BALLE: ‘Prosperity for all’
blog by Steve Wilger • June 16, 2013 @ 9:30am
As the events for the 11th annual Business Alliance for Local Living Economies conference time in Buffalo. came to a close on Friday, one central and enduring theme echoed throughout the discussions: prosperity for all.
In the Buffalo State College Campbell Student Union, a series of five speakers from a wide array of backgrounds—ranging from business personnel to community-based organizations—highlighted a specific avenue to economic justice.
PUSH Buffalo Executive Director Aaron Bartley presented on the efforts to promote community mobilization, sustainable living and enhanced quality of life around the Buffalo area. As evidenced by its previous renovation works, PUSH Buffalo focuses on creating affordable, energy-efficient housing in what Bartley called a “golden age” of localism.
“Community planning is not an annual process that sits on a shelf,” he said. “It’s perpetual.”
Beyond the local lens of Buffalo, speaker India Pierce Lee of the Cleveland Foundation presented on the community projects in place in that city’s University Circle neighborhood. Pennsylvania’s Union Packaging CEO Mike Pearson spoke of his company’s unique vision of social entrepreneurship, which included tuition reimbursement for employees and equal employment opportunities for often-neglected groups like immigrants as well as the formerly imprisoned.
On a worldwide scale, Billy Parish, the president and co-founder of Mosaic, an organization focused on funding an international shift to clean energy, discussed the goal to achieve 100% clean energy around the world, Parish said that approximately 3.8 million wind turbines, 90 thousand power plants and 1.7 billion rooftop solar systems would need to be put in place—a plan that would cost around $100 trillion dollars.
But with community support, Mosaic—the first online platform to fund this shift to clean energy—hopes to overcome this hurdle, which Parish claimed would effectively save over 3 million lives per year and create a wealth of new jobs.
“Building a clean energy planet is also the biggest business opportunity on the planet,” Parish said.
Nikki Henderson, the executive director of People’s Grocery, closed out the ceremony with a resonant speech that summarized the preceding themes of prosperity in our current environment.
“There are breakdowns in the world and there are breakthroughs,” Henderson said. “When your impact is not what you intended, do not collapse into shame. Take responsibility and fix it.”
For more information about BALLE, visit the organization’s website at bealocalist.org.