Dec 29, 2017
by Tish Levee
As always I looked forward to Daily Acts annual “Ripple the World” breakfast October 12th at theSanta Rosa Veteran’s Memorial Building. With more than 600 environmentally engaged people—“the movers and shakers of the world being born,” this event is always a high point of my year as well as Daily Acts’ primary fundraiser. But this year, it had to be canceled, because of the fires, and all the food planned was donated to feed evacuees.
Less than two months later, staff and volunteers were able to pull the event together on November 30th. Renamed “Ripple the Recovery” for this year, the breakfast—free and delicious as always—took place in a Vets’ Hall transformed for the event into a forest of living bamboo with small cloth banners, hand painted with messages about how to make change happen, flying across the ceiling. At each place we found the Daily Acts’ characteristic packet of heirloom seeds wrapped with a card urging us to “Take Heart, Take Part, Take Action.”
State Senator Mark McGuire’s welcome was followed by Hanna Chort, a “Daily Actor Extraordinaire,” who spoke on“The Power of What We Love.” Then, after a moment of silence for all those we had lost,Trathen Heckman, Daily Acts founder and Executive Director, spoke on the event’s theme—“A Connected Community Flourishes,” now more true than ever.
Since Trathen, whose enthusiasm is absolutely contagious, started Daily Acts in 2002, it has educated and inspired nearly 50,000 people to take daily action in simple, easy, transformative ways. One highly visible program has mobilized volunteers to transform lawns to “food forests,” converting nearly 235,00 square feet of lawn as of 2015. Water conservation programs, including sheet mulching and “laundry to landscaping,” or grey water system installation, are also offered.
Their most successful and accessible program is the “Community Resiliency Challenge,” that coincides with Earth Day every Spring. Individuals and groups pledge to take one or more actions to create a more resilient community. Over the past eight years, nearly 35,000 local actions have been registered, with more than 46,000 total across the country, as other localities accept the challenge. It’s easy to take the Challenge; the Daily Acts website lists 25 suggestions for Saving Water, Growing Food, Conserving Energy, Reducing Waste, and Building Community at dailyacts.org/action-ideas/. Many are quite simple, often ones that I have advocated over the years in my Gazette column, “For the Planet.” While I’ve dealt with the impact we can have when we take a minute to make a difference, Daily Acts magnifies the daily actions of many people to create tremendous accomplishments.
While we continued eating our delicious spinach and sun-dried tomato quiche (with a gluten-free polenta crust!) and apple, cinnamon, and honey baked oatmeal, we watched a great video—“10 Years of Rippling the World,” by filmmaker Alejandro Torres. We were then introduced to the Just and Resilient Future Fund, which Daily Acts helped found after the fires to help fire victims who are underserved or already living on the margins and to support initiatives to build more just, healthy, and resilient communities that better prepare us for future catastrophes. This example of grassroots recovery in action has already made significant donations to organizations such as The UndocFund.
The program concluded with Cathryn Couch, Executive Director ofCeres Community Project, urging us all to invest in Daily Acts. Each table captain had pledge cards so that we could pledge whatever felt comfortable, on a monthly or annual basis. Over $50,000 was pledged. Although the organization met its goal for the breakfast, the event usually raises $200,000, a substantial portion of Daily Acts $600,000 budget. If you want to invest in Daily Acts and contribute to their year-end goal to spread these vital solutions you can do so at dailyacts.org/support/. You can also volunteer there.
After breakfast 130 people stayed and met in community conversations onEarth Care, People Care, and Rebuilding Resilient Communities, working on formulating actions in these areas that they could undertake. I took part in a group looking to improve media coverage of these actions. We will continue working on implementing the ideas that grew out of these conversations.
© Tish Levee 2017
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