Rutland Meeting Minutes

Rutland County Environmental Literacy Public Dialogue

Rutland Free Library

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meeting Minutes

Participants responded to the question, “What do you see when you picture an environmentally literate community?  What’s happening?  What are individuals, schools, businesses, organizations, etc. doing in your future vision?” as follows:

Public Institutions

  • Environmental education and Farm to School are structured into the school system.
  • Politicians are not afraid to vote “green.”
  • There is a common place to access shared information.
  • The word “green” is a given.

Private Sector

  • Winter farmer’s markets are commonplace.
  • The word “green” is a given.
  • Models are shared.

Individuals

  • Literacy comes from sharing information between individuals.
  • No trash society – everything is recycled.
  • Share things cheerfully to simplify life.
  • True awareness/understanding of impacts – not being sold on marketing.
  • People are eating locally produced, seasonal food.
  • People are coming together to find a way to share resources.
  • Lifestyles are based on carrying capacity.
  • Citizens are informed and invested, and they participate in the decisions of the community.
  • Stewardship is the foundation of decisions by communities.

Associations

No visions were posted under this category.

Additional Visions

  • As part of systems thinking, it is emphasized that every action has an opposite and/or equal reaction.

Participants responded to the request to, “Share some of the environmental projects and initiatives that already are happening in your workplace or community that bring us closer to an environmentally literate Vermont.” as follows:

Public Institutions

  • Rutland County Solid Waste District moved to single stream recycling and zero waste goal.
  • Legislative effort to reduce packaging
  • The Sharon Academy is raising funds to buy a biodiesel bus.
  • Mettawee Community School garden and Farm to Table project
  • Green Mountain College biomass heat plant
  • Middlebury College biomass heat plant/grow their own fuel
  • Rutland High School’s energy efficiency audit
  • Green Mountain College embeds literacy in all of its programs
  • Rutland Herald’s environment section
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center (RRMC) gets CSA shares from the Kilpatrick Family Farm in Granville for hospital workers.
  • Rutland Recreation Department is developing Pine Street Trails
  • Rutland Regional Medical Center (RRMC) and the mall nature trails
  • Vermont Department of Forest Parks’ recreation trails program
  • Stafford Tech’s options – forestry program, etc.
  • Community Center’s environmental lifestyle classes
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) healthy family cooking
  • Efficiency Vermont public dialogues and between utilities for energy future
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Vermont Youth Conservation Corps
  • Public radio and televisions programming
  • Rutland bike path
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Town Energy Committees
  • “Green Mondays” at Castleton State College
  • “Turn it off” stickers at Castleton State College
  • Service learning is imbedded in the classes at Castleton State College.
  • Center for the Community to enhance linkages at Castleton State College
  • Bike trails in city to Pine Hill Park
  • Pittsford trails
  • Community College of Vermont environmental studies program
  • Community gardens at Rutland City, Currier and Lothrup schools
  • Rutland Community Garden behind McDonald’s on Woodstock Avenue
  • 10/10/10 Initiative

Private Sector

  • Green Mountain College policy in place about green, energy efficient and local foods
  • Bottle Redemption Centers and nearly new/consignment/second-hand stores make it easier to reuse.
  • Green Mountain Bottle Redemption accepts juice and water bottles to make recycling easier.
  • VELCO facilities buy solar hot water
  • Local farmers and local food
  • Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) has solar panels and Cow Power
  • Share Heat
  • Smokey House
  • Isabella’s Eatery
  • Single stream recycling at For the Earth Incorporated (part of Green Mountain Redemption) – Trash pickup is reduced from weekly to monthly.
  • Food Co-op
  • Rutland Herald’s environment section
  • Local hardware stores supporting energy efficiency programs
  • Efficiency Vermont
  • CVPS gets local produce during the week for meetings and also for employees to take home.
  • CVPS has a renewable energy education center
  • VT electric coop pilot for smart meters as part of the move to a state-wide Smart Grid
  • CVPS plug-in hybrid cars with Green Mountain College and the University of Vermont
  • Red Brick Grill produced their own food and composted food scraps.
  • Rutland/Marble Valley Transit extending routes for public transportation

Individuals

  • Greg Cox and others are looking for a permanent location for a winter farmers’ market.
  • Carol Tashie organized gogowerde.com, an online community that shares ideas and things.
  • More home gardens and composting
  • Individuals recycle
  • Reusing bags, water bottles, mugs, etc.
  • Carpooling website at the Community College of Vermont was started by an individual
  • Choosing fuel-efficient vehicles, appliance, light bulbs, etc.
  • Installing heat pumps in homes
  • Raising grass-fed beef
  • Walking or biking more and driving less (Ruth Larkin from Green Mountain College gave up her car for the semester.)
  • Paperless online banking
  • Shorter commuting distances
  • People live in small, multi-purpose communities that meet all their needs so they don’t drive as much.
  • People use public transportation.
  • Buy online.
  • Buy locally.
  • Greg Cox (Boardman Hill Farm) hosts farm incubator
  • Vermont Bean Crafters
  • Megan (a participant in the dialogue) rode public transit from Bennington to get to the dialogue.
  • Weekly Planet contributors
  • Poultney community has shared dinners.
  • Rutland Recreation has community gardens.
  • Dump Masters – secret recyclers
  • People speak up at their office.

Associations

  • Recycle North is now called ReSource – no waste and deconstruction resources for communities
  • Intervale (Burlington)
  • Rutland golf course is going “green” – beaver management, fewer chemicals, composting leaves, etc.
  • Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL)
  • Community recreation clubs hold sledding parties, track bike miles, etc.
  • Rutland Walks
  • Poultney Safe Routes to School – survey of travel routes, create safe way to school, free bike helmets and tune-ups, etc.
  • Conservation District is planting trees and doing stream restoration.
  • Student Conservation Association
  • Gogoverde – social network, resource sharing
  • Free Cycle (Rutland chapter)
  • Political parties
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Vermont Audubon
  • Vermont Recycles
  • Four Winds Nature Institute for K-6 with citizen volunteers
  • Rutland/Burlington train organization to link the two cities
  • Group that opposes large scale wind turbines
  • Solar Fest
  • Sustainable Rutland
  • Smokey House
  • Reef Check

Participants responded to the question, “In order to get from where we are today to your future vision of environmental literacy, what more needs to happen?” as follows:

Public Institutions

  • Provide a communal space to exchange ideas, information and resources and maybe a website to go along with it.
  • Sustainable funding for education – informing citizens, groups, legislators, etc. of reliable, true information
  • Start an environmental show on Peg TV.
  • Public Service Announcements on radio and TV – small tips that you can do
  • Expand the bottle bill to include everything sold in plastic bottles and cans.
  • Label food and packaging with where it came from.
  • Adopt environmental literacy standards in schools, K-12.

Private Sector

  • Develop programs to engage the public.
  • Private companies can participate in partnerships (i.e. bus transportation for ski workers).
  • Businesses listen to employees’ suggestions (i.e. VELCO stopping catalog delivery)
  • More life cycle analysis
  • Recognition for good corporate steps to be green (i.e. green stamp, carbon used)
  • More companies can take back their own waste (i.e. Stonyfield Farms).

Individuals

  • Create community potlucks where everyone brings a small amount of food, and there’s no charge.
  • Individuals build their own environmental literacy by making connections with others who don’t share their worldview or their level of literacy, neighbor to neighbor.
  • Environmental study groups, book clubs, challenges, etc.
  • VEI books focusing on sustainability and facilitators who jump start the communities
  • Make connections across barriers at the community/local level.  Be willing to cross lines and listen and move out of the “bubbles” we live in.
  • Participate in town meetings and town government
  • Participate/volunteer at the community level (i.e. fire departments, public service work, etc.)
  • Participate in athletic teams and sports.
  • Avoid blaming and polarization.
  • Create citizen-based water monitoring projects (i.e. watershed alliance)
  • Citizens feel empowered, have tools and have motivation

Associations

  • Associations work together to host shared informational speakers.
  • Associations work together in general – share websites, share Rideshare, share calendars, etc.  There’s one place to go for this information and it can be digested once/week.

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