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Jul 2, 2013
06:37

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Very nice proposal with wide possible impact and measurable outcomes. Have you talked with the folks at Transition Streets about actions and measures? What specific outcomes could be expected from the $10K contest winnings? What are your plans for obtaining additional funding?

Karen Nasmith

Jul 15, 2013
01:13

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We are working with the Transition movement in two cities in Canada (Guelph and Toronto) and believe there's lots of opportunity for collaboration. We believe we are providing tools that these types of locally based groups can use to more accurately measure their baseline and progress, as well as communicate and collaborate with other similar groups. In Toronto, we have two neighbourhoods that have an on-going friendly competition to see who can engage the most households and achieve the greatest greenhouse gas emissions. The web based tools we are proposing would enable much greater collaboration between neighbourhood groups. The $10,000 will be leveraged with other funding we are in the process of securing, to allow us to begin development of the web-based tools. We have submitted additional funding proposals and are talking to a number of corporate sponsors. Winning this competition will help Project Neutral to gain recognition and exposure, increasing the interest of potential sponsors. Over the past three years Project Neutral has raised over $300,000 in grants and sponsorships, and attracted hundreds of volunteers.

2013localsolutionsjudges 2013localsolutionsjudges

Jul 29, 2013
03:51

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Proven feasibility.

Russell Evans

Aug 14, 2013
12:06

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Hey Project Neutral, It may be curious that we are writing you as "competitors" in the CoLab contest, but truthfully we think that what you are doing is awesome. As such, we wanted to extend an invitation for collaboration between Transition Lab and Project Nuetral. Here is what we see as the strengths of what you are offering- and how we could work together to make that even better: Based on what we've read about you, there have been a lot of progressive things you have been able to pull off in your communities that we have no idea how we would accomplish here in Colorado. Part of this, is that you have spent the time to figure out the "language-ing" of your approach as well as getting folks mobilized to get out and talk about Project Neutral. We'd be curious about how the rubber hits the road with your organization in terms of what exactly people are saying, how it came into place, and how it will continue. You certainly described a lot of this in your proposal, but we'd be curious to learn more so that we could eventually launch something similar here. (Unfortunately we have to admit that Montrose Colorado may be the most difficult corner of the globe to replicate given that around 80% of our county is Tea Party/ Global Warming Denier/ Agenda 21 Fearing folk) In terms of what we have to offer you: We are assuming that if there was one thing that would be REALLY useful for your group, it would be to have more volunteers putting more time into spreading PN. We are also assuming that the limitation to doing this is having enough money/ resources/ and time yourselves to organize these kinds of volunteers. That's where the Transition Lab model of having trained skilled residents could really be valuable. I'm sure there are guest bedrooms in your neighborhoods that are already empty, and are in households that are already supportive of what you are doing. Surely, there are also unemployed, or underemployed 20- somethings in your community that would love to exchange free rent and utilities for spending 10-15 hours a week working in their community to help accomplish PN's goals. If there were folks that you could think of that would be interested in this, we'd love to help facilitate it. For example, we are doing a two month Skilled Resident Training from Sept 1st to the end of October here in Colorado- and if you sent us somebody they could return to Toronto this November ready to replicate and organize other skilled residents to really mobilize your neighborhoods. Think about 10-15 hours of work for free per person indefinitely... Tuition would be $1250 for the training which would cover housing, utilities, food, transportation, and classes. We'd also have the chance to learn from them how to dovetail your approach in our community. We wish you well, and if you are interested in our suggestions for collaboration, let us know. Cheers- Russell & Jake

Karen Nasmith

Aug 16, 2013
09:58

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Hi Russell and Jake and the Transition Lab. Thanks for your great message. In short, we'd love to collaborate with you! You are right - what you are doing would significantly benefit any grassroots social innovation type movement - or any community-based initiative for that matter. We chose to work with well established neighbourhoods groups in our initial pilot, but even these groups would welcome passionate, energetic folks looking to learn new skills and make a difference. Your model is wonderful and we wish you the best of luck. In terms of a collaboration, we're currently collaborating with the local Transition Guelph movement. Like you, they've made significant accomplishments in fostering a non-traditional economy by establishing a time bank and supporting similar work for rent exchanges in the community. We'd love to explore a collaboration with you that is rooted in this system - perhaps bartering some of the lessons we've learned from Project Neutral in return for web-based Transition Lab training for a few of our volunteers (that way we avoid the significant carbon emissions from flying). Glad that our paths have crossed and looking forward to exploring this further. Karen

Karen Nasmith

Aug 16, 2013
09:12

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Regarding the comment above "Proven feasibility", we weren't sure if this was a comment or a question, so just in case, we thought we'd assume it was a question. Our proven results to-date: Since 2010, Project Neutral has been working in two communities in Toronto. Since this time, we have seen a significant increase in household survey participation (over 200% in one year), and neighbourhood events (over 700 households have directly participated in PN activities). To date, 250 volunteers have contributed over 14,000 volunteer hours resulting in greater neighbourhood resiliency, increased awareness of resources, strengthened relationships, and skills development and awareness building. In addition, we've been successful in raising over $300,000 raised to date, resulting in local employment opportunities and community building events. But perhaps most importantly, we've had groups from across the country asking us for advice on how to do a similar project in their community. In addition, we have a backlog of communities that have expressed an interest in having our model (and web based tools) expanded to their city. The value - our niche - is that we are enabling households to understand what their carbon footprint is, see how they compare to their neighbourhood (an important social 'norm' strategy for inspiring action with the higher carbon emitters), and then create a plan for reducing their footprint. This information and tools are not widely available right now, and those that are use aggregated data and therefore provide households with information that is not as accurate to their specific daily actions and routines. In addition, without a reference point (comparison to other households), the carbon footprint data is not as meaningful. We believe the feasibility of our model has been largely proven by the demand we are seeing from communities, and the early indicators of success highlighted above.

Russell Evans

Oct 17, 2013
09:39

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Hey PN, Thanks for your response a couple months ago- We were trying to figure out a way that we could meet both your's and our needs this Fall to collaborate on some work. We wanted to let you know that we'll be doing a tour in the NE speaking at about a dozen conferences and colleges. We've almost completed our tour schedule that you can see at www.transition-lab.com/tour For example, we'll be speaking at Sterling College in northern vermont on November 1st. Maybe some folks from PN could come down then. Feel free to reply directly to us at russell@transition-lab.com if you are interested. Be well
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