Eco-Change Exchange Reflections and Results

Beloved Community:

On June 25, 2009, over 40 Austin Environmental groups hosted an Eco-Change Exchange community forum to welcome our new Mayor and City Council members. During the opening reception participants enjoyed delicious, local, organic food provided by Barr Mansion as they milled among the closely packed table displays by environmental groups. Later council chambers buzzed with conversation about how to make Austin a leader among sustainable cities. The evening ended with a reading of a “Letter from the Future” written by the mayor of Austin in 2109. The letter thanked the visionary and dedicated participants of the Eco-Change Exchange for setting in motion changes that led to a beautiful, sustainable reality for people in 2109.

We started with this intention:

To awaken the dream of Austin as a leader among sustainable cities,
to weave our community relationships, and to chart a course,
rooted in justice, to get us there.

Nearly 300 attending participants considered the state of the world, our community and the potential for our city. We worked collectively to identify a range of critically important action steps. We began a process of setting priorities for an environmental agenda.

Participants were asked to place a green dot on the one action item they believed to be most urgent in each of eight environmental policy areas. It was not a perfect process. There was not time to consider and digest underlying policy and budget implications. We weren’t a representative cross-section of Austin’s diverse communities. But ultimately each of us looked at eight important areas and imagined our lives and our city with these steps accomplished. The outcomes of the “green-dot” voting process are presented below.

Regardless of the number of dots it received, every item represents an important part of at least one person’s vision of a sustainable Austin. Furthermore, if Austin were to implement every action on every list immediately, we would quickly become a leader in meeting the global challenges of climate change, peak oil, peak water, peak food, racism and environmental injustice.

But we will not implement all of these items immediately. We must keep organizing and pushing for Austin to take the tough steps necessary to meet our challenges. We look forward to working with our elected leaders and all of Austin to refine these agendas, set achievable goals with specific dates, and imagine largely what is possible for our City.

July 23rd is the first meeting of our new council. We have contacted Council Member Morrison’s office requesting a time on the Council agenda to report back on Eco Change Exchange. The agenda will also include an important zoning change vote necessary for the construction of Water Treatment Plant Number 4. Mark your calendar now for July 23 to come out to City Hall for our presentation and educational process on the Water Treatment Plant. Stay tuned for more details!

Eco-Change Exchange Dot Priorities WITH voting results!

Letter from the Future:

Eco-Change Exchange Photos:

On behalf of all of the sponsoring organizations: thank you for coming out, for being part of this process, and for all of the ways that you show up, speak out, meet, write, march, and work for sustainable practices that will save our city and the earth.

Alliance of Community Trainers

American Youthworks

Austin Car Share

Austin Green Art

Austin Eco-Network

Austin Permaculture Guild

Austin Sierra Club

Central Texas Zero Waste Alliance

Citizen Gardener

Coal Block


Ecology Action

Environment Texas


League of Bicycling Voters

National Wildlife Federation

Northeast Neighbors Coalition


Public Citizen

Resolution Gardens

Restaurant Recyclers

Save Barton Creek Association

Save Our Springs Alliance

SEED Coalition

Solar Austin

Sustainable Food Center

Tecolote Farm

Texas Campaign for the Environment

Texas Environmental Democrats

Texas Green Network

Texas Climate Emergency Campaign

Transition Austin

Travis Audubon Society

Uplift Austin

Wheatsville Gro-op

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