Volunteer Week and Earth Day!

April 22, 2013  / 

Triple Bottom Line… People, Planet, Prosperity

We’ve talked before about our version of the triple bottom line – People, Planet, Prosperity.  We focus on people (community relationships, staff and volunteers), the planet (through our Go Green program) and the prosperity of our area through the work we do in the community, particularly in the three focus areas – All That Kids Can Be; From Poverty to Possibilty; Healthy People, Strong Communities (which we call our ‘neighbourhood’ work). 
This week gives us the opportunity to focus on a portion of “people” (National Volunteer Week) and on the “planet” (Earth Day) parts of our triple bottom line.  We’ll be focusing on the “prosperity” part of our triple bottom line in upcoming blogs…  stay tuned!
Passion, Action and Achievement (PEOPLE, Planet, Prosperity)
Thank you to all our volunteers! 
This week is National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize all those individuals who “have acted of their own choice to meet a need without concern for monetary benefit — people who have translated their sense of civic responsibility into action.”1 As Jan mentioned at our Community Spirit Awards in February “community spirit is about passion, action and achievement!”  and our volunteers certainly have a lot of community spirit!
As an avid volunteer myself (I actually have serviettes that say “stop me before I volunteer again!”, but so far I haven’t paid any attention to them!) and someone who was a volunteer  with United Way KW before becoming a staff member, I was interested in looking at our organization from the volunteer perspective…
United Way KW has long history of volunteerism – over 71 years ago, a group of 11 volunteers met and Kitchener-Waterloo Federated Charities, as we were known as in those days, was born.  The quote that comes to mind when I think of that group… Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead.  Those 11 volunteers certainly started a change in our community!
Since then many groups of people have made a commitment to our community by giving their time, energy and passion to making a positive difference through United Way KW.  That small group has grown to thousands? of people, who have given thousands of hours, helping with strategy, fundraising, community investment and administrative work. The ‘work’ of the volunteers has changed with the times and needs of the organization, has helped to make United Way KW the respected and vibrant organization that it is today.
So…  thank you to all our volunteers, past and present.  Change starts here…  and, we couldn’t do it without you!
1Heritage Canada
Celebrating Earth Day:  – People, PLANET, Prosperity
“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” Marshall McLuhan
Commander Chris Hadfield has done an amazing job of showing us the beauty of our planet in a way that has captured a world-wide following through the technology of Twitter. I’ve been interested in seeing the planet from a bird’s eye view (or is that a ‘space-station’s eye view’?) since I was young and I’m one of those followers who looks for the photos of places I know, of places I want to know, and of course, of Kitchener Waterloo and area.
What his tweets also show, and what he’s talked about is how fragile the earth is – how it’s something we all have a part in taking care of. 
In doing some ’surfing’ on this topic, I found the following:
·         North America has 8% of the world’s population, consumes 1/3 of the world’s resources and produces ½ of the world’s garbage
·         On average, each Canadian produces 2.2 kilograms of waste each day – 30 million tonnes of waste per year
·         It takes the earth 1.5 years to regenerate what we take out of it in one year
·         If current population and consumption rates continue, by the 2030’s, we’ll need two earths to support us
Kind of depressing, but, I believe there is hope for our fragile planet…  I recently attended the Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR) ‘Evening of Recognition’.  Hearing what others in our community are doing, what part they are playing in earth sustainability, is inspiring – just having an organization like SWR, which is a “made in Waterloo” idea, inspires me and gives me hope.  United Way KW is a proud to be a member of SWR. Although it feels sometimes that what we’re doing through our Go Green program (‘doing as much as we can with as little as possible’) is small and insignificant, going to an event like this reminds me, that every little bit makes a difference, and when enough of us do that little bit, it makes a big difference.     
So…  how are you going to play your part in taking care of the earth?  What ‘little bit’ are you going to do to make a difference? 
I’ll leave you with this quote… 
“…to be able to go away from the world and look back at it, that’s almost the only way to see the world in the true perspective – you see the fragility of it, you see the beauty of it, you see how unique it is even in our own solar system. Standing here on the surface and looking around you don’t really have the same understanding of it as seeing it as one small precious life giving blue spaceship that we all live on and one that we all need to take care of… …{an astronaut’s perspective} one that everyone needs to see in order for us to survive here on this earth.” Chris Hadfield
PS – Wade Larson, who recently spoke at TEDx Waterloo, through his company ‘Urthecast’ is working on providing all of us with ‘an astronaut’s perspective’ of the earth from the International Space Station. Coming late in 2013.