Transition Whatcom

I've been thinking about what kind of project the ARC could take on that would not be so huge and unanswerable as an entire descent plan. I've been thinking that it might be helpful to have a specific project that we could work together on, that could function as a first step forward.

I know that there are resources out there in the community about how to reduce energy consumption, etc.   I wonder if there is any interest in researching what information and support sources already exist, and compiling them in one place. Depending on what we find, it might be a web page with links to sites, it might be a brochure/booklet with addresses and phone numbers as well.

This would be a smaller project than the wiki site - which is also a good idea. Besides being helpful to the community, this project could help us to think more about what kinds of things people need to know individually, politically and communally. It would also provide a good resource for  neighborhood initiatives.

If this idea is interesting to you, please add your thoughts. If there are a few of us interested, I propose we set up a meeting to get started.

Emily

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks for offering the suggestion Emily. I’ve been feeling guilty about having dropped the ball by not following up on our previous efforts.  Maybe your idea is a way to get started again. If several people want to start with the topic of reducing energy consumption, it’s fine with me.

Your comments, however, imply some things that are a little confusing to me.  First, when the ARC group was still meeting, I thought we decided that an Energy Descent Action Plan was not really the best place to start. An EDAP is an imposing task, as you suggest.   And some had reservations that we could actually produce anything that could credibly be called a “Plan” – at least not anytime soon.

The Actions for Resilient Communities (ARC) was not an EDAP, it was an alternative to that.  The ARC was seen as a smaller, easier, more feasible way to get something useful started.  It is simply a structured collection of useful, practical information for people who want to live more resiliently.  Information on reducing energy consumption is exactly the kind of thing I would have expected to find in the ARC. 

I think we decided that we wanted lots of people to be able to contribute to the ARC.  Getting some people together from our own group to kick it off with some initial information is a good idea.  Your idea is not really an alternative to the ARC, it is potentially the ARC's first content. 

But obviously, we few don’t have the skills, knowledge, or time to supply all of the information that the public will need.  We need lots of ARC contributors to help.  But before opening up a web site to multiple contributors, we need some organization for the information and some guidelines for those contributors.  Absent that, we can invest a lot of time and end up with an unusable mess.

You suggest creating a web site to make your energy information public.  One advantage of the Wiki is that you can create the web site in about fifteen minutes for free.  The other advantage is that many people can  supply information for the site, yet with reasonable controls and security.  I’m not sure how you were planning to create a site, but if there is a better way that provides more or better functionality, I’m all for it.

Incidentally, for those keen on the EDAP idea, there’s no reason it couldn’t be created in the ARC and then published separately as necessary.  It could also be created anywhere else if the authors prefer.  I don’t think we were slamming the door on an EDAP, we just thought it best to start with a more manageable task.

Tris,

Thanks for your thoughts. I would encourage us not to get too bogged down with the ultimate goal and the big vision at this point - it feels overwhelming to me. I completely agree with you that we need lots of input from lots of sources to develop a complete ARC, and it will take time.

I am thinking of that old saying "the way to climb the mountain is to begin with a single step". My thought is to find out what resources already exist to help people with issues related to transition, and to compile the contact information for those resources in one place. Some examples might be: the website address for Whatcom Transit Authority, and the contact info for PSE's home energy audit, the Whatcom Folk School website address, the contact information for the Master Gardener program. Also, I have the impression that the County did some kind of sustainability visioning report a few years ago - perhaps a link to that could be included.

I think that discovering and compiling what is already out there will provide a valuable resource for people. It will also tell us where there are gaps. I believe that as we compile information it will become clear what form to use to present it - a website or a document or what have you.

I would like to start by gathering some people who are interested in doing the research, and begin to make a plan for how to proceed, and see where it takes us.

I hope some people will come forward and be willing to start.  Doing something would be an improvement over the current rate of progress!

It sounds like you are talking about organizing info about local resources, but you could get an idea of the kinds of information available by checking out the Transition US website's Knowledge Hub at http://transitionus.org/knowledge-hub .  I suspect the kind of info you seek would be found in their Working Group Themes section. 

Come to think of it, perhaps someone could contact some of the TW workgroups and see if they have links to resources in their area of interest that could be shared. Just a thought...

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