Reel Community Action identifies the most effective and successful sustainability models from around the world so community leaders have a roadmap for greening their communities.
RCA Reviewed Best Grassroots Sustainability Model: Transition Towns
TRANSITION TOWNS: We are a nonprofit organization that provides inspiration, support, training, and networking for Transition Initiatives across the United States.
Transition Initiatives are part of a vibrant, international grassroots movement that builds community resilience in response to the challenges of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis.
Together we can make the transition to a more fulfilling, equitable and sustainable world.
Transition Sebastopol - Northern California
We just completed a successful run of the Transition Movie Series for 2009, working in collaboration with the French Garden Restaurant. The Transition Movie Night is on the the last Wednesday of each month. We will be resuming the series in January 2010.
Here is a list of the movies that were shown in the series in 2009::
The Power of Community -- How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
The 11th Hour
The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Who Killed the Electric Car
An Inconvenient Truth
End of Suburbia
RCA Recommends powerful human rights Sustainability Model: Grameen Bank (GB)
A people's bank for the poor - Grameen Bank (GB) has reversed conventional banking practice by removing the need for collateral and created a banking system based on mutual trust, accountability, participation and creativity. GB provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh.....
At GB, credit is a cost effective weapon to fight poverty and it serves as a catalyst in the over all development of socio-economic conditions of the poor who have been kept outside the banking orbit on the ground that they are poor and hence not bankable. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of "Grameen Bank" and its Managing Director, reasoned that if financial resources can be made available to the poor people on terms and conditions that are appropriate and reasonable, "these millions of small people with their millions of small pursuits can add up to create the biggest development wonder."
As of November, 2009, it has 7.95 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. With 2,562 branches, GB provides services in 83,458 villages, covering more than 100 percent of the total villages in Bangladesh.
Grameen Bank's positive impact on its poor and formerly poor borrowers has been documented in many independent studies carried out by external agencies including the World Bank, the International Food Research Policy Institute (IFPRI) and the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
Find out more http://www.grameen.com/
A great bridge Sustainability Model: GoLocal
GoLocal is Sonoma County’s network of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), an organization that supports local businesses and enables the relocalization of our community as we face climate change, resource depletion, and economic instability. Our primary goal is to relocalize our region based on “living economy” principles. We tackle the building blocks of a robust community: local and sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, community capital & reinvestment, zero-waste manufacturing, and health. GoLocal is not only a tool for our economy to generate community wealth. It is also a catalyst for civic action, social diversity, and ecological health—the foundation for a Living Economy, and hope for the future.
For more information, go to: www.golocal.coop.
Powerful Climate Change Model: Climate Protection Campaign
The Climate Protection Campaign set the boldest greenhouse gas emissions reduction target in the country and won the EPA’s most prestigious rewards, setting 5 other climate protection national precedents. Their progressive plan is a model for communities everywhere.
Implementation of the plan will put into place financial mechanisms that will allow us to retrofit 80% of our homes and commercial buildings to the highest level of energy efficiency, generate 67% of the community's power from local renewable sources within 10 years, transform our transportation system through land use planning, increased public transit and a car share fleet of 30,000 electric vehicles. Our mission is to create a positive future for our children and all life by inspiring action in response to the climate crisis. We advance practical, science-based solutions for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions. More information.
Clean Energy Municipal Financing
Clean Energy Municipal Financing (CEMF) allows property owners (residential and commercial) to install electric and thermal solar systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings. These improvements are financed through a special fee on their property tax bills that transfers to the next owner upon property resale.
This program, pioneered by cities including California’s Berkeley and Palm Desert—now under review in Boulder, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; Austin Texas; and other locations—can be applied to energy efficiency measures alone, to renewable energy alone, or to a combination of efficiency and renewable generation. Repayment over 20 or 25 years is a natural timetable, and the payments go with the property, not the individual, so that clean energy and energy efficiency become investment opportunities.
For more information, go to: http://rael.berkeley.edu/berkeleyfirst
Other Excellent Sustainability Models
1BOG (One Block Off the Grid)
1BOG (One Block Off the Grid) organizes big groups of people together who want to get solar energy, and gets them a huge discount.
An organized community can buy solar in bulk, so 1BOG negotiates with installers to get impressive discounts for each homeowner in the collective.
We make the process much more simple and painless, as well as use our deep solar energy expertise to educate consumers throughout the process.
We offer safety in numbers, and unlike the installers themselves, our incentives are always aligned with yours.We are a nationwide, community-based program that organizes residents locally and negotiates group discounts with solar energy installers in your city, using a comprehensive vendor selection process. As a group we are more knowledgeable about solar, more powerful, and we can make a difference. http://1BOG.org/
2000 Watt Project: The "2000 Watt Society" is a radical model of efficient, high-quality living being pushed by the Swiss Council of the Federal Institute of Technology. Worldwide average energy consumption per capita is about 17,500 kilowatt hours, working out to a continuous consumption of 2000 watts. More information.
ADOPT A WATERSHED: Adopt-A-Watershed (AAW) is a non-profit organization that promotes educational enhancement, environmental stewardship, and community development through Place-Based Learning. AAW works with schools, youth education programs, community groups, and environmental organizations, guiding them through The 5-Step Leadership to Place Based learning. The 5 Step develops leadership skills and strengthens organizational capacity to envision, create and successfully implement high quality Place-Based Learning. The 5-Step is a proven model for educational, environmental and community transformation. More information.
CLEAN ENERGY ACTION: The Clean Action Network has convinced several universities in the Appalachian and mid-Atlantic regions to convert to 100% renewable energy, reducing the use of coal, and minimizing the need for mountaintop removal mining. More information.
CLIMATE PROTECTION CAMPAIGN: Our mission is to create a positive future for our children and all life by inspiring action in response to the climate crisis. We advance practical, science-based solutions for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions. More information.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE (CSA): CSA reflects an innovative and resourceful strategy to connect local farmers with local consumers; develop a regional food supply and strong local economy; maintain a sense of community; encourage land stewardship; and honor the knowledge and experience of growers and producers working with small to medium farms. CSA is a unique model of local agriculture whose roots reach back 30 years to Japan where a group of women concerned about the increase in food imports and the corresponding decrease in the farming population initiated a direct growing and purchasing relationship between their group and local farms. This arrangement, called "teikei" in Japanese, translates to "putting the farmers' face on food." This concept traveled to Europe and was adapted to the U.S. and given the name "Community Supported Agriculture" at Indian Line Farm, Massachusetts, in 1985. As of January 2005, there are over 1500 CSA farms across the US and Canada. More information.
CONNECTICUT SOLAR LEASE: The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and CT Solar Leasing, LLC have combined the power of CCEF's innovative Solar Rebate program and the financial power of leasing to create an unbeatable way for qualifying homeowner customers of CL&P and UI to add solar energy to their homes for the lowest possible cost. Your CT Solar Lease™ requires no downpayment and has been designed to provide qualifying homeowners with the lowest possible fixed monthly payment* - less than $120 per month for a typical 5 kw system! http://ctsolarlease.com/
COOL CITIES: These are cities that have made a commitment to stopping global warming by signing the U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. Begun in 2005, the Cool Cities campaign empowers city residents and local leaders to join and encourage their cities to implement smart energy solutions to save money and build a cleaner, safer future. More information.
THE GREEN BELT MOVEMENT, Kenya, Africa: The Green Belt Movement is one of the most prominent women’s civil society organizations, based in Kenya, advocating for human rights and supporting good governance and peaceful democratic change through the protection of the environment. Its mission is to empower communities worldwide to protect the environment and to promote good governance and cultures of peace. Nobel Prize Winner, Wangari Muta Maatha founded the GBM and led the planting of more than 30 million trees to stop desertification in Kenya. More information.
GREEN INVESTMENT CIRCLES: The fastest way to kick-start the shift away from a centralized economy is to stop financing the big banks—and through them, the activities they are financing—and to switch your bank deposits to a well-managed, community bank or credit union. In fact, it's the single greatest point of leverage you have as a consumer. More information.
GREENSBURG GREEN TOWN: On the night of May 4, 2007, an EF-5 tornado, close to 2 miles wide, wiped out 95% of Greensburg, Kansas. After the cleanup started, the Greensburg City Council approved a resolution that all city building projects will be built to LEED Platinum level standards. This makes Greensburg, Kansas the first city in the United States to do this. Greensburg is being rebuilt as a Green Town. NPR's "All things considered" did a seven-minute story on us—listen in here. Greensburg Greentown is a non-profit organization created to help Greensburg residents, and others, learn about green building, and green living. We have lots of information, both on green issues and on the happenings and progress of Greensburg. We'd appreciate any help we can get to get the word out about what Greensburg, Kansas is doing! More information.
GREEN POWER COOPS: 200 Michigan residents are purchasing a large windmill to power all of their homes, removing them from the power grid, and creating a possible for “feed in” for power purchasing.
MENDOCINO GMO BAN: Mendocino County's successful ban of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).
PACIFICA GARDEN PROJECT, Pacifica, California: Community organic garden to provide local residents with fresh organic produce and to build community in maintaining and expanding organic gardens in this region. More information.
PESTICIDES FREE ZONE: Marin Beyond Pesticides Coalition is the coming together of 44 Marin organizations and businesses working to change the way people view and use pesticides. Formed in 1997 by Marin Breast Cancer Watch and the Health Council of Marin under the guidance of Pesticide Watch, our first objective was to get the County of Marin to reduce the use of pesticides in public spaces and implement an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. That goal was realized in December 1998 when the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed the IPM Ordinance. More information.
RESTORATION INITIATIVES, Earth Island Institute: Through the Small Grants Program, Earth Island Institute has been able to support locally based restoration efforts to do just that. Small grassroots efforts to restore the coastal habitats of Southern California, which have been depleted by an astounding 98%, have been slowly working to bring our wetlands back from the brink of extinction. By supporting and empowering the new restoration leaders, we ensure our collective success in restoring some of the earth’s most fragile ecosystems. More information.
SOLAR ROOFS: Berkeley, California recently sponsored a “solar roofs” program that helps home owners subsidize the purchase of solar panels for their homes through the support of municipal bonds.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, Oaxaca, Mexico: Jesús León Santos leads an unprecedented land renewal and economic development program that employs ancient indigenous agricultural practices to transform this barren, highly eroded area into rich, arable land. With his organization, the Center for Integral Small Farmer Development in the Mixteca (CEDICAM), a democratic, farmer-led local environmental organization, León has united the area’s small farmers. Together, they have planted more than one million native-variety trees, built hundreds of miles of ditches to retain water and prevent soil from eroding, and adapted traditional Mixteca indigenous practices to restore the regional ecosystem. Watch the short Goldman Film on this project. More information.
TRANSITION TOWNS: Towns all over Great Britain are becoming Transition Towns, using a model that dramatically reduces communities’ consumption and dependency on fossil fuels. More information.
Model Library Guidelines
Model Library items are subject to the following procedures and guidelines:
Nomination: Items for potential inclusion in the Model Library will be identified based on recommendations of Reel Community Action’s staff, advisors and associates, and via a link on the Reel Community Action website inviting suggestions from visitors.
Evaluation: Components included in the Model Repository will be selected based on three criteria:
- Understandability - How approachable are the concepts and initiatives?
- Usability - What is the relative ease of large-scale adoption of the program referenced?
- Effectiveness - What is the potential for profound impact of a given project?
Review: An annual review of the web links listed in the Repository will be conducted to determine current status.