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Act Locally: Find something you can do and do it

Editor’s note: This is the first appearance of new periodic column in the Tidings, “Act Locally” (as in, “Think globally, act locally”), about specific steps local individuals are taking to lessen their impact on their environment, with particular attention to reducing the size of carbon footprints.

Ashland resident Lorraine Cook is currently a facilitator for Pachamama Alliance’s Awakening the Dreamer/Changing the Dream and convener for Pachamama Alliance’s pilot course on climate solutions, Drawdown.

After moving to Ashland in 1984, Lorraine took a job as program coordinator for the Southern Oregon University division of the Oregon Health and Science University’s Distance Learning Baccalaureate Completion Program for Registered Nurses. She also served as a student advisor while ministering over the nursing program for well over two decades.

Shortly before her retirement in 2012, Lorraine attended a symposium in Portland presented by the Pachamama Alliance. Realizing that the core message of Awakening the Dreamer/Changing the Dream (developing an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just planet) would appeal to her nursing students, she trained on-line to become a symposium facilitator, then began offering half-day workshops, first for students, and eventually for the general public.

In November 2017, Lorraine and fellow Ashlander Cynthia Taylor traveled to the Bay Area to participate in a Pachamama Alliance international event. There the group learned about a new environmental pilot program named Drawdown Solutions: Getting into Action! that was launching trial runs in a few, select cities. Lorraine and Cynthia agreed to bring the pilot program to Ashland.

The women offered an Introduction to Drawdown the following month, and a four-evening training session in January and February. A second series was held in April. The local Pachamama Alliance anticipates the next Drawdown course will be held in mid-to-late summer this year.

In the Drawdown symposium, participants consider a list of 100 practical solutions that environmentalist Paul Hawken calculated could serve to reverse the impact of carbon dioxide emissions. Each individual chooses one action point of interest and shares thoughts on the topic with the group. While many of the suggestions may be familiar, like installing roof-top solar panels or driving fuel-efficient vehicles, the Drawdown sessions serve to stimulate new ideas, foster alliances, and encourage attendees to put thought into action. Participants can also attend monthly potluck lunches to reinforce supportive community bonds developed during the course.

Asked for a single point of environmentally-friendly action that readers might take, Lorraine suggests: “Learn about the 100 solutions in Drawdown, and find the one you really care about, then get involved with others in working on it — the point is we have to come together to address a challenge this big.”

To follow Lorraine’s recommendation, readers can visit the Drawdown website at www.drawdown.org, which lists Hawken’s 100 solutions, and consider forwarding the website link on to friends and associates.

The public is invited to attend a healthy potluck luncheon from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at the Bellview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Road. For those interested in participating in the next Introduction to Drawdown (at no charge), the Pachamama team can be reached via email at info@SouthernOregonPachamama.org.

— Ashland resident, author and anthropologist Nina Egert has been a lay environmentalist since the early 1970s.

Courtesy photoLorraine Cook, left, and fellow Drawdown convener, Cynthia Taylor, celebrate Earth Day.