Re: Please Read: Feedback Sought on New Digest Format
2009-06-11 11:08:42 UTC
I had stopped reading your digest because the print was so small I could hardly see it, let alone read it. I really missed it. I finally clicked on the button that said to go to the web page if you are having trouble reading the post and can boost the type size to one that I can read easily. I'm thrilled to be reading the digest again and learning from all the informative posts. Thanks for all your good work.
Re: Sustainable foods course
2008-06-26 11:30:57 UTC
As I'm sure you know, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State has done and is doing incredible work on regional food systems, sustainable food production, etc. You could probably get more ideas, contacts, and information from talking with their people for a couple of hours than you could ever use for your course. Rich Pirong coodinates the Regional Food Systems Program. As far as I'm concerned, Fred Kirschenmann from the Leopold Center is the most knowledgable and clearest long-range thinker in the U.S. on a host of past, present, and future sustainable agriculture/rural development issues. There is an exciting project going on in NE Iowa linking sustainable local food production with wellness you might want to check out; and Maggi Ademek from the University of Minnesota is extremely well thought of an an expert working on food, wellness and sustainability issues. Your request is awfully broad, and I'm sure you could fill several library shelves with materials.
Buy Local Campaigns
2008-05-31 10:23:01 UTC
My nearest small town of 900 is undertaking a "Buy Local" Campaign. I found some good things on the internet about how to undertake such a campaign, but they didn't include fsm type tools -- i.e. surveys, prompts, rewards, pledges, etc. If anyone has info like this or could give me advice on where to find it so we wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, I'd really appreciate getting it.
Re: sustainable behavior
2008-05-03 11:13:14 UTC
I've never been to Sweden, but I've taken a couple of Natural Step training programs and have admired what I've read about their sustainability efforts. Sweden has companies, communities, governmental bodies and individuals following Natural Step sustainability principles, the fourth of which has something to do with economic/social equality or justice. I've always felt Sweden was lucky to be a relatively small country with a homogeneous population, which contributed to it being able to get everyone on board around sustainability. I think it would be interesting to look at that aspect in the success they have had with sustainability...and then figure out how a large and diverse country like the U.S. that seems to be divided 50-50 on so many issues could accomplish the same thing. You can learn a lot in a short time about sustainability in Sweden by talking to Swedes involved with the Natural Step, which started in Sweden.
Good luck and have a wonderful summer!
Re: Keeping land in CRP
2008-03-18 10:50:41 UTC
It's been interesting to see the articles on "Peak Soil" appear...so people are hopefully becoming more aware of the importance of agricultural lands to our bioindustrial future. In SE Minnesota horrendous erosion problems are arising because lands coming out of CRP (the Conservation Reserve Program) or being taken out of CRP are being used to plant row crops, namely corn to be used for ethanol production. Government payments for CRP to protect fragile lands can't compete with income being earned from corn and other agricultural commodities. Hopefully payments to plant these lands in prairie grasses and other perennial crops for cellulosic ethanol will be available soon (through the new farm bill or other legislation) so we can get them back into grasses and protect them from further erosion. This is really an important issue, because throughout history civilizations have died out because they didn't protect their agricultural soils.
CBSM and Scale, John Edwards Message Resonnating with Iowa Voters
2007-12-29 16:02:56 UTC
the book Fostering Sustainable Behavior, and social marketing were mentioned in Richard Heinberg's latest book -- Peak Everything Waking up to the Century of Declines, on pages 138-40. Heinberg admires cbsm but doubts that it can be done on a large-enough scale to get enough people around the world to change their behavior to make a difference before the various collapses he believes are coming occur. I don't want to debate this last point, PLEASE. However, I think the basic question of how we rachet things up so the entire global community is involved in changing our ways to protect the planet deserves serious thought. I live 10 miles from the Iowa border; and the one television station I get through the airwaves has been bombarded with political ads. (For those of you who don't live in the U.S. the first step in electing a new president in November 2008 begins with a caucus in Iowa on January 3). John Edwards is ahead in the polls today for the first time, and the message that really seems to have struck a cord is How Can You Face Your Children if you let the corporations destroy the middle class...destroy the environment...steal your childrens future, etc. I often thought this is a really strong message to get people to change their behavior and put the interest of the future, where their children and grandchildren will be living, ahead of momentary self-gratification. What do people think about these two thoughts?
Thanks to all of you who share your amazing knowledge.
Re: Greening our libraries?
2007-12-21 13:14:39 UTC
One of the organizations I volunteer with had several boxes of books on various sustainability issues just sitting around and taking up space. Our director approached the staff of a centalized library system that houses and sends out books to smaller libraries in several counties throughout my state about donating the collection to them. Needless to say, the staff at the centralized library system was thrilled and dedicated several hours of staff time to cataloging the collection, etc. They subsequently got a grant to hold discussions on sustainability issues in many of the smaller libraries in our rural area and have sent out flyers telling other libraries about the availability of the collection. I think budgets are so tight and books are so expensive that most libraries don't have much money to acquire new books. I will be donating many of my books dealing with sustainable development, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, entrepreneurship, environmental issues, global warming, etc. to that collection so a lot of people throughout the region can have access to them. I can check them out myself if I need to refer back to them. I think libraries are wonderful underutilized resources, particularly in the rural areas, and have found the librarian in my nearest small town to be open to suggestions and welcome ideas on ways people can use the library to the fullest extent possible.
Re: Public Awareness Campaign Experience
2007-12-12 10:05:21 UTC
Several years ago I participated in a workshop on Strategic Communications conducted by a group called Action Media in the Twin Cities (Minnesota, USA). It was an amazing workshop for a policy wonk like me who didn't have a clue about framing issues or structuring campaigns to accomplish something specific, rather than just dispense information. Their approach most definitely complements CBSM to promote positive change. Several groups I volunteeer with have hired Action Media to help frame issues such as global warming, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, etc. and to develop various types of campaigns. Some of their valuable work is available on their website -- www.actionmedia.org. Unfortunately, the 5 steps of strategic communications that any group has to define step by step when developing a campaign aren't laid out as succinctly on their website as they were presented in the workshop I attended. Briefly they are the following:
1. What needs to happen. They said this was the hardest thing to do.
2. Who can make it happen.
3. What story do they need to hear.
4. Who should they hear it from.
5. How can we tell them.
While doing a google search to find Action Media's web page, I found some other really valuable sites dealing with Strategic Communications. Based on this, I would recommend spending some time figuring out specifically what you want to result from releasing this report, i.e. all the actions you want different people and entities to take and then structure your campaign accordingly working through the next 4 steps for each thing.
Re: Surveying Our Group's Sustainability Mindsets
2007-12-08 23:12:45 UTC
This debate (defined oddly and I think mistakenly by Steve Brant as scarcity/fear-based vs. abundance/hope-based) has been going on for as long as I can remember and probably a long time before that. I doubt that it will ever be resolved; so I think we have to agree to disagree and respect each other's perspective. I'm sure that each of us on this listserv, whatever our perspective, is working to create a sustainable future and each of us has a vision, articulated or not, of the kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren that we are working to achieve. I personally believe in the "Limits to Growth" perspective and don't believe that exponential growth can continue indefinitely in a finite world, which I think planet earth is. For me the definition of "resources" extends far beyond energy, minerals and other raw materials and includes the earth's ecosystems (agricultural lands, fresh waters, forests, oceans, the atmosphere, etc.), which all the life forms on earth are dependent upon our for our lives and livelihoods. I believe in the concept of carrying capacity and think, as many scientists do, that many of these biological systems that we are all dependent upon are degraded to such an extent that they are collapsing or are on the verge of collapse. The carrying capacity of environmental resource bases around the world have been exceeded and can't support the flora, fauna, and people trying to meet their basic needs from them. This is resulting in the extinction of thousands of species and the creation of millions of ecological refugees around the world, both of which will more than likely increase in the years ahead since habitats are changing rapidly and 80% of the world's people live in coastal areas which will be impacted by rising sea levels due to global warming. I wonder sometimes if people who believe in abundant and limitless resources understand the concept of carrying capacity and realize that we are dependent upon the earth's biological systems which have limits as to how much they can be exploited and degraded before they collapse. I'm a little sceptical of technological fixes (they tend to address symptoms rather than causes) and have never ascribed to the tenet that bigger or newer is better as a matter of course. I'm not suffering because I have a ten year old land-line phone that still works well and don't have a cell phone, I-phone, blackberry, laptop, or any of the other hand-held technological marvels many people can't seem to live without. I think it's unfortunate that a lot of the world's resources (including financial capital and brainpower) are tied up into planned obsolescence and creating new technologies that don't make people's lives better but result in pollution, illnesses, waste, and negative unanticipated consequences. I'm very concerned about what the unanticipated consequences of nanotechnology will be and wish people were taking a precautionary approach with it. That being said, I've tempered my attitude toward technological "progress" and am extremely grateful that someone developed the MRI (an advanced technology over the X-ray and CT scan) that pinpointed a brain tumor that allowed doctors to save my life and grateful to the people who invented the desk-top computer that gives me access to information from around the world. For me the question we need to be asking ourselves is not one centered on hopeful abundance or fearful scarcity. For me a better question is how can 10 billion people and millions of other species live equitably and peacefully on our small planet earth in ways that restore and protect the earth's biological resource bases and allow everyone to meet their basic needs and fulfill their potentials. What paradigms do we need to change and how can we create the political will to make that happen.
2007-11-17 11:29:23 UTC
Recycling outdated electronics is causing enormous problems around the globe; but having outdated electronics end up in landfills is probably equally horrendous. Some folks in Minnesota (USA) decided to collect outdated electronics for recycling without charging a drop-off fee for 3 days at Mall of America. Cars bringing in items for recycling were lined up for miles and caused traffic jams and so much chaos that the three day event had to be cancelled after the first day. In a little over a day, 1.5 million pounds of outdated electronics were collected, which was what the sponsors of the event hoped to gather in 3 days. What do people recommend doing with outdated electronics that would not impose problems on people or the environment in Third World countries or wherever this stuff is being sent for recycling? I kept my old computer for as long as possible until I couldn't get any new upgrades or programs that would work on it; and it is now sitting in my basement until I can figure out what to do with it in a responsible manner.
Thanks for whatever suggestions you might have.