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Monday, December 19, 2011

PRE-Occupied


This time of year should be about “doing” and “giving,” not “consuming” and “whining.”
Now that the Occupy Toronto crowd has returned to their airy lofts, artist’s apartments, mothers’ basements or subsidized housing units, I hope they’ve found something else productive and worthwhile to occupy their time with.
Seems to me that there are many people with much free time on their hands in this land of ours. It begs me to ask this question; What do protesters do with all this time when they aren’t protesting, marching, thumping their drums, and chests in some cases, disrupting peoples’ lives and wasting the true average person’s tax dollars? Don’t get me wrong, many of their concerns are similar to mine. But their method of voicing these concerns seem to be self-deprecating, and almost insulting to those that are really suffering. Actions speak louder than words, and after all was said and done, there was a lot more said than done!
A lot more can be done. Many causes can be advocated for and progress made towards a betterment of society. But banging drums doesn’t do it.
Two causes seen to be promoted at the Occupy Toronto rally are causes of great importance to me. Causes I believe we can all appreciate given the social climate we find ourselves in. Causes we can all lend our support to and actually make a difference.
Poverty is ongoing and has been with us indefinitely. It’s a symptom of a society that is permeated by greed, uncontrolled consumerism and selfishness. Poverty is not endemic to the Third World, inner cities or Native reserves.
Small steps can be taken by all of us. All it takes to make a small difference is being aware. Aware of our surroundings, aware of the people we see daily that struggle to make ends meet. And also an awareness of our own spending habits. How can we be critical of others, whether they be government or big corporations, yet we ourselves are spending beyond our means or buying items that support the greed we mock and protest against?
Make a real difference! Instead of pounding a drum, sort tinned goods at the local food-bank. Serve at a soup kitchen. Instead of raising a placard or your voice, raise someone’s self-esteem, visit a senior, listen to their stories. Or drive a disabled person to an appointment.       
The widespread abuse and ultimate destruction of sensitive environments is nothing new. Instances of this and a belief that these trends must be stopped have been documented for thousands of years. The Romans, the Chinese, even the Syrians were known to divert rivers, completely deforest mountainsides and drain vast areas of swamp. 
Simple acts of responsible resource use by all of us will make a far bigger statement and have a far more reaching affect than staging a protest. Environmental responsibility is about doing, not saying. Plant a tree, pick up a piece of trash, take a walk instead of a drive.

So now that the protesters have gone home, where can we find them? Are they volunteering at the local food-bank, picking up trash at a nearby park? Or are they at the malls buying a smart phones, flat screen TV’s and video games? I have my suspicions. 

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