First of all, congratulations are in order, for everyone. It’s one week post-election and we made it. All of us, no matter who we voted for. Since last Tuesday, we’ve talked about coming together as a country and boosting optimism. Many readers have asked for specific ideas about what they can do to volunteer, participate and become more informed. We’ve loved seeing those requests (we feel the same way) because it’s an important time to get involved. Here are a few suggestions, and we’re looking forward to hearing more ideas.
Know what’s at stake. There are limits on what the next president can and can’t change, and understanding the facts can help focus your efforts. Here are 10 questions and answers explaining how key issues could play out over the next four years.
Switch to renewable energy. The incoming administration may not prioritize the environment, but we can. One of the easiest things you can do to help (easier than recycling!) is reduce your own home’s role in fossil fuel emissions — a main cause of pollution. If you live in a state that allows it, you can switch your power to wind or solar with a click of a button. Check out Green Mountain Energy or Inspire.
Donate. Cup of Jo recently gave money to the ACLU, Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood, three organizations we strongly support. This list by Jezebel and this one by TogetherList highlight hardworking groups that need support, if you’d like to donate to a cause you believe in. (We know someone who is making a chili dinner for friends this weekend, and everyone who goes will donate $50 to an organization they’ll choose.)
Volunteer, make calls, do stuff. If you’re eager to give your time by volunteering your expertise or elbow grease, the options are almost infinite. Three avenues for picking a cause: a list by Mikki Halpin with 38 things you can do, specific ideas for writers and teachers, and the weekly Deeds Digest newsletter that suggests smart actions.
Get out of your bubble. Group texts and Facebook have been everything over the past week, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone. We liked this simple yet powerful idea: Read a non-fiction book about people who are different from you and expand your point of view (here are a few to try). Books can be great connectors, as Lisa Lucas, head of the National Book Foundation, told NPR: “Don’t just read the thing that you think is for you… read the thing that’s not.” Or consider widening your perspective in person. You can search here for local meet-ups that talk about politics, put on documentary screenings, harness tech for good and organize group volunteer missions.
Thoughts? Any other ideas for large or small ways to get involved?
(Photo by Kendra Smoot/Instagram.)