By Jaye Sudar
A change in diet or the decision to grow your own veggies is a good start. Finding your local markets, farms and vendors is a worthwhile enterprise. Using homemade bags and recycling is wonderful. At the base of these decisions is the desire to change the habit of depending on the big city or big business or big brother for the necessities of life. Scientists say that it takes 21 days to start a new habit. Oh if it were only that easy.
Change is difficult for everyone. Otherwise, why would we fight it so hard? Individual change begets community change which in turn effects economic change. Right now, with our economy in crisis and our government turning itself inside out, there is probably more change in the air than most of us care to admit. Many of us live in small towns or quiet neighborhoods because we don′t want change. We like the fact that everything seems just like it was in Grandma′s day.
The counterbalance to change is consistency, and its opposite is stagnation. Consistency can be a stabilizing force. However, in our present economic situation, stagnation could become the death knell of small communities. We need to be cognizant that change is necessary for growth and sustainability. As a community, we need to break the dependency habit and support that which is local: our farmers, small businesses, local enterprises and one another.
Some of our most neglected local resources are our civic organizations. Lions, Masons, Eastern Star, historic societies, and clubs of all sorts. How many of the civic organizations in the community are peopled by the same 100-150 people? How often are meetings called off because the only two officers in a group are sick or at other meetings? Why is it that far too often the average age of people in these groups is 70?
Our communities thrive not only through local shopping but by local participation in civic groups. Look around and see where you might participate to make a change. Take a chance: step out of your comfort zone and join a civic organization.