Neighbors Getting Organized

Savanah Forster wrote the reflections below after our November RRCO general meeting.

Why get organized as a neighborhood?
One of the most popular breakout groups at the November RRCO zoom meeting was for those interested in working with their neighbors on ways to address climate change. In that session my question was “How do we get our neighbors together for discussions and actions?”

Louisa de Heer (Community Advisory Committee of the Neighborhood Plan and Eugene Sustainability Commissioner) gave an enlightening presentation Addressing Climate Change in River Road ( . Now what do we do with this knowledge?

Jan Spencer is a one-man ecosystem. He’s produced a beautiful video describing what he’s been doing for many years and invites the public on tours of his gardens.

Back to the breakout group. Climate change is upon us, and severe weather and fires are now a regular part of life. And Covid 19 is still here. Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest” has been replaced with new knowledge that survival comes through cooperation. We need each other. We are social beings, and in this age, where extended families rarely live geographically nearby, we need to create that network of interdependent households.

I really like my neighborhood and my neighbors, but I admit I don’t know them. Most of them I don’t even know a first name. Why do I want to?

Much caring and sharing could be going on by getting organized. Our 5-block neighborhood has 3 book-sharing boxes and at least one neighbor who puts free veggies out every fall. So, there’s already an energy of caring and sharing.

But what about the elderly lady we wave to on her daily walk? What happened to the older gentleman who would occasionally walk with her but hasn’t been around for months? Are they okay? What if we are quarantined by Covid or smoke? Will they have medications, food, help?

There are things we can do as neighbors to address climate change due to consumerism. Sharing and trading goods and services with each other instead of shopping for them is one way.

  • But how to do we do it?
  • What is an effective way to welcome sharing without invading privacy?
  • How do we build trust with each other?
  • How do we get it started?

I would love to hear your suggestions and experiences with organizing neighbors. I believe more than ever we need to create hives of cooperation to survive the challenges of the pandemic and climate change. You can reach me by email at and the RRCO cochairs at