BALLE and Bellingham’s Identity

As I write this, Naomi Klein is speaking at the national BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) conference, hosted right here in Bellingham, on the campus of my employer, Western Washington University.

Unable to attend, I’m following the action on Twitter (you can follow too: #BALLE2011) and have come across these awesome nuggets:!/itsaulgood/status/81396695384076288!/rbemporad/status/81397192438460416!/kmacura/status/81398063666696192!/BALLE_Network/status/81398604627062784

And that last one really hits home, for it points to why Bellingham is hosting BALLE to begin with, why Bellingham has become known as the “gold standard” for sustainable, local businesses.

Back in August 2010, on this subject, I made this point that seems so relevant here:

If federal, state, and local governments are failing us, a community can just decide to do things differently. There’s nothing against the law about supporting local agriculture, engaging in habitat restoration, or promoting sustainable transportation.

And so Bellingham has garnered national attention for developing the kind of local living economy that BALLE is all about, this is core to our fair city’s very identity, a trip to the Farmer’s Market is all you need to see it in action.

However, as I wrote recently, we’re currently facing a larger threat than we’ve ever faced before, the G-P (Gateway Pacific Terminal) coal terminal project, a project that is not only a violation of everything that Bellingham has come to stand for, but also a project that could destroy so much of the work that’s been done to make Bellingham the model city that it is, that could destroy the quality of life that we all hold so dear.

Fortunately, we do have a well-organized and informed core of citizens who have already shown that they will show up and speak out in large numbers, and we have a mayor, Dan Pike, who has vowed to oppose the coal terminal.

Just this morning, in fact, the Bellingham Herald reports that Pike has taken more bold action, writing a letter to governor Gregoire, asking to have the city included in the Multi-Agency Permitting Team and for the state to take over as lead agency for the permit and environmental impact process.

That he was blasted for doing so, libeled as erroneous, malicious, and ignorant, makes it clear how much influence the big money and political force behind the coal terminal has already wielded, no doubt a small sample of what’s to come.

I urge everyone to email Mayor Pike, to thank him for his courageous efforts and to offer your support for him to keep up the fight.

2 thoughts on “BALLE and Bellingham’s Identity

  1. thanks for the idea…I just sent this small note to Mayor Pike:” I just wanted to take the time to personally thank you for what you are doing regarding the G-P (Gateway Pacific Terminal) coal terminal project. There are so many small groups that are fighting as hard as they can but I feel you are helping unite them.I appreciate you taking a stand that might not be the most popular but is from the heart.
    Thank you again for what you are doing and for being willing to put it all on the line.
    You have our vote in the next election. We need people like you to help keep Bellingham the city I love to live in, the city that is working on developing the water front and continuing to support small business owners.
    Than you again.”

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