Community Action Trainings: Global Justice Ecology Project continues to organize Community Action Trainings around Vermont. These full day trainings give people skills in community organizing, working with the media and organizing campaigns. The goal of these trainings is to encourage and promote grassroots community organizing and provide participants the skills to organize active and strategic campaigns throughout the state that will help engage and empower Vermont’s diverse constituencies in mapping out a sustainable future for Vermont. We work collaboratively with environmental and social justice groups to organize these events.
Monthly Community Organizing Potlucks: In January 2005 Global Justice Ecology Project began organizing monthly community gatherings in our own town. More than 75 people from our community have come together at these events to share a meal, watch a timely political film or listen to a speaker and discuss issues like the war in Iraq, global warming, the oil crisis, or economic globalization, as well as their impacts on Vermont and what we can do. The gatherings are informal, providing a safe space that encourages the participation of people who shy away from meetings. These potlucks also include an action component. Our winter-spring 2007 potlucks addressed global warming. Our January potluck featured Hinesburg-based NRG Systems founder David Blittersdorf speaking about the potential of various alternative energies. In February, activists from the Citizen’s Awareness Network presented about the campaign to shut down Vermont Yankee and how nuclear power is no solution to global warming. In March, Global Justice Ecology Project co-founders Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle spoke on the growing international global warming movement and on the progress of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which oversees the Kyoto Protocol. Each of these potlucks included information on how people in Chittenden County can help stop global warming.
We are also reaching out to people around the state to identify residents of other communities who will organize similar monthly gatherings. We have created a “how-to” guide that can facilitate the ability of others to organize monthly potlucks in their own community. In our experience, local grassroots community organizing is an essential component of working for real, fundamental social change. As such, we include it as one of our main organizing strategies.
As residents of Hinesburg, we have been delighted to participate in Global Justice Ecology Project’s monthly potlucks. They serve to bring neighbors together in an informal setting to enjoy camaraderie and discuss issues of importance to our particular community and globally. Viewing of documentaries dealing with current political and ecological problems of concern both locally and worldwide informs our community about these issues, so that they can view the issues with greater understanding. These meetings promote discussion and serve as a vehicle of communication to help prepare for events taking place in our state that have a bearing on global justice. We look forward to our monthly gatherings.— Karl and Trisha Novak
Potluck how-to guide.pdf
Lecture Series: Global Justice Ecology Project co-Director Anne Petermann also sits on the Board of the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series. As a result, Global Justice Ecology Project works collaboratively with the Lecture Series to bring major speakers to Vermont who can help us accomplish two goals: 1) reach out widely to bring out concerned individuals who do not normally attend meetings or other organizing events; and 2) provide an inspiring and informative talk that will energize people to become active in the movement to create a sustainable future for Vermont. Local groups are encouraged to make announcements about upcoming organizing activities in advance of each lecture, giving participants the opportunity to learn about initiatives in which they may become involved.
Community Organizing Internship: We have created a Community Organizing Internship, the objective of which is to train future Vermont leaders in the field of community organizing and to facilitate our ability to successfully carry out the previously listed initiatives. In 2006, we had a Master’s Degree student from the School for International Training in Brattleboro working with us full time. She created our potluck how-to packet and organized several of our Community Action Trainings. We are in the process of hiring a new intern for 2007.