Sustainability Workshop Series

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The Problem

The Sustainability Workshop Series is an effort led by the ad-hoc community group, Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.), to provide experiential learning of basic homesteading techniques like composting, sourdough baking, canning, utilizing renewable energy, biofuel production, wool spinning, wine making, native foraging, and bioregion education. The goal of the Sustainability Workshop Series is to empower individuals to become more locally self-reliant in a fun, practical, and meaningful way. How is the G.A.L.A. Sustainability Workshop Series fun? The Sustainability Workshop Series remains fun, as well as educational, by allowing participants to be engaged in a creative and unique manner. For instance, a Wool-Spinning Workshop would not require everyone to use the same three colors of wool. Instead, participants would be allowed to pick and choose from a variety of vegetable or root dyed wools to make each spool of yarn unique. Likewise, a follow-up Knitting Workshop would not demand everyone to make a hat, but would offer diverse knitting techniques that accommodate the final product desire of everyone!

Plan of Action

G.A.L.A.’s goal behind the Sustainability Workshop Series is to help people develop skills that lower their impact on the earth, also commonly referred to as “ecological footprint,” in a fun and practical manner. G.A.L.A. will make this experience meaningful by connecting each skill with information about the unsustainable trend it seeks to mitigate. For instance, the rate of soil erosion and loss of productive cropland is unsustainable. As Lester Brown highlights in his rigorously researched book, Eco-Economy, “the loss of topsoil from wind and water erosion now exceeds the natural formation of new soil, gradually draining the land of its fertility." These are the facts that would be brought to a Sustainability Workshop on Household Composting Methods to show that composting not only keeps organic matter out of landfills, but can also help restore nutrient-rich topsoil. Helping participants understand that their new skill is not simply a novelty or isolated action, but part of a larger movement to ensure an environmentally restorative existence, will make the workshop experience that much more meaningful. Inevitably, G.A.L.A.’s Sustainability Workshop Series will help strengthen the social fabric of community as well as restore the ecological integrity of the given bioregion. Although G.A.L.A.’s Sustainability Workshops Series will take place in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, all course descriptions will be made available in a user-friendly template for community groups to adopt everywhere!

Project Updates

7/16/08-So far, about 10 people have joined in workshop on the Sustainability Workshops Series, also now known as the Homesteading Workshops Series. This includes workshops leaders, volunteers who put up signs, and volunteers who helped organize and publicize workshops. More than 60 people have been reached, with almost 30 people at our first workshop alone. These people were affected by learning a new homesteading skill and leaving the workshop will all the knowledge and material to start practicing this skill at home. Each skill helps people become more locally self-sufficient and build a more sustainable and harmonious relationship with the local ecology.

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