4 September 2012

Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities

Posted by Admin under: Community Development; Ecology; Economy; Energy; Events; Food; Landscaping; Leadership; Neighborhoods; People; Resiliency; Sustainability .

NOTE: The recording of this event can be accessed here.

It’s not enough just to speak and write about transforming our neighborhoods and communities; we need to take action, and we need to find ways to make this action sustainable.

We’re planning a new SLF event — a monthly small group conversation on neighborhood and community transformation. This discussion is intended to occur at a number of different levels, but with the explicit intention to find ways to make it self-sustaining.

The ideas for this have been percolating for weeks, since our last potluck on developing “sustainable living communities,” which has evolved into several initiatives, including this one.

The framing of this is that we understand there is an extraordinarily widespread need to make suburban neighborhoods, urban communities, and local villages more sustainable. We need to make the places where we live healthy, environmentally regenerative, and self-sustaining. In the looking at the world, we realize that we have to start at home to remake our own economy, culture, and civilization one that contributes to restoring the planet, not one that contributes to destroying it. This leads to the recognition that there is an ecosystem of businesses and nonprofit initiatives that are needed to assist communities in developing these characteristics, and are able to sustain themselves doing so.

Our intention is to extend this invitation one or two people at a time to join us in person in this “conversation for possibility.”

The premise of these discussions is that we all know that we need to galvanize personal and social action around making our own neighborhoods and communities more sustainable and reducing their contribution to the global overwhelming of our ecological system; the challenge is how to bring about and sustain these changes in a scalable way.

Here are some of the most obvious examples that come to mind:

  • adding chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to our lawns;
  • using gasoline-powered lawnmowers that use and waste as much gas as an SUV;
  • contributing our food waste to the 30% of landfill-bound trash instead of returning it to the soil;
  • chemically processing our own wastes and sending the “sludge” to landfills hundreds of miles away instead of recycling it in aerated ponds or breaking it down until it can be used safely as fertilizer;
  • wasting energy, and wasting rooftop space that could be used to produce what we need in a clean way;
  • getting poor quality food from a distance, instead of living off fresh local produce and processing more food locally;
  • driving our own cars everywhere, even just to get a dozen eggs or a jug of milk;

— and much more: add your own.

We also know that part of the problem is that we are disconnected from our neighbors, and most of us cannot afford to contribute our time to these tasks without earning a living doing some of these things.

Is there a way to make generate revenue from helping to facilitate these changes? This is one of the central questions we’ll be asking during these continuing 2-hour sessions held on the second Saturday morning of each month, beginning September 8, 2012.

We proposing to host a live online interactive version of this meeting using tools like AnyMeeting or Free Conferencing — to share our discussions of this range of topics. It’s our conviction that practical plans and ideas will coalesce very quickly, along with the will and the tools and resources to implement them. People in neighborhoods quite widely understand that they need to strengthen their local economies, emergency preparedness, food security, water conservation, clean energy generation, and reduce the use of toxic chemicals, fossil fuels, and waste products. Those people at the forefront of this recognition are natural community leaders, yet in most cases do not have local vehicles through which to realize their aspirations—the more beautiful worlds that, as Charles Eisenstein puts it, “our hearts know are possible.”

These are not idealistic utopias. They are the communities of the future, where the benefits of technology are fully integrated into a larger and more holistic design; but they are more self-reliant, more responsible stewards of the commons, and more beneficial for those living there. Communities need to come together to design sustainable ways of living that suit their specific and individually unique needs. It’s like “home rule” for natural ecosystems, for local neighborhoods, and for institutions that serve the community.

If this inquiry is one that genuinely calls to you, I invite you to join with me (and occasionally Victoria) one Saturday morning a month in person or online, to discuss meaningful approaches to neighborhood and community transformation. This will both support and complement her new work with Unified Field Corporation, creating Regenerative Community Initiatives that attract local investment and enable local deployment of capital. The intention behind both of these initiatives is to create profitable local institutions that can channel investment into viable “sustainable infrastructure” projects such as local food systems, neighborhood-scale energy generation, zero-waste solutions, and so on.

Tune in and find out about both of these things on Saturday, September 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. Here’s how:

Second Saturday of each month 10-12 Eastern (unless otherwise communicated), starting 9/8/12:

Community and Neighborhood Transformation Conversations

Conference dial-in number: (559) 726-1200
Participant access code: 850034

This number can be dialed from Google Voice so there should not be any long distance charges; it can also be dialed from Skype at freeconferencing.5597261200 (then provide the access code).

Rather than using the “screen-sharing” link I posted earlier, I think it’s more useful to have show a live Google Presentation document, where viewers can comment on it as we go along. Here’s the link:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/14uNXVcPlvElHK2F2bmxCR-djPX3HvhEMLv3apmEDbBM/edit

I will still open up this screen-sharing application in case anyone decides to view it, but it’s not accessible from some computers or mobile devices, and the code has changed — it’s now

http://www.freeconferencecall.com/meeting/382-911-448

(not 345-414-103)

Please RSVP to [email protected], so we know who we’re speaking with. Our intention is to record these sessions, so that we can archive them. Thanks

2 Comments so far...

Jo Sippie-Gora Says:

18 September 2012 at 10:40 am.

Your plan for Saturday morning discussions around Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities very much appeals to me. I was ready to sign up – until I looked at my calendar. Unfortunately, I already have commitments for the remaining sessions in 2012, and they cannot be modified. Hopefully, your plan takes root, and I can jump in during January?

Admin Says:

13 October 2012 at 1:19 am.

Of course — interested participants are welcome any time.

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Our new nonprofit, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions (CRCS), is looking to partner with other nonprofit and civic organizations to host a series of community dialogs regarding the long term sustainable reconstruction of the NJ shore. For more information, see Rebuilding New Jersey’s Shore Communities. If you are interested, please contact us via this site.

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Correction: We'll be hosting this year's holiday potluck — "Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays" — on Saturday, December 15, from 4 to 9 p.m. Click here for more details. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Sustainable Neighborhood & Community Conversations (III).
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods and Communities II.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities.
Saturday, June 16, 2012: SLF Potluck June 16: Sustainable Living Communities.
The Sustainable Haiti Conference took place April 23-25, 2012 in Miami.
"Inside Job" Movie Party. Saturday, February 11th, 6:00 PM, Liberty Ridge, The Hills, Bernards Twp, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.
2nd 'Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference', January 26, 2012, Karibe Convention Center, Petion Ville, Haiti
Dec 11 SLF Potluck: "Bringing Sustainability Home for the Holidays" Basking Ridge, NJ. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, July 9, 2011, 4 p.m. Open House Party & Potluck, Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m., Basking Ridge, NJ.
RSVP to [email protected]
Saturday, May 21, 1-4 p.m. EcoCenter Update. At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
Saturday, April 16, 1-4 p.m. "Haiti & Us: The Leading Edge of Sustainable Development." At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. A copy of the update presentation has been posted here.
Saturday, March 19, 1-4 p.m. "Creating the Morristown EcoCenter." Held at 55 Bank Street, Morristown, the site of the proposed EcoCenter.
Saturday, February 19, 1-4 p.m. Monthly meeting, ""A Profound Transformation in Consciousness," Morris County Library, Whippany, NJ. Click here for details.
Saturday, January 15, 1-4 p.m. Putting Idealism into Practice: Tour of Half Moon House. Click here for details.
Saturday, December 18, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "Reinventing Wealth," followed by our annual "Potluck for the Planet" from 4 to 8. Click here for details.
Saturday, November 20, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "How Do We Measure Sustainable Value?". Click here for details.
Saturday, October 16, 1-4 p.m. Challenge and Strategy Session: "Toward a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey".
Download the slide presentation here, and the discussion paper here.

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