So in looking at how we get out of this mess, from North Country Sustainability Center to the National Debt and the Global Economic Downturn, I keep coming down to the same thing – are we cynics or are we doers?  I share the concern of those people who are worried.  But which question do you ask? Is it “How are we going to get out of this mess?” or is it “What are they going to do to solve this?”  To me, the latter question is part of the problem.  If the problem is going to be solved, we ALL need to participate.

No, I don’t have the wear-with-all to cut a check to the government, or to everyone who has a need for it. Heck, I have that need myself.  But I do have the ability to say “How can I help you?” to a neighbor, or a friend.  I’m working so hard to raise the funds for NCSC just for that purpose.  I have heard the answers of what my friends and neighbors need.  It’s not “Give us a certain store,”  or “we need another playground.”  It’s “we need a place to be proud of,” or “I have a great recipe but I can’t afford the regulations to make it for sale.”  I’ve heard people saying “I wish I knew how to make better clothes than I can afford to buy,” or “my roof needs fixing, but I can’t afford it.”  Those are problems that can be solved locally, not just for one, but for many people, if we work together.

Running this country is difficult. I know I wouldn’t want to do it. But I think we’ve supported our own best interest so long many people don’t recognize that it’s not the government’s job to look after each person’s best interest.  It is the job of the government to do the best for the most people. I do think it needs to listen better to “the people,”  but until that happens, we can listen to each other. And then do something about it.

I hear so many cynics around me, including in my own home.  To me it’s good to ask questions, but not to expect someone else to come up with all the answers.  There are some problems we can solve ourselves. If we do that, with our neighbors in mind, the government can focus on the larger problems that individuals can’t see because we’re too close to it.  We need to stay involved as citizens, but also as world neighbors.  But if we are better connected as a nation to each others’ needs, the larger problems will have more voices to call out for attention.  Not as a muddy sound of rabble, but as a united shout of “Let’s fix this.”

This is a political statement, but it’s also a call to PLEASE help us create a model of how to proceed.  If you are cynic and can’t figure out why a good project in Central MA will affect you, then here’s my answer.  Just as our region’s residents will have a place to go to for facilities, should you want to replicate this project for your area, we’ll help.  We’ll share the roadmap of where we’ve succeeded and warn you where we’ve failed.  We’ll make our process public, so others can see how to move to a more sustainable world.

If you look at things from an environmental standpoint, the more people who can share a carbon source, the better the planet is. If we eliminate an hour or two on the road for a dozen people for a whole year, that’s a lot less gas used, particulates added,  and consciousness raised.  If economy is your viewpoint, people off welfare because they have income and education, is more money in your pocket.
If community is what you care about, bringing people together to share the load of everyday burdens makes it easier for all concerned;  loneliness diminishes and connectedness grows.

As the east coast braces for the slam of a great storm, I worry about what those affected will face when it’s over. I look at Monson, MA or most of Vermont, and wonder how they will face a strong storm when they haven’t had a chance to heal from the ones last year.  Having an NCSC will help our region, but also provide a model for such places in rebuilding devastated areas after fires, floods, snow and storms.  The skills that we’re teaching, and equipment we’re trying to offer, will make more people resilient moving forward. What’s the downside?

If you can afford to send even $10 to our fundraising campaign please do. If you send it to our Indiegogo site, you’ll help us reach that goal.  If you want to send it directly to us, you can do that too.  If you can’t afford to send anything, PLEASE tell someone who can.  If we can raise this money from the grassroots, I will ask our Board of Directors to name the new facility “The People’s Place.”  Heck, North Country Sustainability Center is too long for a place name anyway.  We’ll make sure that EVERY person who donates at least $10 will get mentioned in the building, whether it’s on a wall, in a model, on  a plaque or a garden tag.

If you can afford more than $10, wonderful!  But we’ve found a site that has room to grow businesses, space for gardens and outside activities, better access to highways and will allow us to bring life back to an old mill, complete with a mill pond. Solar power is an option there, as well micro-hydro. We will be able to more visible to others in how we proceed. But we have to purchase it, and get things moving.
Send what you can. Tell others about this.  Cynicism and doubt will not move this country, or this project, forward.  But breaking its inertia will automatically start change.  Though not all change is good, we are not looking to invent new technologies, only to reinvigorate our American dream using established skills, knowledge and attitudes, addressing the new challenges that face our country, and our planet.  Helping us will take you out of the “Cynics” line and put in the line with the doers.  It’s a lot more pleasant place to be, isn’t it?