Articles

Think Globally, Act Locally

Green Neighbors Logo

I see that slogan a lot around Eugene, and here’s my article about a group that’s trying to put it into action:

Green Neighbors Faire features powerful, action-packed agenda for people of all ages

BY DAVID OZAB ON FEBRUARY 28, 2012

Free event kicks off with keynote from famed peak-oil expert Richard Heinberg

This weekend, local residents will have the opportunity to join together—as never before—to learn, experience, enjoy, and share all things “green”. . . with the ultimate goal of making Eugene a safer and more sustainable city.

The first Green Neighbors Faire—hosted by the Eugene Neighborhood Leadership Council—will be held on Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, Eugene.

The event begins with the Richard Heinberg keynote from 10-11 a.m. and $5-10 donations are suggested. He will talk about “Transitioning After Growth: Connecting Community, Economy, Energy and Environment.”

The remainder of the Faire, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will feature hands-on, skill-building workshops, presentations, practical information sharing.

Workshop topics include: seed starting, edible landscaping, networking with faith communities, composting, neighborhood watches, healthy eating, food preservation, emergency preparedness, and bee and chicken keeping. Public and private organizations will be on hand with practical information. Panels and presentations will feature local experts.

“There are enormous business opportunities for going local and green,” says River Road Community Board Member Jan Spencer. “For plumbers, for carpenters, for architects, for local credit unions, for permaculture designers . . . for human-scale businesses.”

Two rounds of workshops will be offered, both based on what Jan calls “Power Tabling,” with seven or eight simultaneous, ongoing, interactive demonstrations filling the church’s large fellowship hall.

The Faire will also feature a youth education area with demonstrations, projects, art, crafts, and writings by local kids. At the same time that adults are “power tabling,” kids will be invited to check out a wide variety of youth activities.

A chef will be on hand to teach kids how to make their own healthy snacks and encourage healthy food habits for kids and adults. Other tables will display science-fair-styled exhibits and environmentally themed art and poetry.

Participants are encouraged to bring a brown-bag lunch or enjoy a variety of options from local food carts set up outside the church.

Attendees are invited to explore the various offerings, seeking out whatever might catch their interest. The hall will be open from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and again, after a short break, from 12:45 to 2:30 p.m.

Participants include EWEB, Lane County Extension Service and Food for Lane County Youth Farm, along with several local residents who will offer practical advice about sustainable practices based upon their own experiences.

In addition, Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life and Bill Bezuck, The Eugene Backyard Farmer, will hold demonstrations in the courtyard from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, more traditional panel and presentations will be held in adjacent rooms concurrently with the workshops. From 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Megan Kemple, Dan Armstrong and Leda Letter will discuss “Creating a Healthy Local Food Economy in Lane County,” while Dale Lugenbehl and Sandy Aldridge will discuss “Voluntary Simplicity.”

From 1:15 to 2:30 p.m., Spencer will talk about permaculture and transforming the urban landscape and Heinberg will hold a Q and A session on peak oil, climate change and debt, and what can be done about global problems like these on a local level.

Heinberg is Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost speakers and educators on peak oil. He has spoken extensively on the subject for 15 years and has authored 10 books along with numerous essays and articles both in print and online.

According to Heinberg, the days of peak oil have already arrived. From here, he says, it’s only going to get more difficult and more expensive to extract remaining reserves while continuing economic growth will increase demand driving up the price of an increasingly scarce commodity. He sees higher demand and higher debt as an impending bottleneck in the global economy, and speculates on possible solutions at the local scale.

“He talks about what communities can do, and that’s what the Green Neighbors Faire is all about,” says Spencer. ”How can we downsize? How can we know our neighbors? How can we produce more of our needs closer to where we live? That’s what this whole event is about.”

The Green Neighbors Faire is being organized and run by the Eugene Neighborhood Leadership Council Committee on Sustainability.

UPDATE: MyEugene.org ceased operations in May, 2012. The site is down and currently for sale. I have reposted my complete articles on this site.  (11/6/2012) 

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