Thursday, November 10, 2011



[This letter will be posted at Collapsenet later today for our members in 68 countries, hopefully to inspire simultaneous constructive action by other Occupy venues around the world.]

Sonoma County is home to some of the most-respected and recognized leaders in Transition, permaculture and sustainability in the world. Transition US is headquartered here. Daily Acts is here. The Post Carbon Institute is here. Occidental Arts and Ecology Center is here. Collapsenet is here. Sonoma County is alive with all of the skills that will be needed by the seven billion souls who now share our troubled planet.

All of us seeking to transform to a post-petroleum, zero growth, sustainable way of life and global transformation have inherent and obvious shared interest with the Occupy Movement. A great, and I believe unique, opportunity to lead the way in this journey towards a new paradigm presents itself to us right here in Santa Rosa.

To date, although Occupy Santa Rosa has been faced with challenges in its relations with city government, the process has been marked by professional, non-violent and diligent efforts and good faith on both sides. Santa Rosa is not Oakland. It is not any of the places where the Occupy movement has been faced with grave challenges, property destruction or violence. As of today, negotiations to prolong and extend the life of Occupy Santa Rosa are continuing in good faith, with the occupiers having agreed to comply unilaterally with the city’s camping permit process. We occupiers have redoubled efforts to address legitimate health and safety issues.

I have been deeply involved in OSR over the past weeks. I have attended City Council meetings, marched, and slept at the site. One of the large concerns expressed by the Santa Rosa city council has been the cost of restoring damage to City Hall’s ornamental landscaping as a result of the occupation. Damage has been relatively minor and OSR has also redoubled efforts to protect property. These efforts have resulted in praise today from fire and safety officials. But foot paths are being worn through ivy and the city council is concerned about damage to the lawn as a result of long-term tent placement.

To me, as it should be for all of us, restoring City Hall to its former condition is obviously something we would view as a waste of energy and resources. Sensible options would include a post-occupation conversion of landscaping to indigenous, low-maintenance plants. They could include zeroing the landscape to eliminate the need for water (reducing the city’s budget needs). They could include the planting of sustainable and harmonious food crops that will help to feed the increasing numbers of people who will soon be facing food shortages in the face of collapse.

As I look at the work and philosophy our community has developed over the last decade I see that we have all focused on several common points which we recognize as indispensable to our goals of saving lives and caring for our fellows and our planet. They include:

-       The need to relocalize food production to organic, non-chemically enhanced means
-       The need to reduce resource consumption, especially water
-       The need to build strong community ties.

Of these, we all understand that building a strong, harmonious community is of paramount importance.

I personally know that almost all of us are in sympathy with the Occupy Movement. All City Council members have been clear in open session that they understand that the City of Santa Rosa is a part of the 99%. The current sensitive-stage of negotiations present us all with an enormous opportunity. Occupy Santa Rosa needs local support from community pillars because – as I testified at an open city council meeting two days ago – “It’s not even about the 99% versus the 1% here, because 100% of us live here, and soon enough we will be all the human resources that we have to face life-and-death challenges that are only going to get bigger. We are all we are going to have to face this with.”

Much of the world is looking to the beacon that Sonoma County has become to show a peaceful and sane way into a new future. I am, therefore, asking all of my colleagues to step up and make contact with the Occupy Santa Rosa movement through one of its organizers, Arrow Flora, or to reach out directly to city hall to become participants in making Santa Rosa and Sonoma County a better place for all of us to live. We have to walk our own walk in the eyes of the world if we are to maintain our increasing usefulness in the change of consciousness which we recognize as essential to our own missions. And all of us should want to feed and nurture the actual working community and family which is forming at OSR. Until you have seen it you cannot fully appreciate how much the Occupy movement has to teach us about how we’re going to live and function as a community.

In many ways OSR is much further ahead than most of us when it comes to community building. In all of the occupy venues around the world, almost all in less-hospitable climates, what we have been teaching all these years is being implemented at breakneck speed and a good deal of innovation from which we can all learn. Social patterns are emerging which confirm that OSR and other occupy venues are living and fertile laboratories (greenhouses) which our leadership and experience could assist in untold ways.

I am asking all of you to go and visit OSR, walk through the camp and see the myriad opportunities that exist to further our shared cause, and to put your names and your organizations in solidarity with a movement that is mankind’s last best hope to achieve voluntary change before all of us face the involuntary hardships that are arriving right now.

All of us have a vested interest in seeing OSR succeed. The world-recognized talent and leadership here in Sonoma County must be a part of this critical process. Let Sonoma County be a light for the whole world.

Michael C. Ruppert
C.E.O. – Collapsenet, Inc.

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