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Interview: Connect 2012 - long form v1.0
Interviewer: Doreen Agostino
Interviewee: Donald Simon
Location: Georgia United States

Question Answer
PRE-INTERVIEW
1 Describe your interest in being a change agent, i.e. working to create positive change for the greater good. How would you characterize your current activity level? (Choose one) Somewhat active

2 Describe how this compares to the activity level as a change agent that you might desire for yourself. (Choose one) Actively looking for ways to do more

3 List any movements or organizations you are involved with that might be synergistic with other initiatives to create positive change. Member of Occupy Cafe

Common Passion/Board Member

East COBB [Cobb County, sustainability group]/Member


4 We are creating a database of projects and initiatives to support the emergence of collaborative work via Connect 2012. Is there something you are engaged with now, or might imagine launching or being a part of, that you would like to share? If so, please briefly describe the nature of this work, including its purpose and intended results. Yes


5 Are there needs you have or requests you want to make regarding the work described in #4 above? Would like to initiate something like Occupy Neighborhoods in his Atlanta area [6 million people in Atlanta].

Requests more information about how to reach out in local communities, to bring people together for common good.


6 List websites you'd like to share that relate specifically to your projects (including Twitter & Facebook if you wish):
(List each website on a separate line)
http://zenbookseries.com


7 ** Return here to answer this question AFTER you've completed your interview. **

Do you have any comments or questions about this interview, Connect 2012 and/or Occupy Cafe?
This interview may be perceived by people as too long.

Suggest you offer Level 1 basic questions Level 2 drills down deeper for people willing to go further.


INTERVIEW
8 Q1(a): As you reflect on a time when people came together in a powerful way for positive change, choose one that stands out for you. Tell me your story about that time and any part you, your family and/or friends might have played in it [if relevant].

Organizer of a community garden in Marietta, Georgia. Unity Church grounds in north Marietta was covered with brambles, weeds and poison ivy. Don suggested making better use of the land by starting a community garden. 37 people joined this project.

Each person donated money and time. In addition, materials and seeds were donated by local biz people. People were so impressed with the garden, they photographed it with cell phones and sent the photos to other parts of the USA, which led to other communities and states starting community gardens.


9 Q1(b): Why this is an important story? How has it influenced you? What lessons does it offer going forward?

Initially the project was to help local people eat healthier food not transported 1,500 miles, and also to help the Earth. The project helped build community and expanded collaboration on other projects.

Going forward: Sharing this success story with other people and details of how it was done.


10 Q2: At this time in history, what challenges do you see in the way we choose to organize ourselves politically, economically and socially? What opportunities do you see in the ways that things might be shifting, awakening and/or emerging in response to these challenges?

Challenges: Lack of imagination, lack of collaboration

Opportunities: Huge, because there are so many problems to address; political, biz and personal. Collaboration can occur from the most unlikely people and places, as times get tougher. Government budgets forcing government to look at new ways of running the country, and corporations can either stay behind or move ahead of the curve.


11 Q3 Context: Imagine we’re a few years down the line and people like you have been hugely successful in moving us towards lasting and far-reaching changes that benefit all people and the planet as a whole. Wherever you look, there are dramatic improvements in how leaders behave and how communities interact. As you walk through your city, town or village and talk with others across your country and around the world, you see evidence of positive change spreading everywhere.

Q3(a): Describe the differences you, hear, feel, and experience in your everyday life.

Optimism replaced fear and pessimism.

Education teaches to the strength of each child. Prison system educates, heals emotionally, and rehabilitates prisoners.

People respect and live in harmony with Earth and one another.

Local businesses and manufacturing are thriving.

Land trusts are dedicated to community gardens and other non-profit activities.


12 Q3(b): Describe the differences you see, hear, feel and experience in the way we choose to organize ourselves politically, economically and socially.

How we choose to organize ourselves, serves the highest and best good of everyone.

Sustainable and thriving local economy, society, environment, business.

Development of local currencies.

People live in integrity with themselves, each other and the Earth.


13 Q3(c): What did people do early on that helped to generate such positive outcomes?

Collaborated with each other.

Used outside the box thinking.

People agreed to set up a micro-loan fund for biz - contributing $1 per day; funds available as required, projects are monitored, education provided [learn how to set up a biz], applies to profit and non profit biz.

Flash Garden Mobs - kids show up to support local community; sit down and talk about how to create a new economy.


14 Q3(d): What role did you play in making this happen?

Organizer of the project.


15 Q4(a): What skills, talents and/or resources might you have to offer in service to collaborative work that emerges via the connect 2012 initiative?

Willing to donate services and possibly get paid, depending on the time involved and complexity of what is requested.


16 Q4(b) What is the nature of this potential offer (as a paid service, barter, gift, a combination, etc.)?

Mix of gifts and paid services.


17 Are you interested in developing the infrastructure of Occupy Cafe in support of this initiative or in other respects?

No.


18 Are you interested in collaborating on the production of a short video or a blog post based on your stories and vision?

Yes.