abusing resources or the lives of others across the ocean? Or is your work enhancing their lives?
- How you teach your children about life: do you teach your children to be compassionate and friendly, to cooperate and be open? Do you teach your children to be responsible and work hard? Do you allow them to enjoy life in nature and respect where their food, water and goods come from?
- How you invest or save your money: local banks and credit unions are safer and tend to invest locally, which makes them more resilient and sustainable. Ask where your money is going and how is being used. Don’t close your eyes: your money may be supporting things and causes you hate.
- How you take care of the house you live in: you can insulate your house and keep it well maintained so it doesn’t consume so much energy. You don’t need to have the heat all time up, and you don’t need air conditioner. Open the windows in summer put on a sweater in winter.
- What you read, watch and how you stay informed: don’t follow only mainstream news. Go beyond and around, communicate with others. There are many things happening in the world, bad and good ones. Choose your side wisely, but keep your eyes open.
- What you do with the information you find or receive: don’t swallow everything you see or read. Be critical and look for evidence. Discuss things with others, be open-minded and listen. If you learn information that is challenging and overwhelming, decide to act on it!
- How you behave in your community: do you watch and complain of all that garbage you see, the ugly abandoned land in the corner or the crime increasing, or are you volunteering to clean, paint, take care and patrol?
- What you do when you see injustice, pain, destruction and abuse: do you watch to the opposite side and think “it’s not my problem” or “I have no power”, or do you write letters to those in power, demonstrate, fight, and start a group of concerned citizens or join one already doing things?
So, next May 14 and every single day and hour before and after, go to vote! You have the power to change things. Let everyone know it.