Sunday, June 21, 2009

Citizen Input to Portland's Climate Action Plan

Portland, Oregon's Transition Town group (Transition PDX) is sponsoring a two-part Forum to discuss the City/County Climate Action Plan that is currently being drafted. If you look closely at the slide behind David Johnson, you will see a list of seven focus areas:

  • Buildings and Energy
  • Land Use and Mobility
  • Consumption and Solid Waste
  • Urban Forestry
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Community Engagement
  • Climate Change Preparation

At the Forum, we broke into groups covering these areas, and our discussions were recorded and will be submitted back to the the City/County for inclusion in their final draft. The second session will be 06/24/09; details here.

I went to the (surprise, surprise) Community Engagement discussion, and also buzzed, Open Space-style, over to the Food and Agriculture discussion. I was really appreciative of the wisdom and experience in the room. It gave me a sense of confidence, that as we kick the unloving elements back off the planet, we really will be able to solve our problems.

We talked about our message: the content (hopeful, manageable, useful); the delivery (creative and fun, Portland-style); and the audiences (diverse, with different concerns, that all need to be included). We thought it was important to take advantage of the science of persuasion (although people didn't put it in those terms--it's the Speech Teacher in me talking) and to set up metrics to track the effectiveness of the messages.

In fact we began by discussing motivation, and that is obviously the key factor--and it will be different things for different audiences. I really liked the idea of target marketing--finding out what each individual household needs. I think combining that with buddy systems and humorous reward systems could help people make changes. Georgia Interfaith Power and Light has a wonderful annual rewards dinner, where they hand out "Gippys" to congregations taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

I, personally, post my daily to do list on a forum almost every day, and as I accomplish things, I get to indicate that with a smiley face. "Gold stars" work for adults as well as kids. I often think I should make a t-shirt that says "will work for Smileys" :)

After scribing for a while, jet lag hit me, and I went to the Food and Agriculture discussion. They were talking about putting gardens in at schools, and a couple of obstacles that they would have to overcome. One is that cafeterias no longer have the equipment to actually prepare meals, like pots and pans--they just heat things up. The other is that the kids are out of school when the gardens need tending--ironically, because they are supposed to be helping with the harvest!

On a side note, my cousin, who I am staying with in Portland, gave me Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which is already, as the cover promises, changing my life. We didn't put in a garden this spring because we thought we were moving, but I am going to find out what I can do to rectify that.

I had lunch with the Transition PDX team that put on the event, thanks to an invite from Liz Bryant from my Atlanta Beyond Oil days, and got to congratulate them for their excellent event. Part two can only be better. I'll keep you posted on the final product.

1 comment:

elavarasu said...

In my point of view food and agriculture is exact one to change the portland's enviornment by citizen's environment

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