We're in Portland today on the first stop of our tour and we've been hearing plenty from the locals about groups around town who are working to change the world. One such crew is the Bus Project. Contrary to what the name would have you assume, this is not about mass transit. Rather, the term serves as a metaphor for civic engagement, political progress and collective movement (Paul Hawken employed the same metaphor in his Bioneers keynote last week when he pointed out the need for environmentalists to get on the social justice bus). The Bus Project is a non-profit whose work is guided by five public needs:
* The need to engage new voters and leaders.
* The need for civic engagement
* Geographic segregation
* New politics for a new world
* Building efficiently and building to last
These are grassroots activists with a penchant for organized mobilization (and brilliantly punny slogans). They take a wide view on progress, recognizing the need for solutions that touch as many sectors as the challenges they aim to address. Bus Project focal points include education, the environment, economic issues, equal rights, election reform, and health care (or 'ealth care, as they call it, to satisfy the alliteratively-inclined).
With elections fast approaching, the Bus Project has volunteers on the ground going door to door and making calls to get voters moving. They have a number of programs and events geared toward youth and young adults. Though they don't say it outright -- and neither fits into the list of E-words that defines their target issues -- the Bus Project is also about sustainability and the power of effecting widespread change through local action.
Look out for a few more spotlights on Portland groups doing worldchanging work.