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'It Takes Money to Buy Whiskey' : Local Energy Systems and Civic Participation
Unformatted Document Text:  together people from various cities and counties, farmers and other landowners, industry, utilities, colleges, universities, and local governments. The outcome of the project is a strategic vision and a renewable energy and conservation plan for each region, reflecting a mix of energy sources, including biomass, wind, solar, and hydrogen. The plan is intended to lay the groundwork for funding and implementing renewable energy projects that meet regional needs. Bringing People into the Fold:Recruitment Strategies and Processes The means by which individuals become engaged in a community activity such as CERTs is an important question for both organizers and political theorists. Organizers cannot simply expect people to show up at the door no matter how worthy the cause and theorists cannot rely upon assumptions regarding the virtues of a democratically-oriented and participative public. An important contribution to untangling the difficult question of how individuals end up as engaged citizens is supplied by Verba, Schlozman, and Brady’s Citizen Participation Project (1995). While this project was primarily concerned with political activities such as voting, campaign work, and other familiar activities, the project was also concerned with quasi-political “community activities” such as “running the PTA fund drive or managing the church soup kitchen” (1995, 141). Community energy projects such as CERTs reside comfortably within this notion of politics. Verba, et al. point to another reason to consider community energy activities as political in character, namely, the transformational process whereby non-political acts lay the foundation for explicitly political acts at some point in the future. They explicitly acknowledge that the distance between the two is often very small and that a major theme 4

Authors: High-Pippert, Angela. and Hoffman, Steven.
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together people from various cities and counties, farmers and other landowners, industry,
utilities, colleges, universities, and local governments. The outcome of the project is a
strategic vision and a renewable energy and conservation plan for each region, reflecting
a mix of energy sources, including biomass, wind, solar, and hydrogen. The plan is
intended to lay the groundwork for funding and implementing renewable energy projects
that meet regional needs.
Bringing People into the Fold:
Recruitment Strategies and Processes
The means by which individuals become engaged in a community activity such as
CERTs is an important question for both organizers and political theorists. Organizers
cannot simply expect people to show up at the door no matter how worthy the cause and
theorists cannot rely upon assumptions regarding the virtues of a democratically-oriented
and participative public. An important contribution to untangling the difficult question of
how individuals end up as engaged citizens is supplied by Verba, Schlozman, and
Brady’s Citizen Participation Project (1995). While this project was primarily concerned
with political activities such as voting, campaign work, and other familiar activities, the
project was also concerned with quasi-political “community activities” such as “running
the PTA fund drive or managing the church soup kitchen” (1995, 141). Community
energy projects such as CERTs reside comfortably within this notion of politics.
Verba, et al. point to another reason to consider community energy activities as
political in character, namely, the transformational process whereby non-political acts lay
the foundation for explicitly political acts at some point in the future. They explicitly
acknowledge that the distance between the two is often very small and that a major theme
4


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