Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekly TV Show on Sustainable Living in the High Country

Session Topic:
Weekly TV Show on Sustainable Living in the High Country
Name of convener:
Sue Counts
Email/Phone: 828-355-9116
Kathy Copley, Cindy Ball, Judi Scharns, Martha Erzmann, and Sue Counts

Main points from the conversation:

Group wanted a variety of programs. Welcome someone to a new idea and meet them where they are. (Be inclusive and not judgmental--aware of who you are turning off). Involve children and puppets to introduce show each week.....and WHAT will we feature today???
Group came up with about 75 topics such as: Recycling, Indoor Farmer's Market, Elkland Arts
Center (Puppet Show), Historic Preservation, Green Industry, Transportation, Food Production,
Energy Center, Youth Programs, Animal Welfare, Litter Education, Sense of Community, Value
of Tourism to the High Country, Liberty Community Parade (4th of July), Todd Mercantile, Local Farms, Farm City, Choose and Cut Program/History, Sustainable Tourism, Natural Products, "Putting Food By", Zero Waste, MountainKeepers, Conservation and Preservation of our High Country Farms and Land, Women in Agriculture Programs, Alternative Agriculture, Your Carbon Foot Print, USDA Certified Value- Added Community Kitchen, New River Organic Growers, ASU Energy Center, The Energy Audit, CSA's, 4-H Super Summer, Cove Creek Heritage Days, Wind Energy in the High Country, Maverick Farm Dinners, The Farm at Mollie's Branch, ASU Sustainable Agriculture Program and Farm, Harvesting the Mountain Herbs, Riparian Buffers and Zones, LEAD Camp for Girls, Master Gardeners, Environmental Field Day, Seed Exchange, Green Mother Goods Store, Marketing Local Authors and Cottage Industries, Entrepreneurship, The New Green Generation "Kids in the Creek", Water Conservation Projects, and many, many more.
Start date: Earth Day 2009.

Action steps:
* Continue conversations with MTN.
* Write scrips.
* Find sponsors.
* Puppets and children.
* Start Date: Earth Day 2009.

The Intrinsic Rights of Nature in Community Decision-making

Session Topic:
The Intrinsic Rights of Nature in Community Decision-making
Name of convener:
Lumini Merced
glenda short, kate colclasar, erin singer, martha enzmann, wendy patoprsty, will kovalchik, andrea gimlin, lumini merced

Main points from the conversation:
we're a part of nature, respect for nature
change attitude from nature as commodity to survival resource to collaboration/co-creation
inspire decision-makers to protect nature in all their deliberations
speaking for nature, so nature has a voice
recognizing the intrinsic rights of nature
neighbors and tourists who don't care and who dump trash
raising awareness/education - KIDS: start early, make it cool, peer pressure
experiential activities, owning experience
"no child left inside", nature deficit disorder
- the PUBLIC: signs, eg adopt-a-street, adopt-a-stream
public television
signing pledges, eg when teenagers get their first drivers
have them sign a pledge not to litter
taking personal responsibility/ setting example
Environmental Ethics course at ASU Sustainable Development program
PACT (Protecting, Advocating, Conserving Together) has certified Wildlife Habitat project
there a list of the community assessment?

Action steps:
support and volunteer for existing organizations and new community events:
Mountain Keepers, PACT, Genesis, Headwaters Festival, Music on the Mountain
children's education: continue and support environmental awareness programs in local schools
tourist education through guided eco-walks, Visitors Centers, Chambers of Commerce
legislative policy: research legal precedents set in other communities
speak for rights of ecosystems in Town Council and County Commissioner
letter to editor

Systems for Individual and Community Calamity Response

Session Topic:

Systems for Individual and Community Calamity Response
Name of convener:
Lynda Connor
Brent Summerville, Travis Thompson, Nita Obrien, Ellie Lyne, Ron Redmon, Sam Zimmerman

Main points from the conversation:
We feel we have a general lack of preparedness for major calamities such as longer term fuel
shortages, grid failure, major natural events: floods, snow, storms, wind, ice.
Some individuals are resilient already (campers, they have the skills, tools and supplies) but some are not ready at all (elderly, just not prepared).
We need both self and community assessments.
Community assessements involve identifying sources of water (springs), lists of elderly people or
people in need (churches may have this), food resources, people with tools, skills, chainsaws,
generators, solar/wind with battery storage, 4wd equipment...
How do we prioritize help - triage?
Firehouses are central - could be source of info, supplies
Need to setup a plan, much like a fire escape plan in a house, where does the community gather, is there a list of the community assessment?
Analogy: airplanes are ready for a crash, they talk about it and educate the people, even though it is an uncomfortable thought, you have to plan for such an emergency. We need to educate the
community and be ready for major calamities, even though this is an uncomfortable subject.
Communication - before the calamity, use newspaper, radio, craigs list, rays weather for education and to pubicize community meetings for assessments, planning, education.
Plan for AM radio as a possible emergency communication tool after calamity - generator for
WATA? Crank radios at households?
We had a gentle warning with the gas shortage - we realize that even the gas station attendants
need a plan for how to handle the gas lines, a plan will help minimize the craziness.
Brent is going to Turtle Island, Eustace is pretty ready for this.

Action steps:
Meet with local officials to learn about existing emergency preparedness systems.
Educate public on findings (existing systems and plans)
Provide a handbook to the community
Help folks perform self-assessments of preparedness
Help communities do community assessments
Apply for federal funding for demo/pilot project of community preparedness
Identify gaps in the system and address them

Sustainable Food Systems

Session Topic:
Sustainable Food Systems
Name of convener:
Liz Aycock
Angie P., Tom P., Cindy B., Tracy M.,Karen B., David H., Deidre S., Lumini, Nancy S., Margie M.,

Main points from the conversation:
Gmo's are portrayed as safe. Nature is perfect already, GM is an uncontrolled experiment with
unknown effects. Can we ban gmo products/seeds or label them? Allergy concerns. Bee
populations are in decline. Gmo's are portrayed as safe - More education needed. GM's do not
reduce pesticide use. Farm Diversity= higher food yields. We need less monoculture and Big
agribusiness. Less than 1% of our nation are farmers. Balance energy needed to cultivate vs.
Pesticides. Tractors use biodiesel. Nutritional value of organically produced food is higher in
phytochemicals. GM foods have an effect on fertility in studies done on rats. Biodiversity is
declining. NC State does research in GMO's. NCSU also has Center for Environmental Farming
Systems in Goldsboro.

Action steps:
Attend the Farm to fork Summit in Raleigh March 2-3rd.
Attend High Country Local Food Summit March 26 @ Apple Barn In Valle Crucis.
Talk to Local School Board about implemeting policy to buy local and organic.
Talk to ASU about Buying local and organic.
Help Change policy in state institutions about food buying. (Still purchase the cheapest food but
only within a 100 mile radius)
Save or move the community Kitchen "Creative Food Ventures"
Develop a Local Food Council
Encourage our elders to teach us to grow food, can and preservation techniques.
Local Government to pass resolution banning GMO's from our community in order to protect organic farms and genetic integrity.
Ask State for a "Bottle Bill"
Create economy/tourism that is based around local food. Ex. Hardwick,VT and Woodbury, Iowa
Encourage the Chamber of Commerce to help with Food economy.
Create a local food only restaurant maybe in conjunction with Community kitchen.
Create a community Compost facility. Help Jay Carter with his compost battle.
Establish contracts with businesses to handle surplus foods.
Create Neighborhood gardens.
Share unused farm space with community.
Work with local restaurants and grocery stores to buy locally produced food.

Resilience is the Resource

Session Topic:
Resilience is the Resource (How do we access ourselves our skills "skills and stuff
Name of convener:
Nita O'Brien
Donna Lisenby, Debbie Golembieski, Kendal McDevitt

Main points from the conversation:
Create both on line and hard copy resource guides for the "area" (Watauga County)
Compile a list of resources which are already in use or developed or are being developed so we can support and utilize them more ie. "Craigs list", "", "Community Exchange System", "", "NC Wastetrader"
Have a local barter or system which we could exchange services and goods by lists and "green
dollar" value.
Share scrap resources which we would other wise put in the landfill, discard or burn such as
pallets. Also connect together people who could buy needed goods at more reasonable price by
buying in quantity or wholesale together.
Utilize the already existing book located in Green Mother Goods inside the door to the left where
you can put you business cards and share information about your skills.
Have a community Exchange day where you bring your "stuff" and take what you need. (Maybe
once every 2 months)
Do research and then compile a hard copy and on line resource list that can be updated as needed and ask Mountainkeepers to make this list available to it's "list" of interested folks on line.
Possibly create a recycle "job" to organize the Community Exchange day and update lists. Create
the one line and hard copy guide and keep it updated. Have it sortable for usability.

Action steps:
Research all above existing services and compile and give this to Mountainkeeper for initial
Utilize what services we have in community and educate about the resources.


Session Topic:
Name of convener:
Marsha Story
Marsha Story, Shannon Isaacs, Stephen Phillips, Loretta Clawson, Lisa Doty, Kendell McDevitt, Lexie Danner, Denise Grohs

Main points from the conversation:
Pasteboard containers @ green boxes in the county.
Pasteboard collection site inside the town limits or possible curbside pickup.
Pasteboard collection site at grocery store locations.
Grocery store deli containers be made of corn based materials or use #1 or #2 recyclables.
Reduction of plastic bag use
The possibility of banning plastic bags.

Action steps:
Reduce the use of plastic bags by:
Use reusable bags which can be purchased or hand made.
Approach legislation regarding plastic bag banning.
Train grocery store clerks to ask consumers if they've brought own bags or to use paper.
Ask grocery store chains to offer reusable bags as a reward incentive.
Involve elderly, churches, scouts troops, etc. in constructing usuable bags
Promote awareness by:
Puppet show to kids
Recycling literature be distributed through tax bills, ASU Meet & Greets, websites, water bills,
newspaper, MTN,and Community Bulletin Board
Clean Up competitions (sororities, fraternities, etc.)
Letter writing campaigns to local papers

Local Energy

Session Topic:
Local Energy
Name of convener:
Brent Summerville
Sam Zimmerman, Tracy M, Liz Aycock, Marnie Werth, Jack Callahan, Eula Fox, Winston Kinsey, Karen Bowman, Scott Shards, David Holden, Angie Pate, Ged Moody

Main points from the conversation:
Interests: wind energy, public education on options; conservation is a big resource, lights on at
night, 2nd homes using energy with noone at home; residential scale, community-scale, larger
community scale (1000+ homes); how public officials can make it happen?; how to educate the
realtor community, ie. remove fears about wind energy ruining everything; work on the town of
Blowing Rock ban on windmills; FIX THE RIDGE LAW, yes windmills are exempt, but Roy
Cooper has caused confusion, we need a clarification of the exemption; make Town of Boone 1st
wind-powered town in WNC (a new windmill on Howard Knob; Hull, MA is an example);
develop landfills like the Energy Xchange; Eula has 15 acres of windy land, want a string of
windmills, what does she do (ASU can help with an assessment and next steps); interest in
developing a community energy system in Foscoe.
Barriers - costs, financing, incentives are built for business more than communities, lack of energy awareness (using electricity uses lots of coal which has widespread impacts);
Biofuels - local farmers grow feedstock, collect waste oil, community seed crusher, community
biodiesel processor, use in tractors and home heating (off-road use is cheaper)
Some communities require solar thermal (Israel, Botswana...)
What about Hydrogen and compressed air (need renewable infrastructure to create these storage media).
We need all of these things - better choices by individuals (energy conservation, home design,
install renewable energy, cars, appliances), community-scale solar, wind, hydro, biofuels; and larger community-scale systems like a string of utility-scale wind turbines for county/regional impacts.
Producing our own energy using the renewable resources that we have (wind, sunshine, existing
dams for hydro projects, feedstocks for biofuels)

Action steps:
Watch movie - Kilowatt Ours
Goto to see where your electricity comes from
Contact you representatives. Bev Purdue (consider Cliffside a MAJOR pollutor); Tarleton (no
Mountain Top Removal Coal).
Demand BREMCO install community PV and wind, not just give out CFLs; goto annual meeting
and voice your opinion
Distribute packets of info on options, costs, impacts, contractors for renewable energy (ASU
energy center can help develop, Town of Boone can help distribute)
Indentify any opportunities for pilot projects on the community scale (wind, solar) and submit a
proposal to state legislators with a petition saying "this community wants to be more resilient by