10 09 16 Whither South Eastman Transition Initiative

Previous columns invited a broad audience to rethink our lifestyles. This column is addressed specifically to people already concerned about the sustainability and resiliency of our lifestyles.

It was E.F.Schumacher, one of the early thinkers about the sustainability in the industrial era who saidCan we rely on it that a ‘turning around' will be accomplished by enough people quickly enough to save the modern world? This question is often asked, but whatever answer is given to it will mislead. The answer "yes" would lead to complacency; the answer "no" to despair. It is desirable to leave these perplexities behind us and get down to work." This is the attitude of those of us working through the South Eastman Transition Initiative, and this is an invitation to join us September 21 to talk about what we as a group might do. There are many possibilities, and we would like to strategize together as to where we can and should put our energies. For details visit our web site or call Eric at 326-9621 or Jack at 326-2911.

In order to prime the pump for our meeting on Tuesday, here are some ideas.

There is much we could do in terms of education. We could continue to show movies (there are many excellent ones to choose from) and have panel discussions and workshops on various topics as we done since we began meeting. But we could do much more. We could prepare an educational booth that we would take to the summer events around the regions – Summer in the City, Niverville Fair, Grunthal Fair, etc. Here volunteers could engage fair goers in relevant conversation. We could work with the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum. They are already working hard to preserve folk crafts. Our contribution would be that we advocate for the relevance of these skills to a resilient lifestyle. We could work with the Eastman Education Centre to organize lectures on issues of sustainability. The Hanover School Division is already committed to gearing more of its programming towards sustainability issues. As a community, citizen's group we could search for tie-ins with what they are doing.

We could address policy at many levels and on many issues. At the City level, we could raise concerns about the use of plastic bags, about the implications of building regulations, about landfill and sewage issues, about the use of pest control chemicals, to name but a few. We could think together about how we popularize a greater use of bicycles in our city. As issues come up at the provincial and federal level we could seek ways of addressing those issues as a group.

For those who are concerned about our dependency on food grown 1500 miles from here, and our dependency on agricultural chemicals, we could facilitate increased involvement in community gardens. We could experiment together on how best to use cover crops for weed control and fertility build-up. Related to this is the whole matter of food preservation. Because of our easy recourse to super-market foods, food preservation capacity and food preservation knowledge is eroding rapidly. We could work together at reversing that, becoming more knowledgeable not only about freezing and canning, but also drying and fermenting.

I have only scratched the surface. Please join us September 21. More information at southeasttransition.com.

By Eric Rempel