Archive | Localization

Localization (often called “Re-Localization”) is the idea is that returning to traditional model of neighborhoods, towns and cities that are largely self-sufficient will make us all far better able to deal with future threats. The movement has roots in economics, political science, biology, philosophy and more – – from Robert Putnam’s landmark book Bowling Alone . . to the organic agriculture movement . . . to the environmental costs of importing our wine from New Zealand, our flowers from Colombia, our cheese from Italy and just about everything else from China. Join the debate.

1,000,000 lb of Carbon Saved at Home!

Late flash: Resilient Neighborhoods was just the subject of a feature story in the Pacific Sun. Read it Here

Resilient Neighborhoods is program to create local neighborhood groups of 5 to 7 households (called “Eco Teams”) that conduct a formal program to significantly reduce their carbon emissions and increase their emergency preparedness. The program is jointly sponsored by Sustainable Marin, The City of San Rafael, Energy Upgrade California and the Green MBA Program at Dominican University. To date, the program has been conducted on a pilot basis with 15 Eco-Teams from Sausalito to Fairfax. Resilient Neighborhoods recently announced that just this pilot program has reduced emissions by over 1 million pounds.

The key takeaway from this pilot phase is that learning from each other and mutual reinforcement led families to undertake carbon-reduction measures they would have been reluctant to try on their own.  An even more important payoff reported by everyone was getting to know their neighbors better, which is, of course, the cornerstone of localization,

Find out more at the Resilient Neighborhoods website.

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“Organic Traitors” on Prop 37

“Don’t get mad.  Get Even!”

If you were crushed by the defeat of Proposition 37, the GMO Labeling Initiative, don’t give up.  Vote with your dollars.

There’s a fast-growing movement to loudly, visibly boycott the big food corporations that spent so heavily to defeat 37. These companies own well-known organic brands, but still they poured millions into defeating 37 so they wouldn’t have to tell people what’s in their conventional brands.

On the other side of the coin were the organic good guys: much smaller food companies who spent all they could afford to try to pass 37.

There are some real choices to be made here. For example, popular organic brands like Muir Glen, Odwalla, Silk  and Kashi are owned by companies that spent big bucks to defeat Prop 37. But, brands like Nature’s Own, Lundberg Farms, Amy’s and Cliff Bars, were on our side. (Of course the biggest spenders of all against 37 were chemical companies like Monsanto, Bayer, Dupont, etc., and there are no good guys in that business.)

A lot of media-savvy “stars” of the food world, like Michael Pollen, are getting out in front on this, so the impact can be real.

Here are two great resources:

  1. A poster from the Cornucopia Institute that spells out graphically who was on which side in this fight and how much they spent.  Download it here, then put it on your fridge and use it when you make your shopping list.
  2. The newsletter of the Organic Consumers Association which pulls together a lot of information on how the boycott is shaping up and has links out to more resources for the fight.
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Ten Reasons to Buy Locally

The following list, from the organization Sustainable South Sound in Olympia WA, succinctly summarizes a lot of important economic and political concepts.

BUY LOCAL! To – – –

1. Strengthen local economy: Studies have shown that buying from an independent, locally owned business, significantly raises the number of times your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms—continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.

2. Increase jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally in the United States of America.

3. Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. Continue Reading →

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