Part 2: Building our vision and bringing it home
Our goal must be to build a civilization that can be sustained, not for seven generations nor 70, but for thousands of future generations of human activity on this planet. To many, the most troubling question is where we will find the shared will, the social consciousness to make the behavioral and lifestyle changes now that will provide a civilized world for our grandchildren. Perhaps the incentive will come from realizing that the civilization that emerges from this transition could be much better than the one we know today.
Imagine energy systems that do not have illness, war and death as a byproduct. Imagine a steady-state economy in equilibrium with nature where human values count as well as financial values. Imagine a society that accumulates enough wealth to afford basic human needs for every person on the planet. Imagine a culture based on self-reliant and self-governing local communities. Is this possible?
If we can achieve a stable population, rebuild our economy based on the sun’s daily energy allotment, and recognize that nature will be the grand arbitrator in all of our endeavors, if we can make this great leap in our social evolution, anything is possible for the human race over the next two thousand years. This new paradigm is not merely a Pollyanish vision for a utopia on Earth. These conditions are the minimum requirements for the long-term survival of our civilization. Continuing the status quo is no longer an option.
It is said that what the US needs is not more oil, but more leadership. Unfortunately, there is no indication that this leadership will be from the top down. While other countries are mandating radical changes in their energy policies, Washington gives only lip service to these issues. The corporate dinosaurs of American industrialism have heard the asteroid hit, but will hold onto power and influence until their dying breath.
In the absence of political courage at a national level, many communities, cities, and states all over this country are taking up the challenge. As these communities are realizing, there is no shortage of solutions that can be implemented at the community or regional level.
So the question for each of us and for our community is this: how do we prepare for these social and economic changes we will face in the next couple of decades, changes that may begin within the next few years? Nevada County is very fortunate to have a wide variety of groups working to strengthen our community and prepare us for the challenging times ahead. Some of the groups doing this good work are listed below.
Local Food Coalition – The Local Food Coalition is working to support local farmers, preserve local farms and farmland, and ensure a local food supply in western Nevada County (www.localfoodcoalition.org)
Farmers’ Markets – Four Certified Farmers’ Markets now operate in Nevada County,
spanning six locations. (www.nevadacofb.org/farmmkt.htm)
Alliance for a Post Petroleum Local Economy (APPLE) Community Gardens Workgroup – The APPLE Community Gardens Workgroup is focusing on setting up neighborhood gardens. (www.apple-nc.org)
4 H Clubs – The 4-H helps youth through the use of research-based learn by doing experiences. (http://ceplacernevada.ucdavis.edu)
Nevada County is also home to a number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) growers as well as the University of California Cooperative Extension where Roger Ingram is a tireless worker.
Clean Power Co-op of Nevada County (CPCNC) – The CPCNC spun out of the APPLE Energy Workgroup last summer and is helping local citizens reduce their energy consumption and generate their own power. Contact: Marston Schultz, 530-274-9913
Power-up Nevada City – Power-up NC, another APPLE spinoff, has a goal of making Nevada City fossil-fuel free. (www.powerupnc.org)
Wolf Creek Alliance – The Wolf Creek Alliance is working to preserve and rehabilitate Wolf Creek as well as implement local legislation that will protect all local waterways. (www.wolfcreekalliance.org)
Rural Quality Coalition – The RQC is committed to a harmonious balance between human needs, the economy, and protection of our environment in Nevada County. (www.rqcnevco.org)
Grass Valley Neighbors – Grass Valley Neighbors promote greater citizen involvement in the city’s decision-making process and ensure that growth is managed in a way that improves our community and preserves its small-town character. (www.gvneighbors.org)
Sierra Foothills Audubon Society – Sierra Foothills Audubon Society’s works to promote appreciation of and protection for birds and their habitat. (www.sierrafoothillsaudubon.com)
Sierra Club, Motherlode Group – The Motherlode Group works to protect our communities and the planet. (www.motherlode.sierraclub.org/SierraNevada)
Nevada County Land Trust – The Land Trust is committed to conserving natural areas and works to keep local ranches and family farms in sustainable production. (www.nevadacountylandtrust.org)
Citizens Concerned About Traffic (CCAT) – CCAT’s purpose is to influence local government so as to mitigated traffic problems especially those resulting from new development. (www.ccatnc.org)
Alliance for People Powered Transportation (APPT) – APPT promotes cycling and walking as means of transportation in western Nevada County through support, education, and advocacy. (www.bicyclenevadacounty.com)
Alliance for a Post Petroleum Local Economy (APPLE) – APPLE’s Whatcha Gonna Drive event last November highlighted the future of personal transportation . (www.apple-nc.org)
Housing and Construction
Sierra Green Building Association (SiGBA) – Centered in Truckee, SiGBA advocates environmental design and supports environmentally conscious building practices. Website: http://www.sigba.org
Local Economy and Local Business Support
Sierra Business Council (SBC) – SCC supports a place-based community investment strategy for built and natural landscapes that simultaneously improves economic and environmental health. (www.sbcouncil.org)
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) – BALLE’s purpose is to build long-term economic empowerment and prosperity through local-business ownership.(www.livingeconomies.org)
NCGV Trademarket – NCGV Trademart is bringing the concept of a local currency to Nevada County. (www.ncgvtrademarket.org)
Chambers of Commerce – Websites: (www.grassvalleychamber.com) http://www.nevadacitychamber.com)
The Nevada County Economic Resource Council – The Resource Council serves as a central point of contact for employers requiring business assistance or considering expansion or relocation. (www.ncerc.org)
Nevada County Recycles – Nevada County Recycles has made considerable progress in developing voluntary recycling programs based at the local transfer station. (www.NevadaCountyRecycles.com)
Habitat for Humanity – Habitat for Humanity operates a store in Grass Valley where donated building materials are sold. (www.nccn.net/~nchabitat/welcome.htm)
The many second hand and thrift stores are also doing a valuable service recycling used goods.
Federation of Neighborhood Associations – The Federation of Neighborhood Associations supports cooperative and constructive action of the various neighborhood associations in the county. (www.fona-nevco.org)
APPLE Neighborhoods Workgroup – An outgrowth of APPLE’s gardening group, the Neighborhoods Workgroup is currently working to build a neighborhood structure the Pioneer Park area of Nevada City. (www.apple-nc.org)
Mike Thompson is a member of APPLE, or Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy. He lives in Grass Valley.
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