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Tuesday, 17 May 2011


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Seth Gunning

Great article John. Thanks for turning me onto the research presented here, I'll be looking into and using it. I'd also suggest a book called "Breakthrough: from the death of environmentalism to the politics of possibility". I think you will love it.

Beyond changing the messaging on signs, which I think is a great idea, I think what the research reflects is a fundamental change in the approach to the work.

A key to community organizing work, as opposed to activism, is intimately knowing and publicly identifying your self-interest. Speak with your peers one on one to help them identify and expand their self-interests as a way to build capacity for the work. To empower and connect with community members and decision makers. A limited number of people can do a limited number of things for a limited amount of time, but if your primary focus as activists/organizers is to connect people with and expand their internal capacities as well as provide training to enhance external skills as are related to the work, a limited number of people can make largely unlimited amount of change to root causes issues; that is, to systems rather then symptoms.

Great posts. Love the place your coming from. Good Luck and all my will to the allies enhancing Valdosta's clean, just energy future!

Michael G. Noll

Not sure what started this particular post, but as Stephen Hawking put it: "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." -

We are where we are as a community in relationship to the biomass issue because of our holistic approach, and with "we" I do not mean WACE exclusively. There have been countless one on one conversations with private citizens and elected representatives, presentations at churches and at VSU, guest columns, letters to the editor and phone calls, regular tables at downtown events, newsletters, a letter writing campaign to local doctors, most recently a billboard on Baytree, etc.

From the start, myths and facts about biomass have been presented and dissected, alternatives for energy production and conservation offered, while the imminent questions of jobs and economic development have also been addressed (much of that on LAKE) ... BECAUSE once we, our COMMUNITY, can move beyond the idea of biomass, it is time to finally bring the ideas worthy of the 21st century to fruition.

In the end, though, the most important focus for WACE has been and remains the threat to our commual health, which ultimately does not differentiate between economic class, color of skin, age, or political affiliation. (There is a reason why the mosaic of those who have joined us at our protests is so diverse, as has been pointed out before on this blog.) The State Director of the American Lung Association in Georgia (Mrs. June Deen) has been very clear on this in a letter we received, as has been Dr. Craig Bishop, one of many local doctors who supports our fight against the biomass plant.

By the way, we have always had signs that go beyond the simple yet important "Biomass? No!" message. "Honk if you are for clean air", "Go Solar" and others have always been part of our protests. Just check the various recordings and photographs of our events outside City Hall, the Industrial Authority, etc. and you will "see" and even "hear" them ... but that may bring us back to Stephen Hawking again ...

Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange

"BECAUSE once we, our COMMUNITY, can move beyond the idea of biomass, it is time to finally bring the ideas worthy of the 21st century to fruition." That's one approach, which may be a long time coming. Meanwhile, others of us will be moving ahead into the 21st century. -jsq

Michael G. Noll

Uhm ... we already are in the 21st century, and the seeds of that new century have been planted some time ago, and by many gardeners (to use another metaphor). It's just that some weeds keep showing up. As it turns out, community work has certain similarities with gardening ...

Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange

Some parts of the community are still pushing a nineteenth century industrial model. The seeds of the leading local 21st century industry are being planted right now in south Georgia. Meanwhile, weeding is good, but cover crops can be more effective. -jsq

Ben Donahower

Just absolutely critical - lead with values!

The awesome thing about values is for the most people they cut across ideology, party, and otherwise.

No one is opposed to generosity in principal while there are plenty of people who oppose aid to the third world as an example.

If you lead with values, you make room for at least open minds on your take on the policy implications of that principal.

Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange

THere are people who oppose generosity to anybody but themselves (usually those who have or think they have a great deal of power), http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/05/how-power-corrupts/
but they usually don't like to admit it. Meanwhile, most other people, even their followers, do like generosity and caring for other people, and leading with such values gives a chance that you may be heard by people who might not have seemed to be allies. -jsq

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