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    Letter from Albany resident on green living

    By Catherine Sutton

    Dear fellow Albany residents,

    I want to invite you to join me on a very important project, to start a “Transition Albany Initiative.”

    When I was in England this Spring I saw a premier of the movie Age of Stupid and vowed to put my best energy this year into moving as many people as I could influence towards a lifestyle that would begin to lessen our effect on global warming and climate change.

    A few weeks later I discovered Transition US and took a Training for Transition in Oakland with 35 other people of all ages and demographics. I brought away a lot of good information about the seriousness of the triple threat of Climate Change, Peak Oil and economic insecurity, and, most important, on a positive way to look at the opportunities they present in our very own communities.

    Grassroots communities around the world are gathering their resources under the banner of the Transition Initiative to relocalize their food and energy production, currency and other basic necessities so that they can face an uncertain future together with maximum resilience. It’s not only “green-minded” people who are responding. Everyone has a voice, everyone is facing the same threat and everyone’s input is needed and valued. Even the emotional turmoil that inevitably arises as people realize the enormity of the challenge we face, even this has a place.

    I would like to invite you to join me in heading up a Transition Albany initiative.

    Clearly there are many organizations already working towards the same goals – Green Albany, the City’s Sustainability Committee, Strollers and Rollers, to name a few – but the concept of “Transition Albany” can possibly offer a more visible and united impetus to all the good efforts that are already going on, and provide a focus on educating and inspiring participation from a greater number of Albany residents of all ages and ethnicities.

    For myself, a lifelong dream of living in a supportive community has suddenly become more possible, as I realize that I don’t have to go anywhere to realize it. Right here in Albany, as we get to know one another and share our resources, talents and inspiration and build a resilient infrastructure that is ready for the great “powering down” of our oil-addicted society, we can have strong, connected communities of neighbors.

    To that end I would like to get together with as many of you as are interested in spearheading an initial push in that direction, with a focus on awareness-raising and community-building through a strong program of public films and talks that not only give the facts about climate change and peak oil, but also offer an opportunity for people to talk to one another and share inspiration and ideas.

    We could start with a presentation on Transition Inititatives and how they work. I have some resources from the training. Just so you know, from the beginning, we plan the demise of our little leadership group, preparing to step back in a few months when we have created enough support to hand over the lead to a number of grassroots focus groups that will together design an Energy Descent Action Plan for Albany that addresses all the basic areas where we are currently reliant on oil: food, energy, work, transportation…. the list is very long.

    Is this definitive? No. I am just putting out an idea, and I have no doubt that whatever evolves will have its own momentum, with or without me. That’s great! Let’s get moving! Let’s inspire City government! In the words of the anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

    If this message rings true for you, there will be a meeting for those interested at my house 943 Madison Street, on Tuesday July 14th at 7.15pm. Please RSVP Catherine at 510-528-2261.

    Thank you for your commitment.

    Catherine Sutton
    943 Madison Street, Albany

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