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10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.org |2 .EnviroChangeMakers.
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy A Toolkit for Grassroots Survival Joanne Poyourow 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.Change-Making.com |3 .
please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.Copyright © Joanne Poyourow April 2013 Scribd Edition This ebook is licensed for your personal enlightenment only.com |4 . This pdf/ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. Thank you for supporting the ongoing work of the Environmental Change-Makers. If you would like to share this book with another person.Change-Making. Cover by Lynda Modaff 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.
The 10 Practical Tools
Chapter 1: Accept Reality
Chapter 2: Build Resilience
Chapter 3: Conserve your Cash
Chapter 4: Skill-Up
Chapter 5: Pick your Place within the New Future
Chapter 6: Join a Time Bank
Chapter 7: Invest in your Local Community
Chapter 8: Measure “Success” by the New Future
Chapter 9: Help Others
Chapter 10: Help Build the Safety Net
About the Author
Also from Joanne Poyourow
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy
A “tough economy” – we’re knee-deep in it, and most people don’t even understand what
Many people just want things to get back to “normal.” But what we have called “normal”
isn’t very normal within the larger scope of things.
This is a book about finding yourself in the midst of massive-scale change, and what you
can do to survive. Here’s how to maintain a livelihood, feed the kids, and keep peace
within your local community … at the same time as you are helping remake the world.
In our modern lifestyles we have airplanes and intercontinental travel. We have freeways
and gleaming automobiles. Shopping malls are packed with all kinds of goods and
gadgets, far more than we could ever need or use. We have massive-scale supply
networks and equally massive landfills and sewer systems. There are endless
entertainments and distractions. And it’s all hurtling along at breakneck speed and mindboggling volume.
Sometimes the idea that these things won’t continue seems preposterous.
moments it feels crazy to be proposing the ideas in this ebook.
But we also have the increasingly devastating weather events of global warming, which
at superstorm regional scale are already straining civic resources. We have glacial ice
melting, forests and coral reefs dying, and widespread species extinction. Our basic lifesupport system is in serious jeopardy. We are at the end of the oil age, the timeline of
which is significantly hastened when EROEI is taken into account. 1 Planetary resource
limitations are beginning to be felt. We have a debt structure that is poised to implode,
together with increasing political and social tensions driven by all of the above.
It is crazy to presume that the opulent-consumption lifestyles we call “normal” will be able
to continue. It’s crazy to ignore the increasing numbers of people for whom the
conventional system has already broken down. It’s crazy to not get prepared for the
These are confusing and contradictory times. Welcome to the new future! It isn’t going
to look like the same-old past.
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy
and in any event they’ll serve only the 1% (or the . I released these ideas in a series of blog posts that appeared at TransitionUS. “macro” level 3. Because there is plenty that we can do! 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. when mainstream pundits were still forecasting “the great recovery. we-the-people-in-the-trenches are pretty much left to fend for ourselves. outlining what we-the-people can do in the trenches in order to survive. even though most of these thinkers were approaching economics from the top-down. and 3. I think that macroeconomic tweaks will be too watered down and too long-delayed by political process.” At that time. This Toolkit is a catalog of What We Can Do.org My initial work took on three aspects: 1. 2. including my analysis of why there will be no real “recovery”2. showcasing the select few economic thinkers who had taken peak oil and climate change into account as they drafted their forecasts. The Economic Resilience project offers a Toolkit for families and communities. introducing people to the ideas of the triple crisis and how this inevitably impacts American economics. 4 Thus to get realistic and practical solutions in place in time.com |7 .01%). I do not hold hope that governments can fix our economic mess. how-to’s.Change-Making. and suggestions. Each “Practical Tool” includes a helpful and exciting list of resources.T HE E C O N O M I C R E S I L I E N C E P R O J E C T The ideas of Economic Resilience began coming together several years ago.
this new “safety net” will be there to catch us – to keep our communities functional at a very basic level.Change-Making. I extend to you a challenge: Do you have the courage to prepare? – Joanne Poyourow Los Angeles. In order for the big picture to make sense. this set of Practical Tools becomes a little ecosystem.com |8 . They might seem inadequate to become a replacement for the conventional economic tools we are used to.PIECES OF A LARGER PUZZLE Taken singly. any one of these Practical Tools might feel fragile and flimsy. The thing is. people have used their ingenuity and their creativity to figure out a way through the mess. As the conventional economic structure wobbles and crumbles. But in my view it’s like having a bunch of loose jigsaw puzzle pieces spread all over the table. we can see this one coming. they become a network of strength. The Practical Tools shouldn’t be dissected one at a time. When the pieces are assembled. April 2013 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. In the worst of situations. Now it is our turn. there have always been survivors. yet the big picture isn’t assembled. The proper pieces are there. these interlocking pieces need to be brought together. This set of economic Tools offers one way we might survive the tough times ahead. The pieces of the “puzzle” are interdependent. Taken together. Throughout human history. Any single puzzle piece on its own looks pretty unimpressive and useless. Each Practical Tool supports the others.
The 10 Practical Tools
An economy is like an ecosystem: it has many interrelated parts. We need to build
resilient versions of each of the parts – local business, currency, investment,
measurement systems – in anticipation of what lies ahead.
1. Inner resilience
2. Cash conservation
3. Appropriate skills
4. Resilience-oriented local businesses
5. Multiple currencies
6. Community-based investment
7. New economic indicators
8. A new definition of “Success”
9. Inclusion, cooperation, democracy
10. A new economic philosophy
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy
Chapter 1: Accept Reality
If I had known where I would fall, I would have put down some straw there.
– Russian proverb
It’s time to face it: the world is changing, in a very big way.
Humanity is grappling with a triple crisis. The mounting costs of climate change and
the end of the oil age bring with them an inevitable companion: ongoing, unrelenting
Peak oil is the understanding that our planetary supply of fossil fuels is limited, and that –
particularly with respect to oil – we are crossing the halfway point of using up that
We have already consumed the
cheap, easy-to-get-to oil.5
comes the more expensive portion
of the supply. This means that in the
coming decade, even as we are
adjusting to the threats of climate
change, we will experience an
energy crisis, the likes of which we
have never seen.
We have already seen the
beginnings of price volatility; these
wild fluctuations will get more
extreme. Throughout the remainder
of our lifetimes, we will experience
supply interruptions, shortages, and
severe economic repercussions,
with potential conflicts over remaining supplies. There are inevitable human emotions
that come with massive-scale change, and they bring with them a looming threat of civil
The powerdown is coming. If you value peace, help people get prepared.
Climate change: The lessons of Katrina, Sandy, and the Midwest drought are
becoming clear. Weird weather is the new normal, and many more extreme weather
events are coming our way. New York City drives home the awful truth: No place is
invincible. No place is exempt.
Here in Los Angeles, climate change is going to look like erratic rainfall, ongoing
droughts, water supply issues, severe storms, flooding, mudslides, and firestorms.
Extreme heat days will coincide with limited energy for air conditioning. We can expect
increased immigration from other geographic areas which become unlivable, even as our
water supply diminishes. As Central Valley farmers suffer from weird weather and exotic
insect pests, our food will get a lot more expensive. All of this means greater pressure on
L.A.’s already-strained rich/poor social divide, and increased potential for food riots and
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy
Economics: We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg: Prepare for hard times to get much
worse. This is because there are fatal flaws in the original design of our economy.
Our economy is completely dependent upon having cheap, inexhaustible energy
resources. But peak oil brings home the physical reality: our planetary energy
supply is not inexhaustible. It is certainly finite, and we have seen the end of cheap.
No energy source exists which will give us the energy density of oil. Renewable
energy sources are mere minor players in our total energy picture; they are not
geared up nor in place today when we need them, thus we cannot avoid the “ouch.”
The clincher is that eternal “growth” is impossible on a finite planet. Yet our entire
economy is built upon the premise that “growth” will be ongoing and unceasing.
From our stock markets to our basic accounting systems and long-range planning,
everything has been designed for unending “growth.”
A mere plateau in growth, like we’re currently experiencing, is causing massive
breakdowns in our growth-dependent economic structures. And the years ahead will
bring not simply a plateau, but rather a resource-driven worldwide descent.
Peak everything is Richard Heinberg’s term for the understanding that oil is not the
only substance for which we are hitting Peak. We’re also experiencing peak
phosphorus (essential for agriculture), peak arable land, peak fresh water, peak
natural gas, peak copper, and much more. 6 Globalization and our expectations of
scale, volume, and throughput are entirely out of line with the realities of the physical
Global warming says we should drastically change conventional lifestyles. Peak oil
and peak everything say we are going to have to.
And the crumbling economy accelerates the timeline.
It says we are changing
F I V E - P L A NE T S ’- W O RT H - O F - C O N S U M P T I O N
In the outdated ways of the conventional economy, we call it “normal” to harvest raw
materials on one continent, transport them to another for manufacturing, and
transport them to a third continent for consumption. All the while, we’re burning
fossil fuels and belching greenhouse gasses.
If you consider all the resources on the planet – mineral deposits, forests, fisheries,
energy supplies, fresh water, arable land – you’ll learn than humanity currently consumes
much more than the planet can replenish. 7
Here in North America, we consume world resources at a rate which (if every person on
the planet lived the way we call “normal”) would take five planets to provide for
everyone.8 We cannot call this “normal.”
In nature, growth is not linear and unending. Rather, it is part of an interconnected cycle
which includes the rich, life-giving beauty of compost and decomposition.
Right now, because we have hit the limitations of planetary physics, we are living in a
contracting economy. (We hit those limits a while ago, but in denial we buried reality. We
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy
it is totally unlike any other economic downturn in modern history. As the conventional economy continues to crumble.” constructing a growing financial picture. DIFFERENT TOOLS FOR DIFFERENT TIMES Because this economic downturn is driven by the physical limitations of the planet. Things like the stock market. Life as we once knew it is changing forever. our lack of community. we had certain powerful tools for building wealth and security. appreciating real estate values. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. When the economy was hurtling along in phenomenal-growth mode. psychological depression is rampant. the tools that have worked before won’t fix things this time. Media’s “more. productive. obesity. “Seasonal affective disorder. Throughout history. it is easy to get caught up in it all and to view only the goodies. Many of us feel our lives are purposeless. water. and globalized business strategies were like economic “backhoes” and “concrete pumps.Change-Making. T HE G L A SS I S HA L F E M P T Y Amid the glitter and fool’s gold of American city life. It is easy to view only the full part of the glass and overlook the emptiness. people have lived happy. Part of the journey of transitioning to the new future includes acknowledging the ways the conventional system has failed us.” “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. more. the glass is not half full. and soils and are experiencing skyrocketing cancer rates. Many observers (particularly from cultures that Americans haughtily dismiss) comment on our American lack of connection. We’ve poisoned our air. Is this “success.” “Nature deficit disorder. and we’ve sold each other a very hollow story. fulfilling lives without all the trinkets that today are deemed “gotta have. That sounds like disaster. But it is important to realize that these lifestyles we have called “normal” – these energy-intense lifestyles. even in the midst of such challenges. The fool’s gold has emphasized some of the baser sides of human character. fairness and justice. The glitter was fake. Animal behavior studies are now proving that the natural state of all primates – including humans – is cooperation. and we search for meaning. 9 We hardly know what we are missing. more” messages run in direct opposition to what we know in our guts. Social scientists now invent descriptions for our bizarre afflictions. it is nearly empty.com | 12 . 401Ks.” We’re disconnected from the nourishment of the land and suffer diabetes. and stressbased illnesses.” that we have lost touch with our basic nature? Indeed. and hid the signs of contraction in the buildup of a massive debt bubble. leveraging. meaningful lives. interesting.) This “recession” is going to last for a while – probably for the rest of your life. like greed and competition.” It is indeed possible that we can have wonderful. Our entire society needs to back down from five-planets’-worth-of-consumption to something much more in line with one.continued to consume and spend. with copious consumption and vast amounts of transportation – have only been like this for a brief few decades in human history.
The power tools of the economic ascent do not work in the energy descent. The world isn’t there anymore. those power tools worked great for you. economically-contracting playing field that we have today.com . or dropped your nest egg without much warning. particularly through the 1980s and into the 1990s. your neighbor can help dig for a while. But building mind-boggling “wealth” was a fantasy of the now-outdated growth economy.com | 13 Image: CupCakeOwO via deviantArt.Change-Making. The world would laugh – you could never achieve with those simple tools what you could with a backhoe! Yet throughout history. Now wise people are beginning to polish them up and return to them. you would have been crazy to pick up a simple shovel or pickaxe. these low-impact. root-level change. From urban farming to on-site greywater to Permaculture building techniques. R O O T . 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Sometimes those good ole power tools got balky. No. They’re strong as ever. the ascent. The public clamored “fix them!” and Congress poured on what they presumed was “machine oil” in attempts to get the whole process moving smoothly again.If you paid attention and learned how to drive them. languishing in the back of the shed. In the 2000s. Those tools were designed for the trek up the mountain of increasing consumption. mankind’s financial tools for building security and stability have looked a lot more like shovels and pickaxes. low-inputs techniques are the foundation of a livable future. rarely used and nearly forgotten. Through all the excitement of the markets of the 1980s and 1990s. They are understandable and repairable (and they don’t require fossil fuels!). But few people recognized that those old power tools were already in terminal decline.” Coping with these massive crises demands radical. These basic tools are strong and durable.” But the crises ahead dictate that we rethink that derogatory label. they won’t build mind-boggling wealth for you. and they are useless in the upside-down world of descent. There are plenty of root-level solutions available. They are easily transferrable between people – when you get tired. You could amass great financial security and wealth. Simple powerdown tools are very effective in a de-growth world. that plan kind of faltered. They simply cannot function. Many of these solutions are currently marginalized by mainstream society with the adjective “alternative.L E VE L S O LU T I O N S The word radical comes from the same Latin source as “root. These basic tools aren’t crumbling today. Other times they ground to a halt.
plus a supportive local community network. keep a shirt on your back and a roof over your head. surrounded by the richness of friendship.com | 14 . please see the companion ebook. You’ll still be able to feed the kids. or get Wall Street profits back.Change-Making. You can have a joyous and fulfilling life. you’ll find in this ebook a set of realistic. “What Everyone Ought to Know about Today’s Economy. practical solutions for the rest of us.” Shovels and pickaxes are going to work just fine.” by Joanne Poyourow EnviroChangeMakers. we’re sitting in the middle of a “make the best of it” situation. Welcome to the new future! – For a more complete explanation of the triple crisis. The Practical Tools outlined in this ebook aren’t high-powered ways to fix the globalized banking system. energy descent. and their inevitable impact on our economic future.org/Publications.Rather. five-planets’worth-of-consumption.htm 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.) Instead. (Those things are simply not possible. along with “let’s keep peace while we do it.
Change-Making.Resisting or postponing the collapse will only make it worse. That is the mind-set of separation. Let us stop resisting the revolution in human beingness. let us shift our perspective toward reunion and think in terms of what we can give. – Charles Eisenstein10 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. What can we each contribute to a more beautiful world? That is our only responsibility and our only security. let us not seek to survive them. Instead. a clinging to a dying past. Finding new ways to grow the economy will only consume what is left of our wealth. that is resistance. If we want to outlast the multiple crises unfolding today.com | 15 .
Chapter 2: Build Resilience
To cope with the triple crisis we need resilience. Resilience is our ability to flex and
adapt, to change as needed when circumstances demand it.
You can think of it as our “bounce-back-ability” – our ability to
bounce back when something unexpected happens. I like to think
of a kid on a trampoline, flying high, tumbling, and laughing, with
the surface ever-changing beneath him.
We have grown accustomed to an economic climate that is fairly
stable. Think of a firm, flat sidewalk, headed gently uphill.
Instead, the economic climate of the new future is more likely to
feel like the surface of that kid’s trampoline, forever flexing and
changing, never quite the same surface twice.
I’m taking a risk to talk about “bouncing back” and the economy,
because many people will misinterpret that as “bouncing back to
the exponential growth of the 1980s and 90s.” In this ebook, the
term resilience means something very different. It’s about basic
W HAT I S R E S I L I E N C E ?
The idea of resilience comes from the study of ecology. It’s
really about how systems, settlements, withstand shock from the outside ... that
they don’t just unravel, and fall to pieces. ... It’s about building modularity into
what we do, building surge breakers into how we organize the basic things that
support us. – Rob Hopkins, TED talk11
Right now we are entering a new era during which everything will be forever changing.
The weather will become more and more unpredictable. The force of storms, droughts,
heat waves, and ice storms will be unprecedented. The financial markets will fibrillate,
and so will energy prices.
“Growing” a business will be far from the “normal” course it once was. Sometimes
earning a living might come easily; other times it will seem like the money just isn’t there.
Supplies of goods will be ever-changing as well. There will often be delays and
Right now our traditional economic systems aren’t very resilient. Other important
systems, like our conventional food supply or mainstream-style health care, aren’t very
resilient either. To cope with the massive changes that are coming, we need to build far
Diversity is a key ingredient of greater resilience. In my vegetable garden, if one
variety of tomato doesn’t set fruit well during a searing hot summer, another variety bred
for extreme heat probably will. That’s why I plan for unpredictable weather by planting a
wide assortment of tomato varieties each year.
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy
life goal reorientation. and evolve in its understanding of how people fit into the cycles of this small planet. stable. They plan years into the future and expect economics to be rock-solid. it represents major upheaval of expectations. but they are participating in it nonetheless. the corporate consolidation and globalization trends over recent decades have amplified brittleness and undermined resilience. a city maintains several parallel roads. it’s time we learned how to dance. in order to weather the massive changes ahead. within the context of all life upon the planet? It is time to explore new “inner” ideas such as redefining the concept of success. these people don’t realize they are doing the Dance. and hold on rigidly tight in dread fear of loss. we are all forced to do the Dance. emotional. When circumstances change. Particularly in these times of great uncertainty. We must change the story we tell ourselves to one that acknowledges interdependence. If you build only one road to get across town. and people in this latter category are forced to live much closer to the edge.com | 17 .Change-Making. Some people are quite aware that they are doing it. Other people have a very different view of finances. and there’s an accident on that road. developing resilience means developing the character and spiritual base to remain flexible and feel good about it. Many of them view money as a flow. As we experience massive.” managing to pull in just enough to pay the bills.Redundancy is another ingredient of resilience. but it also provides back-ups for time of need. To survive well. – Fortify yourself. transformative change. and introspection inherent in these issues. If we adjust our expectations to accept this. Our inner story must change and evolve as well. We can grit our teeth. Locate a counselor or spiritual advisor who is prepared to deal with the inevitable disappointment. and some even regard it as a type of a game. just in time. transportation grinds to a halt. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Inner resilience is all about attitude – the attitude we hold as we enter into the storm. The steady. we will need psychological. or we can be open to the positive possibilities. They do a perpetual Dance to assure that income will cover expenses. In economics. predictable lives we have known for so many decades are being thrown into turmoil. You aren’t your possessions. psychologically and spiritually. We can build a better world. we’ll feel a lot happier. As my friend showed me. seeking and implementing solutions. B UI L D P E R S O NA L R E SI L I E N CE As an individual. and spiritual support from “fellow travelers” who understand what is going on. You aren’t your job. They live rather “on the edge. Humanity must redefine itself. They acknowledge the Dance. A friend once showed me that everyone is doing a financial Dance. since they never acknowledged to themselves that they were participating in the Dance. Who are you. – Develop a proactive outlook. – Begin to redefine yourself. That helps spread traffic. Instead.
which you can fall back on emotionally or more tangibly. bundle your fears together and let them become your driving force. It’s our bread and butter. These transition times will mean stretching and growing in ways you never have had to before. Reach out your hand to a neighbor or two. Instead of allowing them to freeze you in inaction. Help people around you to find their scraps of courage too. services. Each one of us is deeply entrenched in the conventional economy. This stuff is all too real to you. – Develop a supportive community circle around you. and join the workparty to help create positive change. your neighborhood. despite your fears. Begin building an open flow of reciprocity and connectedness. not virtual. grab a Tool. Then step forward. Prop each other up. Chris Johnstone uses the phrase “inspirational dissatisfaction” to describe what we all need to do. conversely. or you share a beer on a holiday. and your local community. we each have a lot of learning to do. see the Appendices. – For discussion of deeper issues regarding community resilience and localization. – Raise awareness within your circle of friends. But survival is going to take a village. Maybe you say “hi” as you’re walking the dog. we have been trained to go it alone. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Your local neighbors are your true survival network. and help them do these things too. helping to build local resilience. and any surplus you can share. “I T ’ S S CA RY ” Yes. it is scary! It takes a lot of courage to look at these things. But as these crises deepen.Change-Making. You probably have strangers on Facebook whose intimate details you know better. With regards to economics in particular. – Volunteer.com | 18 . Or. and vow to work together on the ideas in this ebook.B UI L D C O M M U N I T Y R E S I L I E N C E Most of us “kind of” know our neighbors. Give generously of your talents. My suggestion that this all might come down around our ears may be absolutely terrifying to you. the roof over our heads. Shape the fears into something that motivates you.12 Channel those awful feelings from the pit of your stomach. you’re going to need real community. Get into action. you might be one of the people for whom the crash is already descending around you. Tell them about the issues in this ebook. in order to face reality and move on. Inner resilience means reaching inside yourself and finding little filmy scraps of courage. and since Americans are no longer familiar with what it takes to maintain village relationships.
we must cultivate a shift in our deeply ingrained values.One thing you might notice about that little guy on the trampoline: He has a smile on his face. They had to redefine themselves within the context of new lifestyles. To me. They had to evolve in their way of dealing with each other. delights. to slow down the destruction of life 2. And there’s a short timeline in which to do it. It would be easy to throw up your hands and say “there isn’t anything that can be done. people had to evolve in their way of dealing with each other. Yet again. People began to create settlements and villages. Throughout this ebook you’ll find many examples of Macy's third dimension. Setting up time banks or enrolling neighbors in a local harvest exchange program help create the better world of the future.Change-Making.com | 19 . spending much longer time in a given place. Macy tells us this Revolution is happening far faster than either of the other two. we’re engaged in Macy's second dimension: creating new structures. This meant huge changes. There is no reason it cannot be filled with joy.” But there is plenty that can be done. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.” Macy calls it The Great Turning. Right now. Holding action. and invent new ways of governing themselves. Mankind will evolve in its concept of how humanity fits into the ecosystems of the planet. – Get into action. The new future does not need to be grim. this puts the magnitude of the changes going on around us in proper perspective. Macy describes three ways we can help facilitate The Great Turning: 1. Fighting to preserve the Ballona Wetlands or sit-ins about the Keystone XL Pipeline are forms of stopping action. a Shift in Consciousness. T HE G R E AT T U R NI N G Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy describes the era we’re living in as the third great Revolution in the history of mankind. A shift in consciousness Traditional environmentalism is in many cases a manifestation of Macy's first dimension. we are experiencing the third great Revolution – what some call the “Green Revolution” or the “Sustainability Revolution. Particularly in economics. The second great Revolution was the Industrial Revolution. it would be easy to slip into emotional depression. When we’re building the new future. and laughter. It’s time to pull yourself together and get down to work. people will evolve in our ways of dealing with each other. friendship. They prevent further destruction. The first great Revolution was the Agricultural Revolution. Creating new structures 3. where people left behind the hunter-gatherer life and began to settle down. as you’ll see through the remainder of this ebook. and slow the damage to Earth and its beings. Faced with the prospect of such massive changes. Again. It will simply be different. Larger numbers of people gathered in cities than ever before.
contact information for real-life examples. people who are working to bring these new practices to reality. Your personal problems seem to shrink. you’ll be working with other solution-makers.Change-Making. Surround yourself with people who believe in possibilities.wordpress. as you participate in solutions.When you’re engaged in something larger than yourself – in actively creating larger solutions – something magical begins to happen. and references to explanatory source materials at our website. enables the resources lists to be updated with the latest developments. broader problems. your mind-chatter is directed toward bigger. For resources and live links about personal and community resilience. RESOURCES FOR PRACTICAL TOOL #1: INNER RESILIENCE The Practical Tools described in this ebook are not theoretical. It is invigorating and exciting to work with people with a proactive outlook. anxieties. Plus. people who are charging forward into the future. and conflicts all feel much smaller by comparison. You will find practical how-to’s.com | 20 . but more importantly. They become more manageable.com/2012/01/31/er-1/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Your personal worries. Maintaining these resource lists online reduces the size of this ebook. Instead. please see http://envirochangemakers.
xchng foreseeable source of cash? These are severe austerity measures. eliminate lawn service (grow veggies!). 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. fishing. 3. but people found ways. How you might change your spending if you heard we were entering a ten-year Depression. or tool sharing. you have been well-schooled to adjust the “faucet” end of things: “Earn $1000 a week at home!” “Take advantage of this credit card offer!” With American capitalism at the helm. Make the most of the U. we considered these questions: 1. car sharing. If the water is flowing in faster than it is draining out. conserve your cash. Jazz music flourished during this era. My father was a kid of the Depression years. 2.Chapter 3: Conserve your Cash Think about a bathroom sink: water comes in through the faucet and leaves through the drain. times were hard. They had a good time.com | 21 . and there was plenty of dancing. Use budgets and learn to get by on much less. Decrease utility bills. eliminate car leases. If the level in the “basin” (the cash in your checking account) proves inadequate. you get an accumulation of water in the basin. Shared expenses. Yes. dark secret that you have a lot of choice about how much flows down the drain. Look at the basics of your family life and decide which services you could perhaps provide for yourself. and wild-foraging for mushrooms. What spending patterns might you embrace if there were no Image: 24acorns via stock. it has been a deep. raising chickens. dollars you do have. You can put your do-it-yourself skills to work. In anticipation of what lies ahead. It may put your mind at ease. T R I M S PE N DI N G Constantly be looking for ways to trim expenses. and reevaluate contractual obligations such as cell phone and insurance plans. are other ways to save money. What might you do to become more “conservative” in your spending. such as carpooling. the kind our grandparents became quite accustomed to living with during the Depression of the 1930s. Decrease your outflow. If you know any seniors who grew up during the 1930s. Trim monthly fees. perhaps because the newspaper says we’re in hard times? These items we labeled as slight austerity measures. Or read interviews such as those in the Foxfire series.Change-Making. In a discussion session in Los Angeles. don’t merely seek to increase your inflow. He tells wonderful stories of selling apples from their tree. or if your family breadwinner(s) lost his/her job? These are moderate austerity measures. talk with them.S.
Group purchasing is a form of sharing. we haven’t had to exercise much self-discipline. ask yourself that question. If you do buy. You’ll tend to spend much less when you have to be accountable and see it in writing. You can buy in bulk. imported and out-of-season food. It’s going to take willpower to sort out needs versus wants. “Disposable” is a marketing department euphemism for brazen waste and destruction. Can you make-do with something you already have. basic clothing and shelter. Then after a brief use (or single use!) most of these consumer items are thrown “away” and packed into a landfill. Your needs are relatively simple: water. In recent years as a culture. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. but we must sort them out again. Single-use anything is a waste of money. buy durable. status houses and cars. But in a contracting economy. G E T DI S C I P L I NE D Write down what you spend – all of it. and to not reach for a credit card. gain discounts. Buy tools that have a long projected life. Our individual lifestyles must also realign from 5-planets’-worth-of-consumption to something more in line with one. and to still another continent for sale. leveraging. Meanwhile we’re consuming oil and emitting greenhouse gasses the whole way. and access better stuff. We all save money. plus it is pillaging our planetary life-support system and the fair shares of other peoples. debt dooms you to much faster decline.com | 22 . Choose models that can be repaired and that are power-free. Right now we call it “normal” to extract raw materials on one continent. food. Can you buy secondhand? Get back in touch with the difference between needs and wants. You can survive without feeding your wants. But that short-lived free-for-all is now ending. D R O P T HE D E B T S Debt. B E C O M E AN “ U N SH O P P E R ” Do you really need to buy more stuff? Each time you think you’ll go shopping. and interest are great tools in a growing economy.Change-Making. Wants include fashion clothing. ship them to another continent for manufacture. to budget yourself. – Start practicing. Changing your spending habits requires discipline. I am part of a circle which buys health-food-store items in bulk. The advertising industry has tricked our culture into using these terms interchangeably. Understand why your great-grandmother saved bits of string. Learn more about “The Debt Trap” in the Appendices. perhaps by re-crafting it? Embrace Reuse and Repurposing as an economic strategy (even though it serves the environment too).
It is available for other purposes where it might be more difficult to negotiate a cash-free solution. Meanwhile. Look for the item through your local time bank. Don’t vote for more government debt either (a. Bartering and time banking (discussed later in this ebook) are ways to exchange skills and favors with others. and eliminate all your debts. You bite into the infinite lusciousness of a sun-ripened organic tomato. mortgage. Don’t take on more.a. It’s going to take some conscious thought to overcome the deeply-ingrained reflex of going to conventional stores to buy everything. or taxes. tell yourself you are only allowed have them if you are able to obtain them cash-free. Los Angeles. such as rent. splitting the vegetable harvest. and to take the time to appreciate the beauty around you. Garden sharing pairs people who have unused garden space with eager garden workers. You can meet plenty of your family’s needs using cash-free transactions. – For each family need. Cash-free in action: building “Little Free Library” boxes with shared tools and scavenged materials. But people who have studied economic transactions throughout history. Don’t overlook free community services like your public library. like Charles Eisenstein and David Graeber. The cash you didn’t spend is now freed up. should you consider conventional stores and spending cash for it. Cash-free transactions aren’t something most Americans today are accustomed to working with. Challenge yourself to meet some of your family needs without cash. “bond measures”). we have been taught that we have to buy everything with cash. or local equivalents. your friend who grew the tomato tells you the story of that 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. August 2012 G O C AS H . point out that it hasn’t always been this way. People have come up with many innovative sharing arrangements such as child care co-ops and pet care co-ops. Slow Food invites you to savor delectable flavors.k. first look around for any cash-free ways you might address it. – Start practicing.com | 23 . – For luxury expenditures. rich with sparkling heirloom flavors.F R E E Right now in our culture. Freecycle. renegotiate. the free pages of Craig’s List.Change-Making. S LO W C O N S U M P T I O N The Slow Food movement teaches us to appreciate the unique and precious traits of local food. to soak up rich cultural stories. Only after these cash-free leads have been exhausted.– Systematically begin to reduce.
Every single thing you buy comes from the earth’s limited resources. It can have the lusciousness of that homegrown tomato. yet it has its silver lining: It’s an invitation to change your vocabulary from “buy” to “make. It’s an opportunity to learn to better appreciate those few things you do purchase. education. But the new future presents an opportunity to view this in more of a spiritual light: Honor the labor of those who made the thing you are consuming.” The soul has been stripped from it.wordpress. Cash conservation is a necessity. Once you have experienced in this other realm of human existence. It can have art and beauty and uniqueness. Feel gratitude for what you do have. including health care. It has a little of you in it. Perhaps she shares a recipe to highlight the nuances of this unique taste. that hard reddish round thing in the plastic clamshell package which you tossed carelessly into your cart in Costco or Walmart no longer merits the name “tomato.” Homemade is far more meaningful. RESOURCES FOR PRACTICAL TOOL #2: CASH CONSERVATION For resources and live links about cash conservation.Change-Making. Don’t buy anything that you cannot treat as valuable and precious.com | 24 .particular variety and where she got the seed. please see http://envirochangemakers.com/2012/01/30/er-2/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. and housing. Hard reality says it is time to decrease your volume overall. You now know there is far better to be had out in the world.
Water harvesting. She would need to know precise measurements of flour and sugar to make it all taste good. this was a test of whether the girl was a worthy mate. We have gleefully outsourced these skills to corporate industry and global markets. As in. How to insulate your home. In the song. and the brief age of oil draws to a close.13 The skills you need for the new future are very different from the human-centric academic subjects you were taught in school. How to heal with locally available materials and petroleum-free modalities. She’d need to have patience using the cherry-pitter. food production. She’d need a strong back to milk the cow and churn the butter. food storage. plus how to roll it out. you’re going to need tactile and manual skills. how to can tomatoes safely so that your family doesn’t get sick with botulism. this was a serious test of skills. But as the corporate-centric economy falters.com | 25 . We’re going to need to become a lot more self-sufficient. Become a jack of all trades and a master of one. for ultimate flavor. No. The singer wasn’t asking Billy Boy whether his girl could open a can of goo and dump it into a frozen pie shell. long-distance transportation. Our contemporary culture has abandoned many skills which our forefathers viewed as essential. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. this is serious stuff. She’d better know the feel of proper dough texture in her hands. Rather. because the day will come when you’re going to need it. or fix a leak in the roof when the big warehouse store has supply problems or has gone out of business. D. and unending warehouse supplies. cooking. It’s going to take time. in a time when few recipes were written down and there was no Google.Y. we will no longer have the luxury of an opulent array of convenience gadgets. Creativity. basic plumbing. so that Billy didn’t break a tooth. We’re not talking about lightweight DIY like hanging the Christmas lights or painting ceramic puppy statues in a kit imported from China. There is a learning curve for most of these skills. No. cash grows dear. in order to imagine new possibilities for a found object.Chapter 4: Skill-Up “Can she bake a cherry pie?” asked a traditional American song.Change-Making.I. and ability to re-craft it into something functional. Now is the time to start accumulating your knowledge. to get a delightfully flaky crust. She’d better know when the cherries were ripe and ready for harvest.
but I can tell I’m missing out on the party. It is essential to survival.com | 26 . I’m not yet part of the beekeepers group. what route to drive to get there (not to mention the skills of driving). DIY sounds daunting to us because we are on the front end of the learning curve. In any event. you didn’t know those skills. the seed savers group has lots of fun. another set of memorized characteristics. A decade ago. and a bazillion other peak-of-petroleum skills. It doesn’t work that way.How-to classes. usually re-purposed. You acquired them recently and rapidly. blogs. Need new sports shoes? I’ll bet you know where to go. and internet videos are popping up all over the place. in action: pickling workshop lead by Sandor Ellix Katz. S E RI O U S C A S H SAV I NG S One Los Angeles Times reporter ran an analysis of what it cost to “go green. Look at the massive amount of knowledge you have acquired in the past 3 to 5 years to learn to effectively use that electronic communications gadget you carry in your pocket. and our community garden groups are warm and wonderful. Making do typically means customized solutions and different answers for different locations. maintaining a five-planets’-worth-of-consumption lifestyle. Here in Los Angeles. sometimes free. But at this point in human history. These are often foraged. September 2012 “T H E RE ’ S L E A R N !” TOO MUCH TO To newcomers this might feel overwhelming. and what hours the store is open.Y. or the bread bakers. how to use the internet or Facebook. Salad for dinner? Another store. learning these skills is no longer an option. These can be quite fun. You think nothing of knowing how to best get across your city in cross-town traffic. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. We haven’t yet acquired the body of knowledge. You might find your social circle begins shifting too! D.I. it presents a delightful exercise in creativity. Los Angeles. The skills of the new future include making do with the materials that are available around you. then critiquing whether there was any financial savings.” The reporter took a buy-buy-buy approach. Look at the vast warehouse of knowledge you have about how to get around in a consumerist society. where to get the best prices. But look at what you already know. usually lowcost.Change-Making. purchasing high-end everything.
exploring the wide range of holistic modalities. fresh culinary herbs. Warmth is now the object. together with accompanying advertising. choosing their books and materials. Satisfaction brings with it a feeling of groundedness. dollar saved on one household necessity is freed up so that you can use it for some other purpose where you cannot negotiate a cash-free option. you find you begin to take back a lot more. A fashionstyled sweater in every color is no longer the object. Taken this way. In addition to schooling their children. together with durability and functionality (although that does not preclude beauty). we have a phrase “taking it back from the System. Only now are we are ready to do the math: sustainable living through DIY with available materials plus simplification plus satisfaction with what we have. Attitudes about consumerism are another thing frequently “taken back. It’s thrilling to realize that you actually can provide for yourself and your family. DIY can also gain you access to far higher quality than you would have through warehouse channels. the ethics of social justice.” as families opt out of mainstream products and buy-buy-buy approaches to life. “Take it back” comes with an exhilarating feeling of empowerment.The skills of the new future also include simplifying – making do with less. has bred an endless yearning for More.com | 27 . hand-picking their tutors and mentors.S. many families in my area have taken back their health care. most people boost quality for non-cash reasons such as greater health. and having a more delightful and pleasing life. Home-grown organic vegetables. Admittedly though. I am no longer dependent on The System for this aspect of my life. we haven’t had much of it. and good home cooking are prime examples. Appropriate skills: harvesting at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity. In our contemporary buy-buy-buy age.” At first. the skills of the new future can amount to serious cash savings. Los Angeles T AK E I T B A C K Within my local homeschooling circles. Your overall buying power has significantly increased. But the strange thing about “taking it back” is that once you dip your toe in these waters. very much needed amidst the turmoil. environmental preservation. The push for volume sales and new models. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Your efforts sometimes produce excess. Satisfaction is another skill of the new future that we will need to acquire. Every U.Change-Making. that means “taking back” the basic schooling of our children: bringing them home.
“Take it back” is the entry point to lifelong learning.com/2012/01/29/er-3/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.wordpress. jobs. and the new future please see http://envirochangemakers. Then learn to cook. get a pot of herbs started on the balcony. Curious about chickens? Find someone who has them and start aksing questions. Are you growing food yet? If not. you’ll undoubtedly yearn to do more! – Consider the DIY skills of the new future. What have you been itching to learn about? Yearn to knit? Take a class. It feels delightful to generously give it away within your community. Once you begin. It’s time to get started! RESOURCES FOR PRACTICAL TOOL #3: APPROPRIATE SKILLS For resources and live links about reskilling. It means keeping your brain alive. it doesn’t matter where you start.Change-Making.com | 28 .such as the bountiful harvest from a fruit tree. bicycle repairs. Food production. to use them and other fresh foods. and it brings the thrill of new acquisition of knowledge. health care.
people made clothing. but these were nothing like the massive oil-supported corporate structure we see today. some people did have jobs. What kinds of businesses will your immediate local neighborhood need to survive economic turmoil and powerdown? Which businesses will provide the basics like locallysourced food and water.Change-Making. the concept of “outsourcing” has stripped most of our local communities of the butcher. The globalized industrial complex has taken over most of the basics of our daily needs. and artisans who have skills and know-how to provide the basic goods and services we need for everyday living. A young boy was sent out to apprentice and learn a craft or a trade. most of the mainstream populace regarded white collar work with distrust and disdain. dependent upon oil. Yes. They’re still perpetuating the five-planets-worth-of-consumption which we have told each other is “normal. People farmed food.com | 29 . Until fairly recently in human history. produced. Many of the “green” jobs are completely dependent upon government funding. The phrase “an honest day’s 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Other “green” businesses are in luxury industries. Most “green” industries are built upon the presumption of economic growth.Chapter 5: Pick your Place within the New Future In the past 20 to 30 years. this form of earning a living is not very likely to continue. people thought not in terms of “jobs” but in terms of trades. and continued supply of trace elements. people crafted everyday necessary tools. Little is now manufactured. merchants. This leaves our communities disempowered and vulnerable in addressing the triple crisis. or crafted in our local neighborhoods. basic clothing? Particularly as we face limited petroleum and adjust to localized supply chains? These are the “business opportunities” of the new future.” In the not-so-distant past. overseas manufacturing. Salesmen and solicitors (lawyers) were not necessarily seen as upstanding pillars of the community. They are counting on continued societal affluence to get fledgling “green” industries off the ground. Some supposedly “green” jobs are in tech-centric industries. Even the idea of “green jobs” is deeply flawed. And many so-called “green” industries merely provide green-cast consumerism. all done locally. people nursed each other. R E LE AS E T HE FA DI N G PA S T : E M P LOY E E "Jobs" as we know them today – paychecks from large corporate employers – are a very recent phenomenon in human history. which won’t feed us in desperate times. Within our new understanding of the future economy. All of these will be increasingly difficult to sustain as we move deeper into the post-peak-everything era. the baker. and the candlestick maker – the craftsmen.
hobbies. the list of new business opportunities was extensive and inspiring: rainwater harvesting/water storage. and basic clothing. and can provide a cornerstone for future-oriented local care within your community. Steer clear of international industries and those that are dependent upon globalization. – This becomes important not only for “how will I pay the rent” but also when we consider the messages we give our children about educational options and career choices.com | 30 . As we relocalize and powerdown. rather than the gross receipts we saw over the last 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. greywater. These small businesses are likely to be providing some of the very basic. In a post-petroleum world. – As you set up your resilience-oriented business. water. finance. horses. physicality and calluses. like insurance and investments. Think of food. Think of low-input forms of health care. medical/veterinary. carpentry/construction.work” scornfully regarded the white collar professions as not really working. shoemaker. Your business will need to apply the suggestions in Cash Conservation. humanure. education. – For future livelihoods. the globalized corporate structure with polished offices and W2 paychecks is doomed. bicycle manufacturing/repair. some specialties are far better situated for resilience. and human services such as psychological and spiritual help in coping with this vastly altered course of events. but many holistic health care modalities use far less inputs. when we asked the audience the types of local businesses we need for greater resilience here in L. making a living is much more likely to be in the role of proprietor. Avoid industries which are tied into the global financial markets.. An honest day’s work meant sweat on that collar. and interests do you currently have which suit the new future? Give some thought to how you might expand these into a little business. The role of “employee” of a giant facility controlled by corporate executives is part of the fading past. We will be left with a lot more community-level sufficiency.A. home businesses. core services that local community members need. local energy. barter businesses. See “What about college?” in FAQs. keep in mind all of the Practical Tools in this ebook. or working for a local businessman within a resilience-building industry. In an economics session in Los Angeles. basic shelter. more likely possibilities include small businesses in resiliencebuilding industries. Expect survival-level cash flow. rather than employee. repairs in general. E M B R A C E T H E NE W F U T U R E : P R O P R I E T O R Income sources in the future are less likely to look like paychecks and far more likely to look like local businesses. within a given industry. appliance repair.Change-Making. fundamental redesign. food. aren’t tied to the massive system. remanufacturing/repurposing – What skills. Also. Take health care as an example: Western allopathic medicine is highly oil-dependent. or social enterprises.
Other examples might include micro-loans to citizen cooperatives. we must make greater strides. Social enterprise is being hailed as a vital part of the new future. The enterprise works within the natural resource (and energy) limits of the planet. Local resilience-building businesses: installation of rainwater harvesting tanks. where for every pair of shoes you buy.decade. Invest locally. It works with suppliers that do the same. 2) Low Carbon. The enterprise considers the viability of its business model post-peak oil. In a world so very much in need of repair. 2009 T A KE S O C I A L E N T E R P R I SE A S T E P F U RT H E R Social enterprise could perhaps be called the hybrid car of the business world. social enterprise holds potential to accelerate the course of change. The enterprise minimizes carbon emissions and thus its contribution to climate change. Current examples of social enterprise include the gift shop in a museum. There’s social enterprise in the business model of Tom’s Shoes. it’s a business. Considering the context of the triple crisis and the new direction of the future. but its “profits” support the educational mission of the museum. and evaluate your success based on the indicators of the new future. Los Angeles. and its level of independence from the globalized corporate macroeconomy and its risks. they will give a pair of shoes to someone in a third-world country. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. The enterprise will benefit the local community by improving its resilience or wellbeing in some way. Social enterprise merges business operations with the social-repair outlook of nonprofits. They have outlined several elements which are essential if social enterprise is to become a transition enterprise – to truly make a departure from the outdated habits of businessas-usual. But even within the new concept of business. the UK REcomony group invites us to take the idea of “social enterprise” a few steps further. 1) Resilience outcome. 3) Natural Limits. You should plan to accept many transactions via local currency or sophisticated bartering systems. or a bakery whose production line employs otherwise-unhirable parolees. – Also see “What about my business?” in FAQs – If you are currently employed within a non-resilient industry.Change-Making. 4) Appropriate Localization.com | 31 . perhaps the best for now is to embrace these ideas and prepare for them (after-hours education?) even as you continue working the conventional way.
5) Not just for personal profit.com | 32 . The enterprise is independent and accountable to a defined constituency who are democratically involved in its governance. please see http://envirochangemakers. 14 Through element #1. with at least some profits being reinvested in the local community.com/2012/01/27/er-4/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. livelihoods.” such as overseas manufacturing and airline transportation.Change-Making. The enterprise holds public or “commons” assets and wealth in trust for community benefit. 7) Locally accountable. RESOURCES FOR PRACTICAL TOOL #4: RESILIENCE-BUILDING LOCAL BUSINESSES For resources and live links about resilience-building businesses. and globalization. The business goes beyond distributing profit to individuals. 6) Community assets. Many of these concepts are radically different from the way American business has been operating. and cause us to contemplate non-traditional business models like co-operatives and land trusts. Elements #5 and #6 call into question many of the cornerstones of American property ownership. Element #2 demands a change in many business practices which are today considered “normal. Element #7 calls for new management models with equitable allocation of power and responsiveness to local issues. and social enterprise. Element #4 flies in the face of “bigger is better. which means they can’t be sold by individuals.wordpress. Element #3 calls our attention to how the business is addressing powerdown and reduced resource consumption. we come to understand that few of today’s so-called “green” businesses are really preparing us for the realities of the future.” corporate consolidations. Yet changes like these are precisely what is needed for survival in the new future.
He’s hungry.” But in the face of the triple crisis. most of us zoom in and think first of the homeless man. Deepening economic contraction means that. Our dependence on the highly-vulnerable conventional agriculture system means that in the longer-term picture. Although more than 60% of the food pantry patrons have jobs. Many of us can pretend to ignore them. Consider the implications of the triple crisis. we are all food insecure.Change-Making. Now zoom your camera lens back still further. more and more people will be joining the ranks of the food insecure. Zoom your camera lens back a notch: Here at our Community Garden. but tomorrow’s food insecure describes an even greater number of people. Now is the time to get started. we are all vulnerable. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. those jobs are so low-paying that they cannot cover all the expenses for the month. petro-chemical-dependent agri-business. over time. These people aren’t sure they can afford the groceries they need to feed their families. Ultimately. These people are food insecure. It will mean less energy for all the warehousing and processing which are a necessary part of the globalized agri-business/supermarket system. We can compare ourselves to the homeless man and say “I’m not like him. we send the fruits and vegetables we grow to the local food pantry.” In speaking to a series of college classes on the topic of food justice. monocropped.com | 33 .“I T ’ S T O O W E I R D ” “I don’t have to do this. I’ve been using the visual of the zoom lens on a camera. the economic problems addressed in this ebook might not seem so bad.” you say. The food pantry patrons are today’s food insecure. we are kidding ourselves. but it’s not that bad. “The economy’s bad. Today. Zoom the camera lens out further. When we bring up the idea of food justice and food insecurity. Peak oil means less ability to transport that food hundreds of miles to our populations in the cities. Ultimately. we will all need to make big changes. As climate change intensifies it will continue to wreak havoc on conventional.
we are in very serious jeopardy. and run the factories still exist. At this writing. If. Yet all the human and material inputs to build the houses.S. Right now our culture has a monocrop of currencies and financial vehicles: nothing can be done without U. prime turf for plant diseases.’ Money is disappearing. distribute the food. With the looming possibility of severe inflation or deflation. and they work great for corporate control. when farmers dumped milk they couldn’t sell into ditches while others were starving for want of 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. our personal “wealth” is maintained through a wide diversity of financial vehicles. all over the world machines stand idle. Diversity is one of the key features of resilience. which has fled. parks and libraries are closing. Monocrops are efficient for one-size-fits-all treatment. dollars. conserve soil and water resources.Chapter 6: Join a Time Bank The term monocrop describes the vast corn fields of the Midwest: only one single crop as far as the eye can see. human productivity grinds to a halt. we have a lot more resilience. What has fled is money. attract beneficial pollinating insects. … so insubstantial (in the form of electrons in computers) that it can hardly be said to exist at all.com | 34 . dollars. – Charles Eisenstein15 Stoneleigh (pen name of Nicole Foss) declares “Money is the lubricant in the economic engine. Without enough of it that engine will seize up as it did in the 1930s. By growing a diversity of plants. No cash? No purchasing power. and a huge contributor to soil depletion. and millions go homeless and hungry while housing units stand vacant and food rots in the warehouses. For a resilient local economy we need a wide variety of ways to conduct economic transactions. construction equipment sits derelict in the yard.S. an earlier culture might have called ‘God abandoning the world.S. Factories have ground to a halt. The economy of the new future probably won’t be dependent on the U.Change-Making. What we call recession.S. dollars – we are limited by our supply of those U. People were no longer able to access the cash which facilitated all the doings of everyday living. but they’re far from resilient. Progressive movements in agriculture call for polycropping. and with it another property of spirit: the animating force of the human realm. at a local level we need to cultivate much greater diversity. a farmer can maintain soil fertility. I N C RE A SE YO U R “ M O N E Y SU P P LY ” One of the scarier parts of the Depression of the 1930s was when banks closed. dollar alone. and assure yields in unpredictable weather. It is rather something immaterial. yet so powerful that without it. A monocrop is a magnet for pests. If all our cash is in one place (Big Banks). instead. that animating spirit. When we have only one way to accomplish transactions – by the exchange of U.
When we become producers – particularly. currency alternatives. That’s an economic transaction. We can accomplish this at the grassroots level through money substitutes. sharing arrangements.” She refers to money in motion. life. there is less “lubricant” to facilitate the economic engine. actively circulating within the economy. conventional cash). At that same basic level. You swap some homegrown zucchini for a few eggs from his backyard chickens.”16 Stoneleigh simplifies the economic concept of “money supply. full of vitality. Simple sharing in action: urbanite building team working on a “pay it forward” basis.the money to buy food. February 2012 F A C I L I TAT E T R A N S A C T I O N S What an “economy” really boils down to is the sum total of transactions between people. At this most basic scale. Despite a restricting supply of money in motion (i.” we can assure that transactions can still flow.Change-Making. By opening avenues to additional types of “lubricant. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. and interdependence. plenty of perfectly valid and lifesupporting transactions can be accomplished without any markers at all. we feel secure: there will be food on the table.e.com | 35 . Circulation constricts and economic activity decreases. there will become less and less money in motion. and cultivating a gifting culture. Right now. Los Angeles. “money” is simply the scorekeeping markers we use to record those transactions. There is little money in motion available to facilitate even the most basic necessities. Think of a simple barter transaction: You know your neighbor and he knows you. a beautiful truth that our “sophisticated” economy has motored over and forgotten. producers of the basic stuff of everyday living – we will always have something to exchange. There is no mandate that says that transactions between people can only be counted via one kind of marker. There was plenty of everything except money. as we undo the credit bubble 17. When the amount of money in motion decreases. and without money. This is bare-bones simplicity. we can still meet our basic needs. one cannot connect buyers and sellers. In fact.
most economists would claim the transaction grinds to a halt. Graeber tells us that historical records are full of such examples. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. but if Sam doesn’t want chickens right now.C A S H T R A N SA C T I O N S Right now in most communities it seems nearly unthinkable to engage in non-cash transactions. More complex goods would be produced by local businesses. we minutely dissect the value of that cow versus the value of those apples. T RY N O N . but it wasn’t used for “serious” transactions such as business dealings. declares Graeber. More local production could be developed using local currency loans. have it. when Sam wants part of my apple harvest. Here is the polyculture. Later. I want the cow. But people within a close-knit community don’t necessarily work that way.. a LETS barter system was considered okay for little things such as homemade casseroles or garden assistance.com | 36 . Rather.. of course I give him some. That example presumes a simultaneous exchange of unlike goods.S. we can create many ways to facilitate economic exchanges between people.. Not so. In our contemporary era. If one of those financial vehicles encounters temporary problems – for instance the U. like “retail pricing” and “minimum wage. and local power generation…18 All of this will probably operate parallel to a national currency that handles the few out-ofarea trade transactions. or through a local bank . dollar. Sam would say “You like the cow? Here. the old U.19 Critics seeking to prove that bartering systems are “unworkable” typically create a distorted example: Sam has a cow and I have a bunch of chickens.. They used extensive systems of credit and mutual aid. In my local neighborhood. Special-purpose currencies could finance local food production and Community Supported Agriculture. silver.” that it becomes difficult for us to comprehend any other forms of transactions. coins.S... or a business-to-business exchange. Instead of one financial vehicle.Change-Making.E N VI S I O N A P O LYC U LT U R E Peter North shared a brilliant vision of the future: We can see a LETS scheme or time bank being used for local production and exchange of things we can produce at home or in a local community . dollar suffering extreme inflation or extreme deflation – we will have plenty of other financial vehicles to fall back on. Our minds are so thoroughly immersed in monetary concepts.” and both of us know I owe him one. some kind of metal or material object) in everyday transactions. Anthropolgist David Graeber points out that throughout history there have been many periods of time when people didn’t use money (gold. perhaps using a local or regional scrip .
Change-Making. Your local sharing arrangements will attract individuals. It is appropriate that valuation be quite variable when your exchange is no longer simultaneous. Amidst massive scale and corporate control. This is typically among the first worries raised by a community when you propose to set up a time bank. Each has an important role to play in bringing out a more complete panorama of community “wealth. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. In the interest of control and “efficiency. Sharing arrangements: a seed swap in San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles P L A N T A P O LYC U LT U R E “One-size-fits-all” is all that the monoculture of our old U.” Different financial vehicles will attract different pools of participants within your community. Midwinter when people are hungry. to instead encourage a greater flow of transactions within a local community.com | 37 . and your community needs.S.” the system plays blind to the fact that people are unique and different and that one size certainly doesn’t fit all.We’re paranoid of getting ripped off. it’s take it or leave it.S. given your community dynamics. a cow might not be worth much. A local currency can be designed in such a way as to prevent hoarding. Your local bartering systems will attract mostly individual households and proprietorship businesses. dollars is the cow worth?” But when your herd is too large and your feedstock is running low. a few bushels of apples might be quite valuable. (None of the above will work for globalized chain stores.) Which one of these financial vehicles should your community have? To share the wisdom of one member of Transition Mar Vista: a community may one day need all of these. We view every transaction from a monetized standpoint: “How many U. “What if someone tries to rip us off?” Instead. A time bank can become a vehicle which brings out the hidden talents or the undervalued efforts of its members. your people resources. Different types of financial vehicles serve different purposes. But since these monsters detract from local resilience rather than helping build resilience. perhaps with greater emphasis on services than on goods. Trust the community network to close ranks and spread the word about advantage-takers. trust your neighbors. dollar economy offers. there’s no reason that we in the grassroots trenches need to go out of our way to design financial vehicles to fit them. Start with the one that feels easiest to do right now. A local currency will work nicely for local mom-and-pop businesses because it functions in predictable accounting units like the national currency.
kale. They go to different members’ homes in turn. basic barter can break down.S. A nearby neighborhood holds a monthly harvest swap. L O C A L B A RT E R I NG A R R A N GE M E N T S Basic barter means simple cash-free exchange. I wash your car. Mary bakes Ted a pie. easy-to-set-up. the transaction is complete. You “pay it forward” in the system. Basic barter can also break down if there is a significant valuation difference between the items being exchanged. building or expanding food gardens. dollars). The Sharing Solution by Janelle Orsi and Emily Doskow offers extensive examples as well as explaining how to set them up. They are attractive because community members initially embrace them with a sense of “getting something for free.S. Time banking is one form of sophisticated barter. When people expect a U. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Volunteers pile through the bounty and divide it up into bags. Within the system we are whole. because they’re very easy to set up.” Members get accustomed to dealing with each other in new ways (outside of U. pet care co-ops. people bring whatever they have in plenty: lemons. and Ted prunes my peach tree. book swaps. Without preexisting community relationships of trust. which can open the door for other financial vehicles.S. The project helps people stretch the conventional understanding of “Mine” and gently experiment with sharing arrangements. you “bank” hours which you can spend on things within the community as a whole. In the meantime. You walk my dog. more sophisticated bartering systems may be necessary.com | 38 . tool sharing.S I M P L E SH A R I NG A R R A N GE M E N T S Simple sharing arrangements are small-scale. Apartment-dwellers without a garden can participate too. as a community becomes better acquainted with one another and trust builds. and seed swaps. things get complicated. and grow the spirit of your community. elder care co-ops. They may include garden sharing. I wash your car. basic barter may function better. through baking or volunteering on the sorting team. you’ll go home with some kale and bread. informal childcare co-op arrangements. you walk Mary’s dog. On the appointed day. If you don’t have what I want: for instance I wash your car but I don’t have a dog for you to walk. The activities can be fun and delightful in themselves. neighborhood-level sharing ideas. As you perform tasks within the community. dollar-type experience. volunteering on other people’s projects month-after-month until eventually the group comes to your place. If you came with too many lemons. As illustrated by the Graeber example. Sharing arrangements might include carpooling networks. dollar transactions). basic barter can feel limited. The terracing in my garden was installed by the local “Good Karma Gardens” group.Change-Making. homebaked bread. Simple sharing arrangements are a great entry point into alternative finances. Each participant gets to take home an assorted bag. neighborhood libraries. Newcomers tend to expect near-simultaneous exchanges (based on their experiences with U.
Over a two year period in our Los Angeles area.) With a little creativity. yet our U.A sophisticated barter system Time banking is best for exchanging services. proprietary software is available. In Ithaca. and a periodically printed magazine-style directory. Both time banking and LETSystems seem to require a dedicated “cheerleader” to keep the excitement going and keep the system feeling fresh. and (2) the valuation of each credit is set by the individuals who are making the exchange transaction. please do your homework and learn about the history of the company.S. they now have many local businesses which will accept their markers. for instance with a passbook system akin to the banking passbooks which were prevalent in the 1960’s. The ones with staying power have a cheerleader driving the action. This helps keep the system alive. Tracking can be done on paper.com | 39 . The basic unit being exchanged is an “hour”: an hour of my time for an hour of yours. they printed physical paper “Ithaca Hours” to exchange. Older books by Edgar Cahn such as Time Dollars explain how tracking could be achieved without computers. and volunteerism. To track time bank transactions. LETSystems are very much like time banking. Neighborhood bartering networks are a chance to bring these necessary-yet-undervalued skills into the local economic sphere. thus there is much more flexibility.Change-Making. a very important criteria for some of our less affluent communities. I hesitate to recommend this.S. LETSystems (Local Economic Trading Systems) are more common internationally. thus potentially free to your community. time banking can be tracked using open source LETSystem software. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. currency. Their system has attributes of time banking and local currency. Edgar Cahn’s book No More Throw Away People emphasizes how bartering systems can be used to reward and cultivate previously undervalued services within a community. A new network set up in Japan has elected to use a passbook system. and new. Examples Cahn gives include care for the elderly. The paper “Hours” are relatively easy for newcomers to comprehend. These jobs are necessary to make a community functional. of which only three are still going. neighborhood watch. Your group will have to invent a local protocol for when you want to exchange goods. New York. (Additionally. before you sign up with the proprietary Time Banking software. combined. dollar system dismisses them without value. but your community will incur an ongoing fee in U. exciting. Because the Ithaca system has been in existence for a long time. except that (1) the software is open source. plus in two cases a local Transition group is using the time banking system to run their reskilling classes. we saw five time banks/LETSystems started.
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. N AT I O NA L C U R R E N C Y / U.S. As several decades worth of debt buildup continue to come unraveled. Meanwhile while you are out of U. before you turn to conventional stores or service providers. D O L L A R S For managing those U.The goal of either LETS or time banking is that your account balance should hover around zero. – Don’t just “join” a time bank – you’ve got to participate in it. and LETSystems only function well when they are actively used.com | 40 .Change-Making. They gain the most press and they command attention. dollars that we do have. L O C A L C U R R E N CI E S Local currencies are perhaps the most glittery and high-profile of these suggestions. The repercussions of the debt bubble and past banking practices have not yet been fully realized. you can help ease your living expenses with barter credits and bartered services.S. They tend to shift to something more akin to what Graeber described.” This indicates they are shifting to more of a “gifting culture” mentality. That means you’re close to “even” in giving and receiving favors within your community. Emergency preparedness lists (for earthquakes. security features.” In our Los Angeles area. – Try out new skills and build your resume through barter-funded work. demurrage. we have observed that as trust builds within a barter network. circulation. at the same time as it helps cultivate this aspect of the new economic system. mutual credit. and backed currencies. please refer to Peter North’s Local Money to understand the foundational decisions you will need to make – including fiat. One LETSystem explanation advised participants to think of it like “trading favors. But they also represent a huge step up in both complexity of setup and cost to create and run. It will save you precious cash. – Discipline yourself to shop time bank offerings first.S. Stoneleigh cautions us about the banking system. but bank failure. Sharing arrangements. You won’t find them mentioned by UK authors because apparently community banks have vanished in the UK. Design your currency so that it will work well for the specific needs and issues of your community. In the face of “the long emergency” – grappling with the triple crisis with a vulnerable banking system – this issue becomes not just short-term ATM closure. Thus time banks and LETSystems can become entry-level tools to ease mainstream people toward deeper aspects of the new economy.S. If your community is considering creating a local currency. people often quit recording transactions through the system. The cashin-hand advice becomes all the more important to follow. keeping mental notes of “I owe you one. That includes both Big Banks and local ones. dollar-generating work. community banks are typically more in touch with the unique culture and needs of their local neighborhood. tornadoes. and other “short term” emergencies) advise you to keep some cash on hand in case the ATMs go down. the crisis will likely affect all banks. but we still have a few here in the U. time banks.
who is notable within the social order. We – my neighbor and I – should each be seeking to build and amass our own personal capital base. or participate in a time bank. and LETSystems are perhaps the easiest way to dip your toes into the waters of the new economy. and plentitude. he probably intended the sawzall to increase my personal possessions. capitalist view. Our conventional economy has sculpted our value system. Our conventional economy has sculpted our relationships. dollar value. If you’re not participating in sharing or barter yet. my personal wealth. dollar transactions.. discover their talents and richness. You’ll hear people’s stories. capital. Local sharing arrangements. you’re missing out. .S. you will discover the breadth of human generosity. How much is a smile worth? How much is a helping hand in your time of need? These are the priceless elements of human interaction. I should squirrel it away in my garage. connections and interdependency. that’s the capitalistic way.Change-Making. An example of hau My dad recently gave me a brand-new sawzall reciprocating saw. and what is important to people. You’ll begin to connect. Yet in our deepest hearts. even while much of your financial life remains entrenched in the old ways. the sawzall helped to repair the rainwater harvesting tanks at my local community garden. From my dad’s very conservative. my pile of Stuff. the preparedness and fear-based reasons to dip your toe in the polyculture waters. and they’ll get to know you. For its maiden voyage. You don’t have much to say to the clerk at Costco or Walmart. you will discover a dramatic difference.com | 41 . You’ll get to know them. And with 20 people in line. And 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.T H E P L E AS U R E S O F P O LYC U LT U R E Put aside.S. then you don't have community because you don't need anybody. we know this just isn’t so. time banking. for the moment. like you give trinkets for birthday presents and old clothes to Goodwill Industries. How could this be an “economy”? Little did I realize that a gifting culture brings with it a whole new perspective on values. if something doesn’t have a U. and open the door to new friendships. – Charles Eisenstein When I first heard about a “gift economy” I thought it simply meant giving things to each other. A GI F T I N G C U LT U R E If your entire life is nothing but money transactions.. Look instead at what you stand to gain. with this “second giving” the sawzall entered into the gift economy. he doesn’t have time to say much to you. it isn’t “worth” anything. In the spirit of gifting (in Maori they call it hau). When you venture out beyond the very limiting constraints of U. graciousness. It has coached us that. My neighbor should buy his own sawzall. You will form relationships with new people. But as you begin to share with neighbors in local sharing arrangements. only bringing it out of its box when I need it for my own house. They are an easy way to get started.
” The sawzall would increase my receipts or “net income” for the year. He is referring to eros.in this conventional paradigm. and distribute that spirit. his status within the community is defined by his control of distribution – how widely and generously he has shared what he had. Without gift exchange we are without eros. The second transaction – my choice to hand the sawzall over for a friend’s use – is the transaction which defines it as a gift. It brings to mind a statistic from a Kim Klein book about conventional fundraising. Feelings of goodwill flow from others who heard about the transaction. Don’t let it stop Dictum: One man’s gift must not become another man’s capital. union. While the physical sawzall did eventually return to my garage for temporary storage. – from Lewis Hyde20 Hyde draws a distinction between the object itself and the multiplication of the gift. Contrast this with the capitalist concept. that first transaction could still have gone either way: into my personal capital or into the gifting culture. The spirit of the transaction comes to an abrupt stop. because he used the tool to make repairs in a garden that grows food for the needy and is open to the general public. the inflow of a brand-new sawzall would be a boon to me. the principle of attraction. The hau extended beyond us. When my dad gave me the sawzall. Give it away In cultures where gifting is a common practice. Corollary: The increase that comes of gift exchange must remain a gift and not be kept as if it were the return on private capital. Klein says the majority of gifts to nonprofits come from households with incomes of less than 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.Change-Making. I have sought to multiply its spirit. spreading it around my community. that basic element that attracts us to others and binds us together. The hau has been multiplied. which accordingly increases my personal capital and net worth. Rather than holding it close. People now know a sawzall is available within the neighborhood. By contrast. so aptly named “retained earnings. having increased my capital. or involvement which binds us together. the benefit from its use continued to travel and flow further within the community. My sawzall-borrowing friend multiplied it still further.com | 42 . I’ve swallowed it up as Mine. The community garden tanks are now operational. My friend feels gratitude for use of the tool. our conventional market economy is an example of logos: reason and logic. And public education continues. a man’s net worth is determined by how much he gives away. Charles Eisenstein puts it even more baldly in the quotation above: without gifting we are without community. Rather than how much he has retained. Operate from union rather than logic Lewis Hyde speaks of gift exchange as “erotic” commerce.
and help bring them to the forefront. From a capitalist’s viewpoint (logos). working-class. time banks. From a gifting viewpoint. capitalism hasn’t won us over completely. Her statistic reveals a different paradigm about assets and property.000 – in other words.S. Hyde’s examples help to explain it.com/2012/01/26/er-5/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Klein’s statistic is a sign that “the 99%” still understands the gift paradigm. They bought winter coats for nieces and nephews who needed them. union.wordpress. the couple “wasted” it and it was “gone. the middle-class. Hyde tells a story from a kinship network in an urban ghetto neighborhood: A couple received some inheritance money. including sharing arrangements. – For resources and live links about the diversity of non-U. involvement. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to find and cultivate these fine threads. and brought the couple much deeper integration into their community. and poor. dollar financial vehicles. Despite sparkly TV commercials to the contrary.Change-Making. and the gifting culture. please see http://envirochangemakers.com | 43 . they transported family members to the sickbed of one relative. RESOURCES FOR PRACTICAL TOOL #5: A MULTIPLICITY OF FINANCIAL VEHICLES – Who would you like to have working on these ideas alongside you? Tell them about this ebook and ask them to read it too. LETSystems. they paid the funeral expenses for another. the inheritance windfall helped to shore up a vast network of people. the money was “an influx of capital” that could have been put toward a capital investment or buying a house.” The couple’s behavior came from a different paradigm. local currencies. Within six weeks the money was distributed to a variety of purposes around the kinship network.$90. one of eros. instead. Some threads of gift culture understanding do still linger throughout our collective culture.
Meanwhile. the purposes to which those investment funds were being put by those mega-institutions were far from environmentally conscious. and investors no longer reap dividend income. here in our hometowns. If you have checked any financial institutions lately. appreciating real estate values. as we have all learned through even the mainstream media. Ground-breaking at the Emerson Avenue Community Garden. the investment tools of old – such as the stock market or anything connected with it (insurance.e. January 2011 C O NV E N T I O NA L I NV E S T M E N T S A R E N O T T O O B I G T O FA I L As economic contraction continues. But we’re now into times of contraction and descent. We have not seen the last of the “too big to fail” banking industry disintegration. Market analysts such as Stoneleigh or Robert Prechter expect severe declines – perhaps back to the values of the 1970s – in everything from equity markets to real estate. Remember. those concepts come from a bygone era. Los Angeles. the “popularity contest”) of stocks. banks) – are likely to falter and fail. Interest income rates are now next-to-nothing. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. leveraging.com | 44 . socially just.Change-Making. Community-based investment is a way to put your money to work in a real and tangible way in the places where it is needed most. or resilience-building. They only function in a growing economy. Additionally. “investments” meant turning our money over to some megainstitution for them to “invest” for us. tools like the stock market. We expected interest or dividend income in return for the use of our money. we have very worthy and necessary resilience-building projects which are desperately in need of funding. Ongoing economic contraction will assure that this change is semi-permanent. You gain only from adjustment in the market value (i. Mere slowdown in economic growth has completely altered investment horizons.Chapter 7: Invest in your Local Community In the old economy. and 401Ks were designed for the trek up the mountain.
O. projects which will help your local community cope with peak oil and economic downturn. Putting your investment locally. then.F RE E Charles Eisenstein would argue that such investments should rightly be zero interest. Additionally. Community-based investment is a very solid and logical way to finance those projects.com | 45 . community gardens and acquisition of land for urban agriculture. California.N. zero rate of return. peace. the place where you are living and raising your family. in the hands of local people whom you’re growing to trust through local community gatherings. conflicts with the goal that makes the company socially or environmentally ‘conscious.In these times of market contraction. In Washington state. consider this very practical observation: If everyone around you is losing investment valuation. and localized powerdown manufacturing of basic goods. investors facilitate seed money for local sustainable businesses. and put them to work on resilience-building projects locally within your community. do you get in return? Your primary “investment income” is the security. UK. “The goal of paying interest or dividends to investors. Tree planting at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity. If not interest. In Totnes.Change-Making. September 2008 I NV E S T I N R E SI L I E N CE The idea of community-based investment is to retain what investment funds you do have within the community.I.’”21 He gives a detailed example of how the payment of interest strips much-needed resources from the very enterprise you’re seeking to nurture. C O NS I D E R I N T E R E S T . It is also a way to finance the start-up of resilience-building businesses. where you can see it. to give them a positive rate of return. might be the wisest course available to you. they pool their funds to buy options on farmland to keep it out of the hands of suburban developers. Right now we have a shortage of local water cisterns. the way to “get ahead” is to lose less quickly and less severely than everyone around you. In Marin. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. localized businesses in core and survival industries. people pool their investment funds to build community-owned wind farms. As your local community begins to examine what resilience-oriented infrastructure you already have – versus what you need to create or install – these needs will begin to present themselves. We need bike share programs. and safety of your hometown. L. Los Angeles. what. you will own pieces of your hometown future. pieces of the essential infrastructure of the new future.
rather than seeking “rate of return. security. or to give it away. is a very shortsighted self-interest because while the present money system may easily disintegrate in the next few years. the hazards of conventional investments.23 At this early point in the timeline of our society’s transition to the new future. … the best security you can have is to ensconce yourself in a gift network. Help set up the time bank or LETSystem. and greywater systems to your house. please see http://envirochangemakers. Donate bicycles to low-income teens. RESOURCES INVESTMENT FOR PRACTICAL TOOL #6: COMMUNITY-BASED – For resources and live links about community-based investment. 22 D O N ’ T OVE R LO O K C AS H . in the new paradigm. In other words. Start being a giver now. with hopes to preserve them. the ties of gratitude that gifts create will persist through any social tumult.com | 46 . Add cisterns or rainwater harvesting tanks to your garden. – Donate to nonprofits which are building the new future: community gardens. gardening in schools. The best “investment for retirement” might actually turn out to be non-cash: investing your time and energies and talents in helping your community build a local economic system. – Invest personally. That way you can spend those golden years in a peaceful community. – What about retirement? What about college? See discussion in FAQs. Pour your personal financial support into the infrastructure of powerdown. – Donate toward solar systems at a local community center or place of worship:. Help organize community-based investments. Fund the counselors. Buy bike racks for your church or favorite café. That. cooking and other reskilling education.com/2012/01/25/er6/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. perhaps the most prudent “investment” you could make is to volunteer. speakers. – Who would you like to have working on these ideas alongside you? Tell them about this ebook and ask them to read it too. and the idea of an interest-free economy. and advisors who teach the transition to the new future. Help put the “surge breakers” in place.” people with money to invest should shop for local investments which might help secure our collective future and help preserve peace and safety within the local community. peace.wordpress. however.F R E E I NV E S T M E N T S Tim Jackson emphasizes that at this point in history.Change-Making.Eisenstein expands upon this: It apparently goes against rational self-interest to lend money at no interest. and safety are so dear that they are worth “investing” in. Add solar.
Maximizing those old indicators has lead us very far astray.” When calculating the figure economists use for GDP – to measure “progress” – expenditures triggered by the bad things (like crime. simply don’t figure into Wall Street calculations. But all those measurements don’t tell me anything about whether my apple tree is healthy! 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Our old. It’s all well and fine to talk about how many gallons of water spew from the hose and to measure whether that flow increases or decreases. defined solely in terms of dollars. GDP simply assumes that every monetary transaction adds to social well-being by definition.” Cheaper isn’t better. the landmarks of “success” – are horribly broken. or how many children are suffering from asthma in the neighborhood around the Torrance oil refineries. 24 Image: bobby via MorgueFile. And people’s lives and experiences are about much more than just dollars. outdated economic system. the square footage of our houses. It’s time to make the real things count. outdated set of economic indicators measures economic growth and profit. in part because its definitions were so narrow. profit and growth. But GDP is merely a gross tally of products and services bought and sold.com | 47 . bottom-line. Measurements of how much that multinational corporation contributed to global warming.Chapter 8: Measure “Success” by the New Future In the old. profit and growth. THE OLD RULERS ARE BROKEN Economic Indicators are our measuring sticks. They’re the way we determine whether (or how far) we’re moving in the right direction. accidents. prisons and corporate fraud) count the same as the good things. period. GDP is a measurement of overall “flow. In other words. Think of GDP like the water flow from my garden hose. Mass-produced lacks the “soul” humans crave.com It might help to explain it with an example from my garden. Bigger isn’t better. and sales volume.Change-Making. with no distinctions between transactions that enhance well-being and those that diminish it. That old system is broken. John Talberth points out. GDP has become the world’s most well-known indicator of economic progress. accumulated possessions. And “growth” isn’t necessarily good. shareholder profits. preventable natural disasters. “The economy” is the sum total of transactions between people. Business and the overall economy have measured GDP. the conventional indicators – the benchmarks. “success” has been defined by things we could count: our bank accounts. toxic waste contamination. There is definitely a maximum to “economies of scale.
Economics is about our values. and buildings that will quickly be rendered unusable as the prices of transportation and energy skyrocket. they’re detrimental when they wreak havoc on the small localized producers we need. Economics is about our lifestyles. I need to measure whether the tree has grown taller and count how many apples I harvest. and recall that the economy is the sum total of transactions between people. For humanity to survive in the new future. our lifestyles. Conservationists are now realizing that we cannot “save the panda” without considering the entire ecosystem that supports pandas.In order to know if my apple tree is healthy.com Economics. our relationships? 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. what does that say about our values. also. we don’t feel better off. More recently. Interdisciplinary studies visit life at the crossroads of those once-distinct categories. I need to check the color of the leaves. our society has become experts at specialization. history. Economics is about relationships between nations and relationships between neighbors. An increasing GDP doesn’t necessarily mean that things are getting better. Despite all the possessions we have. despite skyrocketing GDP figures. our sense of wellbeing plateaued in the 1970’s and then stagnated. is not a stand-alone discipline. we must measure the right stuff. At first blush they seem quite independent of one another. Suddenly economics is about all that human society is. An increasing GDP doesn’t tell us much about overall societal health. I have to measure the right stuff. How are we doing on cutting carbon emissions? Is everyone getting fed? How much of our supply infrastructure is shifting to locally-sourced? Are we truly happier people? S U C C E SS I S M O R E T H AN M O N E Y Over the past few decades. Think of the disciplines at school: science. and periodically look for signs of pests. Talberth’s work establishes that. “New housing starts” mean sprawl.Change-Making. Amidst the triple crisis. At first glance it might seem to be about money. environmental devastation. “Commodity prices” are meaningless when they are distorted by government subsidies. a “rising stock market” does not mean a secure future. Delve deeper. And since our “economy” is failing. systems thinking has emerged on the horizon.com | 48 . We have sorted life out into distinct categories. Image: hjerte2 via MorgueFile. Tallies of corporate-style “jobs” added to the economy monitor steps in the wrong direction for these times. Our scorekeeping system is outdated. math. Global warming is teaching us (the hard way) that our human impacts on global ecosystems completely transcend the compartmentalized view that humanity held for a while. These are the measurements which will tell me about how healthy my tree is.
money. [success] is asking yourself: "How do I really want to live? What truly makes me happy? What are my actions doing to the planet? How does my lifestyle contribute to the greater good?" Ultimately [success] is about knowing who you are. % of the community employed locally. Talberth’s team proposed the Genuine Progress Indicator. % of food consumed locally that was produced within a given radius.. Others have put forth the Happy Planet Index. % of local trade carried out 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. being clear about your values. it's about discernment and deliberation. Our societal accounting system has been missing some of the things that are the very Image: duane_j via MorgueFile. The Bhutanese promote a Gross National Happiness index. like environmental and social impacts. social justice.Change-Making. E C O N O M I C SU C C E SS As we attempt to assist businesses in setting a new direction into a new.H O N O R W HAT I S M I SS I N G Our societal accounting system. In the words of Edgar Cahn. has beem missing enormous segments of our population.25 Our economic systems of the past have been flawed because they did not capture a full enough picture of human experience. which should be tracking the health of all our transactions. they have been treated like “throw away people. such as “heart and soul” issues. Ultimately. We will need to help businesses replace old indicators with new ways of measuring.. Ultimately. 26 To evaluate local economic health you might consider: Number of businesses owned by local people. and life satisfaction or happiness. We have to offer new targets to head towards. new indicators will be essential.” Our societal accounting system has been missing enormous aspects of our transactions. It's cutting through the commercial static of manipulation and deceit that says that the consumer society is the good life. % of essential goods manufactured within a given radius. Creative people have invented new broad-market indicators which include environmental impact. post growth paradigm. Thus our economic systems in this transition time must begin to fold these erstwhile-missing elements back into the system as we begin to create its successor.com most meaningful to us. That is what has made it possible for massive-scale pollution to run rampant and devastate our planetary life-support system. understanding what brings true well-being.com | 49 . What if we substituted the word “success” for Cecile Andrews’ word “simplicity” in this excerpt from Less is More: [Success] is about much more than .
how much of their supplies are locally-sourced. From this point forward. These are the ingredients of the new economy. and – in the way Permaculture trains designers to do – matching our solutions to local circumstances. Under the old system. – decreasing volume. managing statistics like these is going to mean the difference between survival and collapse. Vote with your buying dollar to support vendors who are measuring and striving for the right stuff. – the degree to which our economics begins to honor empathy. Vote against businesses which strive only for the old.wordpress. Ask them about reduction of energy use. because after all we are adjusting from five-planets’-worth-ofconsumption toward something more in line with one. Every dollar you spend at chain stores or warehouse stores is a vote against local survival. – local eco-literacy. and growth. undoing globalization and its related dependence on transportation. these types of measurements may have been dismissed as “social” statistics.com | 50 . outdated metrics of dollars. kept separate from “economics. success in this transition time is going to mean things like – the degree to which we are shifting paradigms.” But in these changing times. understanding what we have to work with locally.Change-Making. toward what Carl Honore calls “tempo giusto”. please see http://envirochangemakers. whether they buy from other local businesses and hire local workers. number of transactions completed through LETSystems/Time Banks27 Rather than dollars. getting people unhitched from the outdated ways and focused on what the new future demands. each stand posts a card which states the number of miles that produce has travelled to get to this market. changing minds. RESOURCES FOR PRACTICAL TOOL #7: NEW ECONOMIC INDICATORS For resources and live links about new economic indicators and measuring the right stuff. Encourage them to publicize their successes. Make your every purchase meaningful. profit. and sharing – the types of things that will help your local community survive the triple crisis and evolve into greater well-being. vote with your buying dollar. and growth. what Jeremy Rifkin describes as the “connecting” part of the human psyche.in local currency. – slowing society’s pace. – how rapidly we are shifting to local. giving an estimate of food miles.com/2012/01/24/er-7/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. V O T E W I T H YO U R B U Y I N G D O L L A R Encourage businesses in your neighborhood to measure the statistics of the new future. At the Santa Monica farmers’ market. Number of members in LETSystems/time banks. Ask businesses how they’re cutting carbon emissions. profits.
Change-Making.” please see http://envirochangemakers.com/2012/01/23/er-8/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.com | 51 .For resources and live links about redefining “success.wordpress.
But read between the lines of our cultural myths. We’re all on the slowly sinking ship of the U. when tougher times come what do you suppose people from that unprepared geography will do? We’re all in this together. No matter how many local vegetable gardens. how would I possibly stop a desperately hungry person from hopping the fence to help themselves to oranges or a chicken? Solo survivalism simply won’t work.” But it’s important to realize that Laura and her family wouldn’t have survived if they were truly operating as loners. Los Angeles. – Thich Naht Hanh You may have noticed that while some of these Practical Tools can be used solo.Chapter 9: Help Others We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness. They came together to fight for their new homeland. “Every man for himself” is the underlying motto. I live in a big city near a small university. That’s because any economy is made up of transactions between people. found a sense of commonality. Pa sold pelts. Cob building workshop at the Emerson Avenue Community Garden. If I cannot stop the bottle-flingers. We need each other to survive.Change-Making. Disparate people who had come to this new land for all kinds of reasons. While stories from the American Revolution are on one hand stories of “independence” from England. February 2013 N E W VI E W S O F O L D S T O R I E S In the conventional American economy we have been trained to go it alone. partygoers toss beer bottles over my fence into my garden. On Friday and Saturday nights. most cannot. and forged a nation together. When the family was all sick with the fever. Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family are hailed as the quintessential “brave pioneers. You cannot do economics alone. American cultural stories are told in such a way as to reinforce ideas of independence. particularly within our densely populated cities. There are no economic “lifeboats” for solo survivalism. pioneer spirit. it was the help of other settlers 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. water cisterns and solar panels we install in our local neighborhood. if the next neighborhood over has none. Solo survivalism is fantasy land. by an individual or a family. and triumphant exploration. on the other hand they are stories of a massive grassroots rally. found a United spirit. In the Big Woods.S. on the Prairie he sold crops to the outside world. economy. It’s time to acknowledge the togetherness and the teamwork in the tales we know and love.com | 52 .
but that’s pretty unusual. other creatures. The Emphatic Civilization28 “Start where you live. That we will need to reach for new tools (like the ones in this ebook). Help people understand that growth is over. companionship. It’s time to turn our old stories inside-out and draw new Particularly within the city. We need new stories which emphasize togetherness and interdependence. the old ways won’t work anymore. but for sociability. (It’s outlined at the beginning of this ebook.”) Help the people around you understand that what’s wrong with the economy isn’t a certain politician. – Jeremy Rifkin.com | 53 .Change-Making. Thinking of the human race as fellow sojourners. Most people are completely unaware of ideas like the ones outlined here. Help your neighbors understand time banks. your neighbors operate very much within the conventional economy. conclusions.” the international Transition Movement coaches us. you’re kidding yourself if you think you can prepare yourself and your family without regard to the neighborhood or the next neighborhood over. violence. see the companion ebook. “What Everyone Ought to Know about Today’s Economy. That in a time of contraction. That’s where this process begins: education. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Help the people around you understand the realities of the triple crisis. or which political party is currently in power. utilitarianism. Perhaps a few of your neighbors know a little bit about “alternative” economics. The drive to belong. attachment. That we can put surge breakers in place. Most of them are aware that “something” is going on with the conventional economy. but they cannot say what. the problems lie with our society’s basic understanding of where humanity fits into the ecosystems of the planet. in your own local neighborhood. For a more expanded explanation. even in a time of contraction and decline. The problems lie with the stories we have told each other for the past few hundred years. self-interest. It’s going to be up to you – the aware one – to bring Tools like these to your neighbors’ attention. Have them read this ebook if that helps. and that humanity is now into a time of contraction. That we can indeed have joyful and meaningful lives … if we do the work. the biosphere.that saved their lives. H E L P YO U R N E I G H B O R S We are actually softwired not for aggression. Something is just not right. In all likelihood. That all need not descent into chaos. Start small. resilience-building local businesses and the importance of local investing. The problems lie with what we have told each other is okay with regards to consumption and destruction. affection. Help people understand that solutions are possible. It isn’t government controls or lack thereof. Our conventional economy is fatally flawed because it was built upon the mythology that unlimited growth could be possible on a finite planet. Rather. It isn’t the fault of some immigrant group or foreign nation.
and the unique aspects of project management which arise when we’re working with volunteers. Perhaps accumulate a local sharing library of the resources mentioned within the Practical Tools. Ask people to bring a friend to your gatherings. “What Everyone Ought to Know about Today’s Economy. Set them up with the people you know.” You can access all of our economics resources from http://envirochangemakers. – Acquire new skills. you’re going to need to know each other’s skills. Time to start building those deeper bonds now. Refer people to copies of this little ebook and its companion.Change-Making. Who do you know who might join you in working with these ideas? Who in your local area might already be working on any of these ideas. Don’t give kudos to backsliding (“You’re going to Australia on vacation? I’m so sorry to hear that. be public about what you are doing and why. and what you can count on each other for. get to know your neighbors. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. The Transition Network is an international network of people working on these issues).org/EconomicResilience. A 2-page summary of “10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Local Economy” can be downloaded and distributed within your community. NELA Transition – Ask your employer and your favorite local businesses to phase in localized practices.org/EconomicResilience.EnviroChangeMakers. – Share the ideas of the new economic future. Going into the post-petroleum era. see the companion ebook. – Join local community groups. – As you start to work with these Practical Tools.htm – For deeper explanations. 2011. Really. Download it from www. Ask them to seek more-local suppliers.– Make new-future habits “the thing to do” within your circle of friends. Composting workshop.”) Peer pressure is powerful stuff! – Build a peer group. conflict resolution. You need to find ways to trust each other. Share “What about my business?” from the FAQs.htm GO PUBLIC Meanwhile. or ideas like these? (See if there is a Transition group near you. consensus decision-making. Applaud steps in the right direction (“Brian set up his composter!”). Go at these easy things first.com | 54 . or start a local focus group to reduce your petroleumdependence together Look around your general community and see what already exists. We’re all going to need to skill-up in empathy.
we were coached to keep money matters private. Put new pieces into practice as there is interest. As your little circle begins to attract more participants. Within the old. If we do not have basic levels of awareness and preparedness. Your choices will vary depending on your skill base and how people in your local area tend to communicate. Particularly within our large cities. One. Reaching out to nearby neighborhoods: South LA Earth Fest. we cannot forget that our local communities are not islands. civil unrest. Traumatized people are likely to join movements of anger. and civilization-wide collapse. One thing builds upon the other. and people in their local area are working on the problem. Constant competition made for lots of secrecy and distrust. Two. keep the overall framework in mind – that one day your neighborhood will need all of the “puzzle pieces. . Be generous with your knowledge. These ideas need to be shared widely. then it doesn’t come as much of a shock and you don’t feel as much as if the rug has been pulled out from under your feet. need. If you are expecting something.Learn how to publicize. neighbors and family. Then you will not be in a position to help your friends. do not join movements of anger. they are real and are happening. Through it all. and participation..Change-Making. Later we learned to use social media. In our neighborhood.” Remind each other of this regularly. As your circle grows and word of it spreads. April 2010 H E L P NE A R BY N E I G H B O R H O O D S In the worst of peak oil’s darkest forecasts. I tell people. Perhaps you started with some of the simple sharing arrangements or with people beginning the process of skilling-up.. it lets people know that solutions exist. Your personal survival depends upon it. that idea is turned inside out. You’re less likely to run around like a headless chicken. Unrest is a very real possibility. lurk Mad Max chaos. Now perhaps it is time to add a time bank structure. Publicity serves two important purposes.com | 55 . it gets scary quickly. then began including items in the calendar section of the local newspaper. outdated economy. It sucks all the energy out of you. Your security is only as good as the level of preparedness around you. Publicity helps build awareness and hope. it might bring a few additional people to join your event. you’ll undoubtedly have people from other areas and saying “We want something like this in our local neighborhood!” Point people to resources. we started with fliers at the local library. It is better to 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. But in the transition to the new future. you may be able to branch out and try additional Practical Tools.
Change-Making. beekeeping. Rework local laws to allow for the techniques of the new future. Change regulations to allow front yard vegetables. Object to tax breaks for globalized chain-stores which squelch local resilience-building businesses.com | 56 . People need to understand what is going on. greywater. A 2-page summary of “10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Local Economy” can be downloaded and distributed within your community. California recently passed a Homemade Food Act to make small-scale food production legal for sale. – Convince local government with resilience-building political action. like new freeways. please see http://envirochangemakers. religious. There is a way through it. They need to see that there is a light at the end of this dark economic tunnel. We’re all in this together. and other tools of survival for the new future. particularly into neighborhoods which may not have access to ideas like these.com/2012/01/22/er-9/ 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. COOPERATION. Petition for walkable cities and bike lanes.wordpress. or new suburban developments. particularly when it relates to things which increase brittleness rather than building local resilience. or less able to initiate a solutions-oriented group on their own. Reach across old racial. and economic divides.htm RESOURCES FOR PRACTICAL TOOL #9: INCLUSION.org/EconomicResilience. and move on. Object to taking on more public debt. Particularly when those neighboring communities are economically disadvantaged. Download it from http://envirochangemakers. DEMOCRACY – For resources and live links.say to oneself this has happened. We cannot afford to neglect our neighboring communities. get over it. Global warming adds one more reason to shift to the ways of the new future. – Stoneleigh 29 These Practical Tools must be shared. cultural. airport expansion. That will matter more. For example. – Question city planning when it promotes the continuation of the outdated paradigm of fossil-fueled growth. Join something positive and constructive instead. We need to do it anyway for resilience through economic uncertainty and post-petroleum preparedness. high-rise buildings. That is why going public with your local efforts becomes so important. – “Why can’t the government fix it?” in FAQs – Share the ideas of the new economic future. clothes lines. city chickens.
we must create the safety net that will be ready in place as the existing system coughs. As the conventional economy crumbles. Soon more and more people will begin to acknowledge that the old systems are not working. as we all ride the wild rollercoaster – we. In our economic systems. the little guys. he has a backup system in place. or fails. Our first task is to create a shadow economic. organic urban agriculture. will still need to feed our children. Make these the way you do things within your social circle of friends and peers. We need to set up new systems in order to survive. maintain a roof over our heads. dramatically. S Y S TE M S T H I N K I N G The world is changing.” they likely soon will) there is no net to catch us as we fall. and your local community are making perilous leaps between tiny solid places without a backup system. and maintain a relative degree of order within our local hometowns.com Look for signs of a safety net in your neighborhood. we are much better prepared for the point at which peak oil and climate change choke massive-scale agribusiness and cause it to crumble and fail.com | 57 . Time to start crafting that safety net. He uses a safety net that will catch him as he falls. It’s time to get out the rope and begin tying knots. As all of this economic contraction unfolds – as globalized corporations struggle and panic. When a circus trapeze artist begins his perilous flying leaps between tiny solid platforms high above a chasm. They are failing us. Right now the economy is horribly scary because you. Shift your family transactions so that you use and support the safety net. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. social and even technological structure that will be ready to take over as the existing system fails. If things fall apart (and as you saw in “Accept Reality. sputters. As you discover small portions of it. help build up those portions.Change-Making. – David Ehrenfeld It’s perhaps easier to see how this safety net approach applies in the case of our food systems: By building up local. a resilient local safety net is your best hope for maintaining peace. Image: Alvimann via MorgueFile. too. as today’s power elite are tumbled and replaced.Chapter 10: Help Build the Safety Net. your family.
These are your low-hanging fruit. Start anywhere. We’re running out of time to get prepared. you said to yourself “That would be easy! I could do that. beautiful new dimensions – throughout the remainder of your life. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. less damaging to the earth than what we did last year? 31 The process won’t end with one small step. At some point as you read this ebook. and connection with each other.As we move into the new future – particularly as we begin to Accept Reality – we’ll come to realize that we need new systems.com For many of my local neighbors. New transportation systems.” Something mentioned here sounded relatively approachable to you. But this isn’t intended as a “think about” book. Once you’ve begun. A process which will continue to unfold – and reveal rich. New food systems. that easy entry point seems to be tearing out lawns and ornamental plantings to put in a food garden. new.com | 58 . not just individual Tools: New economic systems. just start. As we craft our community safety net. the “bindings” – the way we define the net’s overall shape – will be defined by a new philosophy about business and the economy. For other people it means delving into more sustainable health care. Whatever your entry point may be.Change-Making. We have far too much work to do. The starting place won’t necessarily be the same for everyone. We need it to survive. this is the starting point of a grand evolutionary process. So how do you start? Start small. and there is no one “right” way. fulfillment. “A new economic philosophy” will be the topic of the next ebook in this series.” Time banks are one Tool in an overall system within the new future. Image: Alvimann via MorgueFile. It’s meant to be an action book. H O W D O I GE T S TA RT E D ? This ebook has given you a lot to think about. Rather. Just start. A philosophy that orients us all toward greater satisfaction. These are the easy place for you to start. It’s time to get started. 30 This new economic philosophy will be a philosophy that respects physical limits and is appropriate for the new future. challenge yourself with the wise words of Rabbi Arthur Waskow: Think of it as a constantly moving standard in which the test is: Are we doing what is more respectful. or helping a local Transition initiative get established. remember that a time bank is only one of a diverse set of “puzzle pieces. the edging. Rather than “setting up a time bank” as a stand-alone.
com | 59 . Joanna Macy reminds us we are participating in the third great Revolution in the history of mankind. find the joy within the new ways.Change-Making. As fresh paths open to you. The new future isn’t going to look like the same-old past.David Holmgren gives us 500 years to complete the changes. Welcome to the journey. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. It won’t end soon. It’s time to pick up a Practical Tool and get down to work. Robert Prechter expects more than 100 years. So get used to the changes. Train yourself to relish them.
other ways of living and pacing one's life. and come back to me many times since. like you're on a swiftly moving sidewalk? At some point you learn about “alternative” lifestyles.Appendices Two moving sidewalks Why I avoid the term “alternative economics” Powerdown A deeper look at community resilience and localization The Debt Trap The Transition Movement T W O M OV I N G SI D E WA L KS Do you ever feel like you're zipping through the fast-paced hours of your day. local economies.com | 60 . skills. community events. and community events within this other way of viewing life. We hop between mainstream life – perhaps with a competitive corporate job. activities. and the crowded pages of your calendar.Change-Making. the ways of The Great Turning. Image: WiDoWm4k3r via deviantART It begins to feel like you've hopped off that swiftly moving business-as-usual sidewalk onto a second moving sidewalk – one that isn't necessarily headed in the same direction as the first one. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Sophy counseled us that we will feel for a time like we're hopping back and forth between sidewalks. the time banking. the bicycles. The image has stuck with me. It wasn't headed where we wanted to go anyway. This image of two moving sidewalks – each headed in a different direction – was posed by psychologist Sophy Banks at one of our Los Angeles events. As time goes by. perhaps with children to get off to college – and the new ways of the future: the garden. We'll find less reason to hop back to the old-paradigm sidewalk. we'll spend more and more time on the sidewalk that is headed toward the saner future: more and more time in local food production. perhaps you get caught up in ideas. the chickens. As you learn about the new future. Sophy told us.
or courses of action. existing outside the establishment: an alternative newspaper -Dictionary. Powerdown is an essential ingredient in creating resilience.one that isn’t necessarily compatible with the understandings of the current economy (definition #1). and then we have the alternatives. calling something “alternative” is also a way of dismissing validity. one of the things. people begin to question whether anything can be done. It took energy to make the computer. or courses of action that can be chosen: The alternative to riding is walking. But your listener might hear your suggestions as a choice or an option (definition #2). As in: we have the normal way. propositions. (n) a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities. 3. 6.. Once these negative nuances are attached. POWERDOWN Powerdown refers to decreasing your energy consumption overall. the selection of which precludes any other possibility: You have the alternative of riding or walking.com | 61 . Perhaps you choose the term “alternative” to describe these economic tools as unconventional or nontraditional (definition #6). as of things. 2. We have no choice. a remaining course. I’m using energy to write this document on my computer. Consider all the ways you currently use energy. Yet in the case of economics. But perhaps this is precisely what the ruling elite would like to have us all think. we’re dealing with definition #3.W H Y I AVO I D T H E T E R M “ A LT E R N AT I V E E C O N O M I C S ” Alternative 1.com One of the problems with talking about “alternative economics” is that it isn’t clear what you mean. In the vernacular. methods. It raises hopelessness and shuts down any possibility of positive action. etc. powering-down your lifestyle is an absolute necessity. propositions. Given that the world supply of cheap energy is in terminal decline. Implicit in this is a sneer that no one sane would take those alternatives seriously.Change-Making. You might see that fixing what is wrong with the economy demands a dramatically different approach -. a possible or remaining course or choice: There was no alternative but to walk. (adj) employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas. The airplanes at nearby LAX 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.
com | 62 . low-energy water supply. Rather than an electric juicer with unrepairable plastic parts. the people you’ll be socializing with and working with will be those who live nearby.airport use energy. Fight energy-oriented build-outs such as airport expansions and new freeways. The severe constriction of our energy supply which is on the horizon dictates that we become far. etc. freeways. Build your muscles for walking. We now regard the latest handheld gadget as a “must-have essential. Our society uses energy in agriculture to run tractors and combines.Change-Making. Get your bicycle back into repair. and choose manual drapes to control temperature. Powerdown means becoming aware of all the places you use energy and systematically eliminating them. as do the cars on L. As the post-peak era unfolds. and the sophisticated laboratories that make conventional medications. if you want to see them often. In a nutshell. developing the local skill base/reskilling.” Peak oil / peak everything means that the end is in sight for most uses of energy. biking. To bring your food to conventional supermarkets. powerdown means preparing for the realities of the new future.A. building up community resources such as water cisterns/rainwater harvesting. Get to know your neighbors. ventilation. Move close to family. When making home repairs. trucks use energy. install operable windows. in industry to run forklifts and bobcats. the next time it breaks buy a durable manual metal one that will serve your family for several generations. Most office buildings and schools use energy for heating. growing food and carrying water. Cargo ships haul opulent quantities of consumer goods from manufacturing plants on far-away continents. and those that remain will become quite restricted. mechanical devices. Most contemporary tools and appliances involve some energy-consuming component. But there is a little-talked-about aspect within Relocalization which we might call decoupling. Plan for low-energy food production. Think of it like unhooking the links of a chain. and air conditioning. Powerdown practices include manual tools. lifting. So do airconditioned warehouses. developing economic resilience will involve all the things we’ve discussed that need to be put in place – cultivating local food sources/urban agriculture. far wiser about the places we chose to use energy. We go at this building-up-of-the-local with great excitement (as well we should). They’ve put timers in kids’ toothbrushes. Energy runs hospitals. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Or releasing the little escape pod from the Mother Ship. Help your local community understand peak oil and plan for it. and learning the skills of self-sufficiency. and ambulances. A DE E PE R LO O K AT C O M M U NI T Y R E S I L I E N C E AN D LO C A L I Z AT I O N For communities. design for crossventilation. We use energy in frivolous ways too.
(see Transition US. Reverse your presumptions When my kids were younger they used to play a game in which everything they said was turned opposite. “Working Groups” ) Food production. Debt will not solve your problems.Change-Making. As we build the community gardens and install the rain barrels. We’re setting our local affairs in order such that in the event of shocks to the larger system. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. But in times of economic contraction. Borrowing is taking a bit of cash flow from that more plentiful future and using it now. the deeper reason we’re building up all these Local things is to enable our local communities to decouple – to make it possible to disconnect. and leveraging are mismatched concepts. our community is able to go it independently. Consider the suggestions elsewhere in this book. Decoupling doesn’t mean there will never be trade. do everything you can to eliminate it and don’t incur more. hot was cold. it will only make them far worse. water harvesting. THE DEBT TRAP If you are carrying debt. basic clothing manufacture – begin building what your community is missing. borrowing. our local community would have a local Image: Sampug394 via deviantART framework in place. debt. – Set in motion community preparedness. Understand that the basic concept behind borrowing presumes that the future will be more plentiful than what we have now. Decoupling means that the basics are handled locally. Up was down. It means that if push came to shove and the ability to trade with other geographies became – however temporarily – unavailable. Inventory community resources. In these times of economic descent. – Discuss what localizing and decoupling will mean for your specific neighborhood.com | 63 . As one writer put it. It would have local resources in sufficient quantity to survive. yes was no.As far as resilience goes. But it is to say that a daily glass of Florida orange juice in New England is ecologically inappropriate and that oranges in New England should rightly be rare and special. it’s not a matter of New Englanders never having oranges. this basic underlying concept is turned upside down: our future will not be more plentiful. we must set structures in place for economic decoupling as well.
In a contracting economy. "Yes. What was trending up is now down. You are borrowing from future plenty. . Climate issues plus petroleum costs are driving food costs up. you simply have no alternative but to cut expenses. or it begins to decrease. When you borrow money. If you weren't saving before – weren't experiencing some surplus each month – then you will discover that debt service means you can no longer meet your same. In a growing economy. this idea is turned upside down. to consume part of that plenty now in leaner times. Debt completely hastens the decline. Your typical monthly expenses are now increasing because peak oil is driving gas prices up.com | 64 . Debt is a concept which very much belongs to a growing economy. debt no longer makes sense. Investments that were hot are now cold. You're in a world of hurt. do it" has now become "no way.Change-Making. When you go to borrow from the future. it's bad news: suddenly you no longer have enough for your regular ongoing expenses AND you have loan to repay PLUS interest. if your income remains steady (i. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.e." The presumptions of leveraging and debt are similarly reversed.. not growing.As we enter a contracting economy. Things in the present are relatively more abundant! Borrowing in a contracting economy means taking from leaner times to consume in times of relative plenty. this isn't too tough to imagine. In a contracting economy. virtually every assumption and expectation we have held about the grow-grow-grow economy is turned opposite. If you cannot meet expenses and you're in a contracting economy. It gets worse.. ongoing expenses. If your income is rendered unsteady. but not decreasing either) your obligation to repay loan-plus-interest means you will have less cash flow to meet your usual expenses. you presume that in the future you will be earning enough to live on plus repay your debt plus interest. that future now represents leaner times. Advice that was good is now bad. Increased transportation costs are driving the prices of consumer goods up. In a contracting economy.
Transition US can help you connect with like-minded others. college loans. In this new. You’ll find grassroots citizens like yourself who are eager to plan for the realities of the new future. Easy credit over the past 30-50 years of extreme growth has warped our perspective.com | 65 . government issuing school bonds. Transition US maintains a listing of the active Transition groups here in the U. photos. Right now we expect that getting a loan will "help us out” (and those who are in the business of lending perpetuate this myth).net T H E T R A N SI T I O N M OV E M E N T The Transition Movement is an international network of people who are aware of the triple crisis and are actively working to put solutions in place. But we are no longer in such an economy. it was for very short term with rather low rates. People “saved up their pennies” and bought large items for cash. England around 2005 by Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande. Here in Los Angeles. business lines of credit. and best practices from people around the world. Or they used (interest-free) layaway. No one then could imagine the 15-20% we see in today's credit cards.ResilientEconomy.S. credit cards. Transition US also offers topical webinars and leadership trainings. the Environmental Change-Makers helped found the Transition Los Angeles city hub. We are now in economic contraction. the writer of the pair.Change-Making. debt doesn't make sense. must evolve to match this changed landscape. home financing terms for those who did use them were more like 50% down and a 5 year mortgage.Change your attitude It's important to view these statements within a historical perspective. Our views of debt. which really was just a supervised savings program. The Transition Movement was founded in Totnes. venture capital. But prior to the 1940s they had a very different attitude about taking on debt. The Transition Companion could perhaps be called a “high school yearbook” of the Transition Movement’s early years. At most. blogs regularly with an international perspective. If they did turn to a lender. He has written two books about the Transition Movement. car loans.32 All of this is to say that the attitudes we have embraced in recent decades are attitudes that fit with an economy which is in exponential-growth mode. – For resources and live links. please see www. The Transition Handbook is a how-to manual for getting started. mortgages. Some groups are already exploring aspects of Resilient economics. government assuming debt. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. The Transition Movement has at its core a belief that life in the future could potentially be even better than what we have now. Many homes of that time were bought outright. and is preparing to launch a third. contracting world. It is a delightful and colorful collection of stories. people who are dipping their toe in the waters of change and trying out a few of these innovative ideas. Hopkins.
com/talks/rob_hopkins_transition_to_a_world_without_oil.org – Rob Hopkins’ TED talk http://www.org – The internaitional Transition Network www.html 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.TransitionUS.Change-Making.TransitionNetwork.– Transition US www.ted.com | 66 .
Change-Making. Change your language and hold these changes in their proper light: These are forwardthinking. and go-go-go life rhythm. power. competing-with-the-Jones’s (or “keeping the kids competitive” with the Jones’s kids). circumstances will be such that you will relinquish the feeble attempts to hang onto that gluttonous consumption. or community group do? Why can’t the government fix it? H O W D O YO U D O A L L T H I S A N D S T I L L C O N D U C T A “NORMAL” LIFE? That’s exactly the point: You don’t. cutting-edge – the patterns and habits of the new future.FAQs How do you do all this and still conduct a “normal” life? What about my business? What about retirement? What do we tell the kids? How will I feed my family? What about college? What can my church. How dependent is your overall industry on oil. what industry might you shift into. Peak oil plus climate change plus economic contraction demand that we make truly radical change. If your industry cannot survive the end of cheap energy. school.com | 67 . W H AT A B O U T M Y B U S I NE SS ? 1. how will this change things for your business' supply lines? 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.” That is a derogatory term. If your industry will survive. it will undoubtedly be radically altered. You’ll begin to get real. Since "globalization" as we know it today won't survive the end of cheap energy. and then there is alternative. it implies that there is normal. synagogue. The five-planets-worth-of-consumption world labels many of the suggestions in this ebook as “alternative. which is better able to survive? Would you need to retrain? 4. How? 3. low-cost transportation and shipping – can your industry survive as we leave the era of cheap energy? 2. At some time within the next few months or years. green-casting a five-planets-worth-of-consumption life isn’t enough to prepare for the crises ahead. Remember.
As our ability to transport ourselves and our goods around the planet becomes much more restricted. could it be created? 8. The idea of an investment-cash-funded retirement came about only in recent decades – particularly with the WWII generation. people lived in extended family units.Change-Making. Consider the type of goods or services your business offers: Are they luxury items? or do they fulfill basic needs. Family networks: For most of human history. Family was your “social security” system. how might your ideas change about business travel? trainings. etc. If there were a local currency in our area. 401K.)? How dependent are you upon government funding? grant funding? Is it possible for you to shift to a more local framework? Does a local framework exist. we must broaden our horizons. we will likely discover that to invest in a monocrop of financial assets alone was not adequately diversified nor wise. etc. mortgage banking. or conceivably. or markers for a barter network. conventions? hiring local residents? living close to the site of your business? 11. how might this affect your business' investment decisions? 7.) are tied to the dependent-upon-growth mainstream financial system and are thus fully embroiled in the triple crisis.com | 68 . insurance. As we phase back from five-planets-worth-of-consumption to something better aligned with one-planet-worth-of-consumption.5. which people will still need even through leaner economic times? As you look around your local geography. stocks. how will this alter your business model? your volume & turnover expectations? 9. conferences. As times change economically. This 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. As with everything else in transitioning to the new economic operating system. up until a mere 2 to 3 generations ago. If you knew today that over the next decade the move would be toward much greater localization. what basic needs might go unfilled? What isn’t being handled by within the local neighborhood? Might your business be able to step in to handle it? W H AT A B O U T R E T I RE M E N T ? Conventional investments: Virtually all conventional investments (money market. ten or more years – how might you approach taking on debt? lease commitments? franchise contracts? extending credit? 10. How dependent is your business on the current structure of national and international financial markets (stock market. might your business consider accepting them for some transactions? Might you consider accepting these markers for a certain percentage of a purchase? Might you consider using local barter to handle some of your business needs? 12. If you knew today that the overall economy would be in the process of contracting or shrinking rather than growing – say for the next five. What raw materials might be available here locally that you could shift to using in your business? Who do you know here in our local geography who might be able to become suppliers for your business? (Do they know about peak oil?) 6.
energy-intense. My young daughter currently dreams of being an herbal healer. Part of your “investment” for retirement may be to heal the separations between you and close family so that you have a Place where you are welcome. My son reads Popular Science magazine articles and scoffs at their fantasy-driven projections of a sci-fi future. people’s senior years weren’t spent in idleness. even into your senior years? How might you continue to be a producer? “Investment” toward your retirement may mean skilling up.” I think our society is doing kids far greater damage by raising them to expectations of a high-tech. you create better security and stability for your own future. perhaps with violent outlets. It provided each generation with an extra set of hands for the tasks of daily living. W H AT D O W E T E L L T H E KI D S ? Be honest with your kids. My kids have known about peak oil from the time they were very little. They have been coaxed to dream within a powerdown context.system reduced living expenses and made more efficient use of physical structures (shared housing). how might you participate? What might you be able to offer to your community. I have tried to fill their lives with stay-cation activities that will serve them in a powerdown future: tree plantings. It was an integral part of skill sharing and the educational system (apprenticeships. They have seen Mom work hard to put positive solutions in place. and travel. Grandma continued to knit and cook. Rather than globe-trotting summer holidays.” consumerist future they will never have. and reading great books aloud together. If the community of your retirement future had an active time bank or LETSystem. Their career aspirations are in line with simpler living. There is no point in hiding this stuff. Late life “career”: In the past. it reduced greenhouse gas emissions (no need for driving and airflights to “visit Grandma”). By investing your time now in the many tasks of getting this transition moving.com | 69 . leadership courses. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. and help hang the laundry out to dry. I encourage my kids to think analytically about the Earth’s resource limitations. “globalized. This is when someone donates supplies or professional services rather than cash. Cash-free investment within the context of a transition future might mean investment of your time rather than your cash. That is a setup for lifelong disappointment and depression. The good news is. consumerism. cook meals from scratch. you can do it even if you are cash-poor. Grandpa to build furniture and repair things.Change-Making. music lessons on acoustic instruments. They experience bits of powerdown every day as they tend our mini-flock of city chickens. Rather than sheltering them from “the bad news. and may mean volunteering now to help set up the local community’s bartering network so that it is active and vital when you need it. oral histories). nibble from our edible landscape. It is the reality of their future. It handled elder care and child care. Cash-free investment: “In-kind contributions” is a familiar term to nonprofit organizations. compost. “What will they power it with?” he laughs.
If you don’t have land. Student involvement tends to be greater when the school has an educational program that revolves around the garden. all are fair game. The school might have a paid staff member who supervises garden operations. teachers. Plot-style gardens usually have some sort of gardener guidelines about furniture. the land is divided up into sections and each gardener runs a section as their own personal garden. typically the school owns the land and students from that school do the gardening – or at least a portion of it. and administration. The gardener decides what she wants to plant. In others. There might be a nonprofit organization that coordinates finances and oversees general maintenance. As the triple crisis deepens. In school gardens. In those two gardens. Balconies. parkway strips. For continuity between school semesters and through the natural shifts of families. clears the student growing beds at end of season. weeding. and occasionally a rental fee for the land. it seems to work better when this team of volunteers includes citizens from the local neighborhood. Typically there is an annual plotholder’s fee. In two larger school gardens I’m familiar with. where the people are. COMMUNITY-STYLE FOOD When you use the phrase “community garden. and does the heavy work of tilling. a portion of the fees and expenses might be covered by grant funding. in order to keep the gardener’s fees low. same as any kid. they do love their computer games and handhelds. The degree to which students are involved varies widely.” most people think of a traditional In these plot-style garden. and conflict resolution to keep things peaceful. more and more people will come to understand that growing lawn and ornamentals is inappropriate to our times – virtually every nook and cranny of our city spaces could be growing the kinds of plants that yield food.Change-Making. gardens. a team of adult volunteers maintains the garden perimeter and grounds. such as agricultural classes or a culinary arts program. Now is the time to grow your skills and learn how to produce food.com | 70 . school gardens seem to need a team of adult helpers – often behind the scenes – to keep the garden maintained and running. even 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. this covers water.My kids are not luddites. But (I think? I hope?) they understand these are short-term delicious luxuries rather than the long-term ways of the future. H O W W I L L I F E E D M Y FA M I LY ? Urban agriculture is the idea of growing food in the cities. Even in these cases. chemical use. Some plotstyle gardens are maintained by a government entity which provides the land without rental fee. or permission to use it. and all food grown in the plot is hers. tool storage. foundation plantings. perhaps insurance. consider community gardens.
At community gardens. other faith organization. you’re in luck. or might supply a communal kitchen. a few lemons. or volunteering to sort the harvest. some parsley. and bringing forth productivity. their food redistribution program operates in more of a cooperative style. cooperative-style. and its perimeter plantings are maintained by a team. Charity-style gardens seem to be gaining in popularity (or at least I’m hearing about more of them). Harvest Westchester operates as a charity-style program. The Emerson Avenue Community Garden has one portion that is a school garden. Garden tasks for the entire garden are handled by the team.though they have no ownership rights. Apartment-dwellers can earn a bag by baking bread. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. The harvest often supplies a food pantry or soup kitchen. the adult volunteers have access to the excess produce from the garden. Individual gardeners don’t get to decide what to plant – that function might be handled by a garden manager. We help direct the excess harvest to needy families through the local food pantry. In cooperative-style gardens. canned. the garden is maintained using a team approach. There are also several styles of community food redistribution programs. or nonprofit – allows gardeners to use the land to grow food that is donated to others. Volunteers divide the food. The landowner – often a church.com | 71 . When a neighbor’s mature fruit tree produces too much fruit (or they have the end-of-summer “too much zucchini” problem) neighbors are welcomed to drop the extras at the Holy Nativity garden. W H AT A B O U T C O L L E G E ? As the mother of two teens. might get little-to-none of the food that is harvested. Vegetable gardening is a proactive practice. and later that day everyone returns to the site to pick up their mixed bag of food. At a community garden. If your garden produces too many lemons but next-to-no chard. you can nurture your social circle. making preserves. you’ll also find a social circle of people who are dipping their toe into the waters of different ways. particularly in these turbulent times. It can be tremendously healing. or made to the dropoff point. You go home with a mixed bag – some chard. The Mar Vista/Venice program even works for people who are in apartments and cannot grow food. all at the same time. perhaps some homemade bread. The food that is harvested is shared between the gardeners. In our neighborhood. it has a section that (will be) traditional plot-style garden. and interconnection with the natural world. the question of college weighs heavily upon me personally. Even as you nurture and harvest your food plants. In the nearby Mar Vista/Venice neighborhood. we started Harvest Westchester. gardeners bring what they have harvested. baked. you’ll find far more than just a place to grow some food.Change-Making. and depending on the organization. and yes. Garden “staff” are typically volunteers. On distribution day. It is stress relief. and as someone who is daily immersed in the realities of the future. Some or all of the costs might be borne by the landowner. It’s a great place to begin experimenting with the Practical Tools of the new economic future.
education-intense fields are completely wrapped up in the polished. I am also an observer with a fairly solid grasp of the hard realities that coming decades will impose. also at a private university. Stoneleigh points out that the potential future income stream for many of today’s grads cannot hope to ever repay the magnitude of their college loans. who is completely out of touch with where those details fit (more precisely: don’t fit) into the gritty and interdependent ecosystems of the planet. I speak as an outside observer. completely blind to the physics of greenhouse gas emissions. designed-to-impress-and-exclude specialist’s vocabulary and most detailed inner workings of his sterile laboratory. who enjoys deep contemplation of contrasting ideas. artificial. Is it worth $50K a year to go to college? It’s certainly not worth going into debt over. who flies from industry contract to defense contract. one who reads studies coming out of the university environment.com | 72 . In many ways the higher education system seems to be committed to training even more participants for the business-asusual system. Few places to learn about. In many ways it seems like colleges and universities are producing finely-tuned specialists in the fields and professions of the old ways. They’re so 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. I’m not officially a professor or a student. in clearly unsustainable topics – archaeology. It opened my worldview far beyond the ideas of my upbringing and hometown neighborhood. toy-making. I have met many young people whose majors are. sterile. I know a philosopher who teaches at a private university. deeply studied in the esoteric. In a state university I gained a new peer group with vastly diverse backgrounds and opinions about life. and whose parenting peers are also raising soon-to-be-college-age teens. alas. contemplate. almost as if they were toys – yet has very limited ability to connect those ideas to the cataclysmic realities unfolding around us.I had a great college experience. who lives in a university-adjacent neighborhood. molecular biology – fields which will very likely evaporate as post-petroleum and economic contraction deepen. and energy futures. I know a biologist. Few places to hang with peers who understand the realities of our collective future. air miles. He is a deeply ethical man.Change-Making. life-changing experiences. yet quite overlooks the complete injustice of building more-more-more which will only rape our children’s future. I hope my kids are able to have these fantastic. There are but few places to gain advanced training in energy descent. biocapacity. who has many friends and associates who are college and university professors. I know newly minted medical doctors and nurses who are oblivious to the oil dependence and patent unsustainability of the entire medical system they are immersed in. Is it worth it to get a college degree in a growth-economy-dependent major? To become the tops in a field which is headed in the opposite direction from where we need to go? Most of our highly developed. air-conditioned world created by human society. My college years were my initial (albeit gentle) foray into independent living as a young adult. Today I am not directly involved in higher education. I know a metallurgist. and discuss ideas on how to actively plan and design a careful path down.
Trying completely new tools on this order of magnitude is far too risky and brazen for a politician. (Or of their campaign funders. www. by Joanne Poyourow and The Reverend Peter H. get elected. Politicians are followers. Familiar tools don’t work anymore. their voters.” We don’t want to look deeply at how our conventional social structure outsources the dirty work.EnviroChangeMakers. Rood.org/Publications. Although we refer to politicians as our “leaders. Will it remain that way into a post-peak future? Is it worth it to spend all that money to socialize with peers who are entrenched in more-more-more ways and the dreams of a bygone past? I don’t know. the tools that will work under the current (descent) circumstances represent systemic changes: radical. They simply won’t do it.org/Publications. are tools of a growing and expanding economy. pushing it off onto government officials (then blaming them when nothing happens). Now we’re in a shrinking economy and all the underlying presumptions are turned upside down. and try to fix things based on the old tools. ecosystems. root-level changes. Government officials continue to campaign. 1.Change-Making. S CH O O L . live fertile soils. – See Better Than College by Blake Boles W H AT C A N M Y C H U R C H . The old tools like taxation and manipulating interest rates and money supply.htm W H Y C A N ’ T G OV E R N ME N T F I X I T ? It is too easy for us citizens to attempt to outsource uncomfortable change and say “the government should do it.EnviroChangeMakers. root-level changes. S Y NA G O G U E . but that’s point #3 below) There will not be any real and meaningful movement at the government level until we have enough constituents campaigning for these radical. O R C O M M U NI T Y G R O U P D O ? – See “7 Things Your Group Can Do to Help Create a Liveable Future” – a free how-to guide from the Environmental Change-Makers . Real change demands citizen involvement. As you’ve seen throughout this ebook.” in a democratic system they are really the followers. A college degree is the entrance ticket into a certain strata of today’s social system. activists will have to get far greater numbers of people to understand the inevitable direction of the future and embrace the solutions that need to 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Fair Shares. Available through www.com | 73 . 2.very out-of-touch with earth. They follow the wishes of their constituency. not leaders. not outsourcing. In order to achieve these greater numbers. Jr. and dirt-underyour-fingernails.htm – See also Environmental Change-Making.
systemic change – that takes a direction contrary to business-as-usual – simply will not happen. what this ebook has been saying all along. nor integrated into her polished routine. She doesn’t tie it to her body. – James Gustave Speth quoting Peter Barnes33 4.. The scale is completely of. In many cases. Economic Resilience needs to be pioneered by grassroots people. and one-size-fits-all approaches quite clearly don’t work. As Maria Rodale observed: I questioned how much power an appointed official …. (hmm. Systemic reorganization is nearly impossible to achieve from within.. local. In other words. 7.. The Safety Net needs to be independent. And that requires working with grassroots citizens. reorganize. It’s separate and distinct. It’s what happens when capitalism inhabits democracy. It isn’t part of her.com | 74 . A trapeze artist doesn’t carry her safety net in her back pocket. It’s contrary to their inancial interests. 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. and customized – not the scale that most of our government officials are configured to work in. The only power an elected or appointed official has is to add.) 3. ready to catch her when she falls. Democracy is an open system. an elected official … or even [the President] has to cut. As long as we have the current campaign financing and lobbying systems. and current government-scale “solutions” reflect this. and economic power can easily infect it. Campaign financing and lobbying benefits come from wealthy and powerful sources who are deeply entrenched in business-as-usual. Even corporations hire in an outsider when they need to facilitate a massive reorganization. Government is constructed to grow. -Maria Rodale34 5. budgets just go up and up and up. This is the ultimate reason why Economic Resilience needs to be pioneered by people outside of Wall Street. Consequently. The solutions of the post-petroleum era will be small. not subtract. The federal government and budget are burdened with hundreds of thousands of employees and organizations that are protected from change. The reason capitalism distorts democracy is simple. no matter which party is in power. or radically change large government bureaucracies. The answer was not much unless one is willing to commit political career suicide. corporate interests will continue to prevail over the interests of the little people. out of the spotlight. But the philosophy of “economy of scale” is now regarded with skepticism. By contrast. people outside of government. not shrink. Deep.be put in place.Change-Making. 6. like you and me. capitalism is a gated system. The seemingly-unlimited power and resources of the petroleum era convinced us that bigger was better. its bastions aren’t easily accessed by the masses. politicians’ hands are legally tied and it is impossible for them to make serious cuts. Capital’s primacy thus isn’t an accident.
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.Change-Making.com | 75 .
About the Author
Joanne Poyourow merges an understanding of post-peak concepts with a background in
traditional economics. She is the initiator of Transition Los Angeles and currently directs
the Environmental Change-Makers nonprofit organization. She blogs at Transition US
and her work is syndicated internationally.
Joanne was a C.P.A. in public practice for 13 years. She holds a degree in Business
Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
She has extensively studied post-peak materials – post carbon, post-petroleum, and
post-growth – in search of positive solutions which will work at a grassroots level. Her
economics work is informed by the principles of Permaculture and more than two
decades of gardening food. She is the author of several works about the transition to
Joanne is available to speak at events in the Southern California area. For groups in
other geographies, she can speak via teleconferencing.
The Economic Resilience booklets and ebooks share what can be put in place within a
local community to prepare us for what lies ahead.
C O N NE C T W I T H J OA N NE O N L I N E
Environmental Change-Makers group in Los Angeles www.EnviroChangeMakers.org
Personal website www.Change-Making.com
Follow Joanne on Twitter @TLAJoanne
10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy
Reveals the fatal flaws in contemporary economic philosophy. This essential document will change your perceptions of “growth. 39 pages.change-making.” our economic future.com How can small businesses adapt to the principles in this book? This online course guides you step-by-step from greening your business. including peak oil. and social enterprise.Change-Making. Learn how to work within "ecosystem marketing.com | 77 . with Action Steps for each Discount coupon available through www. Develop a business plan to reorient your business for the emerging new economy. 35 video / audio lectures. climate change. and your personal direction.com/shop 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www. Skill up with basic business tips. and resource limitations.Change-Making. including diagrams Available in electronic/pdf format or as a paperback booklet through www.com/go-green W H AT E V E RYO N E O U GH T T O K N OW A B O U T T O D AY ’ S ECONOMY Economic Resilience booklet #10 Will the economy recover? Comprehensive analysis of the root causes of the economic downturn.Also from Joanne Poyourow G O G R E E N : H O W Y O U A N D Y O U R B US I NE SS C AN H E L P S AV E T HE P L A N E T online course on Udemy." Consider more advanced concepts such as finding local suppliers.
com | 78 .Change-Making.Notes 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy www.
net/nuclear/summary. distribution trucks. “Who Killed Economic Growth?” YouTube http://www. we have undeniably reached the end of cheap energy. Nowadays it takes the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil for every 5 barrels that we are able to extract (1:5). EROEI explains why.theleaneconomyconnection.html . for example. you need energy to run drilling equipment.com/talks/rob_hopkins_transition_to_a_world_without_oil.ted. 5 See EROEI. an energy investment equivalent to one barrel of oil yielded 100 barrels of oil (1:100).footprintnetwork.com/node/6307 . In the early days of the oil frenzy. refining equipment.org/EconomicResilience.html of a Talk.org/EconomicResilience. For deep sea oil that ratio drops to 1:3. and more.” available in electronic/pdf or paperback booklet versions via http://envirochangemakers. see the website of the http://www.Overwhelm_to_Engagement.newsweek. peak copper http://europe.5 plus it comes at the price of horrible environmental devastation. 2 This portion of my Economic Resilience work became “What Everyone Ought to Know about Today’s Economy. although there may be some additional oil resources available. “The http://youtu.be/cS07gM74tww Gift” – video begins with the story 11 Rob Hopkins.net 4 See “Why can’t government fix it?” in the FAQ’s of this ebook. peak fresh water http://energybulletin. community November in Mali 2009.theoildrum.org/en/index.com/watch? v=EQqDS9wGsxQ .org/2009/12/21/is-transition-relevant-to-the-global-south-a-discussion-at-the-klimaforum/ 10 Charles Eisenstein. By the 1970s. peak arable land http://www. Shale oil is described as 1:2.php/GFN/page/basics_introduction/ Global Footprint Network 8 Full explanation in the companion ebook “What Everyone Ought to Know about Today’s Economy. Some biofuels barely attain 1:1. Peak coal http://www. peak phosphorus http://blog. http://chrisjohnstone.org/blog-post/183218-fridley-heinberg-discuss-peak-coalin .com/blogs/wealthofnations/archive/2009/12/02/dwindling-phosphate-supply-affects-foodcrisis.1 EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) explains the net yield from an energy source.net/stories/2012-03-06/global-water-scarcity-can-we-solve-it . while compounding food insecurity and social injustice.aspx . “Transition to a world without oil. this EROEI had dropped to 1:25.” by Joanne Poyourow http://envirochangemakers.org/grow_main.” TED http://www. “Is Transition Relevant to the Global South?” Comments at Klimaforum.htm 3 This portion of the Economic Resilience project is archived at www. peak uranium http://www.htm 9 May East.youtube. December 2009 http://transitionculture.html 7 To learn more about biocapacity. above 6 Richard Heinberg.pdf Paraphrased:“‘hitting rock bottom’ is often the key moment to trigger recovery by motivating us to change and focus less on the negative.postcarbon. We were told to . 12 Chris Johnstone.ResilientEconomy.info/wpcontent/themes/johnstone/PDF/5. In order to extract oil.growbiointensive.
Sacred Economics 16 Stoneleigh http://theautomaticearth.org 15 Charles Eisenstein. the First 5. Bhutan Gross National Happiness http://www. presentations in Los Angeles.happyplanetindex. 25 Cecile Andrews.org/ . Further discussion in “What Everyone Ought to Know about Today’s Economy.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g . Sacred Economics 22 Charles Eisenstein. Less is More 26 Talberth.REconomy. Totnes.htm 18 Peter North. The Gift 21 Charles Eisenstein.wordpress.html 17 Comments regarding the credit bubble are paraphrased from Stoneleigh/Nicole Foss. Clifford Cobb and Noah Slattery. “The Emphatic Civilization” http://www.com/2012/11/12/chris-johnstone-inspirational-dissatisfaction/ 13 David Holmgren. talk at Transition Town Totnes. “ http://bristolgreenmedics.” by Joanne Poyourow http://envirochangemakers. http://www. are we contributing to things getting better or things getting worse? Even if we are heading for the abyss we can still be active in moving towards the direction we hope for.000 Years.org/program/301265-1 20 Lewis Hyde. 14 REconomy project. co-founder of the Permaculture movement.” February 2007. quoting a European Permaculturist. by Shaun Chamberlin. 2005.com/ 27 Compiled from The Transition Handbook. Happy Planet Index www. Local Money 19 David Graeber. author of Debt. Personal appearance in Santa Barbara. UK www.ask ourselves. Sacred Economics 23 Tim Jackson. March 2010.org/2010/10/19/economiccollapse-or-prosperity-without-growth-a-conversation-in-totnes/ 24 John Talberth.com/2009/10/october-30-2009-interview-with. CA.youtube.grossnationalhappiness.blogspot. The Transition Timeline. “The Genuine Progress Indicator 2006 Executive Summary. October 2010 http://transitionculture. by Rob Hopkins.org/EconomicResilience. plus additional material from Transition Los Angeles 28 Jeremy Rifkin.c-spanvideo. General Progress Indicator.
com/2012/01/31/er-10/ .” Crosscurrents.crosscurrents. 30 “A new economic philosophy” is the topic of the next ebook in this series.org/EconomicResilience. and by leaving your contact information at http://envirochangemakers. You can monitor the ideas and progress via please seehttp://envirochangemakers. the Environment.com/2010/12/nicole-foss-extended-interview/ Loughrey for Transition Voice.org/waskow. 32 personal interviews of seniors who lived through the Depression of the 1930s and decades following 33 Peter Barnes as quoted by James Gustave Speth in The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism. The Organic Manifesto .wordpress. “And the www.29 Stoneleigh/Nicole Foss.htm Earth is Filled with the Breath of Life. and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability 34 Maria Rodale. as interviewed by Helen http://transitionvoice.htm 31 Arthur Waskow.