Do you know how sometimes you just need a good kick in the behind to get up off your ass and get something done?  This has been one of those weeks for me.  Now, it’s your turn.

Locally we’re facing a natural gas pipeline coming right down on top of us, actually underneath since they want to bury it.  Problem with that is it’s nearly impossible to bury anything around this region.  Usually within inches of the soil surface we find rock, often bedrock or ledge outcrop. In order to bury anything of size up here, the company will need to blast.  They are currently looking at blasting more than 200 miles of Northern Massachusetts, the poorest region of the state, sparsely populated by stubborn Yankee farmers and mill folk who call this place home. 

At the same time we’re seeing the approval of the demolition of a school in our town, despite the majority of the townspeople saying that they want to keep it for a different use down the road.  The half truths and outright lies that have been told here are just a sample of the same that are being told nationally. And the people believe them, wholeheartedly. Why? Because they don’t understand why the statements made by the corporations aren’t true.  They somehow feel that if comes from “the media,” or from “an authority,” it must be true, even if it denies the reality of a situation.

In a recent conversation with an ex-official in my town we discussed the need for our Regional Sustainability Center.  She asked me why we hadn’t be funded fully yet, and then commented, “Of Course, people always look to the 1% to do things. They’re the only ones who have the money.”  That’s when I countered with “I’m not.  I want us to be built with the funds and the world of the 99%.”
“That’s the smart way,” was her reply. And I agree.

The 1% always have to make choices between what is worthy and what is not. That makes them have to prioritize situations that they are not familiar enough with, and it unfortunately comes down often times to “proven models,” and “familiar issues.”  But we are now facing unfamiliar territory, in some ways.

While the “1%” have often had a lot of power in our culture, they haven’t had it all. There were also more of them, interspersed within every community, rather than the current situation of being centered in power hubs such as NYC, Chicago, D.C. or L.A. among others.  Never before had we change the world so quickly, with such dire consequences.  We’ve faced floods, droughts, fire and more, but rarely all at the same time. Before now we knew when spring started and when winter came. Now the seasons are all confused, changing the very animals and plants we share the planet with.  We can no longer predict reliably what are future will be, though we can use scientific evidence to make some guesses. 

We need to reach out to each other to protect what we have in common, and to fix the things that we need remedied.  For the last few decades that work was contracted out, and people focused more on their “toys and free time,” than on the actual practice of protecting their homes, their communities and their world.  As a result most Americans are now faced with the reality that they don’t know how a house  works, how the planet systems function, or even what is good or bad in their refrigerators. 

It’s not too late, if we work together now.  I know I’m always begging for money for NCSC (North Country Sustainability Center,) but that’s because this is a really great idea that hasn’t seemed to be able to get any footing.  We are centered in a forgotten part of the country, that limbo between urban and pastoral.  We have more rocks than corn, but we have great tenacity.  Our neighbors still have the skills that we need, and we have space to combine the needs of the present with the knowledge from the past to really make a model for the future.  But we need everyone, not just the 1% (though we won’t turn your help away), but everyone to spare a dollar or ten for this project.

In our struggle to get the word out about the pipeline’s effects we tried to have a region-wide meeting, using a building that we had agreed to rent. Unfortunately after more than 2 months of organizing and publicizing, we had to cancel the meeting because that building wasn’t ready for us.  We need another meeting, and more.  We need a place for organizers to meet, for the public to “go to” for help, for farmers and consumers to find each other and many more reasons.  We’ve been trying for four years to do this on the backs of other organizations, using their facilities, and it has worked very much against us.
Please help us show the country that we can succeed in a new venture, with a new approach, partly because it’s based on proven tactics focused on the identified needs for the future.

Please send any donations to Hearth@northcountrysustain.org, or to NCSC, PO Box 914, Ashburnham, MA 01430.  To learn more about NCSC, please visit www.northcountrysustain.org.  I am working to update the site, so please bear with the changes as they work their way through.  Thank you.

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