Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

Greening in the red zone: resilience in broken places

Looking for some hopeful, practical stories of personal and community resilience?  Check out Greening in the Red Zone, which compiles inspiring stories of regenerative commitment from parts of the world where things have fallen apart, ranging from Syrian war zones to tornado-wracked towns in the midwest.  

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Fullerton launches evolutionary “Regenerative Capitalism” initiative

John Fullerton, a former Managing Director at JPMorgan, has embarked on an ambitious new initiative to foster what he calls “regenerative capitalism.”  Among the core principles he identifies are:

  • To view wealth not just as money in the bank, but as the richness we acquire through cultivating human connections and our connection to the natural environment;
  • To ensure capital flows towards every level of our human networks enabling all individuals to reach their potential and to make their fullest contribution to society as a whole, both for themselves and the health of the whole; and
  • To maintain a balance as economic actors between collaborativeness and competition; efficiency and resilience; and small, medium, and large organizational structures.

We’ve long taken heart in Fullerton’s big-picture perspectives on the blind spots in the current economic paradigms, and it’s easy to see the ways that his vision overlaps with the resilient investing framework, especially in our shared expanded definition of wealth and focus on investing (dollars and time) in personal assets and the tangible assets of our regional and global environment.

The Regenerative Capitalism white paper was developed in collaboration with many of our favorite leading-edge thinkers, including Allan Savory, Hunter Lovins, Gar Alperovitz, Paul Hawken, and Hazel Henderson; you can read or download the full white paper, or the 15p Executive Summary.  See also the Capital Institute’s website, which is currently featuring an 8-minute video introduction to the new project.

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Bigger isn’t better. Better is better.

Leslie Christian is one of the shining lights of humane finance, and in her most recent missive, she zeroes in on a subject near and dear to our permie hearts: the importance of putting our money to work in service of healthy soil and intact habitat.  She brings us into the room as she and a circle of collaborators find their way toward new models for owning and managing farmland (the image is from their property, Living Lands), and then takes us along to a meeting of NatureVest, a new Nature Conservancy initiative aimed at bringing private investment into some of their conservation efforts.

But then she steps back and challenges those who dismiss such efforts as “on-offs” that are not worth our time because they can’t scale; her title says it all: Getting Off the Scales. The rest of the piece is a clarion call for a new way of looking at growing good ideas—getting bigger is often counterproductive; instead, let’s replicate and localize the core impulse and benefits of such projects.  We’re totally behind her appreciation for the inherently local qualities that underlie what we call regenerative investing.

You should definitely go read the whole thing (it’s only a few powerful paragraphs); here’s a teaser:

We seem to think it’s appropriate to scale everything—farms, education, healthcare, and even relationships. Yet, people and places are so much more diverse, nuanced and interdependent than assembly-line products or software code. When we scale enterprises that directly serve people and places in all of their uniqueness and weirdness, we must inevitably standardize our understanding of those people and places. In the process, we surely fail to engage them and ourselves fully. We sacrifice quality for quantity.  My reaction to scale is visceral and intense. I find it dehumanizing, single-minded, and boring!

These are the kinds of investments that should take over the world—not by scaling so that VCs and Wall Street can swoop in and do their “magic”, but by inspiring the participants, engaging the public and working at an essential level—real dirt, real trees, real plants, real people, real understanding and real value.

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Center for a New American Dream

The Center for a New American Dream works to redefine what the American Dream means – focusing on the connections between a hyper-consumer culture, quality of life, and the environment. It offers numerous programs and tools to help Americans reduce and shift their consumption patterns. Visit website.

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What is resilience?

Resilience helps us to thrive by:

anticipating and preparing for disturbance,
improving the capacity to withstand shocks,
rebuilding as necessary, and
adapting and evolving when possible.

Resilience is a powerful remedy for our uncertain times, allowing us to learn to live with the fundamental complexity of modern life.  These are our favorite resources for getting up to speed on the ideas behind “resilience” and the ways that they are being implemented in communities around the world.

The Stockholm Resilience Center has produced some of the best educational materials for introducing the concept of resilience, including videos and brochures. Explore their rich site, which also includes research papers and arts projects.

Transition is a global network of local/regional groups working to build resiliency. While Transition began from the framework of preparing for a post-peak-oil world, the evolution of the movement has led to a wide range of local initiatives that foster local economies, social justice, increased renewable energy, and other projects that, like much in the Close to Home strategy, offer powerful contributions to any possible future scenario.

Transition United States compiles news and resources; also includes a map of the over 150 active Transition Town initiatives in the US.

Transition Network is the global Transition resource center.

Other great resources

Resilient Communities
is a project from the UK that shares some roots with the Transition Network. In the words of founder John Robb, a resilient community produces the food, energy, water, things, and incomes it needs locally.

PostCarbon Institute’s Resilience.org
An information clearinghouse and a network of action-oriented groups; features a lively exchange of ideas.

Resilience Alliance
A research organization comprised of scientists and practitioners from many disciplines who collaborate to explore the dynamics of social-ecological systems. Here you’ll find more of the academic soil from which creative community-building solutions are growing.

YES Magazine special issue on community resilience
Includes a range of articles, most relatively brief, highlighting specific resiliency-building initiatives.

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Community-oriented responses to breakdown

The following initiatives gather a wealth of practical, organizational, and inspirational materials that foster local economies, local culture, and local resilience. Within the resilient investing framework, the work of these groups are—in many ways—both “close to home” and “evolutionary”; we see strong local communities as a key element in a resilient response to any and all future scenarios.

Transition Towns
Transition is a global network of local/regional groups working to build resiliency. While Transition began from the framework of preparing for a post-peak-oil world, the evolution of the movement has led to a wide range of local initiatives that foster local economies, social justice, increased renewable energy, and other projects that, like much in the Close to Home strategy, offer powerful contributions to any possible future scenario.

Transition United States compiles news and resources; also includes a map of the over 150 active Transition Town initiatives in the US.

Transition Network is the global Transition resource center.

Resilient Communities
A project from the UK that shares some roots with the Transition Network. In the words of founder John Robb, a resilient community produces the food, energy, water, things, and incomes it needs locally. Visit website.

Peak Prosperity / Crash Course
Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity website is dedicated to helping readers to understand and prepare for the many huge changes that are underway in the areas that Martenson calls “the 3 E’s” – economy, energy and environment. It’s a member-supported site (charging a monthly membership fee) that also contains a deep and wide offering of resources available to all. While somewhat more oriented toward breakdowns that we may be, the resources he offers are a close complement to the fundamental thinking behind our resilient investing planning. Includes practical resources, blogs, and group discussions.

The Crash Course is a series of free video courses that provide context for the many complex challenges in today’s world that promise to bring great change in years ahead. A book and DVD are also available.

Dark Mountain Project
Dark Mountain is a loose network of writers, artists, philosophers, and others who generally see some degree of environmental and/or economic collapse to be likely in the coming decades, and efforts to reform the system as essentially spitting into the wind. In response, many in the Dark Mountain community consider it more constructive to devote their energy to fostering local and regional cultures, with an emphasis on practical skills, arts, events, and stories for a new time, and developing an historical understanding of the kinds of stories and thinking that led us astray.

Dark Mountain website. Includes in-depth essays from many contributors, and links to Dark Mountain’s series of book-sized journals, each one rich with historical reflection, interviews, fiction, poetry, and visual arts.

Article: NY Times Magazine feature on Paul Kingsnorth and xxxx, two key figures in the Dark Mountain Project.

Article: Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. A good introduction to the thinking behind Dark Mountain; the first of three annual essays published by Orion by co-founder Paul Kingsnorth.

Audio trialogue between Kingsnorth, David Abram, and Lierre Keith, responding to the themes of Kingsnorth’s essay.

Interview with Paul Kingsnorth, from Orion.

 

SEE ALSO our page on What is Resilience?

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Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

FEMA runs the CERT program to educate and train people to prepare for and respond to disasters. Through classroom learning and field exercises, participants are trained in basic disaster response skills. Once participants pass the course, they can join their neighborhood or workplace CERT team and assist others following disasters where professional responders are not immediately available or need more support. Website contains a searchable directory for programs around the country. Visit website.

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