here’s a divinely inspired bit of madness (or perhaps just plain old madness).
THE 250 is a project inspired by the Unitarian Universalist Church and Rob Hopkins Transition 2.0 (which presents Transition as a ‘pattern language’ to be shared as opposed to a set of instructions to be copied).
OUR PROBLEM: We live in a Valley with a population of approximately 2 million people. According to modern sociologists (and summarized brilliantly by Malcolm Gladwell in “The Tipping Point“), it takes about 10% of the population to make a significant cultural change.
Um… eek! I feel like we’re doing very well in Transition SFV but that’s a heck of a steep hill to climb.
OUR ASSETS: The Transition model, a diverse community, incredible media access, and a number of incredible amazing organizations already doing wonderful work to change this culture for the better.
OUR SOLUTION?: To network 250 organizations with 1,000 active members apiece that work in the San Fernando Valley. This is accomplished through a covenant — a group of simple, profound traditions that new members can agree to; this creates an association of organizations that allows for a common language and sharing of goals, information & resources. This model — the covenant — is the foundation of success in the Unitarian church and current global political movements (like the one in Egypt).
250 organizations, 1,000 members — that’s 250,000 people. Imagine running into 1 out of every 10 people you know and finding out they’re engaged in this work.
This project — the 250 –, by the way, has already been started. A group of parents is working on the language of the covenant on Friday at Our Community School in Chatsworth. As we work on it, we’re going to keep inviting more and more people into the dialogue until we all feel like we’ve got something special. Then we’re going to unleash it.
To be clear, this isn’t an everyone-join-Transition project or hierarchical construct. It’s an association by choice, a recognition that a number of us are transitioning out of an unsustainable society in many ways. It’s a chance for us to bring our best to the table.
The organizing cluster around which the participants associate is this image, taken from permaculture principles:
An organization like Our Community School (for example) would be grouped under Care for People.
It also becomes part of our shared goals. Care for the Earth, Care for People, Fair Share. All linked, all interdependent on each other. This isn’t solely about numbers (though that counts towards a tipping point) — it’s about actively AND EFFICIENTLY networking people so that their work gets easier, not harder and so we can all stand together.
So how does this relate to the topic at hand, to the parklets and Canoga Park?
Well, every movement needs its victories.
We’d like to take our streets back.
We’re looking at 4 locations — Canoga Park (the Follow Your Heart / Madrid Theater / CP Playhouse corridor), Chatsworth (the Food Truck corridor), Reseda (along Sherman Way) and San Fernando. We believe that within this year we can make a good covenant, get some organizations to sign on in association with it and then transform at least one of those areas (if not more) into our local “3rd Street Promenade” (even if it’s just for one night a week).
Make Covenant –> get a few organizations on board –> transform a street into a pedestrian friendly strip.
By October of next year.
What do you think?