Social Capital

Duke Elsner talks about bugs and pests

Duke Elsner, Grand Traverse County extension agent, updates the local experience with bugs, both pests and otherwise, this hot summer. Importantly, Duke and Dave talk about the funding threats to the Extension Service and the vital role that agency plays in our communities' social capital.

Investigating Community Resilence with Bob and Dave

With this program Bob and Dave dive into a two part discussion of the basic concepts and thinking points involved in the idea of 'community resilience'.They begin with a discussion of the premise of resilience as applied to eco-social communities. Quickly they share the Richard Heinberg narrated video, The Ultimate Roller Coaster Ride: Four Hundred Years of Fossil Fuel History. Eco-Social Resilience matters because the drive of history is changing. Energy constraint and expense, along with climate change, are already causing changes, even shocks, to our globalized system of doing things. Severe stresses to our way of life are likely in the near term future.


We wrap up our current discussion of placemaking and related issues with Harry Burkholder and Heather Seyfarth. Both are planners with Lands Information Access Association and involve in numerous community planning projects.  Economic development surveys reveal that "an attractive place with lots to do" is the prime reason the key, youthful demographic age grades communities need to attract to strengthen local social capital. Designing a place for people, making a place that is attractive to live in, is critical to small communities as well as large. All communities in a region need to attend to their design for people for the whole region's benefit. Burkholder and Seyfarth report on their experiences trying to develop a future vision amongst local leaders.

The Disabled Are Not Invisible

This week it is a four way discussion as Dave is joined by three directors of the Disability Network, Northern Michigan: Jim Moore, Executive Director; Jessie Bachmann, Director of Independent Learning Programs and Annie Campbell, Director of Development and Volunteer programs.  Much of the discussion concerns the place that we create for the disabled residents in our communities. Do we treat the disabled as invisible or do we treat them as full members of society, providing for their access, mobility, and social supports just as we plan for ourselves.  How we accept the disabled and provide for their extra needs is a measure of the strength of our social capital.  The group also highlighted the installation of Mobi-Mats at local beach access sites.  Mobi-Mats are plastic, roll-up, mobile walkways providing safe walking or wheel chair access over soft beach sand. There is a Mobi-Mat Open House/Installation Day at the Traverse City State Park, Saturday, June 25th beginning at 10:am with free parking at the State Park all day long.

Birds, And The Business Of Birding In Our Community

The first ever Leelanau Peninsula bird watching festival, BirdFest, took place the first weekend of June. It is the latest entry onto a list of local festivals growing steadily. Bird watching festivals  are substantial economic engines in other parts of the country and with our local birding resource and expansive public lands bird watching should be added to our tourism brand. BirdFest organized multiple guided field trips, offered over several days, plus presentations each night of the event. The keynote address was by Paul Baicich, noted bird consultant and conservationist and author or editor of numerous books and journal articles. Baicich joins Dave on the front porch of historic Fountain Point Resort for this discussion of why birds matter, where they fit in our social-ecological community, and why bird festivals are a good idea.

Midwives Build Social Capital and Community Resilience

Off on a book signing tour, Geradine Simkins, joins us for a discussion of midwives and the importance of midwifery to local communities. Child birth constitutes the largest single profit sector for the American medical industry and judging from statistics our nation is failing to get its money's worth. The US ranks 30th in infant mortality, worldwide, and 49th in maternal mortality. Midwives offer the very real choice to counter the failures of medical the industry, provide optimal care and outcome for child and mother, cost far less and keeping that money circulating in the local economy, and  building social capital as public health, the health and care of new borns and mothers is improved.

Local Food Effort Starts New Programs

Diane Conners rejoins Outside In for further updates on the local food movement in NW Michigan. She is joined by her colleague from the Michigan Land Use Institute, Janice Benson. Both work in leadership positions developing our local food economy and each talks about new programs being launched this spring season.  Double Up Food Bucks and the Spend Ten Campaign have multiple goals: to increase local food consumption and to increase consumption of healthier foods by those with more limited resources who often get locked into buying cheaper less healthy food.  Both women emphasized the integration and networking of multiple public agencies and organizations in developing these programs and their local, 'grassroots' origins, building resilience through increased diversity of food choices and increased social capital.

Bob Russell talks with Dave about Media as a Commons

On this weeks show Bob Russell returns from several important conferences to fill us in on things he's learned. RESILIENCE 2011 in Tempe, Arizona was one of  his stops and Bob reports on the effort there to blend academic theory with practice on the ground.  Much of this week's discussion comes from Bob's last stop, the National Conference on Media Reform. From this gathering we learn of the critical importance of perceiving our media resource as 'public commons' no different from other common spaces that need ever vigilant public protection in order to preserve them. Public media is under current threats of privatization. Recent rulings have helped protect some of this commons and exciting possibilities exist, but public engagement in protection of, and use of, this vital resource is necessary.

Seth Bernard & May Erlewine join Dave Barrons

Outside In, this week, continues the discussion of the Run Across Ethiopia, a fund raising project of On The Ground, a non profit associated with Higher Grounds Trading Company. Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, local musicians and song writers, journeyed to Ethiopia with the On The Ground runners as part of the artistic team recording the event. They begin the show with two of the many songs written about the project and then stick around to share their experiences, connecting with the coffee growing families whose children are benefitting from the 3 schools the project is funding.  Seth and May talk about their art and its roll in telling the story of The Run Across Ethiopia and the importance of this local to local connection.

Chris Treter joins Dave Barrons

This week Outside In begins two discussions on a project conducted by a local, small business, Higher Grounds Trading Company. Higher Grounds is a free-trade coffee company that engages in local-to-local support of the coffee producing regions where its shade grow coffee supplies originate. An earlier project focused on clean water supplies for Mexican villages in Chiapas. Most recently Higher Grounds and its spin-off non-profit, On The Ground, conducted the Run Across Ethiopia a fund raiser for construction of three schools in south central Ethiopia. Chris Treter discusses "why Ethiopia?" Why provide support for a land so far away when there are needs closer to home? Treter explains his business and personal goals and why supporting the people who produce our coffee, thousands of mile away, is really a 'local' project.

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