Green drinks, alternative currency and the nitty gritty

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
January 12th, 2011

We may still be two months from St. Patrick’s day but green drinks are about to start pouring once again in the Golden City. Following a year long absence on the local event calendar Lea Thuot with the Sustainability Commission will be bringing the popular event back again starting next week. In addition to the rebirth of Green Drinks in Rossland, the Sustainability Commission (SC) will also be launching a new event series to be held on alternate months to Green Drinks . Known as The Nitty Gritty Talk, this new event aspires to drill down even deeper into issues.

Previously organized by Michelle Laurie and run out of the Old Fire Hall, Green Drinks events are designed as a casual, social forum to learn from an expert on particular green and/or sustainable issues affecting Rossland and then discuss amongst the group over a preferred beverage or two.
Already excited about the event series, which takes place in cities and towns around the world as part of the greater Green Drinks movement, Thuot brought the idea to the Sustainability Commission after being hired as manger of the commission and they jumped at the opportunity.
“One of the first things I did when I got to town was Google Rossland Green Drinks to see if anyone was doing it,” explained Thuot. “Michelle Laurie had been doing it but she got busy with other projects after a year. I thought someone should get it going so I started looking into it. The SC has now picked it up and they gave me the go ahead to use some of my time to put it on.”
This coming Tuesday, January 18th, will see the first event held in the Rouge Gallery space. The gathering will be tackling a new initiative just getting set to launch in the Columbia basin designed to spur on local shopping in our communities. Bill McNally will be presenting the new Columbia Community Dollars(CCD) program on night one and filling people in on what the new local currency is all about, how it’s to be used and how they can participate.
Although the events will be run by the Sustainability Commission, the topics, such as the CCD initiative, won’t always be directly related to commission initiatives.
“This first one, the community dollars, the commission isn’t involved in, but it was a timely topic and they have a competition going on right now so when it came across my desk I thought, ‘Perfect!’” added Thuot. “When I talked to people around town nobody really knew much about it or who was doing it. Rossland is listed as one of the six communities where the money will be circulated. The natural question was, ‘who is doing this?’. I don’t have many answers yet so I’m hoping those will come out at the event.”
Green Drinks sessions typically start with a 15 minute presentation by an expert on the particular issue. That is then followed by an open discussion either in small groups or together as a whole. The discussions are designed to get people talking about what they just learned and discussing new ideas.
“It’s an informal chance to chat with your neighbours and people in the community that are obviously here because they are interested,” noted Thuot. “In those kinds of conversations exciting things happen. People make connections, collaboration can happen and all sorts of good stuff.”
While the Green Drinks events are designed as more casual discussions, the SC is also getting prepared to launch their Nitty Gritty Talks to take place on alternate months to the bi-monthly Green Drinks, starting in February. The idea behind Nitty Gritty is to make sure the SC is hitting as many different demographics and folks in the community as possible. Just as Green Drinks taps into one segment of the community, the Nitty Gritty Talks are designed as a more formal, facilitated style event where participants can dig even deeper into the details of the particular subject on any given evening.
Although the topic schedule is still a work in progress ,the hope is to highlight local organizations or folks in town who are walking the walk, living the sustainable lifestyle or at least doing something positive and interesting in that general direction. At its core, Nitty Gritty will be about knowledge sharing and residents inspiring one another to beef up their own personal sustainable habits and lifestyles.
If you’ve got a sustainable project or green knowledge to share the SC wants to hear from you. In the meantime get prepared to raise a glass, toast to a greener and more sustainable future, make connections and collaborate with your neighbours in the continuing effort to make Rossland an even better place to call home or do business.
For more information on the Columbia Community Dollars click here
The first Green Drinks will be held at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, January 18th at The Rouge Gallery. Admission is free; however, there will be a voluntary donation jar at the door to support Rouge who is donating the space for the event at no charge.

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