Our Atlanta Oil Awareness Meetup Group has been having interesting conversations about coming up with our new name, and in the process we are realizing we need to clarify our goals and purpose. Here is my latest contribution to the dialogue: (Plus its an easy post while I am out of town taking care of Dear Great Aunt Lou's stuff. Q: how many margarine containers can one person have? A: I didn't count, but I bet its close to 100!!!)
Here's how I look at this... We have a big problem. What are we going to do about this? And so that begs the question... Who is the "we" that I am talking about? And here are the possibilities...
1) We can respond on the global level, which is doing things like having many nations signing the Oil Depletion Protocol. So how can I as an individual or small group affect this change? It is hard to do much. Each of us can sign the protocol. We can write to our national leaders and ask them to do it. We can ask other individuals to do the same.
2) We can respond on the national level, which is doing things like take the "Apollo Program" approach... Make it a national priority to address this problem, provide the resources, mandate programs, wage a propaganda campaign, etc. So how can I as an individual or small group affect this change? Lobby national leaders. Take it upon ourselves to educate the public. Encourage them to lobby, vote for people who will support that, etc.
3) We can respond on the regional level, which is doing things like convening bioregional conferences, summits, Mayor's initiatives, etc. We can support events that are already happening or start one of our own. On the individual level/small group level? Participate, volunteer, or be part of a team that puts one on.
4) We can respond on the state level, which is working with state government, lobbying, and all that political jazz that I don't know too much about. On an individual/small group level we can network with our government, political machines, advocacy organizations that have a Georgia chapter, etc. On the individual small group level, get involved in state politics and advocacy groups, volunteer, do fundraising, etc.
5) We can respond on a metro level (metro Atlanta) which involves learning about the plethora (is that a word?) of organizations doing regional planning, events (Bioneers for example), etc. Individuals and small groups have a lot of leverage here.
6) We can respond on the local level, (cities and towns) getting involved at the city council level, hold home showings of EOS and the Cuba film, etc. Individuals and small groups have lots of leverage here as well.
Another thing to consider is that we are a metro-level group. We do not yet have the membership to break down into smaller constituencies or build up to the state level. So it makes sense to me to work at the scale that we are at: on the Metro scale. This is where we will have the most effect on the world.
An additional bang for the buck is this is the level where the rubber will meet the road in terms of peak oil preparedness planning. We can't count on the larger scale governmental systems to respond adequately (see Katrina).
The other issues is that in the more dire possibilities, we will ONLY be able to deal with things on the local level because it will be too expensive to have a regional, national or global economy (transportation costs).
So to me, this points to the level of our efforts: the metro level.
One could argue that we could be a group of people who are supporting each other to react on a purely individual level (i.e. survival or head to the hills options) but I don't think that is where this group is at.
This is why I think a focus on "relocalization" is so important and why I want to join the Relocalization Network.
I see us as a small group working on the local (metro) level and networked with other groups working on their local levels. And we need to keep in mind that "relocalization" means different things depending on the scope of the region you are talking about: village, town, city, metro, etc.
So that is my current thinking on the issue. Any thoughts?