Friday, August 12, 2005

Community response

Here's an update about the town of Willits, CA is responding to peak oil. (Previously reported here.) They are an important model for all of us. After three showings of The End of Suburbia, they have been meeting in committees to address the problems that they anticipate when energy is no longer cheap.

From the first three showings of The End of Suburbia, Bradford attracted roughly 60 volunteers who were willing to turn up at meetings even when there wasn't a film being shown, even when it was pouring down rain. In many ways, they're a homogenous lot--mostly white, middle-class baby boomers--but they also represent a wide diversity of skills and viewpoints.

Bradford and the core members, working as a steering committee they jokingly refer to as an "ad-hocracy," originally identified 14 key areas of interest pertaining to peak oil and the community's survival that seemed to match up well with the interests of the overall membership. Eventually, these 14 areas were consolidated into six working groups: food, energy, shelter, water, health and wellness, and social organization

"We need to figure out what we can do now, and what we can do in the future, when we don't have the resources coming in," says Brian Corzilius, 47, a core WELL [Willets Economics Localization] member whose training as an electrical engineer landed him in the energy group. Working with energy-group members Richard and Phil Jergenson, as well as Willits City Council member Ron Orenstein and others, Corzilius helped conduct an "energy inventory" of Willits that provided the first snapshot of where the town is now--and how far it has to go.

They obviously have a long way to go, but they are light years ahead of every other community. See about starting some action in your hometown.

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