A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Woodstock Transition

By Kirk Ritchey

Woodstock Transition, now in its eighth year, continues to evolve and strives to inform our community of the importance of our mission: community and individual resilience.  Woodstock Transition is a part of global Transition Town organization, which in the United States is called Transition US. We sponsor local initiatives and projects aimed at strengthening our communities and neighborhoods, and encouraging residents to work together on building solutions to the challenges brought about by climate change and economic uncertainty.

What is resiliency and why is it important for a community and its individuals to possess this capacity? Resiliency means having the ability to recover readily from illness, adversity, or the like. Its importance today grows out of the increased uncertainty in our lives due to climate change. Each one of us, as well as our local government, needs to strengthen our capacity for resilience.

Resiliency used to be an innate quality of towns and the people who lived in them. However, today it isn’t spoken of much. One probable cause of this is that over the past century we have all relied upon a system that industrialized our food, our energy and other essentials. Now, many generations later, the result has weakened our communities’ resiliency and our own self-reliance, as well. Resiliency can also be understood as knowing and making the choices that increase one’s capacity to cope and deal with uncertainty.

This year I learned of Project Drawdown (drawdown.org) the most comprehensive plan to date that aims not only to mitigate, but to reverse, global warming. The book, “Drawdown”, edited by Paul Hawken, lists 80 solutions already in practice around the world that sequester carbon or in other ways contribute to the reversal of climate change. The 80 solutions listed in the book are prioritized by their capacity to sequester carbon from the air.  They are divided into seven sectors: food, energy, buildings and cities, land use, transport, women and girls, and materials.

The theory behind Project Drawdown is that if we give people accurate information they will make good choices.  For seven years Woodstock Transition has been honoring this principle by holding a film series featuring movies that present a call-to-action for people to help make a difference in their communities. The movies and information provided are often about how other communities have faced challenges due to climate change and what solutions they have chosen.  This year’s film series focuses on some of the solutions in Drawdown’s food sector.  The four-part film series moves from sustainable farming practices, to making a difference with the food we choose to eat, to food waste and what to do about it, and finally to community-wide food composting. The 2019 Film Series begins with a movie about sustainable farming practices, called — you guessed it — “Sustainable.”  The second event we’re calling “Reversing Climate Change One Meal at a Time”, and is about making everyday choices to eat local foods that positively affect the earth’s climate. The third event is about managing food waste, which currently in the US is 40% of the food produced, with the movie, “Just Eat It” and also features Bread Alone co-owner Sharon Burns Leader, who will speak about how they manage their food waste challenge. The final event is on Composting and shows how local community composting in happening in the Hudson Valley and what we can do to contribute.

The 2019 Film Series is sponsored by Woodstock Transition, Woodstock Land Conservancy, Woodstock Jewish Congregation and St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church. Each 2019 Film Series event will be at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, located at 1682 Glasco Turnpike, Woodstock, from 7:00-8:30 PM, and will be held on the last Monday of each month — 1/28, 2/25, 3/25 and ending on 4/29.  Each evening will consist of a short film and some form of Community Conversation, involving subject matter experts and audience participation.  Events are free, open to the public, and donations are encouraged.