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E-M:/ Our Local Future

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

The future will be local. We can see it everyday in the headlines. The prices for energy are rising. Food costs are rising. The entire structure of the economy is shifting away from globalization, and towards a local future.

Today's Wall Street Journal illuminates how the "Big Three" automakers will all soon be closing up shop, perhaps in less than two years. For the USA, this should be the wake up call that getting local is necessary. For Michigan, home base for the automakers, the time for idle talk is over.

As we march forwards through this peak oil era, it is necessary to change, but making this change takes intention and effort.

The goal of the Local Future nonprofit is to help people prepare and transition to this new, low-energy, future of tomorrow.


You may be aware that Local Future hosted the inaugural "International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability" in Grand Rapids, Michigan earlier this month. The conference was a complete success on all dimensions. Not only was it organized in a record time (less than five months), but it brought together fifty speakers and a total of over two hundred people to learn about why we must make this transition, and how to do it.

But the live event was just the launch of the conference. We meticulously video recorded practically every talk and seminar at the conference. I am now looking at a row of about fifty hours of video tape, and a primary goal for the conference is to get all of this video published to the Internet. Already, the first videos are online, at the conference web site, with new videos being published every week. And via this method, the conference is already increase "attendance" by over 50%.

As a success of this conference, our sights are now on future events. The intention is to host next years conference in late April or early May. This would most likely be a four-day conference which would add more discussion and networking time, as well as a deeper focus on solutions.

We are in the process of considering a host city for next years conference. If you would like to help host the conference in your city, please let us know.


The videos of the conference, and other talks, are available for free at LocalFuture.org

In addition, our goal is to edit the conference videos for DVD. The current effort is to edit the Friday evening event (2 1/2 hours) and master that as the first DVD. Editing is proceeding smoothly on this project, and this DVD should be complete before the month is out. These DVD's will be available for cost, and may be reproduced for free. The goal is simply to spread the word and make this information available to everyone.

In addition, this videos will be edited into one-hour DVDs specifically designed to be broadcast over community access and local TV stations.

Again, all of the talks will be provided for free on the internet, hosted by YouTube, but also available through LocalFuture.org and SustainabilityConference.org

Thus far, main stage talks by George Heartwell, Vernon Ehlers, Aaron Wissner, Pat Murphy, and Megan Quinn Bachman are online.


Preparing video for publication can be a time consuming task, with each one hour of video taking about ten hours to properly edit and publish. As such, if anyone is interested in assisting with this effort, please let us know.


Using the weekend conference model, we are looking for other host cities to hold national, regional, state, or city level conferences. The model can be adapted to any number of speakers. The web site structure is available for use. A reasonable time frame is that the venue and date should be secured at least six months in advance of the event. If you would like to learn more about this possibility, again, please let us know.

We are also looking at creating an additional one-day model conference. The goal of this one-day model would be to take all the best components from the International Conference, and include them in a one-day event. One possibility is to host a one-day conference in the Grand Rapids Michigan area to build upon the local initiative to educate the area to the issues. Again, please let us know if this is of interest to you.

Finally, we are seriously looking at hosting a weekend scale conference at Crystal Mountain resort in Michigan. The conference facility can accomodate over 400 people and the President of Crystal Mountain is very peak oil aware and fully supportive of hosting a conference there. Stay tuned for more news on this.


For those who attended the International Conference, there is an online feedback form here:


Feedback on both what went well, and what can be improved with future conference, would greatly be appreciated.


Our efforts with the pilot group are continuing in Middleville Michigan. Here, we have a three pronged approach: 1. free educational events that detail both the problems and the solutions, 2. the formation of an "Energy and Climate Uncertainty Task Force", and 3. working directly with local media outlets.

Middleville hosts an event this week on Tuesday, June 21, at 7 p.m., at the EMS building to discuss ways to move the community forward towards sustainability. For more information on Middleville, see this page:


In addition, the Grand Rapids and Holland efforts are moving along. In Holland, Local Future has teamed up with a local sustainability group and the public library to host a series of films and discussions. In Grand Rapids earlier this week, a group gathered to learn more about peak oil with professor Ken Piers and to discuss future efforts in the Grand Rapids area.

Finally, the Wayland group is set to launch in the fall, using an improved model based on the learnings from the Middleville pilot.

If you are interested in starting a local future education effort in your community, please let us know.


Several have asked if donations are accepted, and of course, as a new nonprofit corporation, Local Future is always extremely grateful for donations both large and small.

In addition to the efforts detailed above, which do require significant monetary expenditure. In particular, we would like to apply for tax-exempt status under code 501(c)(3) of the U.S. IRS code, and the proper preparation of the paperwork, plus the application fee, will probably take nearly $3,000.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit this web page which has additional details:



Local Future's goal is to empower people to smoothly transition to the lower energy future that we are quickly approaching. The era of globalization was one supported by extremely inexpensive energy, but this era is quickly drawing to a close. The future will be local. Energy, fuel, food, and all essential and basic needs will be met at the local level. This is transition can be either rough or smooth. By learning, working, and playing together, we can make this change with courage, grace, and compassion.

Best regards,


Aaron Wissner
269 - 795 - 4311  (home)
269 - 487 - 6952  (mobile)

The International Conference on Peak Oil & Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability

Local Future: Saving Earth by Going Local

Value System: Gas Prices, Peak Oil, Money and The Future

Aaron Wissner founded Local Future, a nonprofit educational organization, which hosts The International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability. Wissner speaks, writes, and produces videos on peak oil, climate change, sustainability, money, and the future. He is a veteran public school educator of sixteen years, and a past president of his local, county, and regional education associations. Wissner is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a major in mathematics and a minor in physical science. He lives in rural Michigan with his wife Kimberly and their infant son Michael.

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