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139 The Transition Movement Comes to America

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

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pm139_150.jpgOne response to the global crisis that is gaining enthusiastic momentum is the Transition Towns movement. Jennifer Gray, a pioneer in the Transition Initiative in the UK and cofounder of Transition US, describes it as “a community-led response to the twin crises of peak oil and climate change. It’s … positive, pro-active [and] engages the whole community in building resilience into their world.”

Sharing highlights from The Transition Handbook by founder Rob Hopkins, she elaborates on a flexible twelve-step process to empower community organizers in unleashing the creative genius of their community and building an Energy Descent Action Plan. One innovative aspect is backcasting: envisioning one’s community in 20 years, and then designing steps to get from here to there.  [www.transitionus.org]

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128 Finding Opportunity in Peak Oil

Friday, September 26th, 2008

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pm128_150.jpgMolly Brown sees Peak Oil as both a challenge and an invitation to create a better world. After awakening to Peak Oil, she explored her own responses — inner attitude and outer action. Personal changes include creating a vegie garden and bicycling. Noting that individual survivalist mentality is insufficient (”we are all interconnected”), she helped form a local group to awaken and prepare her community. As a therapist, Molly sees this predicament on several levels, noting how crises have the potential to bring out the best in us. (www.mollyyoungbrown.com, www.apple-shasta.org)

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125 An Engineer Examines a Town’s Energy Future

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

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pm125_150.jpgHow much energy does a town consume? Brian Corzilius sleuthed that out for Willits, California, and got a big surprise: in this community of 13,000 people, nearly 25% of personal after-tax earnings (about $30 million annually) leaves town to pay for energy - gasoline, diesel, electricity and natural gas. His inventory grew into an energy independence report which identified opportunities for local energy sources to replace external inputs. His local “energy mix” considers solar, wind, hydro, biomass, wood gasifiers, co-generation, and sewage plant methane to create electricity. A model for any community, his energy report is online at www.willitseconomiclocalization.org.

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108: Sustainable Bellingham - Grass Roots Organizing is Key

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

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pm108_150.jpgSustainable Bellingham has built a solid infrastructure to be as effective in their community as possible. Team members Sandy Hoelterhoff, Lynnette Allen and David Kowalsky discuss their decision-making tool QET (a Quick Effective Tool), as well as a natural-systems model to define roles for producing events. Called ACORN, it includes roles based on directions of the compass (e.g., physical logistics tasks are in the south, oversight in the north). With a mission of education and communication, they network people, projects and groups with similar interests. Among Sustainable Bellingham ’s activities are film showings and a Sustainable Transportation Fair. [www.sustainablebellingham.org]

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102: To Be of Use - Serving the Community

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

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pm102_150.jpgA vocal proponent of going local, Dave Smith co-founded the Briarpatch Cooperative Market, co-founded “Smith & Hawken” and now owns a book store he can walk to. His book To Be Of Use: The Seven Seeds of Meaningful Work honors “creative action heroes” who meet real needs rather than just desires. He suggests judging others not by their stated values but by their virtues — their character and actions. [www.grizzlegritz.com, briarpatchnetwork.wordpress.com]

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95: Economic Localization - A Community Rediscovering Itself

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

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Peak Moment 95In this freewheeling conversation, Jason Bradford and Brian Weller, co-founders of Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL), discuss local food security, creating a farm at a nearby grade school, being rooted in community, urban / rural issues in finance and land use, regional trading partners, reinventing local public transportation, and more. [www.willitseconomiclocalization.org]

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94: Facilitating Economic Localization in Willits, California

Monday, January 21st, 2008

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Peak Moment 94Jason Bradford and Brian Weller, co-founders of Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL), discuss their group’s approach to educating and enrolling their townsfolk about declining oil and the imperative to reduce dependencies on imported energy, food, and other goods. They view their group as a mid-WIFE: a Watchdog, Incubator, Facilitator and Educator. They’re pioneering “rediscovering where we live–and it’s exciting.” [www.willitseconomiclocalization.org]

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66: Boulder County Going Local!

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

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pm66_150.jpgMichael Brownlee didn’t stop after creating the Boulder Valley Relocalization group. He’s catalyzing Boulder County’s Going Local! campaign, encouraging residents to buy local first, eat and grow local food, create local energy and local currency. The community will celebrate at a “Renaissance of Local” festival, conference and expo with a feast prepared by the local Slow Food group.

(Boulder County Going Local became Transition Boulder and then Transition Colorado.)

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62: Brookside Farm - Growing Food, Growing Energy

Monday, June 4th, 2007

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pm62_150.jpgTake a whirlwind tour of the one-acre Brookside Energy Farm with Jason Bradford and Christoffer Hansen at planting time. Along with perennials, annuals, a food forest, and dryland crops (grains), they’re growing Jerusalem artichoke and dale sorghum to produce both food and energy (ethanol). Watch Chris cut sod with a Swiss glaser hoe — a 1/6 horsepower guy! [www.energyfarms.net]

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54: Sustainable Ballard: A Blueprint for EveryTown USA

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

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pm54_150.jpgDavid Wright, Vic Opperman and Andrea Faste are “making ripples around Puget Sound” by empowering folks in their northwest Seattle community of 70,000 around “the one issue that unites us” — energy. Sustainable Ballard volunteers educate, facilitate, and collaborate — working with businesses and organizations on projects like going carbon neutral, a “Vehicle to Grid” conference, and having fun, too! [www.sustainableballard.org]

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