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100-Mile Diet / Local Food Strategies
Deconstructing Dinner, Global Public Media
When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles. On the first day of spring, 2005, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon chose to confront this unsettling statistic with a simple experiment. For one year, they would buy or gather their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since then, James and Alisa have gotten up-close-and-personal with issues ranging from the family-farm crisis to the environmental value of organic pears shipped across the globe.

Deconstructing Dinner is designed to educate listeners on the impacts our food choices have on ourselves, our communities and the planet. The show, hosted by Jon Steinman, is produced at Kootenay Co-op Radio (CJLY) in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.
(11 Jan 2007)
The series of reports on The 100-Mile Diet have been some of the most readable articles on local food. -BA

Never Too Old to Save the Earth

Jon Kelly, BBC
Older people are better known for protesting about pensions and council tax, but a growing number are setting their sights on protecting the planet. This month saw the launch of a new transatlantic website, linking a growing number of grey-haired greens who are making the environment their cause.

One such campaigner is 61-year-old Irene Willis, who knew she was not cut out for the stereotypical pensioner’s life when she retired. So instead of crosswords and Countdown, she found another way to pass the time: as a direct-action environmental activist, chaining herself to fences and breaking in to nuclear bases. In the four years since she discovered non-violent protest she estimates she has been arrested up to 25 times, and believes her age and appearance make her an asset to the movement.

“On demos, I can get away with murder,” she laughs. “The police are much more lenient with grey-haired old ladies than with younger protesters.” Irene is typical of a new breed of ecology-conscious older people on a mission to save the world.

This month saw the launch of a, a web-based network for older people set up by activists in the UK and US which hails Irene as a “green hero”.

A poll for the UN World Environment Day last year found pensioners are the most eco-friendly age group in the UK: over 90% recycle their litter, four out of five take showers rather than baths and 79% use low-energy light bulbs. This is because getting older makes you more concerned about what you will leave behind, Irene believes.

… Another activist who believes it is never too late to make your lifestyle more eco-friendly is Amyan MacFadyen from Sheffield, south Yorkshire.

Last year he decided it was environmentally irresponsible to drive a car. So he traded his own one in for a bicycle – at the age of 85.

“Sheffield is very hilly, so it’s not all that good for bikes,” he says. “But I am very concerned about climate change and the catastrophic effect it’s going to have on the Earth’s population.” A former professor of Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of Ulster, he only turned to campaigning after retiring in 1986.
(14 Jan 2007)
Also posted at Common Dreams.

If the trend described by this article is correct, then watch for increasing senior activism – the rebellious Baby Boomers are starting to retire. The coordinator of an Appropriate Technology center told me that he’s noticed an increase in the number of retired engineers interested in volunteering their skills. -BA

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)
Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment via GPM
Don Shaffer recounts BALLE’s vision of local living economies ensuring that economic power resides locally, where it can enhance community life and natural systems–as a counter to economic globalization. BALLE’s autonomous networks of local businesses initiate programs like “Buy Local First.”
(3 Oct 2006)

“Who Am I?” in a Post-Petroleum World

Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment via GPM
Joanna Gabriel feels the challenge of Peak Oil is an opportunity “forcing us to create the kind of world we wanted all the time anyway.” The coordinator for Post Carbon Ashland explores the challenge of creating a new paradigm of sustainability and sharing while we’re living in the old industrial-era paradigm of limitless growth and domination.
(30 Aug 2006)