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Many groups are working to effect positive change

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend part of my Saturday at the Performing Economies Colloquium, sponsored by the University at Buffalo’s College of Arts and Sciences. The scope of topics explored in the few sessions I attended were expansive and interdisciplinary. Throughout this weekend-long event, the organizers offered a variety of learning and networking activities that would help attendees look at alternative economic models that could help shape growth in our region in the future – all while advancing sustainability, promoting cultural activity and exploring the relationship of these issues to social justice.

One presenter who brought an integrative approach to sustainability was Mary Mattingly, a New York City-based artist. She shared images and stories about her development of the Waterpod Project, a floating, self-sustaining barge and living quarters that was visited by 200,000 people in 2009 as it traveled the waters and piers of the five boroughs of New York. Power was generated by solar panels, food was grown on board and garbage was composted. In her talk she helped individuals think differently about how to integrate different societal and cultural strengths to support one another in our communities. As we face growing environmental threats due to pollution and climate change, these are essential traits to develop in our community.

I commend UB and all the participating community organizations for bringing such a thought-provoking event to the community. I would urge other residents to participate in similar events by learning about the variety of organizations working for positive changes in our community. Some of the organizations I was able to learn more about included One Region Forward, Partnership for the Public Good, Clean Air Coalition, Massachusetts Avenue Project and PUSH Buffalo. Certainly, they are taking on challenging issues and benefit from community support.

Alison Schweichler

Lancaster