I rode the boat from the Vineyard to Woods Hole a few days back to see the energy efficiency work we’re doing to Katharine and George Woodwell’s house. George is the founder of the Woods Hole Research Center, where we are currently in the middle of construction of a major Deep Energy Retrofit of a large 1905 carriage house recently acquired by the center (the completed building will become office and meeting space for their expanding staff; they’re in the climate change business, so theirs is booming!).
In 1980, when Hurricane Bob ripped through Martha’s Vineyard, it tore down a big hickory tree alongside Humphrey’s Bakery in West Tisbury. We took the butt log, hauled it to our yard, and milled it into planks. Until a few months ago they sat on stickers somewhere deep in our wood storage building waiting for my son Pinto to make a rocking chair for me and my wife Chris.
While the eyes of the world focus on Copenhagen, here at home on Martha’s Vineyard wind energy has been receiving a mighty dose of attention – more than ever before. Are we making progress? Maybe some. You be the judge.
Wind has been in the local news in four distinctly different regards at once: the release and reaction to the draft Massachusetts Oceans Management Plan, the public coming-out of a new organization called Vineyard Power, the continuing saga of Cape Wind, and the adoption of a new wind by-law in Aquinnah.
Before diving in, some context might be useful.
The third annual Martha’s Vineyard Living Local and Harvest Festival just ended. It began with a Friday night forum called Opportunities and Challenges – a Panel Discussion with Next Generation Island Leaders.
Having just turned 60, I am acutely aware of the role of young people (in their 20’s and 30’s) in my work life and civic life. At work they are a constant theme and a growing force. There is a great transition in process at South Mountain Company – from first generation leadership to the next. It’s a long, gradual journey, sometimes a bit frightening but mostly thrilling, and it’s gathering steam.
I managed to get through the Martha’s Vineyard summer attending only one fundraiser. That’s a record. And, for the first time in at least a decade, I did no fundraising for the causes I care about. I must admit it felt good. Fundraising is hard.
The single event I went to – for our Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick – was a good one,. It happened to be scheduled for the day after we found out Ted Kennedy died. Deval spoke about Kennedy. He said, “ I knew him before I ever met him because my mother used to say, to no one in particular” (and here he slipped into a drawl), “I just love me some Kennedy.”
My wife and daughter and I recently had the great good fortune to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. The occasion was the one-year sobriety celebration of a close friend. We were invited to witness her achievement. This wasn’t just a celebration; it was a regular AA meeting. There were 35 people there, many of whom we knew (this is a very small place) and all of them no longer anonymous to us (as a friend says, in a small community like this there is no AA, just A). How brave, and generous, for them to welcome us and allow us to share their meeting.
I’ve always wanted to witness first hand the workings and organizational structure of this remarkably effective and superbly networked (without – even – the need of the internet!) institution. The amazing part – it has no leaders!