EQ

Toward the beauty of a county   




   Home Page and Introduction

EQ is just a planning place now. It may someday become a project of Keep Wise County (or other counties or regions) Beautiful, a volunteer organization and others ... Bob Giles is just dreaming... Hopefully this web page will suggest potentials and serve to help get an improved, useful site on the Internet into action.

EQ is

The Community

Any community is hard to define. You just know it when you are within it. Until then, a tentative definition is:


all of those people having a spiritual or cultural relationship with an area or a concept, concern for quality of life within an area, or significant common physical or economic interests. A community may be a neighborhood, an apartment complex, people in a multi-county area, people affected by a project, or people very interested in a limited topic such as the lasting beauty of a region.

Possible government statement:
The appearance of this great community is our collective responsibility. We live, play, work, raise our children and entertain our future in this locale we call Wise County. As County xxxxx, I have initiated a community-wide beautification awareness and action plan. In an effort to move our city, towns and villages from BETTER TO BEST, I pledge leadership and the resources necessary to organize this initiative and facilitate collaboration among committed individuals, neighborhood groups, businesses, youth, schools, governments and every citizen. Please become involved.
Interested people now explore the potential role of the Internet in forming a new kind of community with group as well as individuals within each group electronically linked to provide a new form of help and cooperation ... both locally and more broadly. Your comments and advice are requested.

An Organization

The starter and dominant element of EQ is Keep Wise County Beautiful. The mission of that group is

To beautify Wise County through sustained litter reduction and recycling.

It has been effective and has achieved much progress:
  • Adopt-a-spot and Adopt-a-Street program
  • Abandoned vehicle removal program
  • Litter hotline program (to report littering and illegal dumping)
  • "Convenience Centers" (eleven in the county) waste disposal program
  • A Litter Summit
  • Seeking a Litter Warden
  • Organizing a Southwest Virginia Litter Taskforce

EQ is an organization building from the work of that group (KWCB). It seeks to become a 501 c 3 corporation and has objectives of restoring, adding to, sustaining, managing, and enhancing the physical conditions of the County and perceptions of them, then expanding its influence in the region and beyond.

The group fairly specifically works to increase the EQ. This is not the Keep America Beautiful Litter Index but an expanded Index under development and it includes cars, structures, signs, entrance ways, gardens, and urban trees and landscaping. This is a creative private group, but it has behind it concepts of

A Possible Context for EQ

EQ provides a Business Plan for a organization within which it might fit for profit and stability. attempts to address:

Join me,
my mountain sisters and brothers,
as we dance through our journey
and move toward our future.

Members

An EQ is a member of EQ. There are paid memberships that get bumper stickers, bike stickers, a bandana... access to the web site and other advantages as they are creatively developed.

There are e-mail list serves, and meetings. Members participate in Floats - a poem writing group and in a digital photo image activity. There are litter cleanup parties, raising funds for educational materials, sponsoring gateway improvements, sponsoring streetside gardens, sponsoring garden improvement, sponsorship the talking garbage can, producing materials for local newspapers, coordinating with university studies, and creatively working for recycling systems and materials flow. Its emphasis - incentives for behaviors that beautify.

Links

An additional powerful set of links is now available.

As we try "to get it all together" we test a systems approach to our work individually and within groups within the area. As part of such an approach, we know we have to go after information. That topic is addressed and how the Internet now offers an alternative for getting information to do good work to people who have difficulties getting to major libraries.

We seek to work with advocates of community-based research, especially as that includes

Giles prepared anti-litter suggestions for large forested-area land owners. He added other suggestions that are closely related to preventing vandalism.

A large number of visual quality or beautification issues are faced by the people of the County, particularly in terms of community participation, team work, gaining funds for studies, and making any study that is done highly relevant to the community. Social and economic disparities and problems, such as poor housing, health problems and health care, high unemployment, low attainment of educational qualifications, low socio-economic levels, even some drug-use, are at work in the area. Key environmental issues include high intensity rainstorms and flooding, erosion, and contaminated or unstable groundwater (and thus well-water) affected by mining, and shifting employment and substantial under-employment in mining and natural resource fields. Surface mining has declined or is unstable in the area. Open surface mines remain. Health problems along with unemployment and limited education create other related problems affected by the limited, difficult road system. Fossil fuel shortages and high costs for transportation to schools and employment loom as a old but increasing problem.

Efforts are underway to develop a nationally prominent conference or annual lecture , one aspect of which will be to develop a local history and local knowledge base related to anti-litter and beautification efforts. This action may include: seminars-workshops, an art competition, interviews, field visits/discussion, participatory field work with students, newsletters, radio station activity, maps, posters, house visits and personal discussion, and presentations at schools. Using regional resources (not necessarily site specific) such as using archives, historic photographs, manuscripts, home photographs, and museums will be encouraged Special email contributions will be arranged. This knowledge will be made available to members and participants as it is gained. This will be possible via the Internet as at no time previously. Knowledge and will be gained from and made available to the community, stakeholders, and future generations. Information will ultimately be used to build models, prioritize rehabilitation work, and to develop management scenarios, using a balance of environmental, economic, social and cultural factors.

The Strategy

Strategies are often secret. In EQ the strategy seems best shared. It is based on the above assumptions and seeks to develop many diverse interactive and over-lapping means for providing positive incentives for people to improve the beauty of their surroundings. Only one means for doing so is providing immediate rewards for anti-littering behavior and later action. We're developing priorities, but we think that positive emphasis on EQ and its improvement (or stability) can be a minimum reinforcement. It will replace "stop littering," "litters are bad" and related negative, largely ineffective slogans.

What if we "went positive" and instead of anti-littering tried to develop for a few years an EQ Index Strategy. We can spell this out weekly in the newspaper and in brochures but in essence it is an effort to enhance or increase the EQ Index in the county. EQ stands for Esthetic Quality. We ignore litter behavior and hope it subsides (like pain after a fall) and try to focus attention on the beauty of the county (as we might as caretakers on potential behavior after the fall). As we work on the whole EQ, litter just naturally become one of the things we think about and tend naturally. We report a weekly eq index (like a community forest fire hazard index on 2-3 community greens or crossroad signs in the county. We report an annual county score for the capital-letter EQ index and challenge surrounding counties for a picnic or something for the one who gets the best score by some stated date. This will be a wind-shield survey and quick and low- cost for the weekly score. We can get outsiders, impartial folks, to make the final evaluations.

One sample idea is that we can hand out "I'm from Wise County and we're improving our EQ" playing card size cards. These are collectibles. I have a small card game that we can put the message on the back. We can change some of the titles. We can find someone who will fund this and add their name for advertising. We can add a slogan whenever we want such as "returnable bottles build the EQ" Kids can collect cards or even whole decks of cards (11 per pack). (Nothing significant here, just the approach...constant involvement, fun, ...do something vs. don't do littering)

Lets form a membership, an EQ club, and have digital photo contests, poem contests and awards, pictures of clean spots in the paper, speech contests related to beauty, an emblem, a big bandana contest ../LastingForests/LFbandana.htm I'll describe the idea later ; we can have one or more especially printed for our purposes with EQ, Wise county , picking -it-up, getting it all together, and other positive and fun slogans...multiple colors for various prizes...we make the club and its mission conspicuous. We can use membership fees to help clean up spots...and show the finished spots, not the usual pictures of dumps. The purpose..to provide rewards and other incentives for not littering and later ..in other ways beautifying or reducing decay and ugliness within the county. ( I'm not hiding anything and am thinking toward the future about large sculpture . house painting and repair, sign ordinances and other issues of viewscapes, scenic areas , and gardens, all of which only makes sense if the place is fairly litter free. The conditions of the average mine site and dump-over-the-hillside of the abandoned strip mine do not inspire much "cleanliness" elsewhere.

Idea: we can hand out pocket cards at sporting events and grocery stores that say things like "Why EQ? 'cause litter kills animals, its a fire hazard, it catches water just right for West Nile virus skeeters, and its a sefety hazard, and it devalues your land, and its costs you for others to pick it up. 'Nuf said? Join in the County's EQ Strategy. Email xxxx"

Idea:We can present..."We love our county's beauty! We're not asking you to pick up stuff; just don't make us do it to increase our county EQ" (with pictures of cute children and EQ club meetings )

Idea:We can make worm composting a project within EQ clubs

We can keep a count of bottles along a measured mile and report and watch the trends. The university there might be encouraged to try for some real studies. We seek grants for studies and demonstrations. (Maybe my salary (be assured I am not seeking anything!) can be used for matching funds for some project.)

We have to find the major sources of litter and give them numbers and a rating...movies, burger places, etc.. We can even study for brief periods whether people will bring in trash if we pay them for a bag. (probably less than some other costs). Weighed bags may be the basis of couponds for attending parties or events. At least we can keep the amount of money promised small and close it when we run out of the budgeted amount. Maybe local people will volunteer to cut hair or do nails or sharpen a knife for payment in bags or road litter.

We can get a GIS map of "seen areas" from all roads in the county (and human density or travel counts likely related to the roads and use this as the area of our work (vs. the area of the county) with concentrations in select areas and monitoring of progress in some areas. This will attract attention and be convincing that we are high technology and using the investments made in GIS for the county.

We have to find a way to make a reward,... at least praise users of road stretches for litter-freeness..maybe award a window sticker or a window flag (like seen at sporting events) for all inhabitants of an area that is very clean for a month.

The Coalfield Progress will probably go along with a weekly picture of a really clean pretty spot off a road in the county, but I think we can resist the before-and-after shot... staying positive (even if it is tough and a fairly radical change.) I do hope you will consider it.

The trash bins placed throughout the county need advertisement (a map in the Coalfield Progress with rules, and attention to dumping when full. I've seen in other counties negligent government action modeling negligent citizen action.

We have to try to communicate with the old guys and with parents with the results of Geller's work...people follow people they respect...old guys need to model desired behavior. We can make this a special program and add special contacts...making the special members of the EQ club, etc.

We need a "talking trash can" See the fire-fighters' "dog in a fire truck" in Blacksburg, remote controls, stuffed animal in the can, it talking to people (from a fireman at a remote hidden spot). Great for children. This can be big at meetings, fairs, all public gatherings.

Check out the developing and changing Contents of EQ.


Other Resources:
Website Home | Lasting Forests (Introductions) | Units of Lasting Forests | Ranging | Trevey | Forests | Wildlife Law Enforcement Systems | Antler Points | Species-Specific Management | Wilderness | Appendices | Ideas for Development | Disclaimer]

Perhaps you will share ideas with me
about some of the topic(s) above at

RHGiles@RuralSystem.com.

Maybe we can work together
... for the good of us all
... for a long time.

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