Alliance for Sustainable Communities-Lehigh Valley
Annual Meeting – June 26, 2012 – 7pm – @ Morning Star Center
The Agenda together with Brief Notes about What Happened:
1) Welcoming those in attendance: Vicky Bastidas, Martin Boksenbaum, Fara Farbod, Bruce Foote, Sheila Gallagher, Suzie Hall, Gene Hunter, Cathy Kimock, Adrienne Rayna, Joris Rosse
2) Steering Committee: Farewells and Welcomes:
Farewells – members of the Steering Committee whose terms have ended and are not seeking new terms:
Suzie Hall, Chiharu Tokura
Meeting the new members of the Steering Committee (2-year terms: June 2012 – June 2014):
Reid Boyer, Faramarz Farbod, Bruce Foote, Sheila Gallagher, Gene Hunter
Continuing members of the Steering Committee:
Martin Boksenbaum (June 2012 – June 2014), Dr. Rex A. D’Agostino (June 2012 – June 2014), Joris Rosse (June 2011 – June 2013)
Our next Steering Committee meeting, on July 24th, is to serve as a general orientation to Steering Committee efforts as well as include discussion – and decisions based on such discussion – of what each of us on the Steering Committee would like to see happen in the coming year, from minor matters like when and where to hold Steering Committee meetings to what major projects or themes we would like to address.
3) Assessing the past year: We read through these, making comments as we read:
Objective Conditions – the Crises:
We continue to try to find ways to mobilize efforts to address the urgencies of our times – crises that threaten our way of life, even our existence: catastrophic changes due to global climate instability are looming, as is the disarray of a post-peak oil world, the malaise of economic collapse, centralization of governmental power at the expense of local rights, and unending military excesses abroad.
We have been witnessing people taking action in responding the urgency of these challenges and have taken part, either as individuals or as the Alliance in many of the following:
The continuing work of 350.org (the global Sept 24, 2011 Moving Planet day and the May 5, 2012 Climate Impacts Day); 1,252 North Americans arrested in front of the White House protesting against the tar sands pipeline; Pittsburgh and other municipalities passing rights-based bans on fracking; continuing efforts to counter the dinosaur economy, including the springing up of coalitions and community groups to fight against fracking, coal-burning power plants, incinerators, mis-use of farmland; Occupy efforts of the 99%; farmer-consumer groups fighting for local foods, like raw milk, and against industrial frankenfoods, like GMO salmon or GMO rice; hundreds of communities around the world (over 100 in the United States) becoming official Transition Initiatives including Transitions Lehigh Valley.
We have been working in four major arenas, either via our working groups or as liaisons (official or unofficial):
- Supporting sustainability efforts in the Lehigh Valley via our directory (Sustainable Lehigh Valley) and our website.
- Providing sustainability-oriented internships on college campuses.
- Participating in partnerships or coalitions: Green Drinks Lehigh Valley, Community Rights Network, Occupy Efforts, vs. Allentown’s waste-to-energy incinerators, MAPLE (Multi-state Alliance to Promote Lasting Energy), Marcellus Shale efforts (Gas Truth), food-focused efforts.
- Initiating Transitions Lehigh Valley and working on a few of its components (like EIEIO and Re-thinking/Re-skilling meetings).
4) Planning the upcoming year: Problems to address in mobilizing ourselves and others
- How can we be a more effective organization? Working Groups? Steering Committee? How to take action (as catalyst? as initiator?) and what actions to take? Re-visiting the Committee of 100?
- How to work with communities and organizations to increase effectiveness and clout? Coalition-building? Transition Initiative building?
- How to reach out to individuals? What opportunities are we providing? What are we providing that lessens the stress of everyday life or enable us to see a light at the end of the tunnel or is engaging, enjoyable, empowering?
As we all talked about our ideas for the coming year, there was a substantial amount of personal giving and energy and sharing of insights. Brainstorming yielded such ideas as: participating in community doings, food-related projects, “Pathways To . . .” working groups, institutional food, projects focusing on the economy, ameliorating hunger, action committees, detailing the specifics of projects so as to make it easier to involve others, posing a “Sustainability Question of the Week”, serving as a think tank, revisiting the Committee of 100 as an organizational structure, outreach to colleges, focusing on the actionable, events at community gardens, integrative projects as well as sector projects, going local (working with local businesses, buying locally grown food). It was a good beginning to the coming year.