Sustainability 101: Keep it Flowing

by on April 25, 2011 · 9 comments

in Organizing, San Diego

by Terrie Leigh Relf

While the title above may sound a bit clichéd, as does the proverbial “pay it forward”, etc. it is still a practice upon which cultures are created, sustained, disrupted, and otherwise meet their demise. When pondering this behavior, I often ask myself about various cultural practices—both simple and complex—and how they shape my daily life.

Given that we participate in a variety of cultures (visualize a web of overlapping circles or VENN diagrams) that include factors such as where we were born and raised, by whom, the community within which we live, work, and play, and so forth.

To which private and public groups, organizations, and institutions do we belong? Where do we go for a fish taco? A vanilla latte? Do we spend time surfing, walking along the OB Pier, playing soccer in the park, or strolling along Newport and other streets that form the heart of Ocean Beach?

Do we spend time online? In the library? Writing in a journal on the back porch? Are we painting and sculpting and sewing, or are we raising funds for neighborhood improvement? These are just a very few of the activities that give rise to our complex individual and community culture. These activities shape how we are, who we are, and in some cases, who and how we will be in our collective future.

While we may all have our own personal soap boxes, and some of these are more all-consuming than others, there are so many people and organizations focused on being of service and benefit to others.

For example, I just received a call from the San Diego Blood Bank, as they are in need of my blood type (O+ just in case you’re curious). The last time I donated, which was the first time in over fifteen years, was in February at the Condor Con in Mission Valley. They gave everyone who donated a sticker that read: Be Nice to Me. I donated Blood Today! There were other goodies, too, but that’s not why I donated blood. . .

While not everyone can donate, and some may not believe in the donation or receipt thereof, in addition to our vital energy, it is the proverbial elixir of life. If you’re so inclined, visit The San Diego Blood Bank’s website at, phone them at (619) 296-6393, or stop by their current location at 440 Upas St., Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., or Friday and Saturday between 8:00a.m. and 4:00 p.m. On Sunday and Monday they are “appointment only unless you’d like to donate platelets.

On May 10, they are relocating to 3636 Gateway Center Avenue, which is located south of Downtown San Diego.

In you choose not to donate blood, another powerful medium of exchange is time. Take a moment to study your day planner or activity calendar. . .What’s on your agenda for today, this week, this month? Surely there is an hour or two to engage in a cause that you believe enriches your life as well as the lives of others.

There will be a meeting to organize a rally, for example, at noon on Saturday, April 30th, in front of the OB Library. If you haven’t already read—or heard–the news in The OB Rag or elsewhere, Mayor Sanders is planning to slash hours of operation to an unprecedented low. There is even talk of closing OUR library. For more information, visit the Public Library’s website . The April 20, 2011 budget update is available.

There is a link for the Board of Library Commissioners,  (where itineraries are posted in PDF format). They may be contacted at: 619 236-5870. Also visit the Friends of the San Diego Public Library, who may be contacted at 619-542-1724. You may also link to The San Diego Public Library Foundation from the main site.

There are a variety of activities with which you can engage. . .write letters to Mayor Sanders and the City Council, sign up for email alerts, become a Friend of the Library, write blogs. Just so you have them handy, here are Mayor Sanders and the City Council’s respective websites.

It’s not difficult to remember the adage, “Think Globally, Act Locally.” The logic inherent in this oft-quoted saying is that what is accomplished on a local level DOES effect change—period. Whether you choose to become involved in your immediate neighborhood or within the community at large, is, of course, up to you. It feels good to be of benefit to others. . .even when they’re not aware of your contributions.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

annagrace April 25, 2011 at 10:06 am

Terry- what a wonderful rallying call! It really sets the mood for the rest of my day. Thank you for this reminder of our interconnectedness.


Anna Daniels April 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

Forgive me- Terrie. :)


Frank Gormlie April 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

Love the analogy: we do need NEW BLOOD in saving our library.


Terrie Leigh Relf April 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Thank you, Anna Grace! Why the “forgive me”?, Anna Daniels?

Oh, and I discovered a typo in the first sentence of paragraph 8. It should read. . .”If you choose. . .”

And yes, Frank, we do need new blood. . .love the image for this piece, too!


Anna Daniels April 25, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Terrie- I misspelled your name in my initial post and felt very badly about that. Our names are important. :)


Patty Jones April 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Awesome, thanks Terrie!

We recently cleaned out our closet and have a pile of old t-shirts and things too old, stained or torn to be donated and sold by a thrift store. My daughter said we should find out how to recycle them and use “Our Rag” to educated folks about that. I did a little research and found out that the thrifts stores can sell them to recyclers. So that pile I was going to toss in the trash will go with the good stuff and hopefully the charity that we donate to can make a few pennies recycling them.


Patty Jones April 25, 2011 at 6:41 pm

And by the way, I have been a gallon club member for lotsa years!


Rick Ward aka mr.rick April 25, 2011 at 6:50 pm

It really does feel good to be a benefit to others even if no one knows. Some times it just might be something simple like buying some homeless person something to eat. By the way, that is a good way to be certain that is what they need. Or you could put your self out front and take the lead. Either way, you would be doing something for someone besides yourself. Which is the point. Make your own day!


Terrie Leigh Relf April 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I didn’t know thrift stores could sell unwearable stuff. It can also be cut up and made into quilts. I recently made my daughter a T-shirt quilt. It’s a nostalgia piece, too, as the T-shirts were from her toddler clothes and a few extras with stains on certain parts.

I’m planning to do my next piece on thrift stores and places to donate stuff.

Yeah to the folks in the Blood Bank gallon club. I’m planning to donate again soon, but will need a ride as it’s in Hillcrest still, and I get all woozy after donating. Anyone fancy a duo trip?



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