Thursday, July 14, 2016

Host Your Own Cascadia Guild Meeting

I know that there are a number of people who are intrigued by the ideas I have been discussing here, yet who live too far from Edmonds to have made the trip to be at our first meeting. If you are reading this and fall into this category, I would encourage you to instigate a get-together in your area. The beauty of this is that it really isn't very hard, and to make it even easier, I will provide you the Cascadia Guild Meeting Instigator's Handbook. The entirety of the handbook is as follows:

1) Identify an appropriate venue. This could be the public meeting room at a library (most libraries provide these for free); a room at a community center (nominal fee may be attached); a bar or coffee shop (check out ahead of time that it will be not too noisy - I fell short a bit on this point at our meeting); or other easily identifiable public space.

2) Pick a date and time.

3) Advertise it. Most of the response I received was via advertisements I posted on The Archdruid Report, but also think about emailing people you know who are interested in causes like this, posting on other peak oil or deindustrialization related blogs. Be creative and get the word out.

And then show up. For initial meetings, no agenda is required; I am of the opinion that it is better to start off with an opportunity to meet people, find common interests, and identify things that we may want to work on together. Agendas, organization, and structure can come a bit later in the process.

One final lesson learned from our meeting Tuesday: If you have your meeting in a public venue like a bar, restaurant, or coffee shop, bring a centerpiece, or other identifying marker, as many of your attendees may have no idea who else will be there or what they look like. We learned the hard way of this necessity.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Cascadia Guild's First Meeting

The first get-together of The Cascadia Guild happened yesterday evening. There were nine of us in attendance. I took some notes, but nothing resembling meeting minutes, so this post and several to follow will mostly be summaries and ideas that were triggered by the discussions. Also, since this group doesn't have any formal existence to speak of, everything I write here can only be characterized as my impressions, and not as a coherent group policy or position.

That all being said, here are what seemed to be the most important things to come out of the meeting.

1) An awful lot of the Archdruid's readership does not often get a chance to meet with others who are interested in or engaged with the subjects that ADR likes to tackle, so just having a group to discuss these ideas seemed important to many of the attendees.

2) The majority of the attendees are already making concrete efforts to actually do things in response to the dilemmas posed by peak oil, resource depletion, and the long descent, and everybody that was there seems genuinely to want to do concrete things in response to these issues. In particular, the  idea of "collapsing now and avoiding the rush" is something that many seem to be taking to heart. This is very heartening for me.

3) I composed a list of things that people who attended seemed to want to develop, and which a group or network of like minded people could help with. These are, in no particular order:
  • Developing skills appropriate for a collapsing world, and even more importantly, finding students who would like to learn the skills and teach them what we have learned.
  • Developing trade/barter/gift economy relationships and generally exploring how to demonetize to the maximum extent possible.
  • Creating demonstration projects that will help us identify areas in which we still have more dependence on the industrial economy and/or current economic arrangements.
  • From this, we can identify and fix (or at least plan for workarounds of) vulnerabilities that we as individuals and as communities. Vulnerabilities, in this instance, are defined as things that are dependent on large, complex, and/or energy intensive economic or social systems and which are therefore more vulnerable to collapse or disruption.
  • Have a place where we can discuss with others who are interested any of these sorts of issues.
I will be writing more in future posts and expanding on some of these ideas. In the meantime, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments, and if you were unable to attend yesterday's meeting, please feel free to instigate your own meeting in your own town or city, and I will definitely help advertise it for you.