In communities around the world, Lions Clubs International is seen as a leading service organization, with members of various political parties involved in community service projects based on areas of mutual concern for all members of our communities. While certainly, community members pick which issues matter most to them and sign up for interesting projects, the cumulative array of all of the combined projects are a microcosm of how thriving communities care for all the different aspects of a vibrant healthier and thriving community.
Melvin Jones in 1917 told his local business club that they should reach beyond business issues and address improvements for communities around the world. They made history then and the idea about socially responsible businesses gained a very strong organization to support the importance of building strong communities.
While it would appear that policies that focus on “reaching beyond business issues” are polarized by some members of governments around the world, what hasn’t taken center stage lately in various news stories on climate change and environmental issues is the mutual importance to each community’s members that addressing these issues represents. Multi-faceted communities need what Melvin Jones advocated back in 1917 still today. Instead, we have members of our communities who make piecemeal appeals that scavenge and decompose the body of issues that make up our mutual interests.
Lions Clubs International is a global network of 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members. Their policy affirms that environmental issues are closely tied to their humanitarian work. In 1972, their board of directors adopted a policy that began the process of helping where help is needed. The policy actively seeks to restore and maintain environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of people’s need to exist with nature in productive harmony to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of future generations.
It’s understandable to get up on a platform and pick and choose what matters most to each of us. I’ve been to events where someone states their cause only to get others on board, as if a popularity contest is the desired outcome. It’s not. It’s great to hear passion for an issue, but sometimes it makes me wonder if it means to the exclusion of other causes that also deserve to attract passionate supporters. Our communities serve different interests, served best when avoiding partitioning.
However, policies by organizations like the Lions Clubs are worth celebrating, because they remind me of two things. You guessed it, they have a policy of concern about climate change and as a result have built an array of projects to support their policy. These implementations take active steps toward addressing the concern that led to their environmental policy. Secondly, this policy is not mutually exclusive nor takes away from the projects that support their equally significant policies that address health, disaster relief, youth, community cultural programs, or business development. They are all pieces of the multi-faceted labyrinth that improve our communities and help us from failing each other in the intersections of our lives.
The Lions Clubs’ environmental policy states that to achieve community environmental goals there is a demand of acceptance of responsibility by citizens, communities, enterprises and institutions at every level, with local and national governments bearing the burden for large-scale environmental policies and actions. For the benefit of all people, those who step into trusted positions in government have this obligation, rather than turn to misinformed or unmotivated constituents to support a way out of the community responsibility. The latter is only a miscalculation for questionable gain that results in apathy and exploits political allegiance.
Since 1972, Lions Clubs International has been fostering and promoting general welfare, not disparaging one policy need for the sake of another.
The Lions Clubs realize that climate change poses a great threat to poverty reduction since it decreases agricultural productivity, availability of natural resources, and increases the severity of natural disasters. The impact on poorer and marginalized communities is one of the reasons why they work with local businesses to adopt eco-friendly practices and policies.
If there were a reset button in households around the world, maybe participating in the Lions Clubs or similar service-oriented organizations would be good, with family members nurturing their own interests by participating in various projects and bringing their concerns, contributions and outcomes to the table as a well-balanced meal, if you will. Or, write a letter to your local Lions Clubs chapter thanking them for all the work they have been doing.
Serve a side of protecting the planet, with a slab of eyeglass recycling, a glass of sustainable agriculture, and don’t turn a deaf ear to a sweet-tooth by whipping up recreational camps for hearing impaired. The sum of all of our efforts can help us feel better integrated and focused on those aspects of our communities that request our assistance, because we can’t do it alone.