Posts filed under ‘Around Portland’

Railer – Live In Portland

We encourage ride-sharing, walking, bike-riding, or public transit to / from our shows! Join up with other Railer fans at http://www.portland.brightneighbor.com.

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June 22, 2009 at 8:11 am Leave a comment

Late Night Brainstorming Sessions

For any of you following the Bright Neighbor project…

May 30, 2009 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

Leaked Footage of Randy White / Lawns to Gardens editor

joke

Leaked footage of a street interview with me.

May 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

Knock Knock, The Future Is Here!

Don’t you love when your pizza finally arrives at the door? Imagine if the delivery driver arrived at your doorstep wearing a solar powered jacket connected to his i-phone that he’s jamming out to.

Knock knock, the future is here!

the future is here
Credit: World Changing

For years now, I have had people ask me about my Voltaic solar-powered backpack. I use it to charge my phone, which doubles as my camera and music device. I’m a happy camper with a complete mobile ability to stay in communications with the world, and all I need is some sunshine.

Today at Earth Day, Bright Neighbor teamed up with some other great organizations. One of them grows fruit and vegetable starts, and they sell the plants. No big deal, right? What if I told you for every plant they sell, they give away 10 of them to needy families across Oregon? They sell greenhouses to generate funds for making their operation sustainable – so while they are profiting from selling the right kinds of products, they are also giving back 10 X as much to the community at the same time.

Knock Knock, the future has arrived!

Since we began selling soil through Bright Neighbor, we can’t keep up with the orders. We are talking about beautiful, awesome, wonderful living soil. Once the “IKEA” branding of growing food at homes kicks in, capitalism will have completely transformed itself into a lean, mean, earth saving machine – run and managed by more youthful generations.

If you want to order soil, you can do so at the top of this blog.

The point is, that the future HAS arrived, and we are kicking ass. The ship will sail on, even if the banks all fail, oil runs out, and world currencies go away. As long as we have electricity and mobile devices, we are all set! We have music to listen to while we all take turns helping our local communities grow food. Tada!

The future is really, really cool. It looks a lot like Burning Man-meets-the Oregon Country Fair-meets-Capitalism.

future
Credit: World Changing

April 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm Leave a comment

Lessons In Social Media Etiquette & Graces

speaker check in

Imagine this. You have created a hot new social network that promises to give Facebook a run for their money, or at least serve as a model for them to steal ideas from. You get invited to speak to an awesome group of cool movers and shakers in Portland – and when you show up, assuming you still lug around thousands of pounds of steel you when you transport yourself from A to B, you find an open parking spot right next to venue. “SWEET!” you say, as you head inside to tear it up and yack about your new technology thingamajig.

And when you enter the room, there are already panelists deep in conversation about Twitter and Facebook, and you think “awesome, I can’t wait to rock that conversation!”, only to find out that you were supposed to arrive an hour ago to speak on that VERY panel.

Welcome to my day today.

Since Bright Neighbor launched in November, I get to speak on a number of panels. At Portland’s awesome SHOP Symposium 09, I was coming prepared to talk about social media influence on real communities, and had several points to make about how Facebook is the presently king, how Twitter is irritating but necessary, and how Bright Neighbor is applied sustainability for growing local economies. I was prepared to tell five secrets of social:

1) You are what you publish online, and what you do offline

2) People like to keep in touch with the person who is always throwing cool events

3) Be fun, informed, and natural

4) Be open to making new friends

5) Help other people. That means helping the environment while doing good business.

Now, after somehow putting on my calendar that the panel I was supposed to be on started at 4pm when on the itinerary it CLEARLY states 3:15, I completely blew it and I owe Ericka Dickey an apology. And so of course like any lecturer who seizes an opportunity, I will use a variety of social media platforms to project project an experience that has revealed lessons to be learned from screwing up a talk about using a variety of social media platforms.

LESSON 1: No Matter What Your Reason For Your Screw Up, You Still Look Stupid
Everyone screws up, but what about when it’s you who flubbed things up? You can have a nice, shiny excuse, but when your malfunction affects other people, reality reigns, and you don’t do yourself any favors by not being the best you can be.

LESSON 2: For Every Screw Up, Multiply it by the Number of People You Know You Missed
Today, I could have made a connection with a business reporter, a hot blogger, a small business owner, a community organizer, and other event promoters. The room was full of potential contacts and people to make great things happen. So when you place your head in the hood of the car and start banging it into your head, make sure to do it enough until you learn to verify your calendar

LESSON 3: Make Sure You Make Up For It By Working Harder At Social Media and Real World Events
We could all be depressed about the economy and how any screw up can bring us closer to financial ruin. Everyone needs money to survive in the manner that we are used to. Grocery stores, unlimited gasoline, comfortable temperate home climates, and whiz-bang appliances and consumer electronics. Which is why when you blow it, you had better say you are sorry and get back to work doing what you do, and that means working your network and making things happen that need to happen.

LESSON 4: Triple Check Your Calendar
It’s only four words, but oh-so necessary to heed.

BONUS: Twitter joke

April 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

Postcard From A Transition Movement Hot Zone

The following is a guest column written for The Oil Drum. Randy White is a municipal sustainability expert, was a member of Portland’s Peak Oil Task Force, and is the Founder of Bright Neighbor, LLC.

Greetings From Portland

It’s no secret that Portland is a pretty radical city. While mainstream America is still learning how to make the leap to full-time sustainability activities, Portland, Oregon is a major hot zone and leader in the human revolution. The intent of this article is to offer an opinion and insight into strategies, collaborations, and technologies that are occurring in our city to solidify life-supporting social constructs.

We All Have Our Problems
Portland is dependent on energy and money just like any other city. With over 500,000 people, we have the 23rd largest economy in the US at $88.6 billion dollars. We have crime, poverty, homelessness, and hard-working people who would love more time off to pursue more joys in life if only they didn’t have debts to pay.

The fact is, not enough people here have the skills, resources, or contribute to the system to say Portland can become a completely self-sufficient city. While science has determined the amount of calories and nutrition needed for human bodies to survive, only each individual can determine what is needed to satisfy each of our own living requirements. Right now, people around the world are searching within themselves to determine what this mother-of-all-market-corrections means in the context of their own life. In countries around the world, people are reflecting on survival, whether it means scrambling to meet basic needs such as food and shelter, or committing one’s life to helping others survive as we dismantle nuclear weapons.

Indeed, finance industries and governments continue to try and figure out how they can game the now collapsing currency market, and around the world thousands of loose-knit social movements and groups are acting together, radically altering the balance between commercial and non-commercial economies. Portlanders are trading sink repair for firewood, worm castings for books, and organizing into sustainability groups, meeting to discuss a multitude of survival strategies. The cool part is that it is in the most relaxed manner I could have imagined. You know something cool is happening when the art community gets involved. To see scholars, artists, chefs, teachers, farmers, faith leaders, bureaucrats and other various communities coming together to discuss survival in a civil manner is surreal. It is also the beauty of the Portland conversation, because empathy, understanding, and cooperation are now winning out over personal greed.

Let’s examine some of the conversations taking place, and how people are organizing to do what we can locally:

Food, Food, Food
Portlanders will practically strip naked and make love to the soil. Our city is full of a diverse ecosystem of people and cultures who love and worship local food, soil, and farmers. The cool thing to ask at parties is “So what do you grow”? Little kids wear shirts that say “I Love My Farmer”. They worship apples – and I’m not just talking about their phones and computers.

As mobile as the city is with its fantastic bus and rail system, we have no problem getting around to all the amazing restaurants that showcase seasonal, locally grown vegetables in their menus. Our chefs strive to use local ingredients, as long as the cost doesn’t put them out of business. Our citizens have one of the highest percentages of CSA subscriptions. The fact is, we love food. So when it comes to loud-mouthed know-it-alls, you can bet Portland likes to brag about it’s success with food.

Using a variety of technologies to list events, food experts are leading the conversation. If you know how to grow food, fix soil, and install edible landscaping, you are all the rage. Take a look at this quick video and you will see what the job of the future looks like.

Presently, Bright Neighbor offers a “Lawns to Gardens” service, helping match people to homeowners willing st share their lawns. We are connecting Gerding Edlen’s newest building CYAN/pdx to Portland land owners to help create more garden activity and boost our local local food system.

Our April 17th kickoff of the Bright Neighbor Community Revolution Tour will include boosting lawn farming production, water harvesting, and permaculture practices throughout the city.

Transportation
This one is real easy. Portlanders either walk, bike, drive, ride, or rail it to and from where they need to be. If you need to get there, you can get there cheap, you just have to consider whether you will be exposed to the elements and how much time it will take. But we know we will get there somehow.

When it comes to fuel supply solutions, some Portlanders have electric vehicles, and many are discovering that you can make ethanol from hundreds of non-food supply threatening feedstocks other than corn. As for ride-sharing, people are getting to know their neighbors to work on cooperative projects and partake in resource sharing. For instance, if you need a ride right now, you can just call up your friends or discover your neighbors via one of the many Internet technologies. You can always use the Internet and phone to find a ride and share resources. The question is which technologies to use will make it easiest for communities.

Fixing our local commerce system
One high-brow conversation among Portland communities is talk of fixing our money system and the restructuring of the economy based on a non-fiat based local currency. The challenge with this movement is an assumption that outstanding debts can or will be canceled or repaid using any new system. The beauty of this movement and conversation is that even if we don’t solve the new riddle right away, the conversation is fascinating and the beer is great. Even thinking about the idea of replacing the world’s current broken money system is exciting in and of itself. The questions being asked have to do with real value, the meaning of real wealth, and property rights. It is being talked about by all political parties, all religions, and all citizens.

We are asking:
Who grows my food?
Who supplies my fuel?
Are my water need secured?
What is worth more, a knife or a variety bag of seeds?
How does the community determine each person’s value?
How do we know who is trustworthy and who isn’t?
How long will dollars matter?
Am I capable of doing what it takes to survive?
What is my purpose if not to make money?

The conversation in Portland revolves around a common realization that our community is quickly developing an entirely new system of accepted social values, logistics, and supply chains. I will end this postcard from a transition hotzone with the opinion that emerging businesses are using a variety of technologies to bring new food supplies into pop-culture at maximum velocity. More of our citizens are contributing real value to the community through hyper-involvement at the neighborhood level, and Portland will continue to lead the way in defining modern community survival trends.

What’s cool that is going on in your city?

March 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm 1 comment

The Mother Of All Crossroads

Bright Neighbor brave

My buddy Sam Drevo is a world class kayaker. He has navigated some of the fiercest waters on planet earth while simultaneously making love to and taunting mother nature. Sam looks at rapids ahead, and paddles straight into what could be the last moments of his life every time. It is his confidence, training, and humility that always allow him to come through alive, even if he knocks his head along the way. At least he has a plan for rough waters, and knows how to navigate new, uncharted territory like an expert.

And Sam has known adventurers who have made mistakes and paid with their lives. We are all fallible, right? You know you yourself have made miscalculations in the past just like everyone else, and things haven’t gone according the exact way you thought they might go.

Oh sure, you must have been smart about your plans, made all your mental details, laid out your strategy, and went for it, right? You were plotting, you see. We all plot every day, because we have to in order to survive. It could be anything from what to do in case you wash your cell phone and lose all your stuff, get that hot person to go out with you, or try to get away with something naughty. It could have be anything from trying to fake your own death, to helping fix your community. As long as you have a plan.

And right now, it seems many people have been caught off guard with this economic hardship and are just now scrambling to make a plan.

Who usually makes the plans for you? Is it your faith leader? Your boss? Your spouse? Henry Kissinger?

As we continue along the timeline of our lives, we are at the mother of all crossroads in human history. Everyone knows something really, really big is going on, but no one seems to know who to listen to about it anymore. Even as Obama takes his place on the throne, I am finding people asking themselves “what is my plan, and do I know exactly what to do?”

Miscalculation

We can certainly make up for our past mistakes, we absolutely must. We blew it, America. We screwed up, bigtime. I have screwed up , you have screwed up, we all screwed up. Now we are facing the consequences, and we need plans that are not only ready to go, but that are already working.

As we each can at least pitch in at the local level, we need to be asking ourselves:

– Do I have a good relationship with my neighbors?
– What skills do I have that can help the community?
– What can I do to help others that will make me feel better?
– Do I really need all this stuff I have acquired to be happy?
– How will I make rent / the mortgage this month?

In globalism, we are expected to either be a producer or a consumer. You either make something, or you use something. Then there are the middlemen – called markets. And it is the markets that are collapsing, along with the ability for people to earn money as markets cease. If you get laid off, and no one else will hire you, what are you going to do to survive?

It is for this reason that I created Bright Neighbor. We are setting up communities across the country right now, and we are here to help governments, communities, businesses, and faith groups. We are already doing it, and are teaming up with Powell’s Books to offer the new Bright Neighbor University lecture series.

In April, I will be presenting an hour long workshop called “Lawns to Gardens: 10 Strategies For Thriving Through The Recession“. Or a title like that. More details to come!

– Randy White

BONUS VIDEO:
Sam Drevo and the Down The River Cleanup Crew

January 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm 3 comments

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