Just Pick up the phone and dial the number. Send that email. Just do it. The rest will happen. Had my 3-way conference call Friday with Shannon Biggs co-author of Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grass Roots. Shannon Biggs directs the Local Economy project at Global Exchange. As a former senior staffer at the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) she wrote for and edited IFG publications, and was a lecturer on International Relations at San Francisco State University. She holds a Masters degree from the London School of Economics in economics, empire and post-colonialism.
Building the Green Economy shows how community groups, families, and individual citizens have taken action to protect their food and water, clean up their neighborhoods, and strengthen their local economies. Their unlikely victories—over polluters, unresponsive bureaucracies, and unexamined routines—dramatize the opportunities and challenges facing the local green economy movement.
Drawing on their extensive experience at Global Exchange and elsewhere, the authors also:
* Lay out strategies for a more successful green movement
Describe how communities have protected their victories from legal and political challenges
Provide key resources for local activists
Ben Price, Projects Director for Community Environmental Defense Fund. Ben leads organizing across Pennsylvania where over 100 communities have adopted Legal Defense Fund-drafted laws. Mission Statement:
“Building sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.”
“We believe that we are in the midst of an escalating ecological crisis, and that the crisis is the result of decisions made by a relatively few people who run corporations and government. We believe that sustainability will never be achieved by leaving those decisions in the hands of a few – both because of their belief in limitless economic production and because their decisions are made at a distance from the communities experiencing the impact of those decisions. Therefore, we believe that to attain sustainability, a right to local self-government must be asserted that places decisions affecting communities in the hands of those closest to the impacts. That right to local self-government must enable communities to reject unsustainable economic and environmental policies set by state and federal governments, and must enable communities to construct legal frameworks for charting a future towards sustainable energy production, sustainable land development, and sustainable water use, among others. In doing so, communities must challenge and overturn legal doctrines that have been concocted to eliminate their right to self-government, including the doctrines of corporate constitutional rights, preemption, and limitations on local legislative authority. Inseparable from the right to local self-government – and its sole limitation – are the rights of human and natural communities; they are the implicit and enumerated premises on which local self-government must be built.”
Me: I am just an ordinary person in an ordinary community that has for the past 10 years or so been fostering a growing disdain and dislike for GMO’s and their intrusive, invasive, insidious presence in our food chain. As far as I know I am the only person who feels this way. All that is about to change.
I have spearheaded petition drives, writing and calling campaigns, to our State and Federal government to get GMO’s labeled. These were national campaigns. Zero results. Apparently, State and Fed officials have their own agenda. Imagine my surprise. Lesson learned.
Time for a change. After 10 years I get it.
I want results. My son was reading Growing a Green Economy. “Read this.” He said. O.K. I said. Couldn’t put it down. This is a story about changing the way you do things and getting results. It is empowering. It hit a nerve.
Once our Supreme court decided to give Monsanto, AT&T, Blackwater, Walmart, Chevron, Freddie Mac, Wall Street and other such corporations personhood status I got a little worried.
That’s when I contacted Ben and he contacted Shannon and here we are having this three-way conversation. Shannon asked me questions. Are there GMO’s grown in your community? What do the local farmers think of GMO’s? What does the community think about GMO’s? Heck, I don’t know the answer to any of those questions.
So. “Let’s have a meet’ng” with the local farmers, and community members that have a vested interest in a green economy and community and find out what they think and what they need. O.k. I said. O.k. Shannon said, Ben said, fine.
Shannon said she will come and speak to the group. Cover her gas money and a place to stay and she will come and talk. Wow. That’s generous. And that was that. I said I will work on getting the group together and keep in touch by email. She is off to Bolivia this week I believe working on a rice project.
So, that is how the conversation went. I knew nothing going in and learned a lot. Maybe labeling GMO’s is not the way to go. Maybe, banning the production of GMO’s in this community is something we need to look at. I really am not sure where all this is going but I do know the worst of it is over. Getting started is the hardest part.
I have a list of people I am going to contact to get feedback and organizational help from. I am going to contact Melanie Blankenship of Nature’s Touch, Bob Banner of Hope Dance, Elizabeth Johnson of our little seed exchange group, Farmer Bill of Windrose Farms, Hunter Francis, Eric V. pres of a new group of local farmers called CCAN, Kevin Stephen of Huasna Valley Farm and Linnaea and Peter of STEYNBERG gallery.
I am in very good company here. I just contacted Melanie and asked her advise on the idea. We met once. I don’t know if she even really knows who I am. She does a local talk radio show every Saturday. I will wait for an answer. This is how things get started. We are off and running. Thank you both, Shannon and Ben, for your time. Bye for now.
This is good. Made the call, got started and nobody died.
p.s. This just in 04/15/10
Bayer admits GMO contamination is out of Control. ( and yes this is the same company that makes the baby aspirin.)
Mainstream Scientists Finally Admit that GMOs are Environmentally Destructive
By Keith Good, ed.
FarmPolicy.com, April 14, 2010
Straight to the Source