Minutes – February 10, 2016


Wednesday, February 10th  4:00pm at the Lopez Library

In Attendance:  Ande Finley, Kim Foley, Liz Lafferty, Margo Janeway, Erin Bernardi, Kai Sanburn, Henning Sehmsdorf, Mike Moore, Scott Finley, Marisa James, Julienne Batallia, Michele Heller, and Bob Gerfy.



Liz updated the group on plans to have the next Barnraising on Friday March11th at Swallows Reach (Home of Kim and Liz). More people were available on Friday than on Saturday, particularly Geordie and Allan Tamm (two others that live on the property) and David Zapalac.  Mike Moore mentioned that having it on a Friday would prevent the high school kids from attending, but he did not think they would want to be involved until more is known about the options.  Liz will send details out to the group.

Tool Lending Library:

Scott took an online look at the tool library operated by NE Sustainable Seattle.  He made mention that it is a much larger operation with many power tools to share.  This elicited many questions about care and maintenance, the checkout process, and the possibility of hiring someone to manage it through charging for a membership or joining through sweat equity. Henning stated that it could end up being a disaster if not run properly.  Ande had heard of a recent Tool Lending Library Convention in Baltimore which indicates the growing demand for this kind of venture.  Possible resources for additional information – the Hospice lending shed and the Library’s instrument lending program (maintained by Lance Brittain).  There is an equipment rental business – renting chippers, chain saws etc – in Friday Harbor.  Transition might look further into this.



Ande reported that as soon as more information is available a committee can be formed to plan the fundraiser for Taproot (Lopez’ Cooperative Kitchen).



A previous conversation about the upcoming election of Opalco board members in May was reviewed.  What is Transition’s role in getting board members elected that would support renewable energy sources on the Island without being involved directly in campaigning or the political process?  Dwight Lewis, Lauren Stephens, and Brian Silverstein are running for the seat that will be vacated by Bob Myhr.  The group supported sponsoring a candidate forum and Ande agreed to find out if any are being planned on Lopez.  Kai mentioned “Energy Democracy”.  This is a concept of small communities coming together to take back their power by taking control of their energy, such as starting up small renewable energy operations (small scale vs large scale).  It was decided that Climate Action would be a separate guild from Energy.



“Potlucks with a Purpose:

Liz and Kim reported that a meeting of this committee (which includes Erin, Marisa, and Kai) has been scheduled for February 11th at Swallows Reach.  Some of the topics that will be discussed include:

  1. World Water Day (March 22nd) 
  • Showing portions of a film called “Last Call at the Oasis”-narrated by Erin Brockovich.
  • Possible power point presentation
  • Local speakers etc.
  • Julienne mentioned an experiential event around “water witching” taught by one of the old-timers
  1. Cross Pollinating Conversations

Having different Local Groups (e.g. Land Trust, Friends of SJ, LICC etc) come together along with community members to learn about each other in a fun and engaging way.  Could also have a speaker to discuss bees/pollinators etc…

  1. Eric Deplace (Sightline Institute)

This was revisited as a potential education event.  Bob Gerfy will look into whether or not this kind of event would lead to action before any decision is made by the group to contact him.

  1. Henning’s Farm

Lots of good conversation about how Transition would support Henning and his wife Elizabeth as they set up a trust to have the farm run by young farmers and used for educational purposes when they decide to retire (within the next year?).  This would be an incredible island resource – a new way of looking at how we live in the world-food sustainability/biodynamic principles and stewardship.  It was agreed that the Transition group would support Henning and the farm education piece.  A Potluck with a Purpose at the farm which would include an inspiring tour was proposed to start things off.

Other Educational Events:

Bob Gerfy mentioned a current program at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon that allows students to get an Associate Degree In Sustainable Agriculture for a reasonable price and does not require a four year degree.  What about making a scholarship available for an interested high school student here on Lopez or sponsoring more internships here?



Bob Gerfy reported that at the meeting last week the group began to identify potential projects, such as transportation, Salish Sea/water issues, supporting the youth of Washington in their lawsuit against the state etc.  The topic of whether or not the group needed to come to a consensus on the various projects before getting started was raised.  Bob wants whoever has the energy to just get started and begin recruiting others as needed.  Liz mentioned Avaaz, a global crowdfunding site that is successful at submitting initiatives not based on consensus.



Mike Moore mentioned being contacted by a member of Local 2020, a Transition group in Port Townsend about networking on transportation issues, particularly with a Salish Sea organization called SCALLOPS.

Ride Share Program was formerly overseen by Lisa Michaelson of the Public Works Department. Locations on Lopez were identified, but only the one in front of Grace Church still exists.  There are rules for establishing locations (e.g. need a safe place for cars to pull over etc.).  Contacting Chris Aitken, Transportation Liaison for SJC, is a good place to start.  Mike will identify key places for Ride Share/or LIFT (Lopez Island Free Transit) stops and then figure out where materials to build them will come from.   Michele posed the question, “what is the real cost of operating your own car?”

Retrofit of School Buses:

Henning would like to see the Lopez school buses converted to electric and then used for island shuttles while delivering school kids.  However, our current buses cost 100,000 to purchase and it would cost $140,000 to retrofit them.  Erin asked about other forms of getting kids to school, e.g. vans.  Henning made the point that the cultural mindset needs to be changed from “for profit, private, competitive culture.”  More discussion will be needed.


Liz recommends that the group read the book “Change the Story, Change the Future” by David Korten.


Meeting segued into the Climate Action Workgroup at 5:00pm.  Notification of the next Steering Committee Meeting will be sent out in March.