the People, Are More Powerful Than We Dare to Believe!
aren't begging for anything, pleading for anything, or
demanding anything. They are exercising their
constitutionally-protected rights to make decisions that affect OUR communities.
YOUR INHERENT RIGHT OF LOCAL SELF-GOVERNANCE
Local Empowerment Workshop by
Communities large and small, left- and rightwing, rural and
urban, are passing legally binding laws that end all sorts of legal
but harmful corporate activities. There may be issues impacting your
community, that are about corporate "rights", but maybe
local residents don't realize that's the barrier to them getting what
they want (better internet service let's say).
Turn what you believe is already a winning issue in your
specific town into a significant local law change through a
"Community Rights" strategy. Communities in many states
have already passed such laws. They
The latest versions of some of these ordinances are even more
exciting and expansive - they guarantee - in enforceable law - the
RIGHT to renewable, sustainable energy for all residents, the RIGHT
to a safe food supply for all residents, and so on. Most of these
laws have been passed by local elected town/city councils, but some
go through the ballot box. It's a PRO-LOCAL-NEEDS movement.
to the fairgrounds in 2000, and to our office rooftop the next year.
This work expanded opportunities for solar in Oregon, as we used our
arrays and our influence to leverage passage and compliance with the
Oregon Net Metering Bill HB 3219, and the Solar LRT installer license SB932.
The years passed quickly with many activities for our small
organization: home tours, classes for children and adults, projects
on homes and businesses, newsletters to our members. We answered
several queries a week for technical and sourcing information.
Renewable energy gained credibility in the schools and community. We
taught energy workshops at Outdoor School each spring, and as a guest
instructor in the classroom each winter.
Then the economic downturn hit, and the housing industry crashed.
The modest streams of income we had cobbled together to support our
programs dwindled to a trickle. Only the dedication of our volunteers
and supporters kept SolWest going as the solar industry struggled to
regain its footing, and many of our exhibitors just faded away. It
was you, yes you: SolWest presenters, exhibitors, volunteers, and you
folks that come to participate and make it all worthwhile; you were
the ones that kept SolWest going! There are too many of you to name
here (you may find a few of the highlights in the left-hand column),
but we appreciate each and every one of you, as you have each
contributed something vital to our success.
EORenew has, in a sense, already done our job: those who wished to
learn about Renewables and Energy Efficiency here in eastern Oregon
have taken advantage of the opportunity offered by SolWest, and
brought it into the mainstream. We are PROUD of what weve
accomplished! The results of our projects and SolWest events are a
visible, positive contribution to our region. Were the
little nonprofit that could. Fifteen years ago, when we started
SolWest Fair, they said we couldnt succeed. If someone had told
us that wed not only succeed, wed do it for fifteen
years, wed have jumped for joy! Its hard to be sad about
our nonprofit going away, when we see how much of a positive effect
Is it enough: have we achieved energy sustainability? No! Until
every home or commercial building is constructed with an eye to how
it fits into its communitys renewable energy plan, until every
person thinks about the energy required to fill their individual
needs, and tries to source that energy responsibly, we have not
reached our objective. Our hope is to reach that tipping
point where, because each of us does the best we can, we set an
example for our friends and neighbors, and the ripples of influence
spread out in concentric circles, wider and wider, until the demand
for sustainable energy is a universal, irresistible force around the world.
As our little nonprofit rides off into the sunset, we are handing
off SolWest to Oregon RuralAction. Watch for folks wearing ORA tags
at SolWest, where theyll be exhibiting, presenting, and
volunteering. ORA plans to take up where we leave off, inspiring the
transition to sustainable energy in an ever wider area of the Inland
Northwest. We wish them the best!