NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | Saint Anthony Park considers becoming Transition Town with festival on April 20

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No matter the weather, on Saturday, April 20, Saint Paul’s Saint Anthony Park neighborhood will celebrate all things green. SAP is considering becoming a “Transition Town” with a festival — including kids’ activities, school projects, music, short films, and learning opportunities. A Transition Town is a community that understands that it must create less a fossil-fueled, energy-intensive way of life and at the same time a more stable, satisfying, locally-oriented one. Several working interest groups have already started the journey, and Saturday they will hold an expo of new initiatives, inviting discussion and participation.

Here are Festival details:

Date: Saturday April 20
Time: 1-4 PM – drop in or come for the entire afternoon!
Place: SAP Lutheran Church – 2323 Como Avenue (across from Speedy Market)
Host: Saint Paul’s District 12 Community Council

The District 12 Community Council has charged the Energy Resilience Group, or ERG (http://www.sapcc.org/ttasap), with raising community understanding of climate change, of the limits of fossil fuels and of possible constructive adaptation. Its members look to join the international Transition Towns network (http://www.transitionnetwork.org), uniting with other Twin Cities neighborhoods (http://www.transitiontc.org), to build local resilience while reducing carbon emissions.

Working interest groups include: Community Solar, Sustainable Food Production, Zero Waste, Transportation and Home Energy Reduction. Special groups address Getting Started — helping ideas find support — and a Reflective Circle — looking at how to handle the personal, interpersonal and cross-cultural dimensions of social change. On Saturday new groups will form and existing ones will take new shape.

In the past, SAP neighbors have planned together through their St. Paul District Council, spawning new ideas and energetic collaborations. ERG has also set up a library display, published articles the Park Bugle newspaper, created a webpage (see above) and screened a series of documentaries. This past winter, in two well-attended community meetings, neighbors saw how some were already responding to this challenge and brainstormed where to connect. The hope is that this Fall the neighborhood will formally join the Transition network, coming up with a plan for reducing energy use and CO2 emissions, to be vetted by the network.

ERG’s Tim Wulling says, “We want to pull people together to share what’s happening, to be inspired by each other… The human species lives too large on earth, creating climate and environment disruption.” Wulling adds, “It’s a real concern for our children and grandchildren.”

In the 10 years since 2003, all climate change models are out the window. The worst projections are reality. A simple statistic: in the last 2 years, 1 in 3 Americans has been directly impacted by weather catastrophes. Another: If you are 30 or younger you have never experienced a year where temperatures have been at or below historic averages. Bill McKibben, the founder of http://350.org, said, “We don’t have a silver bullet. But we do have silver buckshot.” ERGers are saying we must act together. Saturday’s event will bring them a bit closer.