Connecting To Nature Matters This discussion is with Jim Crowfoot, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. Professor Crowfoot has developed a credit course open to most incoming UM students regardless of major. In his class Jim Crowfoot seeks to guide students towards development of their own spiritual connection to the natural world around them. So many incoming students, he finds, suffer from a very real 'nature deficit'. Without a spiritual connection to nature the meaning of "eco-social communities", so important to Resilience thinking, is lost. Human communities are still fundamentally rooted in the natural world and the eco-system services it provides.
This edition of iCR focuses on social capital. Dave is joined by representatives from three different different organizations providing services to those in need in the Bay area and across Northern Michigan. Barb Lemcool outlines the 'one stop shopping', navigator services that Help Link provides. Sue Onan, director of Brick Ways, details the various levels of independent living her organization provides for the developmentally disabled, and Jim Moore director of the Disability Network of Northern Michigan tells us his organization provides a large range of services to the disabled across 17 counties. The talk turns to the premise that how well a community takes care of its residents and neighbors who are in need, is a large measure of the social capital, or social strength, of a community and therefore its long term resilience. Resources: http://www.brickways.org http://www.disabilitynetwork.org
In Jackie Victor's keynote at the Great Lakes Bioneers Conference in October, 2012, in Traverse City, MI, she addresses the challenges of growing a small business in Detroit. She draws parallels between our two local communities and how importance a strong, viable connected community is in growing a resilient economy. Jackie Victor has been an advocate for social change her whole adult life, beginning with her participation in the Michigan Peace March when she was 19. She went on to direct Sane/Freeze which became Peace Action. Since then, Jackie's work and efforts have focused on the revitalization of Detroit, where she co-founded Avalon International Breads, a socially responsible bakery in 1997 in the Cass Corridor. She spent time at Pleasanton Bakery with our own Gerard Grabowski and Jan Shireman. Jackie is deeply involved in the economic, cultural and spiritual revival of Detroit, where she raises her children and is on the boards of Greening of Detroit, the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue and SheTroit. She is a close friend and collaborator with the longtime activist, Grace Boggs.
Timothy Young is the founder and Chef of Food for Thought, Inc., an organic and wild-harvested gourmet specialty foods company with a mission of creating and raising awareness around just and sustainable food systems. This is his keynote address presented Saturday morning at the 11th Great Lakes Bioneers Conference, October 20, 2012.
Placemaker, Gary Howe returns to discuss the concept complete streets. Gary and local film maker Aaron Dennis have completed two in a series of visual promos for the support of complete streets planning in Northwest Michigan communities. Plus Gary brings along his own set of demonstrative pictures outlining the principals of complete streets. Complete streets connect neighborhoods and whole communities. Complete streets do not favor one form of transportation over another. Drivers, bikers, runners, walkers and strollers are all served safely. Gary and Dave discuss the connecting value of a complete street vs the separation cause by single use thruways.
Sarna Salzman, Executive director of SEEDS, is in to talk about the upcoming BIONEERS Conference coming soon on the 19-21rst of October at Northwestern Michigan College. The Great Lakes Bioneers is among the leaders in the Bioneers movement being the very first satellite conferences to expand out of the California event. Great Lakes Bioneers has even spawned three additional Conferences, one in Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland. Bioneers connects the evvironmental movement with social justice. Dave and Sarna discuss the role this conference and its efforts builds social capital in our region.
Bob Russell and Dave Barrons take time to discuss the cornerstones of resilience thinking; we are living in and increasingly complex and fragile world with future challenges that will are unpredictable. Therefore adaptation is a key concept. Bob and Dave discuss what adaptation means and importantly what it doesn't mean. Localism, another key concept in resilience thinking, is discussed in detail, also.
In this edition the theme of investigation is Social Capital. Tim Keenan, president of Veterans For Peace - Chapter 50, joins Dave for a discussion of peace activism and why it matters to a community. Visuals come from this year's Hiroshima-Nagasaki Memorial Candle Float down the Boardman River in downtown Traverse City. Tim is a Vietnam vet active locally in raising the questions about war and violence that all communities must confront. War is a near constant in our country's unfolding history. Can our resilience as a nation and as individual communities be sustained at all, when war and its spill-over violence are an option?
Local author Jerry Dennis joins Dave for this edition of ICR as we tackle the most difficult of our themes of resilience investigation: art. Jerry Dennis has written extensively about the Great Lakes, as a resource and as one of the dominant features of our communities. For many living around the lakes, they are a cornerstone of our sense of place and our connection to the eco-system that sustains us. Jerry talks about the value of art to a community and the value of an artistic community to all of us in the places we live.
Lew Coulter, recently retired as Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Conservation District joins Dave for a discussion covering issues of community education and social capital. Coulter traces the historic shift of Conservation Districts from direct technical support of farmers to broad based, community wide education programs which recognized that all us are 'land managers' in our own communities, one way or another.
Bill Queen of Northwestern Michigan College, Community Education instructor, and Director of the Michigan Energy Demonstration Project joins Dave for two editions of ICR. In the first discussion, here, Bill and Dave focus on the role of education in providing resilience and social capital to local communities. The demands of the market place and the funding avenues that exist drive many educational programs, even in the face of obvious, additional needs.
Kelly Ignace joins Dave for this edition of ICR, talking about her employer's one of a kind waste hauling and disposal business. Kelly is Director of Marketing and P.R. for American Waste, a locally owned and operated waste disposal business that runs a one of a kind operation on the south side of Traverse City.
Josh Wunsch is in on this discussion. Josh is a local fruit grower and experienced agricultural manager with clear views on agricultural trends. Localism is all well and good, says Josh, but their are 330 million mouths to feed each day. The demand of that, alone, will play into the balance between a fragile, corporate sized food system and a more resilient localized food system. How far localism goes will be determined by how much 'locals' are willing to pay for more local food and how deeply they support the development of markets. Farmers don't produce into a vacuum. They produce for a viable market that can sustainability pay them to produce.
This discussion shares the experience of Timothy Young and Chris Treter of the On The Ground non-profit that sponsored their recent Run Across Palestine. Chris introduced us to the groups first such effort The Run Across Ethiopia, last summer. Chris Treter's business is fair trade shade grown coffee and now, olive oil. The run in Ethiopia focused fund raising efforts to build schools in coffee growing communities; in Palestine, the run kicked off fund raising to plant olive trees. But in both locations the real work was in cross cultural communications and community building. Building communities of producers and consumers that span oceans. Linking our local community in NW Michigan to theirs no matter the distance between. Art is always a part of On The Ground's work. This show includes a performance by singer, song writer Josh Davis with a song he sang multiple places in Palestine.
Dave is joined by three active participants in the Occupy TC efforts going on locally. The discussion highlights the 'message' problem facing both the larger Occupy effort and those working locally: how to have a decentralized movement with some coherency to the message. This talk also shares numerous web-site resources and access points for those wanting to keep in touch with what's going on. Check CommonsDreams.org for links to many occupy resources.
Bob Russell is in with Dave this week reviewing foundation concepts that are critical to resilience thinking: adaptability, diversity, redundancy, and feedback loops. The discussion seeks to detail the connections between each concept and the idea of building resilience into our Northwest Michigan communities. Towards the end of the discussion Bob and Dave make an announcement which includes a name change. From now on these weekly discussions will be known as ICR: Investigating Community Resilience.