Monday, December 20, 1999, you wrote:
JL> Douglas and others, thanks for terrific discussions.
You bet. Glad you appreciated that.
JL> Douglas wrote, in answer maybe to Chuck:
Chuck and Joel were in there.
>>The problem is cultural, and the culture is cultivated by the vested
JL> Correct, as far as it goes. But a whole lot of us have vested
JL> interests in local communities.
It goes farther. All interests count, although not all are equal. It
depends on the rules of the game and the foundation each has,
underlying the "rules of the game" which is not necessarily basic in
the grandest sense of the word, are therefore subject to challenge -
on both legal & moral grounds.
>>The Internet is a powerful tool capable of reverting that,
>>but this too is now being made bland by commercial interests.
JL> The capacity for grass-roots communication by internet is
JL> phenomenal, as SANET-MG demonstrates.
True. But there is a lot more spam and garbage on it than ever, and
this is a trend that will continue. As occurs with anything else
that's "made it", you get a lot of scavengers getting into the act, as
well as the crazies. I recently ran on to a cyber-terrorist group
dedicated to disrupting serious, goal oriented focus groups (this goal
is not overtly manifested however, but I found their website), because
they don't believe in the value of words or "imposing" solutions (and
came quite close to closing another forum dealing w/ sustainable
SANET-MG hasn't demonstrated the cohesiveness and congruence that I
would like, but it's a forum and the general direction is all right.
Like anything else there are egos as well as issues involved. The
potential is certainly there, but so are the human foibles.
>> In short, I can't share your optimism.
JL> I'm optimistic, or maybe I am just hopeful.
The above of mine was written to Joel in relation to his basically
good but never the less impractical suggestion in relation to
labeling GMO foods. I see Dale has concurred with me, although he
didn't refer to my post in his.
JL> But what seems lacking to me is a way to transfer this terrific
JL> global conversation into our various local communities.
To put it into concrete practice.
JL> Take Morgantown, WV for example.
I couldn't, but you could. I'll listen.
JL> We have West Virginia University and lots of high-level thinkers
JL> all engaged in world-wide conversations about their special
JL> But given our busy lives we rarely see and talk to each other.
OK, I see you have included yourself in the group of "high-level
thinkers". I'll buy that, let's see where this goes.
JL> Internet isn't helping as much as it could in the local community.
JL> At the level of campus systems there is an "intranet" and
JL> increasing efforts to use email for traditional top-down
JL> communication, for posting announcements, and precious little
Is is used among faculty and alumni for assignments etc?
JL> There are a couple or three local listservs with special focus,
JL> created ostensibly for discussion. There is AGROECOL, our
JL> agroecology bag lunch list, of which I am the listowner, and to
JL> which I post occasional items from SANET-MG.
It's a similar or complementary focus group then.
JL> There is WVUGLOBE, out of the office of international programs, to
JL> which I also post occasional items.
I will look into that, to see what issues they deal with and how.
Unfortunately, neither yahoo nor altavista nor northernlight show
results for "wvuglobe". http://www.wvu.edu/wvuglobe doesn't do it
either. So anyone interested would have to dig out info on it from the
wvu site. Strangely enough, http://www.wvu.edu/ will not resolve text
or images on my Opera browser. At random I clicked on a blank white
space and got http://www.wvu.edu/~exten/ which should do the job.
Meanwhile, this goes out.
JL> There is a Greenspace Coalition that uses email to communicate,
JL> and I post ag-related items to them from time to time.
I hope GC is actively opposing GMOs in the field and in the market.
The main things that need to be done are:
1).- Buy non GMO seed and make the rejection of GMO seed known to seed
companies and vendors.
2).- Make sure the crops sold are identified as non- GMO.
3).- Buy no GMO foods, and pressure the markets to carry only non GMO
foods and have them clearly labeled as such,
4).- Insist on the obligatory labeling of GMO foods.
5).- Fight for long term studies being done before releasing further
GMO seed and recalling those already released. And
6).- Educate the public through all media possible, including the
scheduling of interviews and conferences (not costly and
There are probably more.
JL> (We are currently working on preservation of our WVU farmland from
JL> college-town development.)
You need to control the planning department and/or it's policies or
regulations, of the city or county govts., either directly (by running
for public office or lobbying them) or indirectly, by mobilizing
JL> In these local forums, there is a hesitance to engage in very much
JL> substantive exchange of views. People tend to want to reply
JL> privately, they say they don't want to burden the lists, but the
JL> lists just don't have much traffic in ideas. Folks are maybe shy
JL> or timid, perhaps remembering the flame-warfare of a few years
JL> back. (Personally, I am very impressed with how cyberculture has
JL> evolved a standard of civility.)
I have had more than a bit of personal interchange off list w/ other
sanet members, some of it very positive and lasting, a very little of
it very negative and quite a bit in between. The civility is fine, but
this may conflict to a degree with the passion or commitment required
to get needed changes implemented, and not all share the same goals or
have the same needs; so there is much more left to be done (which is
no problem - the door is open). Concrete goals and programs are
In any case, I see the net as a place to make announcements (perhaps
attracting a few responses) and report results. It's a cheap and fast
individual and conference medium, and while the possibilities are
there, it's only worth the use and content we give to it.
JL> In the private sector, early on there was a website (sunspot.com)
JL> focused on Morgantown, but it went belly up. I've been heartened
JL> and hopeful for efforts such as smallfarms.com, which ultimately
JL> can only succeed if they hook up with real farmers and a viable
JL> local cybercommunity.
I've had some interchange with the owner and consider what he's doing
a good idea that is also limited by the way the industry works today,
as well as what it needs.
JL> What seems to be missing is this local cybercommunity. Colleagues and
JL> other fellow citizens, all busy in their specialties, don't take the time
JL> to communicate with neighbors across their specialties. This is what I
JL> think is needed.
I would say that the above is true if given a specific focus in
specific projects. I don't mean to be insulting but as an academic,
there is nothing wrong with taking an academic point of view that not
all of us can afford.
JL> While I am thinking of it, I wonder about the widely bruited
JL> statistics on the growth of e-commerce. I wonder how much of that
JL> is going to the integrators (Amazon, etc.) and how much of the
JL> growth is going to small and more local e-commerce. If I were a
JL> gambler, my bet would be that small-e-commerce is growing faster
JL> than big-e-commerce, or if it isn't that it offers greater growth
That may be true, I couldn't say. Small may be beautiful but when
you're dealing with international issues (I assume you're aware that I
am writing this from Southeast Mexico) there are economies of scale
that can't be ignored, for practical reasons. Therefore, small and
local is not the framework I myself am looking at. We too (CeDeCoR)
must integrate the small guys so they can get a better deal, give that
we are an org and not a com (in cyberterms).
JL> It had better offer greater growth-potential, if local communities
JL> are to be preserved.
It's all a matter of how it's set up and who does it.
JL> Like I said, I am optimistic, or maybe just hopeful.
No, you are looking into the future and congratulations; don't stop
now. (Nicer than saying "as far as it goes").
JL> Happy Holidays!
Y Felice Navidad y Aņo (Siglo) Nuevo!
JL> John Lozier, harper for harmony
Douglas Hinds, Dir. Gral. - CeDeCoR, A.C.
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural, Asociacion Civil
(Center for Rural and Community Development, a non-profit organization)
Cordoba, Veracruz; Cd. Guzman, Jalisco & Reynosa, Tamaulipas Mexico
Mail: Apdo. Postal No. 171
Fortin de las Flores, Veracruz 94471 Mexico
Tel: 011 522 713 2888 (Direct at present)
U.S. Voicemail (email linked) 630 300 0550
U.S. Fax Mailbox (email linked) 630 300 0555
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