Win a Rainbow Coalition of Friends

The ARC lab is located in the Oregon woods where “hippies” and “rednecks” live on small farms in approximately equal numbers and share numerous points of view. I learned about these overlapping values when I accompanied my Dad, a Christian community organizer, to pot-luck meetings at nearby Granges, members of a farmers’ association organized in 1867. The one hundred and sixty two Granges in Oregon sponsor social activities, community services, and political lobbying.

My Dad was taught community organizing by Saul Alinsky in Chicago. He reminded his students to “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”  The people who have a problem have to be the ones to generate the solution. Mahatma Gandhi and E.F. Schumacher agreed. I watched my Dad as he listened and I admired his ability to help folks become aware that their constituency was a rainbow coalition.

Americans are a rich people but we often feel that life in the USA is getting worse and that this trend is out of control. Both “hippies” and “rednecks” can feel that nature is not being respected, that God has been forgotten, and that fighting for more money – being selfish – is largely responsible for the downward spiral. When many sorts of rural Oregonians visit our lab, they are happy that we are working to make renewably harvested biomass burn without making smoke.

Improving technologies can become a middle path that wins a rainbow coalition of friends.

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