On the Path to Sustainability: Problems and Prospects in our Bioregion
Catskills' Seminars with Albert Bates

>Hancock Permaculture Center is pleased to announce a series of seminars in the Catskills bio region.

We are collaborating with a variety of organizations and people to introduce Albert Bates and his wide experience in sustainability and permaculture. If we can establish "nodes of permanence" within our communities by better understanding where we live and how we live, we will be more prepared for energy decent.

Contact: Andrew Phillips
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“Oil has become the world’s foremost energy resource. There is no ready substitute, and decades will be required to wean societies from it. Peak Oil could therefore constitute the greatest economic challenge since the dawn of the industrial revolution.” -- Richard Heinberg

"Federal agencies currently have no coordinated or well-defined strategy either to reduce uncertainty about the timing of a peak or to mitigate its consequences. This lack of a strategy makes it difficult to gauge the appropriate level of effort or resources to commit to alternatives to oil and puts the nation unnecessarily at risk.” -- U.S. Govt Accountability Office, March 2007

Modern society is designed on the premise of cheap and abundant energy produced by fossil fuels like oil and coal. But oil is getting expensive and burning coal to produce electricity is changing the climate. How do we adapt our infrastructure and lives to create resilient, sustainable systems for the future? How can we meet the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil that are coming very soon?

There are alternatives applicable on all scales. Ecovillages are reducing energy use, localizing farming, and creating more sustainable local businesses. “Transition Towns” are springing up in North America and Europe. The Relocalization Network supports 159 groups in 12 countries to midwife the change. Europe leads the world in the number of registered ecovillages, with 138, followed by North America (110), Latin America (58), Asia/Oceania (52), and Africa/Middle East (21).

"Planned communities tend to evoke over-developed suburban neighborhoods and mini-malls," says the newest update to WorldWatch Institute’s Viital Signs 2007. "But increasingly, planned communities will come to mean neighbors living with a purpose beyond consumerism, embracing a sustainable lifestyle and forging meaningful connections with their neighbors."

Albert Bates is a permaculture and appropriate technology instructor at the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm community in Summertown, Tennessee. He has taught sustainable design, natural building, appropriate technology and permaculture to students from more than 50 nations. For seven years he served on the steering committee of Plenty, a relief and development organization with a focus on indigenous peoples, human rights and the environment, and in 1980 shared in the first Right Livelihood Award (known as the Alternative Nobel Prize).One of the founders of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas (1994) and the Global Ecovillage Network (1995), he is author of eleven books, including Shutdown: Nuclear Power on Trial (1979) and Climate in Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect and What We Can Do (1990). His Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times (2006) envisions the world as it will be transformed by peak oil and climate change, and offers a prescription for human re-inhabitation within changed conditions.

The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times has been named by ForeWord Magazine as one of the Ten Best Environmental Books of the Year. ForeWord is the leading trade magazine for libraries and booksellers in the USA.

Asked where he places himself on the peak oil spectrum, Albert says, "I lean toward the soft landing, or maybe a middle course that leads us to curb the rapacious appetites that have been so destructive of the natural world upon which we all depend. It isn't that I think governments will get smarter in time to make a real difference, although that could still happen, but I think people will educate themselves and will have time and resources enough to make their own transitions to appropriate lifestyle patterns, regardless of the ineptitude of their leaders.”

This all-day seminar will introduce permaculture, a land design system that encourages sustainable food, water, land restoration, forest gardening, flood mitigation, low energy footprint and a future.

Wednesday Oct. 3. 7.30pm
Otsego County Court House
193 Main Street, Cooperstown.
Contact: Adrian Kuzminski, 607-547-8586

Thursday Oct. 4. 6.30pm.
Friends Meeting House
15 Rutherford Place (on 15th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

Friday Oct. 5. 9-4
Lock Sheldrake (Liberty).
Sullivan County Community College SUNY,
112 College Road (off R. 52), Lock Sheldrake.
Contact: Beverly Page 845-434-5750

Saturday Oct. 6. 9.30-4.30
Broome County Public Library,
185 Court Street, Binghamton,
Contact: Susan Fahrenz to register - 607-584-9966.
Jerrine Wyman for information - 518-364-8295

Sunday Oct. 7. 9-4
Milford (Cooperstown & Oneonta),
Greater Milford Historical Society,
7 North Main Street, Milford.
Contact: Ed Lentz, 607-263-5425
Colleen Blacklock 607-433-4729

Co sponsors:
Hancock Permaculture Center, Sullivan County Community College SUNY, Lock Sheldrake. Sierra Club NYC Group, Beyond Oil NYC, Neighborhood Energy Network, Tri-State Food Not Lawns, Friends in Unity with Nature. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, City of Binghamton, Sierra Club - Susquehanna Group. Sustainable Otsego, Cooperstown Environmental Work Group of the Coalition for Democracy, the Freemans Journal newspaper, Otsego County Conservation Association, Hartwick College's 'Global Climate Change' Academic year Theme.