The majority of the world's inhabitants live in urban areas. It would be impossible and disastrous for large numbers to seek refuge in the countryside. Cities therefore have to be made sustainable and not continue to be toxic to the biosphere. Many towns in Ireland, Britain, Australia and New Zealand have taken the initiative to transform themselves into Transition towns. Curitiba, Brazil is cited as being at the forefront of most sustainable cities. Cuba has been forced early into solutions by its own peak oil crisis when they lost Russian oil support. In the US, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and Oakland in California, have begun the process of becoming ecocities.
The District of Columbia has a lot of catching up to do. While there are some admirable and necessary individual and municipal initiatives, they are too little, too late. The air quality in DC is one of the nation's worst despite extensive tree cover. The exigencies of our current national and global situation demand that urgent, drastic action be taken now. What is accomplished in DC, the capital of the US, will have far-reaching influence and tremendous impact in halting environmental decline.
Ecolocity is definitely about cross-fertilization; we don't know everything, nor have all the answers or can attempt everything. We will support anyone or group who we consider is doing good work. We don't wish to duplicate efforts, reinvent the wheel or compete. We're like connective tissue, trying to bind all the existing efforts together into a cohesive whole; or like stem cells which can morph into required structures and functions as the conditions require. Primarily we are interested in stimulating, catalyzing thinking leading to action that addresses specific issues rather than prolonged discussion, waiting on authorities and finding every reason why something cannot be done.
Our primary focus is making DC a Transition town, working with other groups to devise and implement an Energy Descent Action Plan to get DC more carbon-free by 2020. However, environmental considerations are not the only concerns. Human ecology is equally critical so we have to address the impact of decline on already vulnerable populations: the aged, homeless, unemployed and the infirm.
We intend to establish an intentional community in the District that will put into practice alternative solutions that can be spread to neighboring areas and ultimately be applied on a wider scale.
Currently, much of our efforts are focused on food-based issues. Our current industrial food system is both dysfunctional and unsustainable. Huge inputs of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides threaten everyone's water and air quality, while personally having huge health effects on the workers who tend and pick the produce. Peak oil and climate change both threaten this system further, pushing up the prices of what is available, denying the poorest and most vulnerable the very possibility of being healthy. Ecolocity wants to create a sustainable food system in D.C.'s foodshed that draws from a number of sources - community gardens, urban farms, small to medium rural farms, and even backyard agriculture. We teach workshops and provide resources both for people to grow their own, buy from those who do grow sustainably, and identify gaps where we can improve production or distribution.
Come join us make Metro D.C. a vibrant, sustainable region where everyone has access to healthy, good, local food!