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Relocalization - May 18

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Julian Darley on Relocalization and Energy Use
(Audio and video)
Julian Darley, Global Public Media
Julian Darley presents an overview of the United States' unsustainable energy practices and makes the case for Relocalization from the point of business. The tale of the 20,000-mile long coal train....
(5 May 2007, but just posted)

Relocalizing Eugene

Jan Spencer, Culture Change
The following is Jan's keynote speech at the Lane County Reolocalization Conference that took place April 27-28 at two churches:

Thank you all for being here. The case for relocalization is historically compelling. This talk will weave a number of strands together that will show how relocalizing the way we live offers profound benefits.

My comments are my own and do not necessarily represent the conference organizers.

We live in fascinating, if unsettled times. Global trends present us with challenges that will not go away just because we are not paying attention. Those same trends offer tremendous opportunity.

First, what is relocalization? It's about taking care of more of our needs closer to where we live. Relocalization implicitly includes reducing one's ecological footprint. It means making thoughtful choices about where one puts his or her time, money and energy. It can mean upsizing one's civic involvements. It means responsible changes in how we relate to food, energy, the economy and our everyday lives.

Historically, we are witness to a convergence of trends including resource scarcity, human caused damage to the environment, increasing global political disruption, and cultural decline in our own country. Relocalization offers a sensible and positive direction for responding to these challenges.

Our current economic system, market based global capitalism, is unable to be a partner in creating the kind of world many of us would prefer. Rather it is severely in the way. Another part of my thinking about relocalization is about culture -- the way we live.

...A localized economy picks up where market based global capitalism ends. No need to wait! One important principle of a localized economy is that of downsizing many of our resource intensive habits. This is a key leverage point. Reducing what we need and use brings us closer to taking care of those needs from local sources with great benefits to the local economy, the environment and culture change. It also deprives the global economy of revenue.

Also important to keep in mind is that an economy is not only about money. It is about taking care of needs. Many needs can be taken care of without money in creative ways that we are not so familiar with, such as barter, volunteering, local currencies, cooperatives, work trades, avoiding poor investments -- to name a few.

A few easy examples:

Home economics. The home can be an appreciable source of food, energy, water and taking care of one another. Home passive solar design, once built, is essentially free heat. A home with a garden and a bike rider means appreciable transportation energy can come from the back yard. Multigenerational living means young and old can help look after each other. Such a home provides many of its own needs outside the money economy.

In Eugene, Oregon, Jan Spencer is a well known advocate for culture change. He has transformed his quarter-acre suburban property into a permaculture Shangri-la, attracting many visitors. He collaborates with others on projects for culture change.
(27-28 April 2007)
Jan has described in detail how he transformed his suburban home to be more self-sufficient (click on photos to get to other portions of the article). He also wrote up the project for ArchitectureWeek ("Suburban Renewal"). -BA

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