30 Days Towards Sustainability
Day 9: Many hands make light work: Join, and be active in, a local grassroots sustainability organization
There are many important things that people can do in their households to move towards sustainability. We're talking about them this week. But movement towards sustainability is not the work of hermits, it is the work of people who live in community, who have neighbors, friends, and family around them. Environmental calamity will fall on the "just and the unjust", which is to say, we are all in this together. The work of individuals and households is important, it is the foundation for all other work for sustainability. But it isn't all individual effort. There is much that we can (and should) do united together in local, grassroots organizations, to move our communities towards sustainability.
One such organization is right here at home, the Oklahoma Sustainability Network. The OSN is at once local and statewide. It maintains the premier sustainability communications media in the state of Oklahoma - the OSN listservs and the annual conferences and its website, http://www.oksustainability.org/ . It's local chapters are doing important work examining local issues and promoting sustainable alternatives. And everywhere you go in the OSN, you run into networking opportunities. It is actually much more than an organization, it is a rapidly spreading group of sustainability RHIZOMES. The group is fortunate to have good leadership, but the organization is such that the leadership is not overwhelming. They are mostly there to help people maximize their opportunities to do the good work of developing sustainability. I am not sure if this was by design or by serendipity, but it has been a wise choice as it has maximized the individual freedom (and the individual responsibility) of those who associate themselves with the group to "do the right thing for the right reasons".
The OSN annual conference is coming up on Friday, September 15th. This is a great opportunity to meet and network with other sustainability movement leadership from across the state. Everybody's welcome (the OSN has a rather "loose' definition of member - to join, you simply subscribe to one of the group's listservs or send in a request to be a member, there are no annual dues). The "early bird" conference registration deadline is Friday, September 8th, after that the price increases. Online registration is available at the group's website. Info about the event and an online registration form is at http://www.oksustainability.org/conferences.php .
There are, of course, many other great sustainability organizations, research groups, political action groups, and etc. The Sierra Club, Oklahoma Food Cooperative, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Land Institute, come immediately to my mind. People reading this in other states are no doubt aware of their own local or regional equivalents, and there is always room to start new organizations.
We should all be taking stock of our individual household lifestyles and making adjustments and changes as necessary to move towards sustainability. But we should also reach out to our neighbors and work together with them for the common good goals/principles of sustainability, economic security, and social justice. The smart combination of individual and communal effort shows the way towards an authentic roadmap into the future.
Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma City
These tips may be freely forwarded, credit for authorship is appreciated. They are posted online at http://www.energyconservationinfo.org/30days.htm .