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Well-Applied, Well-Meaning

Locanthropy? Locavism? Locharity?

No I am not talking about werewolves or something (lycanthropy to the non-nerds). I am searching for a term to refer to looking to your local community to help out first – local philanthropy, local activism, local charity.

What I am getting at here is – with all the stuff going on in the big bad world, it is very easy to forget that people, animals, and the environment need help right here in our back yard. Of course people elsewhere need help – the people of Haiti and Japan devastated by natural catastrophes; the people of third world countries needing food, water, and rights; wild or domestic animals are mistreated in some foreign place. And it is good to see people at least get motivated to help out somehow, somewhere. And yes many issues are national, international, and worldwide and need to be looked at how to resolve across the board. But we also easily lose sight of the tree for the forest to turn a saying on its head.

I hate to be cynical but often the driving point in these philanthropic efforts is PR. Something happens that becomes a big news item. Company or organization sees they can get some PR or even increased sales by offering a way to donate (buy X item and we will give X – you still had to buy the item, or even come to this website and donate – while there you will be bombarded with ads). Of course, yes, they are helping. But what is their true motivation, how much actually makes it where it is needed, why now when this issue has been there before? These are questions we should ask before we choose these options.

More importantly, we should look right outside our windows to see how we can help right here, right now. There are children starving in another country – but they are starving right here too. There are animals in need in another country or state – but there are thousands in need in Milwaukee. There are environmental travesties everywhere – but everywhere includes here. If you do choose to look locally, which I hope you do, ask questions – just because it is labeled as local (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, whatever) doesn’t mean all, or even a majority, of the aide stays here. Is it a local chapter for a national organization and the funds are pooled together? Do the services (the homeless animals for example) come from out of state rather than helping or employing ones here?

Why aren’t we as outraged and motivated to help our neighbors as we are to help complete strangers? Maybe it is because we feel if we solve the problem elsewhere, in the big world, it will trickle back. But maybe, just maybe, it works the other way. Solve the problem here and the solution may spread elsewhere.

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About K9vin

I have been a volunteer for the humane treatment of animals in the Milwaukee area for 10 years as well as our parks system including founding the friends group for off-leash dog parks and a volunteer for The Park People. I was born in and raised near Milwaukee and have pride in the city. I want to be one of the people always striving to make Milwaukee better, starting with getting other men involved in their community.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Locanthropy? Locavism? Locharity?

  1. I agree that there are local people everywhere that need our help. There is a line of people 50 people long near my office right now waiting to pick up their food pantry items. There is a waiting list at many of the shelters in the city, even though it is warm out (which is a time less typical to have demand for shelter services). The donations made to these places (local food pantries and shelters) have lagged in the last 3 years, and certainly have not kept up with the increased demand for services. These organizations, in part because of less donations, can not market adequately for donation solicitations, whereas national and international organizations can “text to donate” and reach people with ease. I too hope that more people take a good look around them and think locally first with their time and dollar donations, and I would love to get involved in a campaign to promote local giving.

    Posted by Amy | May 5, 2011, 2:58 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Earth Day: Animal Rehoming, the 4th R « Well-Met - April 22, 2011

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