Earlier in the year I spent three months volunteering in India. I went for a number of reasons but the outcome has had quite an impact on my life since returning to the UK. I’ve come to realise that people talk a lot about been proactive and engaged with society. They are quick to deliver heart felt opinions, share their thoughts on news articles, criticise politicians. But what are they actually doing in their own community? What am I doing in my community?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to go on a rant about how everyone should donate 10% of their wage, give up their Saturday morning to serve at a soup kitchen. I mean these are great thing to do and by all means go ahead I’m just thinking about what it means to be an active citizen.
Scotland is soon to vote on it’s independence. I wonder how many Scots have thoroughly researched what a vote either way would mean for them, for Scotland and for the UK. It is a huge decision and been able to exercise a right to choose is wonderful but I don’t think it should be taken lightly.
Been an active citizen can come from the smallest thing but I believe everyone should take an interest in their Local. What is going on around you can often be strangely hidden but it doesn’t take a lot to discover it and do something positive.
While walking in the Lake District last weekend we came upon a group of volunteers working to clear the small gully’s dug across the path to allow the natural flow of the water to continue down the mountain without turning the path into a little stream. As it’s coming up to winter this will make a big difference to all those continuing to walk in tougher conditions, keeping the path free of more mud, water and Ice. Taking the excuse to stop for a rest we chatted and these volunteers are just people who enjoy fell walking. They come from all over the North of England to help out. It’s not a lot but it makes a difference. And the smallest things can make a big difference in the long run. Even if it’s just to the few brave adventurers who walk on through rain, wind and snow.
As for me, well since returning I have taken a lot more interest the world around me. I’ve always been interested in politics and society but I’m making more of an effort to actively contribute.
I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realised I am somebody. (Lily Tomlin)