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E-M:/ Friends -- Keeping you in the loop... :-)



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Enviro-Mich message from Aaron Wissner <aaronwissner@yahoo.com>
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Hello Friends,

While I'm up, bouncing the baby back to sleep, on this rainy spring much-too-early morning, I thought I'd send you a note on how things are going with the conference.

The last two weeks have seen a flurry of both snowy weather and conference progress here in Michigan. We met with the local U.S. Representative, Vernon Ehlers, who happens to be a member of the U.S. Congressional Peak Oil Caucus, a former nuclear physicist and college professor. The meeting went well. He basically endorsed the conference, and we recorded several minutes of to-the-point discussion on peak oil. Given that peak oil and climate change are really non-partisan issues, I'm really appreciative that he was willing to meet, particularly since my personal efforts in politics have been on the other side of the isle.

The first members of the conference advisory committee got together, three times now, for work on the details of the planning. The next meeting is Wednesday. Each has taken the lead on a particular aspect, namely advertising/branding, contact outreach, project schedule, and conference design. This exceptional work is already bearing fruit as evidenced by the great refinement and additional detail we've been able to add to the website.

http://sustainabilityconference.org

We still have, of course, a long way to go, and we need much more help to make this event all that it can be, so if you can think of something that would help the project along, by all means, please lend a hand. Perhaps you have a particular skill (such as writing compelling press releases -- which is not my forte) that could be put to very appreciated use. We also have a great need for spreading-the-word. If you have email lists or friends to whom you could share the web site or information about the conference, please, please do so.

On the planning and web site front, you will see a new refined look, that was first launched only a week ago. The cover of the conference program and press material is also nearing completion. The timeline is now in "draft 2" with some adjustments to the placement of sessions, and I continue to consider how to balance the whole group auditorium time, with breakout time, with conversation time. Several Local Future Network members and friends have encouraged lots of time for building community, so thoughts on how to do that would be appreciated. Another refinement is in removing excessive detail from the draft agenda, so that one might read over it and not feel that the conference will be overwhelming.

On the financial end, we've published not only the registration rates, but also the rate for advertising, exhibitors, and levels of sponsorships. These are modeled after rates from similarly sized and audienced conferences, although our registration rate is much, much lower than most. Our goal has always been to keep registration at the lowest level possible, so the maximum number of people can afford to attend, and that price will not be prohibitive. The current $59 rate, which includes all three days plus two meals, is only available until the end of next week: please register before those rates increase.

A major event is the first draft publication of the breakout seminars. If you haven't taken a look at this, please do. This is an area that we'll need to focus on and critique quickly, so when our "call for presentations" form is ready, that our potential speakers will know exactly what their choices might be. The set of breakout seminars certainly can be expanded or refined in practically any direction. It is meant to have three dimensions, namely: 1. Sequence -- Plan A, Plan B, Plan D and Plan C, 2. Track -- Food, Energy, Environment, Community, and 3. Audience -- food activists, politicians, social change advocates, parents, etc. By the way, Plan D is a play on various "Plan D" references made in various other publications this year, and by putting it out of sequence, it is meant to show that it is not a complete solution.

Another exceptionally major event is the addition of three national and/or internationally known speakers to the already exceptional list of speakers. The selection and invitation of these three is designed to help raise up the quality and visibility of the conference. I'm particularly excited that the publication of Pat Murphy's book will coincide with the conference, and based on the title, "Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change", we can see that he is right on target with the idea of moving towards a Local Future.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts on speakers that would be good for the conference. My late entry into the literature of peak oil, climate change, environmentalism, etc. leaves me at a bit of a disadvantage when trying to come up with a list of names, so if you do have recommendations, please do send them, and with a bit of "this is who this is and why they would be great".

Well, I'd better catch some shut-eye before the alarm bell rings. I hope this not-too-short note does finds you well. Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

Aaron



--
Aaron Wissner
aaronwissner@yahoo.com

Local Future Network
http://localfuture.org

Value System: Gas Prices, Money, Peak Oil and The Future
http://valuesystem.livejournal.com

New Culture Videos
http://www.youtube.com/newculture


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