Projects in the New Year

15 Jan

(by n.reading)

Welcome to 2012 with Transition Madison Area!

Our first meeting of the calendar year will be tonight, 6:30 at Arboretum Cohousing. I’m more than a little embarrassed how poorly I’ve kept up my promise to devote energy to outreach and recruitment, but December-January has been a time of personal chaos for me. I’m working this afternoon fueled mostly by shame and embarassment (productive emotions, if you can direct them outwardly…)

The thoughts I’ve had regarding the function of this blog for Transition are that it ought to be a stage or a podium – the place for Transition to speak to the rest of the community – people who aren’t aware of the group, or the principles of Transition, or who don’t have the time to be deeply involved – while the google group (join the google group here) is a place for Transition members to talk and plan amongst themselves.

To that end, the oncoming weeks will feature resource posts by local experts (however much I have to prod them to recognize themselves as experts) on topics of their expertise, and interviews with local Transitioners about their experiences with the struggles of Transition: climate change, peak oil, and economic downturn.

I have been meditating on the role of digital resources in Transition – harddrives and computer components are built with toxic metals, metals mined in environmentally degrading ways, built in factories in peripheral countries with poor labor standards, and on top of that digital information is difficult to store, and dependent on electricity and climate-controlled indoor spaces.

The most satisfying answer I have come to is that alongside long-term archival efforts, we have to use what we have while we have it. As unsustainable as our present way of life is, in central Wisconsin, it is a environment of relative plenty, and the most responsible thing to do is to use the resources we have to do as much good as possible while we have them.

To that end, I have some paradoxical links. Please enjoy using your hugely powerful digital computing machinery to research a more appropriate and ecological technology level! I am hoping these resources will inspire some new Transition Madison Area projects. The UN International Traditional Knowledge Network database Appropedia, a Wiki (open-source encyclopedia) of appropriate technology. In their words, “collaborative solutions in sustainability, appropriate technology, and poverty reduction.” No Tech Magazine. Spotlights human-scale technological solutions from the ancient to modern world. Recent articles included Low Tech Magazine. Related to the above, but encompasses a slightly higher level of technology: recent articles covered medieval use of fossil fuels, cars powered by uncompressed gas, solar powered factories, and the Chinese wheelbarrow. Demotech. A group based in The Netherlands, researching sustainable re-designs of existing building ‘tropes’. A focus on reusing and reclaiming “garbage”. a high volume news source, “…the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream.” Primitive Ways. Articles on stone-age and other ancient tech, encompassing food gathering and storage, tool making, building, and fiber and leather processing. (in case you think this database is entirely useless, here is a thing you didn’t know how much you needed until now: Inuit thimble ) A Compendium of Useful Information. An absolute sprawl of good knowlege; sites like this make me wish I had training in archive management. Please delve into this one in your spare time, and organize some good bits for us here on the Transition blog!



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