Transition Northfield Patricia Benson Board of Directors, Transition US Sharing information and resources is a principle of Transition – many of these slides were produced by others in the Transition Network. With many thanks!
Pop. 20,000 Rice County – rural Dakota County – metro fringe Proximity to Twin Cities: 30 miles and getting shorter!
Historical Northfield The Cows The Contentment 1855 began as an agricultural town, primarily corn & wheat Cannon River provided power for grain and lumber milling As wheat moved west, dairy and diversified farming replaced grain Grain elevator closed as the city is urbanizing River city with historic district Vibrant community with education, entertainment & service opportunities Socially connected community 1970’s completion of I35 resulted in growth as a bedroom community
The Colleges Carleton College St. Olaf College Cassat & Memorial Halls, LEED Gold certification Students for a Greener Carleton purchased a wind turbine and installed a green roof Arboretum with over 60% of 1050 acres planted to native species Eco-dining (locally grown, compostable dishes, food garden on campus) Education and research Community engagement Regents Hall LEED Platinum certification 15 local producers and Stogrow (student run organic farm) provide food to Bon Appétit All composting used on campus land Wind turbine supplies 1/3 of campus energy Restoring natural lands Education and research Community engagement
Engaged Local Government • Environmental Quality Commission • Northfield Energy Task Force • Non-Motorized Transportation Task Force • An engaged citizenry • Local sustainability organizations • St. Olaf College and Carleton College • Transition Northfield What’s Happening in Northfield?
Northfield, MN Local government
The City of Northfield Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) advises on matters concerning environmental quality and natural resources, including the implementation of the environmental policy enacted by ordinance. • The commission consists of seven members, appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. Environmental Quality Commission
To enable and promote walking, cycling, and other human-powered activities as safe forms of transportation, thereby creating healthier, more vibrant, and more energy-efficient communities. Non-motorized Transportation Task Force Established by Northfield City Council in 2007
The Task Force goals include assessing opportunities to develop energy efficiency and clean energy projects, assess the value of creating a municipal electric utility or special energy district, and recommend a citywide target and prepare a plan for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to meet the City's commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCPC). • Reports to the Environmental Quality Commission Energy Task Force Established by Northfield City Council, May 2007
Charge 1: To assess opportunities to develop local energy efficiency and clean energy projects that will: • protect the community from future energy price and supply instability • enhance local economic development • provide local, regional and global environmental benefits. With Hope: A Resilient Community An Action Plan for Northfield Area Energy Sustainability
Charge 1: Viable Options for City Government Lead clean energy projects and model energy conservation/efficiency to create social norms Direct City staff to consider climate, energy, environmental, economic, and social impact of all decisions using life cycle analysis and monetary impact analysis. Create/expand city policies, ordinances and guidelines to reflect sustainable design criteria
Charge 1: Viable Options for City Government Develop local policies and initiatives that help create demand for green collar occupations through public sector investments and incentives that drive private sector investments Create an Energy Commission reporting directly to City Council Set up a 1-Stop-Shop for energy and staff it with a qualified energy coordinator
Charge 2: To assess the efficacy of creation of a municipal electric utility or special energy district in achieving parts a,b and c of Charge 1. With Hope: A Resilient Community An Action Plan for Northfield Area Energy Sustainability
Charge 2 Recommendations Not pursue a municipal utility at this time of economic uncertainty because costs are so great Work with key stakeholders to ensure that any new industrial park be powered by renewable energy, use best environmental practices, and attract green businesses. Work toward establishing a special energy district for combined heat and power (CHP) and cooling that would service existing industrial/institutional users.
Charge 3: To recommend citywide target greenhouse gas emission reductions to fulfill Milestone 2 of the City’s commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCPC). With Hope: A Resilient Community An Action Plan for Northfield Area Energy Sustainability
Charge 3 Recommendations • Set significantly more aggressive targets for Northfield and the surrounding, partnering townships, such as • Carbon Free by ’33 (100% reduction by 2033) • 15% reduction by 2013 • 50% reduction by 2028 • Begin annual measurement/inventory update immediately. Inventory results reported by June each year via the City website to the Environmental Quality Commission, City Council, and the public.
Charge 4: To develop an action plan to meet the CCPC targets identified in Charge 3 and report to City Council by the end of May 2008. With Hope: A Resilient Community An Action Plan for Northfield Area Energy Sustainability
Charge 4 Recommendations Use local government policy tools to facilitate achievement of CCPC targets listed in Charge 3. Recommend a Climate Action Plan of 10 items.
Minnesota Green Step Cities Northfield applied to participate in the pilot program and is on the waiting list, 2009.
What is Green Step? Green Step Cities is an action-oriented voluntary program offering a cost-effective, simple pathway leading to implementation of sustainable best practices that focus on greenhouse gas reduction. Technical assistance will be available from state agencies, utilities, nonprofit organizations, and others. Cities will be recognized for past steps and new actions.
Green Step: Goals & Objectives Achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases and other positive environmental outcomes Provide assistance for local governments to achieve best practices in energy use reduction and sustainable development Provide a "Pathway to Sustainability" that is cost-effective, pragmatic, and achievable for all cities Identify specific existing state agency staff and others who are committed to and technically able to help cities implement each specific best practice Promote innovation Inspire and assist residents, businesses, and communityinstitutions to take action Recognize local governments for their past accomplishments and their new efforts spurred by the program.
EPA Community Climate Change Initiative Northfield joined in December 2009 to address climate change through decisions regarding land use, building practices, transportation, and waste management and recycling to reduce Green house gas emissions.
Northfield, MN On the road
City bus runs from 8:30 – 4:00 • Takes you anywhere in town for $1 • Summer passes available to students under 18 • Metro Express (October 2009) • Commuter service to the Mpls/St. Paul area and airport in 4 round trips daily • $8 ticket or commuter discount pass • Bike lanes on multiple streets • Connected, paved greenway trails connect residential districts to bike lanes on roadways • First ‘Walk or Bike to School’ day Transportation Options in Northfield
Northfield, MN At the table
At the Table Options Education • Local Food Action Network • Loose coalition with representation through multiple organizations and businesses involved in local food movement • Liaison to Environmental Quality Commission • Just Food classes • Just Food’s Compost publication • Permaculture classes • Informed via colleges Local CSAs College gardens Farmers Market Just Food Co-op Organic and whole food sections in 2 local grocery stores Community gardens City land use requires organic practices City orchard pending
Northfield, MN In the Home
Several congregations in the community have “Creation Care” teams engaging households in sustainability efforts. • Several organizations doing sustainability work have strong membership representation in town. • The City has great plans but no money to hire a sustainability coordinator. • Many citizens are aware and engaged, but far more are unaware and unengaged. How do Northfield’s citizens fit into the picture?
Minnesota Energy Challenge Northfield ranks 7th in state 2,705,180 lbs CO2 reduction $250,925 savings in energy dollars 332 Members – in a city of 20,000 Seeking more household participation
The Transition movement represents one of the most promising ways of engaging people and communities to take the far-reaching actions that are required to mitigate the effects of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. Furthermore, these relocalization efforts are designed to result in a life that is more fulfilling, more socially connected and more equitable than the one we have today. TheTransitionMovement
Who is looking at Transition? (Proportionate – enlarged for presentation)
How are they organising? Transition Movement • Understanding: • PO + CC ≠ “business as usual” • Adaptability, creative • NOW • 7 Buts • 12 Steps • Transition Network • Transition US
A small core, usually 3-5 people, who serve as Transition catalysts in the local community. • Founders and pioneers, these folks serve up to 2 years and from the beginning plan their own demise. • Objectives: • Awareness Raising • Great Unleashing • Form Working Groups • Form Core Team Transition Northfield Initiating Group
We envision a vibrant, resilient, and socially equitable community committed to respect and care for each other and our natural world that is prepared to meet our basic needs by relocalizing our sources of food, energy, and health care in the face of oil depletion, climate change, and economic instability. Transition Northfield Our Vision (goal)
In the spirit of collaboration we will use Transition tools and our community’s diverse wisdom to create an energy descent plan and move us from our current non-renewable ways of meeting our basic needs to a sustainable, localized culture. Transition NorthfieldOur Mission (how we will get there) Approved by the Initiating Group October 31, 2009.
What’s stopping us? (1) • Dominant myths of today • Things are getting better • Economic growth is good • We must keep shopping • Technology will solve all our problems • There is no alternative • You can’t stop progress • Living standards are rising • Humans are selfish and greedy by nature • The market will solve it • We’re all doomed…
Transition Model – 7 “buts” (1) • we don’t have funding • “they” won’t let us • no enemies… apparently • turf wars with other green groups
Transition Model – 7 “buts” (2) • no one cares about the environment • it’s too late anyway • I don’t have the right qualifications • I don’t have the energy to be doing that
Can we respond? • Going up the energy slope, we used • ingenuity • creativity • adaptability • cooperation • Going back down… • if we’re early enough • if we’re cooperative • the future could be a whole lot better…
Techno-Fantasy Where are we going? Peak Energy? Green-Tech Stability • Energy use • Resource use • Environmental degradation • Pollution Industrial Ascent Creative Descent (Permaculture) Earth stewardship Post Mad Max Collapse Pre-industrial culture Historical Time Industrial Revolution Great Grand Children Future Time BabyBoom Agriculture 10.000yrsBP
What’s stopping us? (2) • Cognitive Load Theory (fruit salad experiment) • Short term vs long term thinking • rational vs emotional, neocortex vs mammalian vs reptilian • Belief in authority figures • electrocution experiment - 65% gave lethal dose • obedient children survive • Sunk cost, or investment in the present • “it’s difficult convincing a person of something when his job depends on him not believing it” • Optimism • an optimistic outlook is neurochemically self-fulfilling
Transition Process - Step 1 • Set Up a Steering Group and Design Its Demise from the Outset • atrophy • personal agendas • humility • stages 2-5 • reforms from subgroups
Transition Process - Step 2 • Awareness raising • allies and networks • prepare community • movies • talks • events
Transition Process - Step 3 • Lay the foundations • other groups • existing projects • official bodies • businesses • collaboration
Transition Process - Step 4 • Organise a Great Unleashing • coming of age • powerful, passionate, informative, inspirational • timing • content • making connections