Grassroots — Is there any more forceful way to get things done?

photo credit: geography allthe-way Flickr

One engine that has driven the University of Wisconsin for more than 100 years and made it a great (Go Badgers!) institution is the Wisconsin Idea –that education should never be dry or abstract but that it should pour out of the classrooms, connecting to people’s lives — studying and fertilizing the grassroots.

Sustainability – the issue that defines our times — is gaining force at the grassroots level.   And no surprise, the UW-Extension has a Sustainability Team.  In four years it has grown to some 30 members around the state reinforcing local efforts to guide Wisconsin toward sustainable growth.

Its latest effort is a series of roundtables coming up in a few weeks.  (Details below)

The UW Extension and partners provide a framework to bring citizens and experts together throughout the state.  They are applying their energy and focusing the enthusiasm that communities can use as a framework for change.

According to Christine Kelly, Midwest Regional Collaborative for Sustainability Education workshop coordinator, “A new model of communication and learning is needed.”   She says that learning has to examine rather than accept the status quo and be ready to change.  We have to rethink our basic paradigms to see things differently.  As we develop new perspectives, we can create a different future.

In this spirit, the UW Extension and partners have organized some exciting free regional workshops.

February 26     Stevens Point

March 2           De Pere

March 2           Waukesha

March 3           Altoona

March 3           Ashland

March 5           Rhinelander

Find out what is going on in your area and get your ideas into the hopper.  You’ll find all the pertinent contact information for your location here.

These roundtables will be followed by the Sustainable Communities Public Policy Forum March 25-26 at the UW-Fox Valley Communication Arts Center in Menasha.

This event is going to include a keynote presentations by Dr. David Morris , co-founder of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, and Satya Rhodes-Conway, a senior associate at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy Policy.

You will get a chance here to find out what is working in other communities because the forum will offer examples of three Wisconsin communities and three out of state communities who are working on sustainability.  One of the out-of-state communities uses the Transition Town model .  Other communities are working with a program called The Natural Step.   If you haven’t heard of these — check out their sites.  Both organizations are active world wide, helping communities take responsibility for their own future.

If the now-here-this, top-down format is not your style, these roundtables and forums are a chance of actually getting the ball rolling in your area.   Take advantage of these resources.

If you attend any of these, please let me know.  Share what you learn.

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