When one is not a lonely number

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Change, Environment, Film, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability, Transition OKC | Posted on 10-06-2011

0

257077_170114229715185_122638781129397_441715_6142960_o-1

Photo credit Julie Evans

YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip screened last night at the deadCenter Film Festival and will screen again tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Harkins Theater, Oklahoma City. I couldn’t go last night but am getting very excited about the Saturday screening. Just in case you missed it, YERT was winner of the Audience Award at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival at Yale.

Today I’m hoping to snag some cool YERT swag at the Meet & Greet with Mark Dixon Transition OKC is hosting from 4-6 p.m., Elemental Coffee, 815 N. Hudson. Come on down! First ten people at the Meet & Greet win a reusable YERT ChicoBag, and Dixon will also be giving away two copies of Better World Shopping Guide by Ellis Jones.

Couple of days ago on a conference call with Carolyne Stayton, executive director, Transition US, I mentioned YERT was screening here (Carolyne is interviewed in YERT), and boy, she really perked up. Her voice got all and happy and she said, “I love those guys. They are so much fun.” I can’t think of any better recommendation.

Final words.

And finally … the last installment of the Q&A email interview with Mark Dixon and Ben Evans, YERT’s producers and directors. A huge heartfelt Okie thanks to them for being so thoughtful in answering the questions and for taking so much time with this. Gotta say — these two guys are rich with insights – realistic and hopeful – a useful balance for all of us as we keep on transitioning. Be sure to read all the way to the end – they saved their best words for last.

257329_170114046381870_122638781129397_441707_3938386_o-1-2

Q: What was the most inspiring thing you discovered on your journey?

A: Wes Jackson and the Land Institute in Salina, Kan., were particularly inspiring. He’s really addressing a number of problems simultaneously by rethinking the entire idea of agriculture.  His visionary concept of a perennial polyculture addresses soil erosion, water scarcity, food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, fossil fuel use, pesticide use, biodiversity, and general ecological health in one fell swoop. t’s pretty amazing stuff. And once his work is done, he plans to give it away to humanity. Our children and grandchildren will be thanking him, big time.

Q: Most interesting?

A: In Idaho we found a guy with an idea to pave all the roads in the U.S. with solar panels. His invention, Solar Roadways (which is featured in the film), was one of the most interesting ideas we found all year – largely because it seems so outlandish and impossible on the face of it. But the more we dug into it, the more sense it made and the more brilliant it seemed. The short video we created to help get the word out about his invention has been our most watched video by far – amassing a million YouTube hits in the past ten months. So apparently, other people find it pretty interesting too.

Q: Most meaningful?

A: It’s hard to pin down a single most meaningful part of the trip.  Certainly WWOOFing in Wyoming was very meaningful – getting to dig in the dirt and really be a part of growing our own food. Visiting with Wes Jackson at the Land Institute was an incredibly profound and meaningful experience, as was our time spent with Joel Salatin on his farm in Virginia

Bob Berkebile’s story of turning personal tragedy and disaster into the inspiration for our modern green architecture movement and, by extension, a way to help others (like the people of Greensburg, Kan.) rebuild more wisely in the wake of their own disasters is an incredibly meaningful example of the power of one person to leverage their own pain in the service of humanity.

And of course, the unexpected pregnancy on the trip amplified the meaning of just about everything we encountered and served as a constant reminder of exactly what’s at stake as we navigate our way through these challenging times on planet earth.

Q: Most discouraging and/or darkest moment?

A: Covering mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining in West Virginia was probably the trip’s darkest hour. We all went into a depression after that – it was hard to wrap our heads around a country bombing itself in that way. While we had heard about MTR and knew that it was a problem well before we got to West Virginia, nothing could prepare us for seeing it up close and first hand from the air and from the ground. The complete and permanent devastation of an entire region of our country – one of the oldest and most bio-diverse regions on the planet and its uniquely American culture – in the name of a very marginal short-term increase in profits for a few coal barons is an almost unimaginable crime against humanity and nature. The insanity of this practice really hit us hard, and we hope that the film, in some small way, can help end this ongoing environmental and social tragedy once and for all.

Q: Happiest and most fulfilling moment?

A: As a self-professed sunset hound, Ben filmed a lot of sunsets all over the country on the trip which have been fun to relive on film, although Mark ended up filming perhaps the most memorable sunset from the back of a ferry leaving Alaska. The wonderful people that we met all along the way in every corner of the country and the tearful hugs and mutual inspiration that we shared with them has been one of the best things about the experience. And it was especially wonderful when we could use our journey to connect people from different walks of life or different parts of the country who needed each other (but perhaps didn’t know it yet) – something that happened a number of times on the trip.

Introducing people all around the country to the solutions and ideas that we’ve fallen in love with – like Earthships or Solar Roadways – and hearing them get excited and say they want to build an Earthship now or help make Solar Roadways a reality has really been fulfilling. And of course, the journey of the pregnancy and birth, while it was a lit
tle challenging for Mark to deal with at the time, has proven in the months and years since to have been one of the most fulfilling moments, not only for Julie and Ben, but of the trip itself in that it really gave the entire experience a new level of depth, meaning, and humanity that it might not have had otherwise. 

Q: What do you hope people will take away from the film?

A: We really hope people come away from the film recognizing that the most powerful solutions to the environmental challenges we face happen to also be the most satisfying, nourishing ways to live, and that people are joyfully exploring and sharing those solutions all around the country.

And we hope they recognize that they too have the power of "one" – that none of us has to be any smarter or prettier or richer than we are right now to have an enormous, immediate, and lasting positive impact on our own communities and on the larger world around us – as exemplified by the everyday heroes in the film. That’s a pretty empowering idea, when you tap into it.

Posted by Shauna Lawyer Struby. This post originally appeared on ThinkLady.

A 50-state environmental anti-depressant comes to Oklahoma

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Change, Environment, Film, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability, Transition OKC | Posted on 10-06-2011

0

YERTLogoTransparentMore YERT scoop is here! See below for part 2 of the Q&A email interview with Mark Dixon and Ben Evans, producers and directors of the documentary YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip, a year-long eco-expedition through all 50 United States. With video camera in hand and tongue in cheek, these daring filmmakers explored the landscape of environmental sustainability in America and found plenty of laughter, fun and innovation happening all along the way.

YERT is screening today and Saturday at the deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City and was winner ofYERT_laurels_EFFY_Winner the Audience Award at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival  at Yale. And tomorrow, Transition OKC is hosting a Meet & Greet with Mark Dixon from 4-6 p.m. at Elemental Coffee, 815 N. Hudson. First ten people at the Meet & Greet win a reusable YERT ChicoBag, and Dixon will also be giving away two copies of Better World Shopping Guide by Ellis Jones.

More YERT scoop tomorrow.

Come back for the third and final installment of our interview with Mark and Ben where we’ll find out what the YERT team discovered that inspired and depressed them, what was meaningful and made them very happy, and what they hope people will take away from the film.

IMG_3227_YERT_BEN_MARK_PR-1

Photo credit: Erica Bowman

YERT email chat continued.

Q: How did you plan your routes and stops, and research and select those you interviewed along the way?

A: The first thing we did, way before we started the road trip, was to do a fair amount of research by meeting and listening to people at Green Festivals, the Bioneers conference, and also doing a fair amount of web-based research. That gave us a rough idea of the topics we wanted to cover, states where those topics might be most relevant, and which states held the most interesting interviews for those topics.

Then we jumped into the actual road trip route, and our goal there was to figure out how to hit the northern states in the summer, and the southern states in the winter — particularly hitting Alaska in the height of summer. We were ultimately trying to avoid driving in snowy conditions to make it easier on ourselves, our car and our schedule.Then we identified a few key events that we wanted to be sure we hit along the way — college reunions, San Francisco Green Festival, Bioneers, and holidays near home — and that led to a rough state-by-state itinerary.

Ben is a bit of a road-trip junky and map nut who had been to almost every state before the trip even started, so he really went to town solving the route puzzle and pinpointing key must-see spots while Mark, who is a spreadsheet guru and great contingency planner, dove into logistics and figuring out the perfect equipment and packing list that could keep the mission functioning on the road. 

With the itinerary in mind, we generally focused on the next couple of states in our planning efforts, setting up about 1/3 of the interviews in advance, and leaving plenty of room for fate (and a bit of luck) to guide us to the remaining 2/3. We often found that one interview would lead us to another interview, and so on, until our schedule forced us to leave a state. All throughout the trip we were hopelessly dependent on the Internet for research, e-mail, mapping and web-based communication with our audience.

Q: How did you handle conflict on your team during the trip and throughout the production process? 

A: Everybody on the team had their individual reasons for wanting to do the project, but ultimately we all wanted the trip to succeed and were motivated most by our collective desire to address the large-scale environmental problems facing us all – and we weren’t looking to get rich or famous from it. So from the beginning, we never needed to second guess the motives for anybody on the team. That said, we had no shortage of different ideas about how to best move things along, and we ultimately spent huge amounts of time in extremely thorough discussions of the smallest details. Generally, Mark was more conservative and interested in arriving early with extra time (turning down unique opportunities in order to get to places on-time, and to get enough sleep), while Ben was often interested in pushing the limits of what was humanly possible (embracing unique opportunities as they arose, trusting in providence to sort out the logistics, and ready to pull all-nighters to make them happen). More than anything, we handled conflict with patience and mutual respect, knowing that we had to solve most issues for the long-term, not just push them under the table for another day.

Q: Regarding conflict, any anecdotal incidents you’d care to share?

A: We had to work through a few tough spots – like Julie’s pregnancy in the face of our garbage challenge and the mostly healthy tension between Mark’s cautious risk aversion and desire to shoot less versus Ben’s intuitive risk taking and desire to shoot more freely. Generally, the fact that we were all doing this in the service of a much larger mission kept our egos in check and our foibles in perspective. Mark did eventually have a significant meltdown about halfway through the trip when Julie’s food needs from the pregnancy started to conflict with the garbage challenge — but, as a friend of Mark and the husband of Julie, Ben tried to function as a mostly-neutral sounding board and, ultimately, it wasn’t anything a little ice cream apology couldn’t solve.

– Posted by Shauna Lawyer Struby. This post originally appeared on ThinkLady.

One local food meal = one step toward reducing foreign oil dependence

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Change, Community, Conservation, Consumption, Energy, Food and Drink, Local Economy, Locavore, Oklahoma City, Peak Oil, Resiliency, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability, Sustainable OKC, Transition OKC | Posted on 14-04-2011

0

Slide14

A couple of weeks ago Transition OKC helped host a Local Food Meet and Greet. The Meet and Greet provided a host of folks passionate about growing a local food system the opportunity to network and get to know each other better. It was enthusiastically and well-attended, with more than 110 people coming on a sunny Saturday afternoon to IAO Gallery in Oklahoma City to nosh on locally produced food, wine and do a little “speed meeting.”

The event was organized by the “Going Locavore Group,” a loosely organized and growing grassroots coalition (or alliance) of several Oklahoma City organizations focused on catalyzing and transitioning our food system to a healthier, more sustainable and resilient one – and one strategy for doing so is to localize it. The team organizing the event was for the most part all-volunteer, and although we were scrambling up until the last minute to put all the details in place – we pulled it off – a total team effort if there ever was one. If you have any interest in networking with this group, or want more info, email us at localfoodokc@gmail.com

As one of the volunteers working on this event, part of my task was to put together a slide show about the reasons for transitioning to eating local food, and to provide a high-level overview of some of the initiatives in other states focused on growing regional and local food systems. As we researched, we discovered coalitions in New York City and Vermont have aggressive strategic plans for regional and localized food sheds and the body of work on this topic is growing exponentially — encouraging.

Above you’ll find one of the slides from the presentation and I’ll be sharing more of these in the coming days. Eventually will put the whole presentation online at ThinkLady and here on Fresh Greens as well Transition OKC’s website so if it is useful in any way to other local food efforts, it’s available for anyone to use and adapt.

In the meantime, given the high price of gas these days, the fact the era of cheap, easy-to-produce oil is over, and the growing production decline in one of the U.S.’s major suppliers of oil – Mexico — thought this slide might be a good one to start with. It illustrates one way we can begin to reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports. Ebullient and grateful hat tip to Barbara Kingsolver and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, for helping us imagine a different way of eating in the world.

Imagine abundant local food. Imagine the jobs it will create and the ways it will strengthen our local economy. Envision the health it will bring to our school kids, our communities, the resilience it will give our communities. Imagine how much we can reduce our country’s oil addiction if we eat not just one, but two local food meals a week, three, five, etc. Imagine. And then try it. I think you’ll like it.

If you’d like info on how to get started eating locally head over to Transition OKC’s website where we have a page full of local food resources.

– post by Shauna Struby, this post originally appeared on ThinkLady 

Transition sweeps down the Oklahoma plains

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Change, Christine Patton, Community, Education, Energy, Environment, Locavore, Oklahoma City, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability, Transition Movement | Posted on 30-07-2010

0

logo with spaceTransition OKC, a project of Sustainable OKC, became the nation’s 27th official Transition initiative in May of 2009. The TOKC coordinating team took several months to lay the foundations of this project by discussing the “Transition Handbook,” hosting a Training for Transition, and setting principles, guidelines and a constitution in place (neatly stored in PVC-free binders, thanks to Shauna Struby). Once the team worked the consensus process and crafted a mission, vision, and goals, a tornado of creativity and energy was unleashed here on the Great Plains. Here’s the scoop! 

Going Locavore
Local food champions are very active here in Oklahoma City, but we don’t often have a chance to get together to discuss strategies, share updates and success stories, and plot ways to expand the local food market. Enter Transition OKC, which is now sponsoring Going Locavore happy hour potlucks so all these fabulous people can get together in the same room and share ideas. After one meeting and some intense brainstorming, the next meeting is slated to focus in on the most promising of the hundreds of ideas and start serving up some local food projects. Several members of the coordinating group are working on this project, but Christine Patton of the TOKC coordinating team has taken on the responsibility of pulling the meetings together for now. photo8

Sustainability Center
The indomitable Susie Shields, another TOKC coordinating team member, was so inspired by the "Hands" portion of Rob Hopkins’ “Transition Handbook,” she vowed to create a Sustainability Demonstration Community Center. She put together a diverse team of architects, sustainability pros, nonprofit, business and government folks to forge a way forward with this dream. Education and programming and site selection subcommittees are already hard at work brainstorming and researching.

Reskilling Videos
TOKC’s coordination team believes reskilling workshops (learning how to do things for ourselves again) are a fantastic way to help people transition. It’s learning valuable skills, education, sharing information on the challenges we face, networking, food and/or beer and wine – all rolled into one. Put all that learning on video and wow – that’s one way to spread reskilling beyond the 10 or 20 people that can make it to a workshop. Luckily Trey Parsons of Enersolve and Christine Patton, TOKC coordinating team members, are ready to take on the challenge of creating a set of short reskilling videos to share information about how to cook with local food, install a rainwater catchment system, weatherize a house, use a sun oven, grow a garden, make pesto and peach jam and sun-dried tomatoes, and more. Lots of excitement about this as it will give these two the chance to run around all over the metro area asking questions of interesting people and maybe learning a few things too.

Movie Night
Several TOKC team members – Vicki Rose, Marcy Roberts, and Susie Shields – are planning quarterly movies night at Oklahoma City University. Since movies raise awareness about environmental problems, economic crisis, our precarious energy situation, and climate change, they’re a great way to start a conversation and brainstorm on how to address the issues.

Permaculture Design Course
Randy Marks of Land+Form and Shauna Struby are in the early stages of working with Permaculture teachers to design a course for Oklahoma. Short courses on Permaculture design (Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human settlements) have photo1been held here in Oklahoma, but if people want the full course, they have to go out of state which makes the cost prohibitive for so many. By bringing a full-scale design course here, Randy and Shauna anticipate greater participation and lots more Transitioning. Interestingly enough, Oklahoma’s 45th Infantry just had a team train in Permaculture design before they headed to Afghanistan, and this helps folks here in Oklahoma make a connection to the potential of Permaculture design for our communities.

Wired and Connected
TOKC’s Going Local OKC website has been enhanced with new navigation, a new look and a lot of new content. Shauna, Trey and Christine redesigned it to be more user-friendly, timely and flexible. Plus, it needed to expand to be able to contain all the new info TOKC will be posting on various projects (see above), as well as the handy OKC Resource pages (six at last count). TOKC also ties continuously updated media, such as this collaborative Fresh Greens blog, Sustainable OKC Twitter feed, and the TOKC Facebook page, into the website. A big thank you to Transition OKC and Sustainable OKC volunteers for keeping the content fresh and updated.

Teaching and Listening 
One of the things TOKC often hears when out and about in Oklahoma City is there is a great need for more education and awareness about the challenges we face and possible solutions within the general population. TOKC has given many presentations and conducted workshops over the last few months and plans to not only continue with this work,but the project has made it a goal to increase the number of presentations as they go forward. Shauna, Marcy, Vicki, Adam and Christine are working together to make this happen. If you’d like to have TOKC make a presentation to your neighborhood, civic, church group or school, please email them at info@goinglocalokc.com.

But Wait, There’s More
Susie just created a Buy Fresh Buy Local Farmer’s Market guide and she and Marcy are working on a comprehensive eight-page "Big Book" guide to local food. Plus Transition OKC is planning to redesign printed materials such as brochures and offer a fall and winter gardening workshop.  photo2

So there you go. The whole TOKC coordinating team – Randy, Shauna, Christine, Vicki, Marcy, Susie, Trey, Adam, Jim, Chase and Joseph – have all been working hard. Whether you’re in Oklahoma City or elsewhere, you’re invited to join in the workshops, presentations, friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter! They’ll be sharing what they’re doing here, reading all about what everyone else is up to, and sharing that too as they keep on sweeping down the plains.

– Inspired by a post written by Christine Patton, TOKC team member, on her blog at Peak Oil Hausfrau; tweaked and reposted with Christine’s permission on “Fresh Greens” by Shauna Lawyer Struby, TOKC team member

Not just oil: US hit peak water in 1970 and nobody noticed

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Conservation, Rainwater harvesting, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability, Water | Posted on 25-05-2010

0

"The concept of peak oil, where the inaccessibility of remaining deposits ensures that extraction rates start an irreversible decline, has been the subject of regular debate for decades. Although that argument still hasn't been settled—estimates range from the peak already having passed us to its arrival being 30 years in the future—having a better sense of when we're likely to hit it could prove invaluable when it comes to planning our energy economy. The general concept of peaking has also been valuable, as it applies to just about any finite resource. A new analysis suggests that it may be valuable to consider applying it to a renewable resource as well: the planet's water supply."

By John Timmer via arstechnica.com

We can probably all agree we take clean, bountiful water for granted. Don't know if anyone saw this, but last week read that Oklahoma City is aiming to bring water from Sardis Lake in southeast Oklahoma, although the Choctaw Tribe and surrounding community are protesting this possibility. Our mayor says we need to set in place water sources now or we won't have enough in 20 years given the current growth rate of the city. So .. wouldn't it be wise for us to put in place a comprehensive water conservation and rainwater harvesting program for Oklahoma City now rather than later?

Posted by Shauna Lawyer Struby

Growing Evidence on Ill Effects of Pesticides

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Food and Drink, Organic, Pesticides, Shauna Lawyer Struby | Posted on 17-05-2010

0

A new study by American and Canadian researchers associates exposure to pesticides to the rising rates of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children. Time Magazine's Alice Park has the story.

Time mag 5.17.10

A few highlights:

Increasingly, research suggests that chemical influences, perhaps in
combination with other environmental factors — like video gaming,
hyperkinetically edited TV shows and flashing images in educational DVDs
aimed at infants — may be contributing to the increase in attention
problems.

Although Bouchard's study did not determine the exact method of exposure
in the participants, youngsters are most likely to ingest the chemicals
through their diet — by eating fruits and vegetables that have been
sprayed while growing — according to the National Academy of Sciences.

In the meantime, Bouchard suggests that concerned parents try to avoid
using bug sprays in the home, and to feed their children organically
grown fruits and vegetables, if possible.

Full story here.

Posted by Shauna Lawyer Struby

Native Views On Sustainable Food

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Community, Farming, Food and Drink, Indigenous culture, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability | Posted on 11-05-2010

0

Paul Hawken, notable environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author
once wrote:

“A Native American taught me that the division between ecology and human
rights was an artificial one, that the environmental and social justice
movements addressed two sides of a larger dilemma. The way we harm the earth
affects all people, and how we treat one another is reflected in how we treat
the earth …
The movement has three basic roots: environmental
activism, social justice initiatives, and indigenous culture's resistance to
globalization, all of which have become intertwined."

Our fate will depend on how we understand and treat what is left of
the planet's surpluses — its lands, oceans, species diversity and people. The
quiet hub of the new
movement — its heart and soul — is indigenous
culture."

Paul
Hawken
, "Blessed Unrest: How the
Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming"

Indigenousfoods  Hawken tapped into a growing consciousness that America's Native people
not only have knowledge to share about sustainability and resilience, but about
how these interweave with social justice, the third leg of the sustainable stool
that doesn't get nearly as much attention as some of the other so-called green
topics. This post by Shawn Termin
from the National Museum of the American Indian blog
delves into this topic
a bit. Termin writes:

"For many New Yorkers, 'Green is the new black,' according to Johanna
Gorelick, Head of Education at the NMAI, Heye Center in New York City.  Green
markets have popped up in neighborhoods throughout the five NYC boroughs;
shoppers use reusable material totes instead of plastic and paper bags; and
dedicated, earth-centric citizens of the Big Apple are anxious to learn about
the many aspects of the sustainable food movement. This was evidenced by an
attendance of approximately 350 museum visitors who flocked to the recent Earth
Day program, Native Views on Sustainable Foods, at the NMAI, Heye Center in New
York on April 22, 2010. 

Three prominent speakers participated in the programming.  Winona LaDuke
(Anishinabe), Executive Director of Honor the Earth; Alex Sando (Jemez Pueblo),
representative of Native Seeds/SEARCH; and Kenneth Zontek, author of Buffalo
Nation:  American Indian Efforts to Restore the Bison."

Termin goes on to describe what the various speakers discussed, primarily the
need for developing grassroots movements in Native communities that will support
efforts to reintroduce sustainable, healthy environments through the use of a
variety of organic and sustainable food production and practices.

Full post here.

Posted by Shauna Lawyer Struby

Yes Virginia, maybe there is such a thing as big, green and … corporate

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Sustainability | Posted on 02-10-2009

0

By Shauna Lawyer Struby

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down.

– "Something's Happening Here," Buffalo Springfield 

As our world meanders through the waning months of the first decade of the new millennium, a funny thing has happened along the way. Around the globe folks are waking up from a century and a half of unbridled expansion and resource consumption enabled by abundant supplies of cheap, easily produced fossil fuels. Along with a helluva an oil addiction hangover, loads of "ah ha" moments about everything from climate change and peak oil, to overpopulation and acute ecosystem distress are dancing in our heads.

Sustainable "ah ha" moments are evidenced in the ubiquity and astounding array of sustainable initiatives by individuals, non-profits, large NGOs and large corporations from around the world. And while to some using the “c” word and sustainability in the same sentence, may seem like an oxymoron, to borrow from Buffalo Springfield, maybe something really is happening here.

Newsweekgreenrank
This week Newsweek published their first Green Rankings, billed as an exclusive environmental ranking of America's 500 largest corporations. In an introduction to the rankings and related stories Newsweek's national correspondent, Daniel McGinn addresses why Newsweek chose to produce the rankings:

" … the economic case for going green is becoming more compelling … with scientific consensus that carbon emissions threaten our climate, there's growing political will to curb them …"

And,

" … among our Top 100 best-performing companies, 70 voluntarily disclosed the data … 'One of the purposes of this is to improve the transparency of corporations … and encourage them to provide an even higher level of disclosure.'"

And,   

"Rankings inevitably provoke controversy — and we welcome that. Our hope is to open a conversation on measuring environmental performance — an essential first step toward improving it."

Hats off to Newsweek for having loads of green chutzpa to publish a list such as this, and for starting whatNewsweekgreenrank2 will hopefully be a meaningful conversation about the ins and out of operating a business sustainably. No doubt there will be plenty of commentary on methodology and the list itself. Good. We should have this conversation! And, we can thank Newsweek for their courage in attempting such a thing and then have fun browsing the list and related coverage which you may find is full of surprises.

Green washing is certainly a valid concern as Newsweek notes in this related article. But in "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," Jared Diamond observes that often what has separated a collapsing society from one that survives is simply a society's willingness to respond to the threats, to do what it takes to prevent collapse. So while the companies on Newsweek’s list may be big, corporate and wholly imperfect, if they're willing to take steps in a sustainable direction, I say let's applaud the steps and then keep on asking that they take another and another. That's how change happens … one foot in front of the other.

Now to raise the sustainable bar for Oklahoma companies and corporations, as far as I know no Oklahoma media outlet has yet compiled a green ranking for Oklahoma companies and corporations. If such has happened, please let me know. If not, this could be a grand way to not only profile of those in Oklahoma’s business community taking the lead on the sustainable path, but to encourage others to join the rest of the world in making the greening of Oklahoma businesses a reality.

Your Future, Your Ideas, Your Story

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Change, Community, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Transition Movement, Transition Town | Posted on 28-07-2009

0

by Shauna Lawyer Struby

In a recent bit of news, Rob Hopkins, author of the Transition Handbook and co-founder of the Transition Network, was invited to give a TED talk. About this rather intimidating invite, Hopkins wrote:

 If you are unfamiliar with TED, they give you 18 minutes, an audience of very successful thinkers, inventors, geeks and business people, and ask you to give the talk of your life, which they film in HD and put online where it is viewed by millions of people.

Ttokclogo In his usual humble and playful way, Hopkins got to talk about the ideas making up the Transition model and process, about the inspiring way this movement is spreading around the globe, and about harnessing the creative power of people everywhere to help solve the many exceptional and urgent challenges we face.

Rob opened his talk with this declaration (to read more notes from his talk, excellent stuff, go here):

Two of the important stories we tell ourselves are either that someone else will sort it all out for us, or that we are all doomed. I’d like to share with you a very different story, and like all stories it has a beginning.

At a recent brainstorming session in Oklahoma City for Transition Town OKC, we talked a great deal about the stories of our current culture and about what an energy secure, food secure, shelter secure, abundant future without fossil fuel dependence might look like. It was an empowering, inspiring session that gave people a safe place to express vision, fears, hopes and dreams as well as a means of taking control of their lives and telling a different story.

Again and again we circled back to the current stories society tells about the meaning of success, wealth, abundance, growth and happiness. And in imagining new stories, like Rob Hopkins, we found many joyful ideas, we found hope, we found inspiration.

And now it's your turn:

  • What are the stories you hear every day about the meaning of success, wealth and happiness?
  • How do these stories affect your daily life?
  • Do you find yourself fearful, worried or hopeful, or some combination of all three and more when you think about the future?
  • Do you have an idea of what an abundant, joyful future without fossil fuel dependence might look like?
Start at the beginning and share your story, thoughts, ideas and perspectives. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Urban agrarian market takes off in Oklahoma City

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Farming, Food and Drink, Local Economy, Local News, Locavore, Shauna Lawyer Struby, Urban Gardening | Posted on 24-06-2009

0

by Shauna Lawyer Struby

Woohoo. I’m so excited to write this post. Here’s another great way to support your local farmers, ranchers, producers and eat healthy local food. Blooming on the Oklahoma prairie is the new mobile Urban Agrarian Local Foods Market. I’ve been hearing about and watching Matt’s progress on this project and am so thrilled to write just a little about this. Other great local food goodness is on its way as well. Bob Davis and I chatted on Facebook last night and the way is clear with the City of Midwest City for a new farmers market in that area.

Both Matt and Bob are absolutely passionate about local food and are stellar examples of what happens when people set their minds on being the change they want to see in the world. Kudos to them! Now let’s all get out and support them! Eat, enjoy, spread the word!

urban agrarian Urban Agrarian Local Foods Market

Local, sustainable food delivered with local, sustainable energy

· Sunday, June 28, 2009

· 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

· Across the street from Cheevers on the SE corner of NW 23rd and Hudson, Oklahoma City.

The Veggie Van is making a stop and setting up shop on 23rd street every Sunday for an outdoor market. All local food transported by waste vegetable oil. Displays are made out of recycled fence panels and if you get your stuff bagged, it is in a second-use bag from a local retailer. It is an official part of Sunday-funday in the historic district.

Products from local growers and vendors such as: Earth Elements, High Tides & Green Fields, Seasons Catering, Briarberry Farm, OM Gardens, Peach Crest Farms, Redland Juice Co., Rowdy Stickhorse, Urban Farms, Wichita Buffalo, Snider Farms Peanut Barn, Bob’s Best Bon Appetitin’ Bulgar, and others available seasonally. Plus local garden extras.

Questions: Contact Matthew Burch, matthewrburch@gmail.com.