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10 Practical Tools

Resilient Local Economy
The economy is changing. Dramatically. Coping with these changes means changing the way we do things. The path of the future involves root level, radical changes. Things we have always considered “normal” won’t work anymore. We must think LOCALLY, and act now to begin growing a resilient local economy.

for building a

Understand the full extent of the problem.

 We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg: Prepare for hard times to get worse.  Any plans we make today –from business plans to individual career/college/retirement planning, to government policies – must presume they will unfold in an environment of ongoing, long-term economic downturn. Otherwise, they are not viable plans.  We’re facing (simultaneously) the growing costs of climate change, the end of the oil age, plus there are fatal flaws in the original design of our economy. Eternal “growth” is impossible on a finite planet. We are living in a contracting economy and life as we once knew it is changing forever.  We can no longer “go it alone.” The crises we face demand that we work together with others in ways we never have done before.  As the conventional economy continues to crumble, we the people at the grassroots still need to keep a roof over our head, feed our children, and maintain a relative degree of peace within our local community. In order to keep things going, we are going to have to use different economic tools than we have in the past: tools to facilitate transactions between people.  Develop practical life skills which will get you through challenges. Grow food. Now. Everywhere you can.  Relocalize: shift to lifestyles which require far less transportation. Powerdown: decrease your energy dependence overall.  Develop a supportive community circle around you to fall back on emotionally or more tangibly. Develop Inner Resilience – the character and spiritual base to remain flexible and feel good about it.

1)

Build resilience.

2) Expect Contraction

 Conserve your cash. Make the most of the U.S. dollars you do have. Use budgets and learn to get by on much less. Decrease your outflow, don’t merely seek to increase your inflow.  Debt, leveraging, and interest are great tools in a growing economy, but they doom you to faster decline in a contracting economy. Systematically begin to reduce/renegotiate/eliminate all your debts and don’t take on more. Don’t vote for more government debt (a.k.a. bond measures) either.  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.  The role of “employee” of a giant facility controlled by corporate executives is part of the fading past. Even “green jobs” and “stimulus” are tied into the fatally-flawed eternal growth presumption.  As the crises unfold further, making a living is much more likely to be as “proprietor,” rather than employee.

3) Rethink the idea of “Jobs.”

Environmental Change-Makers
www.EnviroChangeMakers.org

measures economic growth and profit. 8) Redefine “Success. the safety net is there to catch us -. In Marin.EnviroChangeMakers. in keeping with planetary limits (biocapacity).4) Support Resilience-Building businesses and industries. peace. See www. shift your transactions to support them.org .  As you create your resilience-oriented business. BUY LOCAL. social ills.A. with hopes to preserve them. a resilient local safety net is your best hope for maintaining peace. while times are relatively good.N.I.  In the new paradigm. group purchasing. L. As the current economic structures wobble and crumble. and take action to make our Safety Net a reality. Then vote with your buying dollar to support vendors who give you good answers.  Economic Indicators are our measuring sticks. Several time banks are active and operating in various parts of L. and safety are so dear that they are worth “investing” in.S. the Practical Tools create a resilient safety net. Reach out to others and share the message in this document. and sales volume-.to keep our local communities functional at a very basic level. profit and growth.” by Joanne Poyourow.EnviroChangeMakers.O.  We cannot forget that our local communities are not islands.  We cannot count on the U. investors seed local sustainable businesses.  Try sophisticated barter systems: Set up or join time banks or LETSystems (Local Economic Trading Systems). exclusively in terms of dollars. California. tool libraries. UK. Rather than seeking “rate of return. Do it now. we are kidding ourselves if we think we can help prepare or “transition” only our own household or neighborhood without regard to helping nearby neighborhoods. Trade goods and services with local neighbors. Particularly within our cities.S. whether they buy from other local businesses and hire local workers.  Meanwhile.” better shop for local investments which might help secure our collective future.  What kinds of businesses will your immediate local neighborhood need to survive? Which businesses will provide the basics like locallysourced food and water. support the future with your voting dollar. so these networks will be in place when we really need them. In Washington state.  The best “investment for retirement” might actually turn out to be non-cash: investing your volunteer hours now toward building these Practical Tools so that you can spend those golden years in a peaceful community. dollar cash. 5) Develop multiple financial vehicles. how much of their supplies are locally-sourced. garden sharing. These are excerpts from “What Everyone Ought to Know about Today’s Economy” and “10 Ways to Beat the Tough Economy. gift cultures and more.org/EconomicResilience. Work with local and interest-free investment sources (#6). Reduce your volume expectations.htm to obtain full text. basic clothing? Particularly as we face limited petroleum and with local supply chains? These are the “business opportunities” of the new future.  Practice sharing: Set up lots of sharing networks. help build these. home repair groups.  Look for signs of a safety net in your neighborhood. people pool their investment funds to build community-owned wind farms. dollar alone.” 9) Strive for a Socially-Just Economics 10) Help build the safety net. like carpools. 0113 Environmental Change-Makers www. That lone measurement has taken us far off track with respect to environment. They’re the way we determine whether (or how far) we’re moving in the right direction. Ask businesses about their scorecard on the things you care about: how they’re cutting carbon emissions. With the looming possibility of severe inflation or deflation. outdated set of economic indicators --which includes things like GDP. security. As you discover small portions of it. bottom-line.  “The economy” is the sum total of transactions between people.  For humanity to survive in the new future. without the need for U. Every dollar you spend at a non-resilient business or industry (chain store) is a vote against local survival. Put them to work locally on resilience-building projects within your community – projects which will help your local community cope with peak oil and economic downturn. period.  Our conventional economic system is broken because it defined “success” so narrowly. Evaluate success using alternative metrics (#7). at a local level we need to have a wide variety of alternative ways to conduct economic transactions. and quality of life. Our old. As the conventional economy crumbles.  In Totnes. and make these the way you do things within your social circle. they pooled their funds to buy options on farmland to keep it out of the hands of suburban developers. Assembled as a unified whole.  Got investment funds? Retirement funds? Retain them within your local community. Please share these ideas with your friends. any lone one of these Practical Tools may feel flimsy and insufficient. plan to accept multiple currencies (#5). Help others get prepared!  Viewed separately. we must measure the right stuff. And people’s lives and experiences are about much more than just dollars. 6) Community-based Investment 7) Demand new economic indicators. profit and growth.