Monday, October 14, 2013

September 12 Meeting Notes

by Mike Kastre
Notes from:
Transition Meeting
September 12, 7 PM
Bank of Romney Community Center

45 attended. (The initial meeting drew 30 people.)

Facilitator Tom Lewis opened the meeting with a brief discussion of the difficulties associated with sustainable living. Since it is hard to understand, hard to do, and doesn’t make anybody rich, he raised the question: why would anybody do it? One motivation, he said, is fear: fear of the consequences of not being able to do it after the effects of peak oil or climate change or the like have made it imperative.

He underscored the point by using Egypt as an example where the mainstream media is missing the larger point and pointed out it was a reason we should all be concerned. He illustrated the point that what is occurring in Egypt is not (as being reported) about revolution where Egyptians are searching for freedom and democracy. But rather it is the result of shortages. Because of what he called a “perfect storm” of peak oil, climate change, drought and skyrocketing food prices, the country went from being self-sufficient in the 1990s to having to import oil, food and borrowed money today. He called it a failing state, and an example of what’s in store for every oil-dependent country, including the US.  

Tom’s introductory remarks were followed by him being nominated as temporary chair for the meeting. He reminded the group that we were operating under a light version of Robert’s Rules and that we should refrain from injecting politics into discussions. This was followed by Mike Kastre being nominated as the temporary recording secretary.

Mike Kastre briefly discussed the minutes from our last meeting.

Tom then posed the question about what was the way forward. The consensus was that there appeared to be good interest so we should move towards an organization and a plan of action.

Tom suggested creation of a three person Steering Committee consisting of Tom Lewis, Steve Martin, and Mike Kastre.The group amended the motion to include two more individuals. It was decided to add Dale Brady and Dorothy Kengla.

The question of whether or not to join Transition International was raised. Tom informed the group that Steve Martin had been researching the group and would report his findings.Steve gave an overview of the group and its activities and stated that there seemed to be plenty of pros and no apparent cons at this point. He passed out an info sheet, which included their guiding principles as follows.

-Positive Visioning [focus on the positive]
-Help people access good information and trust them to make good decisions [sharing]
-Inclusion and openness [open to all]
-Enable sharing and networking
-Build resilience [flexible strength]
-Inner and outer transition
-Subsidiarity: self-organization and decision making at the appropriate level [local movements --retain their power]

Steve said he made email contact with Transition International and they seemed open and helpful. They indicated that if we did became part of the group we would be the first West Virginia transition group.

Steve discussed the three stages a group goes through before they make a decision. They are the Initial Stage (our first meeting), the Mulling Stage (where we are now), and the Official Stage (where we actually apply to become part of the larger movement if we wanted). The consensus was that all involved should look at Transition and we will make a decision as a group later.

Steve pointed out that Transition International offers training events. And, Tom added that we don’t want to plow the same ground so could learn from them to get to the next level.

Discussion also centered on using the existing Sustainable Potomac Highlands Facebook page to communicate and share info until we have our own venues.

Leveraging the experience of others through existing movements was also discussed, including Transition Charlottesville (, Staunton (, Centreville (, and Loudon (

Moreover, we agreed that we should coordinate with any local groups to the extent it is practical and beneficial.

There was also agreement that we are still not sure what to call ourselves, but are flexible when it comes to a name.

We broke into work groups with the recommendation to elect a task force chair as the first order of business. In addition, we were advised to try and come up with some concrete action. The following summarizes the activities.


Ruth Martin
Frank Woodson, Chair
Mike Kastre
Jim Wysopal
Tim Reese
Jimmy Slaton

The task force talked about the existing systems of Martins, Woodson, and Reese. Overview of how the systems work. Affordability issues and payback times. It was stressed that the first thing to undertake if contemplating a solar system was to determine what your needs are in terms of power. An essential part of this is to find ways to cut back and conserve in any way practical to establish a true baseline. Woodson recommended at a minimum to have the lowest cost, small wattage system possible to be able to communicate through things like ham radio in the event of an emergency. Action Item: Field trip to Martin’s Church View Farm on Saturday, September 28th at 10 AM to see their system.


Windy Cutler, Temporary Chair.

No action except they want to have workshops, on things like canning. They also mentioned that there is a presentation on wild mushroom picking at the Romney Public Library on September 28th.

Health & Medicine:

Although earlier in the meeting we decided to defer making this functional area until later, the group wanted to form it now. It was thought that initial activities might center around such things as how to use herbs as medicine.

Eva Taylor, Chair

Co-chairs and composition of this task force were:

Vince Lombardi
Sheila McChesney

Vince indicated that by the next meeting he will have set up a database to facilities such things as bartering, etc. It will contain skills, contact info for the different task forces (energy, food, etc.), and a schedule of events like workshops.

They indicated that they would study Transition websites to decide what ours will look like. Tom stated that while it was important to study the style, we should focus on developing one based on our specific needs. Vince and Sheila said they would have a proposal by next meeting for the group’s consideration. .
After we reconvened, Tom reiterated that we are a group and have an agenda.

We agreed to meet again on October 17th at 7 PM at the Bank of Romney Community Center. We also agreed to do whatever research we could and stay connected via email.

The meeting adjourned at 9 PM.

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