Over thirty folks showed up for TTJ’s zoom meeting on March 22, Transitioning to Spring: Creating Abundance! Jericho’s own Ann Gnagey presented, as well as guest speaker Bill McKibben.
Ann started us off, sharing a particular piece of knowledge that motivated her to get more proactive: she learned of ice cone data showing 400,000 years of stability between CO2 levels and temperatures, and how this delicate balance has ended recently with rapidly increasing CO2 levels. She said getting to work on building resiliency and educating others helped her through the depressing news.
Ann gave an overview of the three keys to sustainability: Solar Energy, Biodiversity, and Water Cycles (not enough time to cover; next meeting perhaps?)
She and husband Tom continue to make changes on their homestead to build resiliency; with power outages more common, they’re less reliant on freezing things and do more drying with solar dryers and greenhouses, plus lactofermentation to preserve their food.
Wanting to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, they rely more on wood for cooking and heating. They recently developed a lumber operation on their land. Ann had many suggestions to offer, including extending the season at both ends with hoop houses, adding that old fashioned cold frames do just fine!
Bill McKibben spoke next, saying that while his particular focus of late has been the global picture, the global AND the local go hand in hand; Bill talked about his experiment with living for a year on the 100-Mile Diet; everything he consumed was grown or made within the Champlain Valley except for seasonings/spice (the Marco Polo rule). The biggest revelation, he said, was learning who grew what, and where; a true rediscovery of his surrounding community.
Bill, who communicates with Transition Towns founder, Rob Hopkins, called the TT movement “the quiet, up from the bottom revolution”. He said that since the last century, knowing one’s neighbors has become an optional thing as there is a perception that we don’t ‘need’ each other. On the contrary, he said; we need ‘social solidarity’ more than ever to face a challenging future.
Bill addressed how to rebuild community by citing Vermont town meetings, saying they make people feel responsible for each other, thus defying our culture’s hyperindividualism.
Breakout discussions focused on citing examples of sharing with neighbors that exist now, as well as aspects we can build upon.
People mentioned examples of sharing with friends and neighbors rather than having formal networks. The Underhill Food Shed, though a great place to leave excess produce, lacks interactiveness. (Another option for excess produce is the veggie garden at Deborah Rawson Library, which donates produce to Jeri Hill Independent Living).
Discussion ensued around TTJ overseeing a neighbor-share program or at the very least, starting a Google Doc to exchange information and resources.
During the meeting, people were making generous offerings, from providing garden space to those in need, to lending a pipe bender (for building small hoop houses) to teaching how to compost. Recalling Bill McKibben’s comment that neighborliness is a skill that’s hard to relearn, I thought, right here at least the neighborly vibe is alive and well!