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Who we are

The Pioneer Valley Relocalization Project (PVRP) is a team in Amherst, Massachusetts and neighboring towns who are helping to avert what will be catastrophic environmental and economic effects from the ravages of global warming and declining world oil production (peak oil) if nothing is done in the next few years to taper off carbon buildup by radically changing how we live. We are informing municipal officials and residents in our region via a newspaper column and general educational outreach to existing community groups about a novel concept called relocalization, which is an important component of both economic and ecologic sustainability. Sustainability simply means the ability to exist as a balanced and healthy community on a supportive earth until the Sun burns out.

Relocalization is a contributing solution to our plight. It is both a process and a guiding framework for making changes in public behavior and town infrastructure towards making a community a sustainable community. Aspects of relocalization include: reducing use of single-passenger autos, building up and not out in order to reduce transportation distances, living in close proximity, growing more local food, having a town make its own energy, conserving energy in homes and buildings, and engendering a robust local economy via support of local businesses and returning light manufacture to towns. The more relocalization, the more happiness.

Relocalization is the opposite of globalization. Globalization has taken manufacturing and farming away from its once local roots and concentrated it far away in the American Midwest or overseas. Globalization, the mall, and auto culture are of one piece. The result has been blighted, unattractive big box strips and commerce that makes lots of money for the corporations but robs the locals of sovereignty, identity, local color, and wealth. The “buy local” phrase has been a commonplace in Amherst and its neighboring towns in the Pioneer Valley for years. But it is important to realize that this phrase in actuality is an appeal to relocalization without fully recognizing relocalization’s full dimensions and benefits.

The history of the PVRP

PVRP is a project of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC). PVRP was formed on October 16, 2007 in Amherst, MA following the MCHC’s all-day workshop on relocalization in Northampton, MA on September 30, 2007, which featured Frances Moore Lappé as keynoter, 5 local experts on the facets of relocalization, 225 attendees, and 26 sustainability tabling groups from throughout the Connecticut River valley, from PVPC and Coop Power to intermediate and small groups. The PVRP is carrying on the powerful group creativity that was manifested in this seminal workshop.

PVRP Projects

Past and Ongoing Educational Projects
  • instituted the Green Perspective column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, which prints sustainability pieces up to 850 words whenever material is submitted
  • In April 2010 we instituted a monthly 650-word column on relocalization and regionalization in the Amherst Bulletin called “In Close Proximity.”
  • sponsoring/co-sponsoring guest speakers, such as Bill McKibben and Richard Heinberg
  • showing films with Q&A follow up at presentations at various community organizations
  • conducting ongoing research on the theory and practice of relocalization and on implementing a transportation project of minibuses for better passenger miles per gallon
  • encouraging collaboration between ourselves and municipal officers, the public, and area sustainability groups
  • working with www.RideBuzz.org and town governments to encourage residents via inserts in regular town bills and via newsletters to carpool to work/weekly errands

Current Deep Structural Projects

We are developing a proposal for a diesel minibus service in Amherst and neighboring towns to supplement the inefficient 55-passenger PVTA buses at off-peak times. We are also engaged with people about establishing more town acreage under cultivation for local sustainable food production.

We’d like you to join PVRP

By joining PVRP you support our region’s economic and cultural future. Make an annual donation of $10 or more, and we’ll publish your name as a supporter (if you’d like your name published, which we’d prefer). You may pay by check or by secure online payment:

  • By mail: write a check payable to MCHC. Mail to: PVRP, PO Box 1059, Amherst, MA 01004-1059. Write “PVRP” on the note line. If you want to be publicly recognized as a supporter, in the note line area give us your name, profession, address, phone, and email.

  • -OR-

  • Online: click here and put “PVRP” in the designation box. If you want to be publicly recognized as a supporter, also in this box give us your name, profession, address, phone, and email.

Passionate about Relocalization? To join our leadership committee or to become one of our ambassadors, contact: Larry Ely, PVRP chair, 413-256-6044 or email [email protected].

Listen to Bill McKibben, the Philosopher of Relocalization:
Click here for Bill McKibben’s “Deep Economy” talk in in Boulder, CO, 3-26-07

View/Hear These Films/Media On Global Warming:

Bill McKibben talks about global warming and the 350ppm target.
By Ernest Urvater.
Listen to Dr. James Hansen interviewed by Francesca Rheannon on Writer’s Voice:
“Our Last Chance to Save Humanity”

View These Films on Peak Oil:

The Looming Crisis in Oil Depletion, 4-27-2008 Hampshire College talk by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute. Introduction by Michael Klare. Produced by PVRP/ACTV. Video conversion by Ernie Urvater of Amherst.

“The End of Suburbia”, the classic film on peak oil from 2004

To purchase inexpensive CDs/DVDs click here

What you can do to help:
  • Copy and distribute our flyer!: Make some color back-to-back copies of our flyer (here) and email and physical mail them to some friends. To make a back-to-back copy, print the first page, then place that sheet back in the printer, and print the 2nd page.

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