A Deeper Focus


An Interview with Community Activist Clint Slaughter

© Copyright 2017 Christopher Bersbach


I recently had the opportunity to interview Clint Slaughter, MD, an emergency physician at French and Arroyo Grande hospitals and Chief Executive Officer at SLO MakerSpace. Peter Schwartz [see Ecologistics blog, 2/16/17], who serves with Clint on the Board of SLO MakerSpace, alerted me about the great work Clint is doing in the community.

Somehow Clint manages to skillfully juggle a host of very demanding tasks: father, emergency room physician, and director of a bustling community MakerSpace shop. As a physician, he worked for five years with the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health Office of Emergency Preparedness to develop a CDC approved Disaster Prep App. Disaster Prep App.

We talked about the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and the proposed alternative American Healthcare Act championed by Paul Ryan and some Republicans. Clint viewed the ACA favorably, acknowledging that it had lowered overall healthcare costs and provided healthcare for millions; he has been working diligently since it was introduced to strengthen “Obamacare”. Clint believes that the American Healthcare Act would be a “disaster” for the following reasons: 24 million Americans would lose health insurance coverage by 2026, negatively impacts Medicare by eliminating taxes that support the Medicare Trust Fund, regressive tax credits for the wealthiest Americans, defunds Planned Parenthood, and Medicaid expansion will eventually be phased out.

Our conversation turned to the many projects ongoing at SLO MakerSpace. I had recently listened to an interesting radio program on KBCX Welcome To The Maker Movement that explored the origins of the Maker movement. This DIY inspired technology/craft project recalled the spirit that animated the Whole Earth Catalogue of the 1960s & 70s and had a role in galvanizing the environmental movement. Clint, who is enthusiastic about ecological sustainability, mentioned that “the Maker movement has its roots in the environmental movement and represents a desire for people to work collaboratively to share ideas and skills.”

I asked Clint about the potential risks to our environment coming from the election of Donald Trump, and how we now faced challenges like those that could check the progress on climate change coming out of Paris agreements in 2015. Clint was upbeat about our ability to resist because of the level of activism he’d seen around the country thus far. This reminded me of a concerned but positive message I’d read recently in Clint’s blog: “We are on a rapid road to the destruction of our planet’s ecosystem as we know it. Our current political system has allowed lobbyists, corporate and personal interests to dictate our environmental policy and ignored scientific data regarding global warming. We the people need to stand up and show by the choices we make and our actions that this is not acceptable. Drive less. Bike more. Get a fuel efficient, hybrid, or alternative fuel car. Use public transportation. Get solar. Turn off lights. Use less power. Get energy efficient appliances. Buy organic and locally grown foods. Buy products that are sustainably produced. Consume like you give a damn.”

SLO MakerSpace SLO MakerSpace is a 5,000+ square foot facility that is divided into several areas that cater to a wide range of maker needs: woodworking, metalworking, electronics lab, ceramics, and 3-D printing & scanning. There are classes for learning basic safety that cover all the machinery in the shops. There is also instruction on tool repair and maintenance.

There are many programs at SLO MakerSpace that are designed for kids, like the Mini Makers Summer Camps and the Library program. Clint worked closely with San Luis Obispo Library for a few years to develop a collaborative program that allows library cardholders free access to SLO MakerSpace for limited hours (15 hours/week). You can find SLO MakerSpace at 81 Higuera St., #160, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. We are fortunate to have activists like Clint Slaughter on the Central Coast dedicated to sharing their skills to enrich the community.


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