A very famous media icon once said “It’s not easy being green” and while that rings very true in many ways in relation to the Green Party of Canada (GPC) and the Green Party of Ontario (GPO), I’m very quickly realizing that in so many ways it really isn’t that hard either because of the amazing people connected to the work being done.
The summer of 2011 was for me, one that saw me move (again?!). It was a bit hectic limiting my time for rest, required me to leave those beautiful connections that I made and re-integrate into community- but for those of you who know me, what many may suggest is just the way Brenda does it.
I came back to Kingston, one of two cities in Ontario that have won over my heart (that other place being Waterloo) to start a new job and to reconnect in community. Lucky for me there was a provincial election waiting to greet me.
Since I can remember I have been connected to politics. So many times when asked the question “why do you like this stuff?” or “how can you find this a good vocation?” my response was “there is just something that beats a bit faster in my heart when I’m about this work”. Time has allowed me to find the words to clearly articulate that for me politics is the place where we weaves together the possibility of influence and change, where we fight for those who at times can’t fight for themselves, where we create and invite others to thread together those values that define us as a community.
I’ve never had party status. I’ve watch every major party convention since I can remember, every leadership race. I was just not in a place where I was prepare to align myself and commit so intentionally…..at least until I started to feel (yes feel) and observe that I needed to stop sitting in the background and that I needed to get involved. I was realizing how quickly my beautiful Canada wasn’t the country that I had grown up learning about, how much of those core values that shaped this beautiful nation were being repealed without even a thought given.
And so after some reflection, asking myself those questions that needed to be asked, and one last read through much of the party’s policies, I picked up the phone and called the local Green Party of Ontario office to tell them that I wanted to volunteer.
I saw my heartbeat written in the pages of values and policy for the GPO and GPC. Of course, not 100%, for nothing is every that deeply connected, except for me, my faith, but it was those values of community - supporting local farmers, healthy food, local economic growth for the economy, smart jobs, creative solutions for energy and business. There was a chord of connection to the idea that people shape our policies.
I decided to, because of an invitation; use my leadership capacity to contribute to the Kingston and the Island Greens as VP this year. In this capacity I have listened to and been engaged in so many community conversation that re-affirm to me I am in the right place, right now – that being using my talents and energy to contribute to the GPO and GPC, to sharing with others why I’m okay with being GREEN.
and so, as I have just returned home from my first, of what I suspect will be many GPO AGMs (that was held in Niagara). I find myself reflecting on that experience. I was encouraged to keep company with so many caring, thoughtful, smart people who want something more. I was able to observe a leader who is redefining what politics will look like in this Province. I listened to, and engaged in thoughtful debate around policy that considers people first. I was thankful for time I had to develop new connections, to engage in meaningful conversation & to contribute to moving us forward.
And it’s that last piece, the idea of moving us forward that I’m more connected to right now. As I look at the actions of the government I am more resolved to stay in it for the long haul. I think George Bernard Shaw captures so eloquently my feelings and thoughts:
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.”
So I acknowledge that in many ways “it’s not easy being GREEN”, but I’m okay with not taking the easy road……..