Wednesday, March 4, 2009

TTOKC: Round Three

Transition Town OKC had our first speaking engagement at Sierra Club's movie night last Friday. The Sierra Club was hosting the film "The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil". The organizer, Rick Wicker, got wind of our project and invited us to come speak after the film. The evening started out with some wine, cheese and crackers, and popcorn.

So I went and said a few words. It was nice to not have to explain what peak oil is, since we had just watched a film explaining the concept and exploring a few ideas to deal with the energy descent (urban gardens, chopping up huge industrial plots into farms that can be managed organically with human labor, tractor trailers pulling buses, purchasing a million bikes for Havana).

The movie night was a good place to start and I enjoyed dipping my toe in the public speaking arena once again. It's been awhile since I gave any public speeches - probably since college, when I ran the Student Business Association (yes, me!) and headed up the sales force for our Integrated Business Core group (we created and sold a product for the benefit of a local charity). The glass of wine prior to the movie didn't hurt my speech too much, I hope! The speech seemed well-received, since I got three invitations for further speeches.

Secondly, TTOKC had our third Steering Committee meeting Tuesday. Attending the meeting were three existing members plus three new members. Two people who had attended prior meetings seem to have disappeared. This time, we got smart and asked everyone to read the "Hands" section of the Transition Handbook so we didn't have to once again explain peak oil and the Transition Town model. That saved us half an hour - so I highly recommend it!

We discussed and ratified the five TTOKC goals listed on our website:

1. Raise awareness and educate citizens about peak oil.
2. Engage the public to envision and create a positive lower-energy future.
3. Provide information, resources, and support to help people implement the energy transition in their own lives.
4. Network with existing groups dedicated to helping Oklahoma City become more resilient and sustainable.
5. Empower the public to be involved at the local, grass-roots level in planning for a different energy future.

The idea is for us to plant a seed of awareness and engagement and let the Transition Town evolve on it's own. As people engage, we hope they will naturally want to take ownership of projects that work on the areas they care about (Food, Security, Education, Energy, Water, Transport, etc). We need to build momentum so that the project can survive and evolve without our constant supervision!

The second item on our agenda was brainstorming and discussing Raising Awareness activities(Step 2 of the TT model) . Here's what the TT handbook has to say about Raising Awareness:

"You cannot assume that people in your communit are familiear with peak oil,
climate change, or even with basic environmental concepts and principles...It is
important that (film) screenings are presented in such a way that they are fun
and memorable, and create a buzz, so that people go home and tell their friends
and family...It is essential to avoid a series of peak oil talks which are
doom-laden evenings about how civilisation is about to implode and we are all
about to start eating each other...You need to be prepared for the diverse
manifestations of 'post-petroleum stress disorder'."

Our new members had great ideas and they seemed really ready to contribute to the project. Here's the list of ideas we brainstormed (for those of you entering the Raising Awareness phase):

Speaking at: Book groups, church groups, neighborhood association meetings, university and college groups

Film showings at: Library, museums

Booths at: Arts festivals, block parties, Earth Day events (will need display/brochures/cards/banners?)

Marketing: Logo, brochures, business cards, bumper stickers

Internet: Website and associated promotion of website, blog, YouTube videos

Visual real estate: Library displays, posters on bulletin boards

I've also had a few more ideas since the meeting:

Sponsored events (cheap!): Seedy Sundays, Sun Oven barbeques, solar cooking demonstrations, any kind of "re-skilling" event that we could get people to come to, give a short speech and have our brochures / cards available

Press: Letters to the editor, neighborhood newsletters, press releases, news articles (my co-chair has already been approached about an article on TTOKC - but since we haven't done much yet, we're holding off)

The meeting concluded with our members taking ownership of their ideas and pledging to have research done and a plan or visual example at the next meeting in two weeks. Thanks to everyone for showing up and participating! And readers, please feel free to chime in if you have participated in a Transition Town (or any environmental) initiative and have ideas on Raising Awareness!


Parma Powerdown said...

Wow. You guys are off to a GREAT start. I am all by myself still--I need more warm bodies but haven't found them yet. Hopefully as the movie events unfold some people will come forward.

I did a 'God is Green' newsletter introducing our TT events and with a few notes on resources as well as a suggestion to garden on church property. I then mailed it out to our faith community. I am fortunate in that we have a green interfaith effort that is already pretty active so hopefully these churches are aware and looking for things to do.


Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Parma - It's hard to be by yourself! Keep up the good work!