Posts Tagged ‘Answered Prayer’

Some Good News

After nearly six months of trying, I finally met with our Assistant City Planner to discuss why people were voicing concerns about Agenda 21. I had offered to give some insights from my time in California and other contacts I have around the world — not approaching this from a right wing, “we should be able to trash the environment if we want to because that’s our right” perspective, but from the perspective of someone who values true sustainability and real transparency in local planning.

I agreed not to share details of the meeting until they release the plan for public comment; however, I will just say that it was a very good discussion. Goshen appears to be going about their Comprehensive Plan quite differently than most towns that have become Agenda 21 Beta Testing grounds, truly taking public comment to heart. If the planners wanted something but the public didn’t express support or interest in it, then that item did not make it into the plan. Integrity! What a novel concept in politics these days. She gave me specific examples that did not make it into the plan.

She also explained her relationship to the APA and general attitude towards local sovereignty, although we did not use that specific term. I left the meeting feeling highly encouraged that to the best of her ability, the City of Goshen will have a plan specifically tailored to its needs and desires, rather than some of the Stepford Wives scenarios I shared with her from my time in California. Unlike many areas that have made things like rainwater collection and swales illegal, she assured me that Goshen will continue to encourage such things. Unlike other towns that are increasingly making front yard gardening illegal, this plan will offer specific encouragement for “edible landscaping” and community gardens in public parks.

Apologizing for the non-lunch-worthy conversation topic, I even broached the idea of having the city engineer develop a potential plan for humanure and waste collection that could reduce disease vectors after a tornado/earthquake/extended power outage, as well as save hundreds of thousands of gallons of fresh water otherwise flushed down toilets. We discussed that safe methods exist for turning human waste into soil nourishment and that perhaps it would be wise to begin at least researching those ways for mass scale conservation and disaster preparedness. Far from being grossed out, she encouraged me to add the idea once they release the plan for public comment.

All in all, I feel very encouraged by the meeting. It goes to show that prayer and portal doors work, and it also speaks well of our town’s do-it-yourself attitude that really explores questions like “Do we need someone else to tell us how to do this?” and “Is this really something we want?” When Goshen became an APA pilot city, I had hoped that we could use this experience to influence how things are done — or at the very least maintain integrity in our own location. So far, so good. I am grateful!