Discussion at 2/5/2012 General Assembly breakout group

Posted to website : February 7, 2012 5:53 pm : Environment

Notes Posted by Danika

Phyllis, Arnold, Kristen, Freed Man, Rosalia, and I spoke for about 45 minutes during the GA, as part of the alternative meeting structure this week.

We discussed the upcoming screening of the documentary Tapped, and the discussion to follow.  We concluded that it would be a good idea to have two flip paper boards for taking down notes, one on personal impacts and the other on policy initiatives (though the discussion has since been enriched by the suggestions in the Tapped discussion guide available from the documentary’s website). We could then publish the notes and share them with the GA as a way of promoting and listening to community involvement beyond simply the members of our group.

Holding GE accountable for cleaning up the PCBs in the Housatonic river is an important issue for many of our members.  We plan to educate ourselves on this issue, and also possibly host a panel discussion and/or documentary screening for the community in future.  We plan to invite Housatonic river advocate Tim Grey to speak to the GA.  We would also like stage a protest for the cleanup of the Housatonic river in a creative and theatrical way, such as by holding a citizen’s arrest of GE.

We continue to wrestle with the questions and challenges of focus, strategy, and the myriad and complex issues we face.

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Workgroup Minutes for Jan 5th, 2012

Posted to website : February 5, 2012 5:09 pm : Environment

Meeting Date Jan. 5th, 2012 

Notes taken by Danika R. Padilla

On Thursday the 5th of January Mark, Alan, Rosalia, Rosa, Arnold, and
I came together from 6-8pm at the Friends Meeting House for the first
meeting of the environmental working group.

We began by sharing what had drawn us to the group and also what
skills and experience we brought.  People voiced serious concerns
about nature and the environment for us and future generations,
interest and recognition of the importance of the dialectic between
local and global action for the environment within our movement,
concern particularly about nearby nuclear power plants and hydro-
fracking, love for nature and our local environment.  The skills of
members in this meeting include experience in working in the fields of
natural resources and geography, experience in passive solar, chemical
engineering, various knowledge about the environment, writing, and

Much of the rest of our meeting consisted of flowing discussion and
dialogue about issues and ideas for the group.  These included the
dangers of nuclear power plants, an idea for promoting both
environmental awareness and the Occupy Berkshires group by selling a
bag from Occupy Berkshires (manufactured locally)–to help reduce the
use plastic bags which pollute the air in their manufacture and the
ocean with their disposal–with a list of things to do personally and
actions to pressure the government and corporations to take printed on
it, ideas for lowering our own personal and the community’s impact
through carpooling and exchanging our “junk” rather than throwing it
away (like on freecycle), a proposal for an action of asking people to
sign postcards to the governor of Vermont thanking him for protecting
the area from nuclear danger by closing Vermont Yankee, thoughts on
showing documentaries and hosting educational events and discussions,
questions about how to connect and coordinate with other environmental
groups in the area, and discussion about the areas where the
environmental working group will advocate:  personal change, policy
change, making sure the Occupy Berkshires movement is as
environmentally responsible as possible, and increasing community
awareness and engagement.

We talked a long time.  I know I’ve missed things.

We decided that it was unnecessary for Occupy Berkshires to continue
using disposable nametags for each meeting.  We will come into the
next meeting with reusable nametags we make ourselves and invite each
member of the group to make their own.  I hope we can get creative–
from cardboard to old conference nametags to tree bark!

We ended the meeting with some people committing to specific projects
to undertake and share by the next meeting.  Arnold will bring in
lists of ways to act to help the environment, through personal changes
in behavior and through policy changes to support.  I will attempt to
write a “Statement of Purpose” or statement of the connection between
the environment and the Occupy movement.  Rosalia will work on the
name tags and present the idea (along with tomorrow’s working group
report) to the group.  If I have time, I also plan to research
renewable energy, especially solar, in this area, and how we can work
to promote developing it responsibly.  We might also begin coming up
with ideas for educational events and develop a list of resources on
environmental issues to post on our webpage.

We planned our next meeting for January 19th (Thursday) at 6 pm.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);