Since 2008, Out for Sustainability has operated as an entirely volunteer based group composed of lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, trans identified individuals, and anyone else that falls beneath the Queer umbrella. The mission of the organization is to mobilize communities to be environmentally responsible through volunteer opportunities such as Earth Gay. This Saturday the 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., our very own local Queer community will toil in the soil at Wright Park, and for free you can join, by registering on their website OUT4S.org.
You might find yourself asking what the point of volunteering with a Queer focused group is. The answer: every faction of society needs to make our planet’s health a priority. Groups that operate as factions (i.e. ethnic, gender and sexual minorities) operate in a unique way, and thus their interactions with the world around them are unique. It reasons that because a group has unique practices, they have a unique responsibility to sustain.
Out for Sustainability offers a variance of programs, mostly on the West Coast, that include Earth Gay, but also Greener Pride. Greener Pride’s aim is most simply Pride events that are eco-friendly. Large festivals, especially those that are integral to a culture such as Pride, tend to be full of waste: People throw away recyclable items, people recycle items that aren’t recyclable. There is one-time merchandise that is also quickly thrown away. Fuel is used for floats that often idle through streets. Afterwards the streets are empty and litter is strewn about and could very likely fall into gutters or be forgotten in dirt and decrease pervious surface area that is instrumental to water infiltration. Over time, these things start to have a huge impact on the environment. It is would be far more efficient to refocus our efforts on preventable action by implementing eco-friendly lifestyle changes.
In the effort of being good to the earth, Earth Gay not only provides a volunteer opportunity in the typical sense, but it also provides something that is the first of its kind in the United States; an eco-volunteer organization that is composed of Queer people. The ability to feel a sense of belonging not only increases your comfort, but also increases the amount of work you are able to complete. If a Queer person was not particularly interested in interacting with a homophobic micro-aggressive jerk, then they might find solace in the largely decreased likelihood of running into one there, which enables them to focus on what really matters: Yard work.