Last month at the NACDEP Conference in Charleston, SC, I was pleased to accept the 2010 Western Region NACDEP Excellence in Community Development Work Award – Team on behalf of the following MACDEP members working in Horizons communities: Jennifer Anderson, Barb Andreozzi, Damon Bunting, Kevin Chamberlain, Sarah Hamlen, Tom Harrington, Rae Lynn Hays, Tara Mastel, Mandie Reed, Bruce Smith, and Wendy Wedum. Congratulations MACDEP members for your efforts in community development!
Also, the Western Rural Development Center recently published a report detailing Cooperative Extension's community development FTEs, programs, and activities in the region.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies 2010 World Disasters Report
A report released by the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies details world population growth and disaster potential by area. The figure below shows the growth in the world’s urban population from 1950 to 2010 and then what the United Nations projects for 2030. The projections suggest that, from 2010 to 2030, almost all the growth in the world’s population will be in urban centers in low- and middle-income nations and that Asia will undergo massive urban growth.
The index overwhelmingly shows that cities in Asia have the highest exposure to surge-induced flooding now and in the future. Of the 20 cities with the highest population exposure in 2005, half are in low- and middle-income nations in Asia. In real numbers, out of the total 38.5 million people currently exposed, 65 per cent of them live in Asian cities. The figure below shows the top 20 world port cities with exposed populations in 2005. In the 2070s, the index predicts that 17 out of the 20 cities with the highest population exposure will be in present-day low- and middle-income countries and 14 out of 20 of the cities will be in Asia (four in China and two in Bangladesh).
'Age of Man' Interactive Map
NationalGeographic.com has created an interactive map which relays a variety of information about global trends and demographics. The sample below shows population density; the brightest points are the highest densities. Each country is colored according to its average annual gross national income per capita, using categories established by the World Bank. Some nations— like economic powerhouses China and India—have an especially wide range of incomes. But as the two most populous countries, both are lower middle class when income is averaged per capita.
The Staggering Size of the Internet
The following infographic from Mashable.com shows a rise in global internet use and breaks down usage by country:
The next infographic shows the staggering number of online media being viewed and uploaded by internet users.
Navigating the Numbers: Greenhouse Gas Data and International Climate Policy
A report by the World Resources Institute provides a comprehensive assessment of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions at the global, national, sectoral, and fuel levels and identifies implications of the data for international cooperation on global climate change. The following graphic shows global greenhouse gas emissions by sector:
Private Control of Seed Stifles Organic Farming
The Daily Yonder reports that private ownership of seed, industry-funded university research, and concentration in the seed business are stifling seed development and holding back organic farming. Seed is not only an input for crop production, it is a natural resource that demands management in a manner that is ethical, sustainable, profitable, and effective in delivering agronomic adaptations for the diverse agricultural systems and markets within the U.S. The seed industry stands out as one of the most concentrated in agriculture. Once comprised of mostly small, family-owned companies, the industry is now dominated by a handful of transnational biotechnology/chemical firms. The top three firms, for example, account for more than 75% of U.S. corn seed sales. One firm’s patented genetic traits are in nearly all corn, soybean, and cotton acreage planted in the U.S. The graph below compares public and private research and development expenditures on crop variety.
Census: Near-Record Level of US Counties Dying
ABC News reports that 1 in 4 US counties are dying as a result of an aging population and poor economy. Of the nation's 3,142 counties, 760 of them saw more deaths than births over the last decade, a phenomenon called natural decrease. As a nation, the U.S. population grew by just 9.7 percent since 2000, the lowest decennial rate since the Great Depression. The following chart details natural decrease in American cities from 1950 to 2005:
Farm Payments Continue Despite Record Earnings
According to The Daily Yonder, giving payments when farmers are banking record earnings will only erode any public backing for price supports when they really are needed. The prospects for farm income this year compared to 2010 vary considerably from region to region. High corn and cotton prices will bring greater income to the middle of the country. The areas that may decline are those where livestock is raised. Net cash income increased in every region from '09 to '10 by 20 percent. According to the authors, a safety net should minimize damage to commodity prices/revenues during the “hard times,” the times when production chronically outruns demand such as during 1998-2001 crop years and during many previous periods. A safety net also should protect farmers against catastrophic on-farm production losses that result from the vagaries of weather. In exchange for this protection, these policies also protect consumers from extremely high prices. The map below compares projected net cash income with last year's numbers.
The Downside of School District Consolidation
The Daily Yonder reports that over the last 90 years, we consolidated out of existence 90% of the nation's schools. Now the 500 largest school districts educate 43% of all students. The graph below shows a decrease in the number of school districts.
The really big news, at least from the standpoint of affection for rural communities, is that deconsolidation is far, far more likely to “produce significant savings” statewide than is closing a few more rural districts and schools. Most of the nation’s schoolkids are housed in gigantic districts—far, far larger than 3,000 students with the ones enrolling a large plurality of students far, far larger even than 15,000 students. The graph below compares the number of public schools and the number of public school students.
'A Field Guide to Community Coaching' Released
Dr. Mary Emery, Ken Hubbell and Becky Miles-Polka have just released their new Field Guide to Community Coaching. This planning tool to help groups rebuild and revitalize communities is available as a free “e-book” from http://www.communitycoaching.com. You can download a copy of this colorful, 108-page guide to concepts, tools, and examples of coaching that supports individuals, coalitions, groups, and institutions engaged in shaping and sustaining community change. The book describes the art and craft of coaching in complex community contexts. It incorporates examples from rural and urban settings along with tips and tales from over a dozen experienced practitioners.
Montana Census Data Released
The U.S. Census Bureau has released local-level 2010 Census population counts for Montana. For each state, the Census Bureau provides summaries of population totals, as well as data on race, Hispanic origin and voting age. These data are presented for multiple geographies within the state, such as census blocks, tracts, voting districts, cities, counties and school districts. Each state's geographic products and redistricting data are first delivered to three groups: the state's leadership, such as the governor and majority and minority leaders in the state legislative body; the state legislative services office; and to the lead agency in the U.S. Census Bureau's State Data Center (SDC) program. For Montana, the State Data Center is the Census and Economic Information Center (CEIC) at the MT Department of Commerce.
2011 Burton K. Wheeler Spring Conference
The Spring conference will be a discussion of water resource issues. Speakers include internationally known Maude Barlow, on the "right to water;" John Thorsen, who chairs the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee, and Larry Janis, Water Supply Business Line Manager in the Omaha office of the Corps of Engineers. The discussion will be wide ranging, involving water issues around the state.
2011 South Dakota Indian Business Conference
May 17-18th, 2011
Rapid City, SD
The focus of the 2011 South Dakota Indian Business Conference will be on growing the Indian independent small business sector on South Dakota's nine reservations, in towns and cities across South Dakota, and beyond. Conference tracks will address: Financing, Resources, Infrastructure, and Governance. There will be a Tribal Leaders Panel, networking opportunities, and much more.
Mobilizing Rural Communities Conference RFP
Great Falls, MT
September 13-15, 2011
Request for Presenters for the upcoming Mobilizing Rural Communities Conference. Topic include, but are in no way limited, to the areas of: Funding and Development, Innovations in Rural America, Technology, Outreach, and Communication Strategies for Rural America; Financial Counseling and Education, Infrastructure and Workforce Development, Policy and Advocacy.
National Conference on Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods RFP
October 3-5, 2011
Fostering wealth creation that leads to improved livelihoods in rural America is a top priority for USDA and for many regional, state and local research and development initiatives. The conference will bring together researchers, rural development practitioners and policy-makers who are working on regional and rural development issues. All those interested in attending the conference are requested to apply by responding to the Call for Participation, which has links to the application, which asks interested participants to outline their interest in attending, including an abstract of any research findings, program stories, policy ideas, or burning questions they can contribute to the knowledge exchange at the conference. Applications to attend the conference are due by May 15, 2011.
Health Impact Project: Advancing Smarter Policies for Healthier Communities
Deadline: Applicant Web Conference Call 05/04/2011, Registration Required
The Health Impact Project: Advancing Smarter Policies for Healthier Communities, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, encourages the use of health impact assessment (HIA) to help decision-makers identify the potential health effects of proposed policies, projects and programs, and make recommendations that enhance their health benefits and minimize their adverse effects and associated costs. Up to eight demonstration projects will be awarded in this round of funding.
Grants will range from $25,000 to $125,000 each and must be completed within 18 months.
Healthy Living Grants
The AMA Foundation, with support from the AMA AllianceExternal Link, began the Healthy Living Grant Program to address these critical issues. Based on the thought that local leaders can come up with the best solutions to these problems, this initiative supports grassroots organizations who are on the front lines in their communities. These grants provide critical funding that can jumpstart a project, affect change quickly, increase visibility for a project/organization, encourage collaboration and make a lasting difference in a community.
Product Donations for Nonprofits
Good360, a registered 501(C)(3), is an innovative online marketplace where product donations from America's top brands become goods for the greater good. New technology allows nonprofits to be notified of what's available in their neighborhoods. Take five minutes to register today, then search by zip code, browse the online catalog, arrange for direct shipping or pick-ups in your area, and build relationships with local donors for recurring pick-ups.
Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2011
Applications are being accepted for loans and grants under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. The commitment of program dollars will be made to applicants of selected responses that have fulfilled the necessary requirements for obligation.
New Belgium Grants to Improve Communities
The purpose of New Belgium's small grants program is to serve and connect with local communities, cultivate relationships and support those making an impact. Funding decisions are made by the Sustainability Department and our Employee Advisory Committee. New Belgium uses philanthropy dollars to promote Environmental Stewardship in the following categories: Water Stewardship, Sensible Transportation & Bike Advocacy, Sustainable agriculture, Youth environmental education.
Small grants range from $500-$5,000.
|Community Development "In the News"
Canadian University Appoints Sustainable Food Chair
Plant and animal scientist Ralph Martin, a Nova Scotia-based academic and director of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, has been appointed chair of Sustainable Food Production at the University of Guelph. Martin’s post at the country’s largest agriculture school is the first privately funded academic chair of its kind in Canada. Toronto Globe and Mail; Mar. 25.
New Study Questions 'Greenness' of Biomass
New, sophisticated calculations are casting doubts on the merits of biomass-produced power. Some researchers have concluded that, when it comes to carbon dioxide, biomass could be more polluting — at least in the short term — than coal, and much worse than natural gas. Burning biomass is dirtier at the outset, they argue, and recouping that higher initial release of carbon could take years or even decades of forest growth. Seattle Times; Mar. 22.
Natural Gas May Increase in Popularity
Serious problems at the nuclear power plant in Japan have raised new doubts about the safety of nuclear energy, new exploration has yet to resume in the Gulf of Mexico after last year’s blowout of a BP oil well, and coal plants have been under a shadow because of their contribution to global warming. Meanwhile, natural gas has overcome two of its biggest hurdles — volatile prices and questionable supplies. New York Times; Mar. 21.
E.P.A. Proposes New Emission Standards for Power Plants
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday proposed the first national standard for emissions of mercury and other pollutants from coal-burning power plants, a rule that could lead to the early closing of a number of older plants and one that is certain to be challenged by the some utilities and Republicans in Congress. New York Times; Mar. 16.
Producer Prices Rise at Fastest Pace in 18 Months
Producer prices surged in February at their fastest pace in about 18 months, lifted by high food and energy prices, according to a government report that pointed to a buildup in inflation pressures. New York Times; Mar. 16.
Ice Sheets Melting Faster than Expected
The vast ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are melting faster than previously estimated and that melting is accelerating, according to a new report that verifies 18 years of melting via two independent techniques. Washington Post; Mar. 9.
Unemployment dips to 8.9 pct., 192,000 jobs added
Employers hired in February at the fastest pace in almost a year and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent — a nearly two-year low. The economy added 192,000 jobs last month, with factories, professional and business services, education and health care among those expanding employment. Denver Post; Mar. 4.
Crow Tribal Members Approve Water Settlement Act
Crow tribal members voted to ratify the Crow Water Settlement Act of 2010, and, according to unofficial results released by the office of Crow Tribal Chairman Cedric Black Eagle, the measure passed easily in a 2,347-917 vote, a 72 percent majority. Enrolled members of the tribe were asked to ratify the water settlement act, which Congress passed in November and President Barack Obama signed on Dec. 8. Billings Gazette; Mar. 20.
State Environmental Law Under Fire
Senate Republicans are moving forward with their plan to tilt the state’s main environmental law in favor of industry, despite objections from Democrats that the plan undermines key protections for clean air and water. Opponents led by environmentalists argue the measure complicates state environmental regulations in a way that is very harmful to citizen participation. They also said the erosion of the state’s MEPA law will eventually harm the state’s air and quality standards since it will be hard to oppose bad projects. Helena Independent Record; Mar. 18.
Missoula-based Company Named Exporter of the Year
The owners of Kamut International were recently honored with the Montana Department of Commerce's 2010 Exporter of the Year award in Helena. Although popularity on the grain in the U.S. hasn't yet matched that of Europe, Kamut has capitalized on the fact that Montana leads the nation in organic wheat production. Missoulian; Mar. 14.
Montana's Gender Pay Gap Fifth Largest in Nation
Female Montana workers make 71.5 percent of what male workers make, according to data in a recent U.S. Census Bureau survey. Montana ranked fifth highest in the nation in the gender pay gap information that was part of the bureau's 2009 American Community Survey. Currently, women make about 77 percent of what men make on a national level. Great Falls Tribune; Mar. 12.
MSU Vies for National Solar Research Center
Gov. Brian Schweitzer recently came to Bozeman to help Montana State University make a pitch to become the new home of the National Solar Observatory. MSU is competing against six other universities across the nation for the honor and prestige of hosting the nation's solar research center. Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Mar. 11.
Flathead County Jobless Rate Hits Record 14.1 Percent
Flathead County’s unemployment rate jumped to an all-time high in January when it reached 14.1 percent, compared to 12.1 percent in December 2010, and marking the fourth straight month of double-digit unemployment. The statewide unadjusted unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, up from 7.4 percent in December. The seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 7.5 percent in January, up from 7.4 percent a month earlier. Eastern Montana continues to enjoy some of the state’s lowest unemployment rates, with oil-rich Richland County at 3.2 percent in January, and Fallon County at 3 percent. Daily Inter Lake; Mar. 11.
Local Foods Commerce Day Brings Together Producers, Buyers
The Western Sustainability Exchange brought its "speed-dating" program to Missoula as part of Local Foods Commerce Day, hoping to make lasting connections between those interested in buying and those interested in selling sustainable products around Montana. Missoulian; Mar. 7.