The media seems to portray sustainability as an option, but it’s not. It’s mandatory, kind of by definition. But how do we attain it?  Is it the car companies’ responsibility? The government? Our neighbors? Or is it ours?  I think it’s the responsibility of breathing, but that’s just me.  Each of us has to decide what “sustainability” means to us.  Each of us will define it differently. But if we don’t do it, then none of us really can. We can’t force anyone, but we can make it easier for them to integrate the idea into their lives.

But if we are lacking the skills for sustainability, where do we learn them? If our grandparents are gone, or if they didn’t learn them, where do we go?  Is sustainability simply local food? No.  Is it shopping locally? Not exclusively.  Where do we learn how?  If you’re lucky you live near someone who can teach to preserve, or cook, build a fire, or a tool shed, but many of us don’t have that luxury.   If we’re “plugged into” the sustainability community we can locate those mentors, but what if there was a beacon that shone leading the way?  That’s what we’re working at the North Country Sustainability Center and “the Hearth.”

We have put in an offer on a retired catholic church and its rectory, but we need a sustainable miracle to make it happen.  It’s in downtown Fitchburg, MA, just blocks from the train station and Fitchburg State University.  It’s kitchen will allow small businesses in shared facilities. Classrooms will teach basic skills such as sewing and carpentry or more advanced environmental topics.  The paved areas will permit urban agriculture classes, dog training and other programs to build community, and the old sanctuary can be filled with the sounds of oral tradition, folk music, and dance tunes.   The steeple can hold a solar powered LED leading others to find ways to rebuild their families, communities and a more sustainable nation.

Even though Fitchburg is an urban, it is surrounded by small towns with numerous small farms. The suburbs of Greater Fitchburg, Worcester, even Boston, want to enjoy the food, knowledge and talents of our region’s residents. The Hearth will make that possible – but we need help.

If someone has thousands to donate to us, we humbly accept.  But we know that the likelihood of that is small.  We believe that it is the strength of an entire region giving $10, $25 or more to NCSC that will make it possible to revive this old building, our local community and the regional economy.  NCSC is a 501(c)(3) organization, so all gifts are tax deductible.  Funds can be donated to the NCSC Hearth at PayPal at the address

Hearth@northcountrysustain.org.

The simple skills that were a part of every day are still needed today. To eat healthily, keep our closets and homes in shape, and to keep our planet livable we need to rebuild our connections between ourselves and the means that make our comfort and life possible.  Help us make this Beacon of Sustainability come to life, so that we can help others create their own community sustainability centers, and we can serve the Central New England region.

You can see what we’re working on at

www.northcountrysustain.org, or call 978-827-1305 to get your questions answered.

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