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The Town of Your Dreams

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There's a 12-step program for everything - including how to build a transition town.

In just about any phonebook in any town, one can find a positive-change 12-step program for just about any issue. But did you know that such a program exists for communities wishing to break free from the dependency on fossil fuels, which is powering our global economy? “Transition Towns” is part of that ever-growing worldwide movement, helping communities to become more sustainable, resilient, and vibrant. The Sandpoint Transition Initiative is the second in a growing number of towns in the United States that are now initiating this process. STI is currently working within the community, taking steps toward using less energy, lowering the effects of climate change, and promoting a thriving economy, a healthy environment, and social equity. Now entering Step 4, STI is preparing for an event on November 14 to introduce these concepts to the community.

In the first three steps, STI participants formed a steering group and began raising awareness about this initiative through local film showings and community discussions and started networking with other groups in Sandpoint that share similar goals.

In the program its members have dubbed a “social experiment,” Step 4 involves an “unleashing” event that not only sheds more light on the concept of sustainability but also encourages and invites all community members to participate in designing and implementing those things that will make Sandpoint a vibrant and resilient town.

You may be thinking that Sandpoint has changed enough in the last decade, but some of the changes that STI proposes actually revisit old ways that rural dwellers have always embraced while looking to the future to create a viable and healthy community. The Initiative hopes to tap into wisdom of both elders and youth to create a town that will easily adjust to changes in fossil fuel availability, affordable food, energy resources, and transportation issues. This process is viewed as a re-imagining of how a “dream Sandpoint” might be if members created a community in which all our basic needs were met and desires fulfilled. All are encouraged to participate to determine what a vibrant, sustainable community would look like to them. Would it mean having access to local goods and produce? Would it mean ensuring clean water, air, and food? And what does sustainability mean? It has been defined as a lifestyle that provides for and supports itself. Therefore, a sustainable community ultimately upholds the local economy, natural environment, and evenhandedness among its members.

So, how does the community build this dream together and form a sense of community like that of which our grandparents speak? How do we guarantee that future generations have meaningful work and activities in a place that feels safe and continues to inspire? How do members of this community collectively dream up the way we want to live? Those are the questions, and your answers are important for designing, planning, and implementing that dream.

Sandpoint has long been known for its ingenious and creative people. Time and again, community members have proved resourceful in creating solutions to problems that seemed impenetrable. Learn more on November 14 about how you can “unleash” your creativity. The event, entitled, “Imagine Tomorrow—Today,” will give all a chance to begin in the steps toward a collective brainstorming for solutions toward that dream. Picture a campfire gathering: an initial spark ignites and fuels a blaze of ideas and possibilities. Dream it up. We’re limited only by our imaginations.


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