Last week, Coffeebar held its inaugural rEVOLution event. For those of you who haven’t heard about our new rEVOLution event series, here’s a quick breakdown:
rEVOLution is an event we plan to do monthly, in effort to create and inspire change — and ultimately to spark a revolution in our community and the world around us. Each month, the event will focus on a new innovative idea or controversial issue, with the intent to help us open our minds, increase our awareness, change our perspective, and determine methods for creating positive change in our lives and communities. Each event will feature a documentary, short film clips, group discussions and/or community interactions, with the goal to ultimately start affecting change locally based on what we’ve learned. Each event will focus on creating a feasible action plan, and inspiring that action to take place. Additionally, each monthly event will have a respective community beneficiary, with costs varying by event. In the interest of keeping things somewhat lighthearted and fun in the midst of confronting serious matters, each event will be followed by beats and beverages.
Our first event took place last Tuesday. It was a free introductory event that featured a series of short clips on a range of important topics, followed by group discussion on the issues presented in the clips and what we as individuals, and as a community, can do to start combating them.
Some of the videos shown last Tuesday can be found at the links below:
“Walmart’s Pork Suppliers Exposed” (warning: contains some graphic footage!)
Following the videos, Coffeebar owner Greg led a discussion with attendees about some of the issues discussed in the videos, issues we face in our own lives and communities, and what we can do about it. Topics of discussion included: diet/food sources (what kind of energy are you getting from the foods you are putting into your body?); our trash production and methods to reduce it; how we can use less “stuff,” and be more conscious about what “stuff” we’re buying, and where it comes from; our power of choice as consumers; and more…
On arrival, attendees were asked to fill out a questionnaire, discussing topics such as: the meaning of the words “organic” and “sustainability”; where your food is purchased, and where it actually comes from (and whether you actually know where it comes from!); how much trash, recycle and/or compost you produce; how you dispose of things such as electronics and batteries; the percentage of your “stuff” that comes from the U.S. vs. China; and how often you buy bottled water. Interested in checking out the questionnaire, or filling one out yourself? You can download it here. If you’d like, send us an email with your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org… we’d love to get more input!
The responses were interesting, insightful, and in some cases indicative of a need for change. However, many responses also included great ideas for potential solutions/improvements. These questionnaires and their respective responses were also a big part of the post-production discussion, which led to some great sharing of individual actions that create positive change or help limit negative impact.
The most common understandings of “organic,” based on the responses provided, include: No use of man-made products; food grown in its natural state; food grown “without man’s synthetic crap”; conscious farming practices; clean/safe/without chemicals; “good for the earth!”; and yummy!
While some maintained that sustainability “does not exist,” or is “a fundamental non-reality”…for “trendy groups of like-minded hipsters” (funny!), others provided some of the following ideas about what the term means: social responsibility to preserve the “natural cycle of the world” for future generations; using only what is needed to prepare for the future; finding a balance between what you take and what you give; and replacing what you utilize.
With respect to trash, most attendees said they do not compost, and throw away 1-2 bags of trash every week. One attendee, however, said she only throws out one bag every 2-3 weeks! Impressive! They majority of responses also indicated that people are throwing out their electronics, batteries and lightbulbs via their standard trash, which is problematic. Some alternative suggestions that came up during discussion included recycle drives, recycling batteries at ACE Hardware in town or at Whole Foods Market in Reno, or taking electronics to the thrift store to be re-used.
Regarding food sources, most attendees said they thought that 30 percent of their food or less comes from within 100 miles. Yet, we have some of the best growing regions, and food production, in the whole country within 100 miles! (Learn more about some of the nearby farms utilized by Coffeebar here). Let’s fix this! Some, however, said that up to 70 percent of their food comes from within 100 miles, or even from their own backyard gardens. Awesome! One of the most suggested methods for receiving healthy, delicious, locally sourced foods at an affordable rate was to sign up to receive a CSA box, which provides you with a variety of fresh, local vegetables every week! You can learn more about that here.
In terms of where our actual “stuff” comes from, the vast majority of responders indicated that at least 70 percent of their products come from China! Let’s work to be more conscientious of where our products are coming from, and support domestic — and local — production whenever possible. Better yet, let’s minimize our “stuff!” Think about what you really need. As shown in “The Story of Stuff,” there’s so much that goes into bringing that iPod to your doorstep, and it certainly isn’t all a pretty picture. During the group discussion, the idea of reusing stuff, through thrift store shopping and/or clothing swaps, was a popular one.
Ultimately, the biggest theme of the group’s discussion was that we as consumers have the power to create change, by determining carefully and thoughtfully how we are going to spend our money. Let’s be conscientious consumers. Let’s put thought and research into what we buying, how we are spending our hard-earned dollars, and what we are ultimately supporting by doing so. As mentioned by one of our attendees, we have a “vote” with every dollar we spend. Our money is our vote, and when we vote for irresponsible production practices by spending our money on products with this type of background, we’re telling these companies that what they’re doing is okay!
Unfortunately, the reality in this country is that we are very much a consumer society. But as such, we have the power of choice, and the power to affect where our products are coming from. Research what you’re buying, be aware of its background and the implications behind the “vote” you are granting by purchasing it. And choose to direct your spending in a way that supports your beliefs! One big step forward: shopping locally. Pretty simple, really…
Overall, our first event was a big success in our eyes. Even if just one person came away with an idea, inspiration, or decision to make just one small change for the better in their own lives, we are pleased. Nonetheless, our hope is to grow this event in the future. If you did not attend, please do so next month! If you were already there, please bring a friend the next time. The more we can share with one another, the greater our chances to truly affect change in our community.
Additionally, we’d love for YOU to get more involved with this project. Do you have a suggestion you’d like to share with others in your community about a way to create positive change? Or is there something you would like use to make sure we discuss, view and/or focus on at a future event? We want your input! Please feel free to share any and all comments, questions and/or suggestions in our comment section below, or on our Facebook. Ultimately, this project is one for all of you — we’re merely providing the platform and space. So get to work! Spark your revolution! 🙂