Live blog from the Puget Sound Partnership Education, Communication, and Outreach Summit. The stated purpose of the Summit is “to revitalize the ECO Net and its relationship with the Puget Sound Partnership’s goals and priorities.”
9:15 Bill Ruckelshaus discussed need for grassroots change despite the budgetary stresses in Washington State and D.C. (Dave Dix was unable to attend because of urgent need to lobby legislators to fund the PSP mandates at the beginning of the legislative session!) The $6B deficit is now projected to reach $8B by Q2. He alludes to how 1963 publication of Silent Spring led to 10 major environmental laws in the 1970s. He urged the audience to build the human infrastructure for behavioral change and action (required to solve distributed problems like non-point-source pollution) so that we’ll be ready when (more) money arrives.
10:00 Paul Bergman, Communications Director gave a synopsis of a survey related to Puget Sound Education and Outreach
- ONLY about 21% of those surveyed are “aware and understand” that Puget Sound is environmentally degraded. How do we get this to 60% in 2-3 years?!
- The way you describe water pollution changes the public’s level of concern. Be specific: “Polluted stormwater runoff that flows into our rivers creeks and the Sound”
- There’s a central ~50% of the public that are moderately concerned about Puget Sound environmental problems
- Who is our base? (people who should be with us and are easy to convert quickly) Middle-aged women (“my Mom in Poulsbo”), white males are harder to move.
- ~50% of those polled think that Residents of Puget Sound should pay for fixing problems
- It’s about water, water, water (not the rock fish); people pay attention to water (drinking water, clean water, there’s something primal about it) — rivers, creeks, streams. Focus on threats rather than existing conditions. Strong land/water connection. They get that they share in the responsibility to fix problems.
He also mentioned that a PBS Frontline documentary will air on April 21 that focuses on what’s going on in Puget Sound and compare it to the Chesapeake. The producer may help organize special screenings around Puget Sound.
He emphasizes need to lobby legislators to maintain some funding!
10:30 Kristen Cooley, Network Coordinator
- Network has 250 orgs, 400 members, online database, this summit on Jan 28, Coordination days for 12 local networks (2 consecutive days in March to June in each geographic area)
- Steering committee (15 members give input from broad membership, 3 yr term, 1/3 voted in each year)
- We need to work together, have one plan and one message!
- Next steps: winter 2009 — finalize budget and plan, advertisement development, foundation fundraising, identify and confirm citizen behaviors, initiate planning for citizen engagement initiatives; spring 2009 — initial fundraising completed, launch media and earned media campaign, Coordination Days around Puget Sound.
- Will there be flexibility at local level? Yes, that’s what the Coordination Days are about.
- About $300M IS being spent on Puget Sound by State Agencies. It’s our duty to educate our legislators.
- How should State Agency like Ecology attend to all these local meetings (e.g. in Thurston County)? Not sure. Give me your creative ideas!
11:15 Working Session #1: Listing extant networks and what does/n’t work in a network.
1:15 Working session #2: Listing partnerships and resources that pose barriers or could increase success/collaboration; Prioritized list of elements/activities that would make the ECO Net “healthy.”
2:30 Whole group debrief
- Kristen: Our goal is to get to 60% awareness because it is a majority.
- We need to increase diversity of this network to affect societal change!
- Model programs should be few, focused, and well-documented.
- We’re in a trans-boundary marine ecosystem and need a parallel network, or inter-networking.
- Many people came here today without pay/support. Next time we should give them a special invite, acknowledgment, or free lunch. This could be an important way to expand and support the network.
- There seems to be a lack of in/formal agreements between ECO Net organizations. These should be in place before work begins. There could also be a code of ethics for working within the ECO Net.
2:50 Wrap up comments
3:00 End of Summmit