Sustainability Bootstrap Subgroup Meeting
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
WHO: Approximately 10 people met at Austin Java (Barton Springs).
WHAT: We discussed each person’s basic interests and why they were attending the group. A few attendees have companies that work at least partially in sustainable businesses or services (e.g. cabinetry, financing, low-impact housing, and energy efficient practices).
The purpose of the group was discussed. People wanted the group to serve three general functions:
• Soundboard and a community for discussion of ideas related to sustainability
• Resource for businesses within the group to test ideas and gain experience in their field
o E.g. Allowing an energy efficiency business to volunteer within an event/business/building to gain knowledge, experience, and a portfolio to expand services
• General networking
We watched “The Power of Community” (http://www.communitysolution.org/cuba.html) – See next page for my attempted synopsis of the movie.
• Begin discussion on the e-mail user group about business/project ideas that one or more members of the group can work on.
o We hope to pick 1-3 ideas to discuss in more detail in the next meeting
• Begin a way to measure and reward businesses and/or Austin community members for sustainable practices.
o If people are enacting sustainable practices, we need to be able to measure what is more sustainable
Less energy (or non-renewable energy) usage Less land usage Renewable/recycled/recyclable raw materials Etc.
o Recognition in the community, based upon measurements, of sustainable practices
Perhaps gains business and spread of best practices
• Pick a time for the next meeting
o Should have a regular monthly meeting time?
o Should we have a morning/breakfast meeting in addition to an evening meeting?
Movie: We watched the movie: “The Power of Community” (http://www.communitysolution.org/cuba.html)
This discussed how Cuba reacted to a severe reduction in oil imports, and some other imports, after the break-down of the government of the U.S.S.R. in the early 1990’s. Cuba is thus viewed as an ‘experiment’ of what will happen and how people will react to future oil shortages.
A few points (that I hopefully remember correctly) are:
• For the most part, there was a complete lack of reference to general human rights or whatever the political situation might be in Cuba
• Farmers became one of the highest paid professions as food became much more of a priority
• Gardening and farming in general turned to ‘organic’ farming in the sense of using naturally fertilizing processes
o Most of previously unused land in the cities was converted to gardens
o This involved (in one manifestation) feeding wastes of farm animals as food to worms, living in fertilizer soil, that would impart nutrients back into the soils to be used as fertilizer
o It took about 3-5 years for farmed soils to become ‘back to normal’ after having been farmed using large amounts of fertilizers, largely based upon fossil fuels
o Produce from farming was more varied in the types of foods grown, and the diet of people adjusted to a more varied diet, arguably more healthy as it became more based upon a variety of vegetables instead of a preferred few
• Biking became much more prevalent as large numbers of bikes were purchased from China
• Approximately 40% (?) of the land previously controlled by the government was given to citizens for full control (except the govt. still hold the right to take the land back should future circumstances dictate)
o This was a recognition that centralized control of farming and caring for the land was infeasible and the citizens have plenty of incentive to keep the land prosperous
• The Cuban citizens portrayed in the film expressed a shared sense of community