After several more months of activism without great
support for stopping road construction, we at Sustainable Energy/Culture
Change are deciding what activities and projects we will retain. Our
answer is this magazine, yes; Alliance for a Paving Moratorium, maybe not.
Some of what we do here makes sense for us personally and as activists, and
so our organization adapts so we can keep contributing sustainably.
The Alliance for a Paving Moratorium was our main project
for eleven of our thirteen years. In our 13th year our efforts became mainly
petroleum-dependence education, with concern for climate and societyís (in)ability
to withstand energy/economic/ecological collapse. Auto-Free Times
reflected this, and had less and less road-fighting. If the Alliance were
vital and had groups participating and advancing the cause, we would not
bear the brunt of all the cost and pressure. Instead of a vital movement, we
find moderate interest out there for reining in sprawl and improving
bicycle/pedestrian/mass-transit facilities. Global warming and conserving
energy are, sadly, also of moderate public interest right now.
We have worked hard and long, sacrificing not just
personal income potential but time for relaxation. Some of us in the
sustainability biz work so much we donít walk much of the walk. Meanwhile,
the masses of people are probably going to adhere to consuming as usual, and
will not bring about change proactively. Instead, people will find
themselves out of petroleumóno trucks coming into Safeway or Wal-Mart. And
then, "all hell will break loose." At that point we donít have
any illusions that crowds will peacefully ask for guidance from Permaculture
Activist, for example.
Therefore, what we strive for is to advance sustainable
living now, and see how much sticks during and after the transition out of
the Petroleum/Military Economy. An end to global trade due to costly, tight
oil supplies will mean local economics prevail, and greenhouse gas emissions
will scale back. All road building will end, as will almost all road
Human power cannot compare to "hundreds of horse
power" energy from once plentiful, cheap high grade petroleum.
The era ahead commands our groupís attention even more
than the next toll road threatening a special place.
What kind of a culture will we see emerging and taking
root, and how can we get more people involved in the process? That is what
our work is mostly about henceforth. At this point we should go out of the
bike sticker and t-shirt business, and may not expand Pedal Power Produce,
if our office is destined to be more focused on our reborn magazine. We will
increase if possible the media interviews and other exposure such as op-eds
and letters-to-editors. Maybe we will even relinquish maintaining a
nonprofit corporation, and be less structured.
Prior to relaunching our magazine we planned on dividing
up the essential tasks among three or four of us, eliminating the need for a
physical office. One can operate from the road (via copy centers), the sea
(if Sail Transport Network grows), and our homes (temporary as they might
be). As for grantwriting, one can utilize another organization as fiscal
sponsor in order to receive grant funds. We could become simply individual
activists operating as a collective instead of as a formal bureaucracy. A
true movement supports activists through sheer numbers of people.
If things really start to change, as in "the Berlin
Wall is torn down overnight," we can easily get busier and make
ourselves available more fully as an organization with all the amenities and
services, if well supported.
If anyone wants to revive the Alliance for a Paving
Moratorium and has the resources and track record to handle it, we would
consider transferring responsibility here in Arcata, bringing new energy
into our collective. Or we could cast off entirely the APM aspect of our
work and help another group set up shop with it elsewhere. This is the time
to come forward. - J