Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What's Your Idea?

Let’s start this conversation off on the right foot. Demographically speaking, the communities of Tiverton and Little Compton make up a decent sized footprint in this state. Consider this equation:

50.3 square miles of land + 18,853 residents + 7,552 households = The Potential for Many Good Ideas

So what’s that green idea you’ve been mulling around with for a while? Want to share and get some feedback? If you haven’t thought about it of late, here are a few to jumpstart your juices:

• Outfitting public buildings with renewable energy and energy conservation devices (Inspiration: Check out the headquarters of Rhode Island’s own Peoples Power & Light at www.17gordonavenue.com)

• Connecting our local farms with local schools to develop new curricula, appreciation for local food, and maybe even a more healthy school lunch program (Inspiration: Check out what local food advocate Alice Waters has created in Berkeley, CA, at www.edibleschoolyard.org)

• Creating a new public education forum to connect citizens and learn about how to live a more sustainable lifestyle (Inspiration: Check out the breadth of events being sponsored just across the border in Newton, MA, at www.greendecade.org/events.html)

• Supporting local business with our own municipal currency. (Inspiration: Forget Monopoly money, the real thing is happening in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. Check out www.berkshares.org)

So ask your friends, ask your children, ask your neighbor. Then post a comment or email it to sustainablesakonnet@yahoo.com. We’ll share the results and see where it leads us.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Welcome to Sustainable Sakonnet

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

And with those words of Mahatma Gandhi, Sustainable Sakonnet is born.

Why? Well in a nutshell, it’s time. Time to stop thinking about doing something about the problem and griping about the lack of progress and start taking action. “Think global, act local” is cliché, but it’s at the heart of how we as a community of concerned citizens will shape the future of our efforts here in the Sakonnet area. Think of it as the release of Sakonnet 2.0.

If you’re reading this, you have taken the first step. Maybe you know all about environmental sustainability, maybe you’re interested in learning more about how to do your part. Maybe you’re of the same inclination as myself and want to do something to help. To all, welcome. It’s my hope that this blog can all be the first step for our community as we journey towards lessening our impact on this corner of the world; that we can create a new community-based dialogue and bring people together to learn, inspire, and most importantly, act.

The seeds are being sown: Organic farms and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, a wind turbine (across the river, but it still counts), newly evolved town planning strategies, land trusts, and renewed recycling efforts. Then there are individual efforts such as those to improve recreation and transportation with a new bike path; to bring together the worlds of art and recycling in our schools; plant tress and gardens; and build greener buildings. And kudos to those small businesses that are doing their part too to keep things local and create an ever-expanding local economy.

The time has come to connect these seeds of sustainability and cultivate even more. While the greater challenge of global sustainability seems daunting, it’s all about what simple steps we as individuals take here at home that creates a change for the better. So here’s what we’ll do on Sustainable Sakonnet:

• Talk about town activities regarding sustainability and what we can do to shape them
• Highlight other communities being successful and inspire new ideas in our own
• Give practical and simple advice for how each and every one of us can do a little bit to help
• Create an ongoing dialogue between all of us, foster new networking opportunities, and bring like-minded people together

I’m inspired by those words of Gandhi. I hope you are too. Here’s to a greener future for ourselves and generations to come.