What’s your niche?

Find the cause that speaks to your heart, then get involved

Last week I read in a news story that former rock musician Feargal Sharkey has found a new vocation as an advocate for cleaner rivers in England.  It happened quite by fluke: when Sharkey, a life-long fly fisherman, was elected leader of a small fishing organization, he discovered the organization’s favourite river was dying a slow death because too much water was being pumped out for other uses.  Upon further investigation, he discovered that virtually every river in England was under strain – mostly because of raw sewage. 

It outraged him, woke up his inner activist, and voila: Sharkey is at the forefront of an issue that has united people across England.  He and his allies are close to forcing changes that will greatly improve the health of all rivers in the country.  You could say that, at 64, he’s found his second purpose.

Wow, I thought, the world could sure use more Feargal Sharkeys – for issues like water, but also for ocean health, biodiversity, plastics, sustainable food and a myriad of other environmental issues.  And, of course, that biggest issue of all, climate change.

Then I thought… could there be potential Feargal Sharkeys among my Green Ideas subscribers?  And what better timing than Earth Day to reach out?

Then some serendipity: mere hours later, I received a message from AVAAZ, a 68-million-member global online activist network, that included the following line:

“Carl, will you help invest in our planet by inviting three more people to join the climate movement?”

As Sheldon on Big Bang Theory would say, “Bazinga!” – because a lot more than three people receive Green Ideas. So please consider this your invitation to select an environmental issue that really matters to you (I highly recommend climate change), and mark this Earth Day by resolving to become more involved in creating positive change.  And why not cater to your unique strengths and talents?  For some, that may mean banging pots at protests; for others, it may mean writing letters, making calls, organizing, educating the public or helping develop solutions.  No matter – every action is a good action.

Need some suggestions?  Check out the Conservation Council of New Brunswick; the Ecology Action Center in Nova Scotia; organizations in Newfoundland & Labrador; PEI’s Island Nature Trust; the Nature Trust of NB; the Nature Conservancy of Canada; the David Suzuki Foundation; the Sierra Club; 350.org; the Council of Canadians; and Greenpeace.  Or just do a Google search for your area.  And contacting your Member of Parliament is always a good thing too.

Together, we have the talent and the power to fix climate change.  Earth Day is the perfect time for renewed resolve and a fresh start.

In the news:

‘Headed off the charts’: surface temperatures of the world’s oceans hit a record high.

Hypocrites and enablers: banks with ‘net-zero’ pledges are among the top funders of fossil fuels – including all of Canada’s Big Five, led by RBC.
A renovation is making this university residence in Halifax North America’s tallest solar sided building!


“Fundamentally, we need to talk about a future of less instead of a future of more.”

-Andrew Nikiforuk, in this deep dive about whether much of what we call a ‘sustainable future’ is really sustainable – or even doable

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