Practicing Sustainability at the Connecting for Change conference

Matt DelSesto:  I attended the the 9th annual Connecting for Change conference this past weekend in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Marion Institute, Connecting for Change is a three day solutions-based gathering that seeks to bring together a diverse audience to create deep and positive change in their communities.  More than 2000 people gathered this year to hear 100 presenters in a series of 50 workshops and 12 keynote addresses from speakers including Bill Strickland, Tricia Rose, James Hansen, and many other activists, organizers, business owners, and change-makers.  And this conference walks the talk.  During the entire weekend only six bags of trash were generated (the rest of the waste from meals was composted and recycled).   Marion Institute has made substantial efforts to responsibly contribute to the complexity of the local community based on ideas proposed in the conference--for example they partner with local schools and non-profit organizations year-round to carry out transformative sustainability projects and offer generous scholarships based on financial need. Once known as the "whaling capital" of the world, New Bedford currently faces problems similar to other post-industrial New England cities, including relatively high unemployment and crime.  Connecting for Change demonstrates that there is a powerful role for sustainability in the midst of this changing city and that a conference can contribute lasting positive change to the surrounding city and region.  MJD

 

 Part of Purchase Street is closed for the Connecting for Change exhibition tent and farmers market--an asset for residents and program participants alike--in Downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Source: Matt DelSesto

Part of Purchase Street is closed for the Connecting for Change exhibition tent and farmers market--an asset for residents and program participants alike--in Downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Source: Matt DelSesto