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Sustainable Otsego is a loose, minimally structured network of local activists and supporters who seek to promote sustainable practices in the rural Leatherstocking region focused on Cooperstown and Otsego County, New York. It listserv provides a forum for the discussion of sustainability issues.
When we were founded, in 2007, our main concerns were with peak oil, energy descent, relocalization, and their consequences -- all continuing vital issues. We were the incubator for the Kid Garden at the Cooperstown Central School; we have lobbied our county government on a range of sustainability issues, including the need for a county sustainability plan.
We have been particularly occupied recently with resistance to shale gas drilling in our region. We sponsored a series of forums in the spring of 2009 which brought wide publicity in our area to problems associated with shale has drilling, and we have continued public education efforts in this regard, as well as political lobbying. Sustainable Otsego is one of scores of organizations statewide in New York who oppose current drilling techniques as too unsafe and costly to be permitted.
At a 14 July 07 meeting we, we reached the following "Points of Agreement:"
"1) That the group take a countywide perspective, without precluding more specific issues, 2) that it function as an informal nimble advocacy group, doing its best to help press solution to certain chronic problems, particularly where action seems otherwise lacking, and 3) that individual members take the lead of some specific issues, developing some in depth knowledge and strategies for action, and reporting back . . ."
Sustainable Otsego hopes to avoid some of the pitfalls of traditional membership organizations. It aims to avoid time-consuming, process-oriented meetings focused on collective decison-making, while instead providing flexible opportunities for sustainability activists to do their thing.
The backbone of Sustainable Otsego is its listserv with hundreds of subscribers. You may subscribe to the list by filling out the form entitled "Subscribe to Riseup List" in the left column.
Some simple rules for the listserv: Please keep your posts to a minimum.
Please respond privately to other subscribers concerning matters not of general interest to the list. Restraint is a virtue. People hate cluttered inboxes. Above all, avoid personality attacks, lengthy, rambling commentaries unrelated to sustainability, or brief replies (thank yous, etc.) with little or no added value.
Conversely, if you have something new, including an opinion or a useful link which you think contributes even in a small way to our understanding of how to promote sustainability in our area and is of interest to the larger group, don't hestitate to post it. This is what we need to know.
If you are overwhelmed by the volume, there are digest and web-only options: to adjust your options go to this link, which is also found at the bottom of each email from the list:
Note: I am the founder and moderator of Sustainable Otsego. I rely heavily on the advice of some of you. I retain -- I hope in our mutual interest -- a veto of last resort regarding anything undertaken in the name of Sustainable Otsego, as well as the right to remove anyone from the list I judge to be disruptive of our purposes.
I ask for your support, your counsel, and your energies. My aim is not to focus on process and organization, but to offer a vehicle for people with talent and knowledge which enables them to contribute to a more sustainable way of life. This means like-minded people working on personal trust. Not everyone will fit in, nor should they; but those who do are most welcome.
Adrian Kuzminski, Moderator, Sustainable Otsego.