I am so tired of the “little guy” losing out.  As I sit here preparing for upcoming meetings about the natural gas pipeline proposed for our region, I get so angry.  I want that time back, that I remember, when people communicated, worked together, got informed and made decisions.  I admit. I am over a half a century old, from a different part of the country (Midwest moved to New England) but I fervently believe that people have encouraged to be complacent in recent years, and since complacency is easier than involvement, we lost our “citizenship-bones.”

Now as part of the Sustainable Troop, (it’s not an army, but a strong group,) I am seeing for myself how we’ve forgotten those foundations of listening.  I’ve seen in it my board members. Each new one, rather than asking questions as to what we’ve been doing, immediately runs through the same list of potential ideas that we’ve already run through.  It gets them frustrated that their ideas “aren’t being listened to,” but it also wastes everyone’s time.  (Note to Self:  Start a list of previous actions to show new board members, ie. Fundraising and Marketing.)  Some may be worth trying again under new leadership, but others just aren’t worth it.

Even now, as we bring different groups together on this one issue, each brings their own agenda. Instead of asking each group what they’ve done already, which could either inspire or save time reviewing, each new leader comes in with a punch list, and an ego war begins.  Who’s idea is better? Is one a better leader than another?  But it’s really not about that. The successfulness of an approach is not recognized for who lead it, but by how it succeeded in its goal.

The Sustainability Movement has HUGE hurdles to manage. We don’t have time to deal with egos, converting agendas, or anger. Let those motivations be the energy behind making the planet healthier, making our communities run better, and keeping our families intact and prospering. Right now we don’t really have the ear of the media. We don’t pay for advertising, so we can’t compete with  commercials or lobbyists. We have to use the power of the stomach, the heart and the soul to reach people, and while I personally believe that these are far more powerful than greed, certainly recent decades, perhaps centuries, have put greed on steroids.

We have to use our creativity to reach those fundamental needs – Food, shelter, Security, Water, to promote the individual self-interest of working together.  Most people will gravitate toward others who share their goals, and in our case that is Sustainability.  We really can’t rely on “Green-Dar,” our form of “GayDar,” to know who is like minded.  To o mu

We have to use our creativity to reach those fundamental needs – Food, shelter, Security, Water, to promote the individual self-interest of working together.  Most people will gravitate toward others who share their goals, and in our case that is Sustainability.  We really can’t rely on “Green-Dar,” our form of “GayDar,” to know who is like minded.  Too much of that is determined by fashion, peer pressure and just plain, budgetary constraints.  If we all wore bumper stickers, it might be easier, but that’s not really useful, especially in cities where fewer people drive.  We need that emblem of Sustainability – the Badge.

In this fight against the pipeline, this is Tennessee Pipeline Gas Company, a subsidiary of Kinder Martin Energy, that is coming through our pristine backyards.  This is the third largest energy company in the nation coming through some of the poorest land in the country; land which is primarily granite, which will require blasting for miles.  The water under our land may have its problems, but its not pollution.  It’s radon and arsenic deposits which are tested for an individual basis for each well, but that will not be found in the fracturing of the rock that will happen with the blasting, the vibration from the big machines and from the traffic of the utilities.  Kinder Martin lives in Texas. Tennessee Gas doesn’t live in North Central Massachusetts. But we do.  We need to bring the strength of the hardy farmers and rural people to bear in this fight, and we need the numbers of the educated city dwellers, and to educate more city dwellers. And we need to work together. Finding each other is paramount.  Showing our force is even more important.

Now I admit this is a fundraiser for North Country Sustainability Center, but it is something that can benefit the entire movement. Most people can afford $1.00, and most of us have specific areas of interest in the world of future.  $1.00 for each “local link,” people can find others who share those interests, or learn more about others, but striking up those conversations. That builds community, and that builds our “Troops.”

In our area, we’re trying to get people to show up at their informational meetings wearing their “badge” to counter the union presence, so people don’t feel so threatened by the intimidation tactics being used by Big Energy.  People feel stronger when they can look around to see that their goals are shared by others. Picket signs get in the way, but a “Sustainability Badge,” is easy.  A “Local Link,” helps build those specific communities such as local food and autism, and skills and local farmers.  It’s a lot easier than searching the web for someone near you who could help you.

If we each looked for that emblem that we could wear, on our jackets, briefcases, purses, backpacks, then we could unite much more easily.  If your choice is the Sustainability Badge from NCSC, then you are helping to build a model for this old idea in a new way – neighbors helping neighbors to bring old and new technologies together for a brighter future.  Then, if you want to do something similar in your region, you have a place to go to find out how it might work .

For more information about “The Badge,” and “Local Links,” visit www.northcountrysustain.org and visit /Knot.html and /LocalLinks.html for more information.

If you are in the Central New England region, wear your “Sustainability Badge,” to any meeting with TGP or your town officials, so we take your power of One and turn into a Troop for Tomorrow!

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