It would be incorrect to call this a problem, but some of you have contacted us looking for permission. This is a good sign, in many ways. You don’t want to do anything terribly unsafe or flagrantly illegal. You don’t want your neighbours to find you or your project abominable. Most rules and laws and bylaws exist for good reasons. It is smart and considerate to respect the tastes and feelings of others.
But don’t think too much about laws and bylaws and rules and the tastes of others.
As we note on the website, your feeling for this city, what you admire, is the basis of Make Something Edmonton. You admire action, grassroots audacity. You don’t have to ask us if we think a neighbourhood garden in that otherwise unused corner of your daughter’s schoolyard is a good idea. Speak to the other parents, to the principal, raise a bit of money for seeds and a fence of some sort, shovels for the kids, and start digging. Shoot some video. Tell us when you’re done.
If it’s something you care about, and you can get a team of others to care about it, go and do it: start a new company, paint something, build something, launch a new social venture. That’s how iHuman, the Folk Fest volunteer machine, Running Room and the legendary Sit ‘n Chill happened.
Seeking permission, or a grant, or three years of market research, or the unanimous support of real or imagined critics, may get in the way of actually doing something. The volunteers at the heart of Make Something Edmonton can certainly extend spiritual permission. Go forth, ye Edmontonian. Build.
We’re not subtle about our hopes. This is the best place to create something from nothing, to take an idea to reality, to build, to get ‘er done. And we would love it if the municipal government, business leaders, and other potential collaborators were to fold the What are you making? How can we help? philosophy into their day-to-day work. If you’re making something beautiful, or green, or profitable, or fun, your government should see itself as a fair and cautious collaborator.
Not a… well, you get it.
It’s already happening, and we’ll begin telling you these stories soon. In the meantime, get a team together and do something.