Posts Tagged ‘transition towns’

Across the US, hydraulic fracturing has been the source of a raging debate over domestic energy policy. While some tout “fracking” as a way to generate local power and provide jobs and money in a time of economic hardship, the act of  shattering shale to extract gas and petroleum have many worried. From exploding wells and flammable tap water to toxic chemicals contaminating aquifers and earthquakes, fracking has major consequences for the environment. California stands as the 4th largest gas and oil producing state, and even though new existing wells are already being exploited by fracking technology, the process is almost completely unregulated.

In response to the exploitation of land and natural resources, the Global Exchange has organized California Communities Rising Against Fracking, a speaking tour of the Golden State that exposes the realities of the extraction technology. The tour will largely target those areas that would most strongly impacted and stops include Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Culver City, and Los Angeles. Each stop will host a day of action preceded by a local media plan and outreach groups. Former Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania councilman Dough Shields will be scheduled to speak as one of the first to enact a “rights-based” ban on fracking in the nation.

The Global Exchange launched the Community Rights Program challenging corporate power five years ago to confront the unjust laws that value big business over the rights of citizens. The have partnered with organizations such as, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Clean Water Action, EarthWorks, and Transition Towns to fight for the health and well-being of Americans through grassroots efforts. Currently, they are working towards banning fracking in San Luis Obispo county, following the examples of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Mexico who have outlawed the process.

For more information on the tour, contact Shannon Biggs, Community Rights Program Director for the Global Exchange at (415) 575-5540 and

San Luis Obispo is fortunate to be a county where successful agriculture means a bounty of fruits and vegetables.  After commercial harvests have finished, there still may be hundreds of pounds of produce just waiting in the fields, ready to be picked by kind volunteers. Since March 2011, GleanSLO has collected over 30,000 pounds of apples, oranges, carrots, artichokes, squash, lemons and plums for the San Luis Obispo Food Bank Coalition.  GleanSLO has been awarded a $5,000 United Way Innovation Award for its excellence and commitment to the community.

“GleanSLO is not just a program; it’s a movement to purposefully re-engage SLO County residents in farming, healthy eating, and providing nutritious food for those in need,” says Caroline Ginsberg, the program’s founder.  Collaborating with other local activist organizations such as Cal Poly STRIDE, SUSTAIN-SLO, Transition Towns, the Central Coast Ag Network, SLO Grown Kids, and One Cool Earth, Glean SLO has become a member of the Central Coast’s philanthropic network.

Like to get involved?  Harvests last for about two hours and take place primarily on weekends.  There is often little notice for when the events occur, so make sure to be ready with a completed volunteer application, sign up for the newsletter by contacting, and have some good, comfortable work clothes and a water bottle on hand.  Many times, volunteers return home with bags full of produce once gleaning is over.  If you have a backyard garden or orchard bounty that you would like to contribute, tools, or cash donations, contact GleanSLO online for more details.

Do something to help end hunger in your community, enjoy the San Luis Obispo landscape, and have some fun!