JANUARY TRANSITION BLUFFTON MEETING- Come check us out!

 

Transition Bluffton will be hosting a talk on energy efficiency and alternative/renewable energy sources by Dan Klear, owner of Superior Energy Solutions, Ottawa, Ohio. The event will be held on Tuesday, January 17th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Room on the third floor of Bluffton Town Hall, 154 North Main St., Bluffton, Ohio.

Winter is an especially good time to learn about changes you can make to conserve energy and reduce your utility bills. Are you are curious about how a home energy audit can help reduce your energy consumption? Would you like to learn how alternative/renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind generators can make you more energy independent? Here is a great opportunity to learn, share and connect with other interested people in the area.

Dan Klear is an industrial engineer and founded Superior Energy Solutions in 2009.

Transition Bluffton is a local group, modeled after the Transition Town Movement. Transition Towns are vibrant, grassroots community initiatives, that seek to build community resilience in the face of such challenges as peak oil, climate change and economic uncertainty.

For more information, go to:
Superior Energy Solutions llc

Registration is UP for Transition Launch Training!

TRANSITION TOWNS: From oil dependence to local resilience…
This event is a launch training for starting a transition town group. We welcome people from Bluffton, Ohio and beyond to join us for this inspiring weekend. Everyone will be warmly included. Financial assistance is available. Please ask questions, and let us know if you want to apply for a scholarship, have any specific food needs, or would like to be hosted in a home for the duration of the training by emailing transitionbluffton@gmail.com.

As we face the challenges of peak oil, climate change, and economic contraction, the Transition movement (Transition initiatives) is a positive approach that focuses on local solutions and building community resilience. Training for Transition is the popular, in-depth experiential workshop created by the global Transition Network. The course describes how to set up, run, and maintain a successful Transition initiative. It is packed with imaginative and inspiring ways to engage your community, and delves into both the theory and practice of Transition that has worked so well in hundreds of communities around the world. It meets the training criteria recommended for local initiating groups to become an internationally recognized Transition initiative.Get more information or register using the link below!

Eventbrite - Training for Transition Bluffton

 

25 Enterprises that Build Resilience

Unlike big box stores who have vast amount of captial and overhead to cusion the blows of rocks midstream, an owner of a local business can sometimes feel like they are running rapids in a small skiff and their paddles have just broke. However, everyone knows that shopping local helps build the economy of your hometown. So how do local business owners build up local loyalty and trust that can act like the needed “cushion from the rocky rapids”? What does building local resilience mean?

TransitionUS has tried to answer that in their Re-Economy program. In order for a business to show resilience it needs to be flexible and malleable enough to adapt and change with the local needs. It means local business need to be able to supply their materials locally and hire workers from the local community. To be seen as giving back. Transition US has created a checklist, “CHECKLIST FOR RESILIENCE-BUILDING ENTERPRISES” to assess if local businesses are resilient. How many Bluffton businesses do you think make the grade?resilliance

Activism- Make it Local

Struggling to get that change you so desperately know the world needs?  Running out of money and steam while trying hard to make important changes in the world?  Have you considered the power of making that change locally.

That is one of the goals of Transition US and one of the basic precepts of Transition Bluffton.  There is power in starting with our own families, houses and land that can lead to great change at a community level.  Working locally allows you to direct all your energies toward a solution you can enjoy the outcome of directly and still make global change.  Once others outside the community notice the positive change within your community they will want to know how the change occurred. When they come to you TEACH them.  This is where true activism occurs.

Sign up on the right to get the Newsletter from Transition Bluffton or email admin@transitionbluffton.org to get involved with others locally.

Bluffton Blaze of Lights Parade Transition Style

This year Bluffton celebrates the 30th year of the Blaze of Lights with opening ceremonies on November 26th.   Come see the Ream Christmas folk art display, Blaze of Lights parade, downtown festive window art and  Lighting of Main St at 7pm.  This year Transition Bluffton will be in the parade!  We have a float and will power it via BIKE POWER!  Stay tuned for more information.  We would love to see everyone there cheering Transition on– or better yet, join us!

This Page, from the Bluffton Chamber of Commerece, give details on the Blaze of Lights event and the schedule for the season.

 

Biking Bluffton- How to travel the bike path in style (Part 1)

With the planned opening of the Augsburger Road phase of the Bluffton bike path set for later this month, it is a great time to talk about making Bluffton a bike-friendly town.  The new section of the bike path will connect Maple Crest Senior Living Village and Bluffton University Nature Preserve to Riverbend Rd.  This bike path extension allows travelers to get from the new development areas on Augsburger Rd and Maple Crest to downtown for shopping, then from downtown to the Village park for a picnic or softball game.

Many people in Bluffton pride themselves on their use of alternate transportation to work and for pleasure. However, in order to make the bike path (and bicycles in general) a practical form of transportation, shopping bags, picnic baskets or other small loads need to be effectively, efficiently carried across town. There is no right answer for how to carry a load on a bike, there is just what works for you.  The people that brought you the Mind The Gap Movie, a documentary on urban transportation, have a short video on way people carry loads on their bikes.

Bluffton Transition is dedicated to furthering the discussion of how to make Bluffton a more bike-friendly town.  The bike path is a great start, but a knowledgeable biking community will be what allows Bluffton to be a city other cities look to for alternative transportation inspiration.  What are some of your ideas?

12 Features of Sustainable Community Development

     Some paths are hard to walk, especially when you do not know where the paths start.  That may be doubly true when you are talking about paths that lead to sustainable changes within a community.  Paths that many people have walked down before are easily recognizable, but sustainability of energy and economies from a community perspective- well, many travelers are bush-wacking their way through a jungle of information right now.  Information that, possibly, never quite fits the given situation.  Some travelers stumble upon trail heads that have identifiable starting points, but not a blazed path.

     Like explorers heading to the western frontiers sustainable abstract_towncommunities look to early sustainability explorers for help along the path.  Organizations like The Cardinal Group who published a research project over “barriers to sustainable community development”.  The  project was undertaken by Steven Peck, Peck & Associates & Guy Dauncey, and the Sustainable Communities Consultancy.  In 12 Features of sustainable Community Development: Social, Economic and Environmental Benefits and Two Case Studies three levels of community interaction are looked at from two sites, one in Vancouver, British Columbia and one in California.  The levels identified were Building Level (individual), Development Site Level (members in a community) and The Planning and Infrastructure Level (governmental).  The project concluded that each of these levels needs to work together in order to create communities that stand strongly on their own.  The studies finding are a perfect place to start conversations within or planning for a Transition Town.

     The Major Features of Sustainable Community Development, according to the study, are:

  1. Ecological Protection– Creating green areas which can increase property values from 5%-50% and foster stewardship.
  2. Density and Urban Design– building for increased [infrastructure] density decreases impact of agricultural land and allows for economic growth within the community due to ease of access to storefronts.
  3. Urban Infill– Make use of existing abandoned infrastructure which will reduce a need for urban sprawl.
  4. Village Centers– Centers give the community a place to gather and an area for markets to form as well as building a community identity.
  5. Local Economy– Local businesses need to be balanced, inclusive and varied so that all needs can be met within the community.
  6. Sustainable Transport– Options for bike paths and walkways need to transverse the community and allow market access without having to drive for supplies.
  7. Affordable Housing–  A mixture of housing options should exist in a community to allow for a cross-section of society to thrive within a community and not become exclusive.
  8. Livable Community–  Provide ample opportunity for social and personal development as well as a sense of community participation.
  9. Sewage & Storm-water–  Monitoring runoff from agriculture and business for nitrogen and phosphorus loading and creating constructed wetlands will allow for water recycling projects and decrease the impact of the community upon the surrounding environment.
  10. Water– Increased density in the community will reduce the need for irrigation and create a more sustainable use of the local water aquafer.
  11. Energy–  Increasing sustainable energy produced by the community decreases the transit cost and overall production of CO2 substantially.
  12. The 3 ‘R’s–  Creating programs for reduce, reuse, recycle decreases the communities environmental impact even farther. Utilizing building materials that fit one or more of these categories can be both environmentally beneficial and cost effective.

Perhaps not all of the above categories fit in every community, but people may be surprised how many of these topics can be included in a conversation to create a plan for Transition within the community.

What happens after my recycling is picked up?

According to the EPA’s Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures report which tracks the amount of trash and recycling throughout the United States, there were 254 tons of trash in 2013.  Of this 254 tons, 87 million tons (34.3%) were either recycled or composted.  For a comparison, the amount of recycled content in 1980 was 15 million tons.  Numbers closer to home would make this individually 1.51 pounds of recycled/composted material to an average 4.40 pounds of trash per day.

Further statics gathered suggest American’s recovered 5.7 million tons of paper for recycling and averaged 60% of organic/lawn waste composted.  All of this recycling and composting has reduced the amount of CO2 let off by 186 million metric tons.  The EPA cites this as “the equivalent of taking 39 million cars off the road for a year.”

America has come a long way from the 80’s, but there is a long way to go in just reducing the amount of waste.  Unfortunately, the EPA does not have data specific to Ohio (although they do other states).  However, we could in the future.  Tell your local representatives that you wish to support the data collection efforts of the EPA.  Better yet, collect the data at a local level and create a community challenge to reduce the annual percent of waste.

mswrecycling

How many wind turbines would it take…

How much dedicated acreage would the US need to allocate to wind turbines to power the US?  That is the question the science news magazine IFLScience! posed to John Hensley, manager of industry data analysis for the American Wind Energy Association in a recent article.  Shockingly, the amount of acreage is much smaller then most people would think.  Mr Hensley worked the math and the United States would need approximately 583,000 wind turbines to supply the US’s annual power consumption of 4.082 billion megawatt-hours.  The amount of acreage needed for these wind turbines would be an area roughly about the size of Rhode Island based on the 0.74 acres per megawatt produced.  wind-power

If we bring that idea closer to home, a great conversation for Transition Bluffton would be how much acreage could Bluffton dedicate to renewable energy?  What is Bluffton’s annual power consumption and what would be the benefits of being a town powered by renewable energy?