Gaianne, converning, Estela, Ethan , Fred, Jim, Sarah, Terry.
The idea of the topic was to bring mainstream medical people over to transition.
Some might be half-way there already, midwives being an example, also perhaps nurses, dental hygienists, and technicians at fairly basic levels of training.
Related: What will doctors do when they are out of work? Also, how can the medical system be "backed down?"
We drifted off topic:
Keeping well will be a more prominent part of medicine; more general knowledge of basics--wounds, broken bones, fever, and herbs needed.
Superbugs are already out of medical control: Learn from AIDS about coping in the absence of mainstream remedies.
Clean water is the single most important aspect of community health.
TO RETURN: We need to INVITE medical people into transition.
Participants: Roger Uihlein, Maria Pinango, Bernard Brennan, Sara K., Ethan D., Randy D., Marion Gehlker
Questions raised: How do we get more people to become riders? (Carrot and stick approach of eliminating obstacles as well as providing incentives). How do we encourage commuting to work and school? (Addressing safety issues, neighborhood schools, making transportation inter-modal). What are some of the positive developments in our bioregion with respect to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure? (Elm City Cycling advocacy work at city and state level, SeeClickFix, New Haven's Department of Transportation initiatives to add bike lanes, sharrows, traffic-calming devices, etc.). What are areas that need improvement? (Linking bike infrastructure together to create safe routes, selective enforcement of laws). What are ways that we can limit the expense of bicycling through collaboration and mutual aid? (New Haven Bike Collective, bike-sharing).
Elm City Cycling
New Haven Bike Collective
Bike Walk CT (formerly Central CT Bicycle Alliance)
Yale Transportation Options
City of New Haven Dept. of Transportation "Bike New Haven" website
Google Maps Bike Directions
National Bike Month 2010
Participants: Bernard Brennan, Allan Brison, Terry Halwes, Moses, Maria Tupper, Meg, Maria Pinango, Randy, Fred Cervin, Marge Allende, Sara Kirschner, Ethan Drozd, Marion Gehlker (others came and went)
Started by asking "What is Community?"
Repeated, positive, mutually supporting, easy access to each other, proximity, shared values and ideals, shared circumstances...
We have concentric circles of community - family, neighborhood, school, religious group, town, etc.
How can we foster community?
In an economic downturn, will community happen naturally, or will people feel pitted against each other for limited resources?
Community is something that comes naturally to us as human beings but there are barriers that get in the way of it. If you leave people alone, they'll build community.
Obstacle: fast-paced life - we're coerced into doing things to survive such as hold down a job so we can pay the rent and buy insurance, etc. - this robs us of time that could be put toward building community
Obstacle: have to contend with people who live by survival of the fittest
But we want to have choices - the choice to have a car, etc.
Choices set up momentum - you have a child and that leads to material needs that require a certain income, etc., etc.
There's wealth in creating time to do things like building community - different kind of wealth than monetary wealth, but perhaps just as or more valuable
We need to get down to scale of neighborhoods/blocks so that we're connected to those around us for mutual dependence and support.
But we're residentially segregated by class and we know that diversity is a strength. In dire economic circumstances, post-peak oil world, the privileged will no longer be privileged and will need the wisdom and skills of those who were low-income to survive. People in poverty already know how to do more with less.
How can we start to build the resilience of stronger community so that we'll be ready when the dire circumstances are upon us?
Create eco-villages, or co-housing arrangements, cooperative houses - neighborhoods on purpose.
But so far, those involved in New Haven co-housing are white, educated, middle-class, middle-aged, financially comfortable (these are the people who have the time and resources to pull such a project together). When a site is chosen, they expect younger and more diverse families will join.
Research showed that 90% of attempts at forming intential communities failed; 75% of co-housing projects failed (from Creating a Life Together, by Diana Leafe Christian.)
Those that survive are good at consensus decision-making. C.T. Butler wrote the book on formal consensus, Conflict and Consensus. Start by agreeing on a common vision.
One idea is to map out the assets of a neighborhood, including the skills, talents of the individual members. Bob Francis is a local expert with this - lives in Bridgeport area. Catherine Bradshaw can contact him.
Community Yard Farm sharing - people in a neighborhood growing various things and sharing among each other
Tool library - people in a neighborhood owning a set of tools together that they share among themselves.
Does the city of New Haven support communities in forming neighborhood groups?
Those that are active seem to have sprung up on their own.
We can learn from those that have been successful about what's helped them do what they do
The example of Cuba when it lost the Soviet support -- The Power of Community (movie and web site) -- the whole country switched to labor-intensive organic agriculture.
Convened by Siobhan
Gaianne, Aaron, Theresa, Estela, Sara, Ethan, Ben, Roger were in attendance.
The topic emerged because of the approaching group of crises facing our nation and world. When more and more people begin losing jobs, housing, families, etc., the number of folks experiencing crisis will likely increase. And this number of people will most likely overwhelm current mental health clinics and professionals. What kind of response can we give to individuals in our lives having meltdowns. What about strangers?
Acceptance - Lifestyle crash can happen to anyone anywhere anytime.
Listening - Acknowledgement of anger and pain in individuals can help relieve anguish.
Boundaries - How much involvement is appropriate? Whom can we touch? When? Where? Why? How?
Generally, the response to those suffering has been aloofness. Isolation precedes negative manifestations of inner turmoil. Human divorcement from the natural world prevents us from applying ourselves to situations. Density of persons affected by a meltdown influences the likelihood that action will be taken. "Someone else must surely be doing something."
Public "leadership" has no response to societal malfunction. Vulnerable, marginalized people must go away. USA! Everything's OK! Except not really.
How afraid should we be?
How do we become worthy constituents of a human community?
How do we prevent the distressed person from feeling they're falling off the edge of the world?
Nature and community
Fresh air and sunshine
Activity vs anxiety
The consensus was, yes, we do have responsibilities to other humans. Viewing the person in crisis with compassion, allowing that it could easily be ourselves, while maintaining personal boundaries. In Open Space terms - The amount you can give is the right amount. Encourage human interaction and participation to alleviate stress, self-destructive behavior
List of participants: Maria, Jim, Aaron, Siobhan
Began by examining the study,” The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Medical Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, and Sexual Behavior: Implications for Healthcare”
The study showed that, “Many of our most intractable public health problems are the result of compensatory behavior like smoking, overeating, and alcohol and drug use which act as short-term solutions to the emotional problems caused by traumatic childhood experiences.”
The study showed if these experiences were addressed, in this case by a questionnaire, medical visits were generally reduced by the patients in the study. Or by their conclusion, “provide[d] a credible basis for a new paradigm of primary care medical practice that would start with comprehensive biopsychological evaluation of all patients at the outset of medical care.”
We discussed that many of these “intractable” health problems are often the result compensatory behaviors. As the study showed, and as we have seen by our own experiences, these traumatic events which are unrecognized and unacknowledged causes health problems later in life.
The conversation expanded into addressing it in the larger context of community (schools, neighborhoods, families, friends, etc.)
How do communities address issues of traumatic experiences for children?
Justice vs. Truth: does our current system resolve these issues or do they perpetuate them even further?
Community response: working on creating a framework for the community to address and deal with traumatic experiences
1. Acknowledge and address that their experiences exist and the amount or extent of the experience are greater than thought or appreciated.
2. Our current medical system address symptoms rather underlying framework for the symptoms
3. Shame, secrecy and taboos prevent acknowledgment and actions to remedy those underlying causes
Vincent J. Felitti, MD and Robert F. Anda, MD, MS. The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Medical Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, and Sexual Behavior: Implications for Healthcare. from The Hidden Epidemic: The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease. Cambridge Unversity Press, 2009.
Convener: Marge Allende - firstname.lastname@example.org
Participants: Moses Boone, Bernard Brennan, Allan Brison, Randy Domina, Sara Kirschner, Estela Lopez, Meg Rudne, Theresa Burgher, Terry Hawles, Maria Tupper, Chris Zurcher, Ethan Drozd
Discussion and recommendations:
Discussion centered on ways to bring people together in mutually supportive, interactive ways.
Recommendations were numerous, some of which are as follows:
Developing a mutual aid culture
Establish a wide variety of exercise outlets that encourage community involvement (eg. grinding grain, biking, walking, gardening, mow lawn on own steam, sports related pick-up games, etc,) and find way to list meeting times and places so people have interactive choices
Find ways to increase awareness of outdoor places of "beauty" in one's own community
Start a Walker's Club and advertise it in the Advocate
Support development of mental health services that include both Western and Eastern types of "medicine" and "treatments"
Create "healthy spaces" (ie. places where people of all ages can gather with others who are looking for safe, interesting, educational, recreational, etc. activities and/or opportunities for interaction
Develop "Discover your city" activities
Find ways to cultivate community motivation to interact
Establish "Supper clubs" for the purpose of eating and talking together
Set up "Walking tours" (to learn about own community/ nature areas/ revisit familiar places and observe changes/ nature in general)
Find ways to encourage curiosity about information nature provides (eg. knowledge about birds could replace the need for a calendar - How? Come and find out)
Share skills - Tap into community "genius"
Get the Q House opened again
Promote block parties and intergenerational gatherings (paper airplane contests, pick-up games, dances hire local bands, pot lucks)
Advertise where/when activities are happening
Decrease isolation by emphasizing the importance of relationships to others and self
Shula Weinstein: ebenross@yahoo, Catherine Brockshaw: email@example.com
Gaianne Jenkins: firstname.lastname@example.org , Bernard Brennan: Bernard86@mac.com
We discussed various (wild) herbal plants that can be used for medicinal purposes:
St. John's Wart, mugwart, valerian, skull-cap, echinecea, comfry, rose-hip, lemon balm, camomile, peppermint, garlic, ginger, jewel weed (for poison oak), hot spices etc.
and their effects, such as anti-psychotic, anti-depressive, sedative etc.
We have anecdotal knowledge but need to consolidate it,
find an expert who could do a presentation on medicinal herbs grown locally.
Interestingly, a lot of the herbs we discussed seem to be regarded as weeds, or at least easily proliferate
- how to find plants, grow them (unlike veggies that may have to be stressed to produce better fruit), use them
- is there a difference between medicinal vs. culinary herbs, e.g. garlic, parsley, thyme, oregano etc.
Back to Eden (by a Vermont doctor)
Penelope Ody: The Complete Medicinal Herbal
Tammy Hartung: Growing 101 Herbs That Heal
The Complete Home Healer
Other suggestions welcome.
www.ctherb.org, with links to herbal resources, events: herb fest, rosmary roast,
herb fest June 5, 2010
consolidate knowledge, organize skill-share/presentation, book club/suggested readings,
create experimental medicinal herbal garden:
possible locations: UU, Commond Ground (Joe said it's in the making),
community gardens/NH Land Trust (Maria T. said she is not aware of any but perhaps the Latino community has such gardens)
contact people and/or places:
natural food stores:
Edge of the Woods, Thyme & Season, Foodworks
Justin (Two Coyotes)
Zack (He did a presentation on mushrooms; Meg has his address)
Gateway Community College, Southern, Yale: Rudd Center, Divinity School, Sustainable Farm
Arron Goode email@example.com
Fred Cervin firstname.lastname@example.org
We discussed the connection between the socalled american culture and our visions of the .meaning of death , sickness and dealing with our remains.
* Euthanisa and
medical procedures for very old and very sick ...with little or no chance of recovery;
* Nurse's ....polled and saying cancer was a prefered way to go...allows a chance of adjustment *After bural, as a familyn ritual, the realization 'who's next.
* Invites the question ..."how are we going to live"
instead of media hype/midlife crisus/ choices informed by community and goals of connection.
* Hope is restoritive
* the book Grave Matters brings up the questions of toxic chem's from embalming fluid and
creamation....wood bural offered as alternative.
looking at death and our remains as part of our ecology
* Living Will.....possable
We then discussed what the remaining population would do with those recently de-constructed houses, the materials available, and the land on which they were built.
Next we discussed whether we would see a population growth or decline, and why people would choose to live in one area instead of another, and if that decision might be based on the jobs available.
We asked whether or not the land from the now empty lots would be viable for becoming places where food could be grown. We decided that it would be possible with a lot of work. The real life situation of Cuba was discussed, where they have actually torn down some structures to turn them into small food lots.
The idea came up that many of the materials from the older houses being deconstructed would be used to repair the homes that are still being occupied.
Participants: Dave, Fred, Sara, also Bernard
Discussion and recommendations:
The idea was to imagine what is likely--and also desirable--in a general way, on the topic of a roof overhead. My idea in posing the question is that when jobs go away, so does the house-and-commute-to-work. What happens instead?
Of course, nobody knows. But the discussion that spun off this question was wide-ranging and fun. Joblessness and or homelessness is already not a hypothetical for some of us, so there was interest in practical skills.
In looking for a new workskill, what to look for? Simple, practical, locally useful seems good. Can timebanking and the coming LETS sytem be of help for connecting skills and needs? Tax issues exist, but are still manageable.
When one thinks of crafts people, one thinks of working at home, which implies having a home. This is not impossible as in some cases banks are not evicting people for fear of vandalism to empty properties.
If you are already homeless and don't know where you will be each night, what can you do? How can you keep or practice a trade? Finding a niche is needful. In this context we should remember the UXA which existed during the Great Depression in Oakland California and had eventually 1500 members living outside the above-ground economy through mutual help.
Are we too high tech? How do you step back to a simpler, more reliable technology?
Dimitri Orlov's writings on the collapse of the Soviet Union are one of our main guides. In the US however, we can expect an attempt to segregate the jobless from the "still okay." So we will have to deal with that. But it may or may not work.
Project A: Build a cob structure, for reskilling and community utility.
Project B: Learn skills of salvage, scavange, and repair.
Project A has already attracted some interest, and will probably happen. Project B is currently still theoretical.
Convened by Dave Taylor
Len, Dave, Sara, Siobhan, Tony, Bernard, and Meg all contributed to the discussion
In any community, there are buildings and houses that are boarded up or otherwise abandoned. Likewise, many folks are homeless or living on the fringes.
It seems like there should be some kind of solution.
Multiple reasons and causes for homelessness - jobs disappearing, illness, drugs/alcohol, overpriced real estate.
What is housing: legal requirements, politics, shelters
Historical perspective - Tony reminded us that "in his day" there were in any downtown area residential hotels where transients or day laboreres could have a room, place for the night.
Modern Real Estate trends have made downtowns too expensive for this model.
Expensive real estate is its own god.
Housing as a basic right; hole in the safety net, families split up because of problems with affordability, irresponsible leadership has twisted priorities.
In europe, 40% of housing is socialized - the state ensures homes as a human right.
USA functions like a rich man's club. Affordable housing is socialism, and socialism is bad.
Squatting - risky because the gov't don't like it/won't permit it.
Probably get kicked out. An illegitimate solution.
Laws money neighborhoods - housing a social construct.
No institutional support for the homeless.
The gov't should put more money into housing for the poor and homeless.
Partial potential solution-
manufacturing facilities that have fallen into disuse probably won't be used for production again.
An albatross on the shoulders of the owner - make available for a new kind of residential hotel.
Not-for-profit development co.
Getting variances on zoning regulations.
Informal boarding house model.
Mixed sizes/ mixed incomes for converting industrial units.
Public safety issues.
Open letter to mayors to make properties available for conversion/re-use.
Open bidding process on city owned properties to individuals.
Find a building that has fallen into disuse and is tax delinquent. Pressurize the deed holder to allow conversion, re-zoning.
HOUSES FOR A DOLLAR!
Leader: Janet Brodie (email@example.com)
Particapants: Nate Bixby, Marie Pulito, Terry Halwes, Bob Cat, Dave Taylor, Maria Tupper.
What can we do when we need assisted living when we are older. Will we end up in something that looks like the assisted living places of today that look like a hotel with plastic flowers, or will we end up locked in a nursing home?
Co-housing is an option, where a community of people with some common interests are able to determined amounts of resources, such as a shared nurse, recreation director, or shared cooking. To be able to age at home while combining resources of our community.
Some of us are concerned that we will not be taken care of by our children (note some of us have no children).
The choices from Medicaid will provide us with some tough choices. Someone with alzheimers may have to choose to live at home with a single 24/7 live in assistant (who will need to leave), yet still require the household to be run, or to choose an assisted living facility.
More of us will be Getting Alzheimers, especially in the next 20 or 30 years as the boomers get older. Can we have some different options than the ones we have now?
Do we really want to live in a nursing home, where the rooms have no doors?
Not only do we need to keep ourselves physically and mentally fit, but we are also social creatures, and need community.
When the system steps in, will we get what we want? What if we end up abandoned and die? Can we have any hope for our future? Do we have the inner fortitude to stand up to our future adversities?
Some transition words that were heard were Faith, Plan and Dream. Can we be an agent for a potential Dream?
Why not extend our family (say becoming uncle and nephew) so that we can have a larger group of people that care for us and we care for (reference Native people traditions). We can develop our honoring.
At a time of low resources, how will altheimers be handled? Will the decision making processes be taken out of our hands?
If we are not healthy, will we want to take the resources from other people? The native Americans had the elderly (choose?) to spend their last year outside. How can we choose our own death?
Often needy are considered garbage, and the wages for caring for them are low and getting lower. Needs can bring out the compassion in people which makes a more loving community/society.
We often confuse physical disability with mental disability. When someone is mentally capable, but physically disables, they are often treated as totally incapable. Someone in a nursing home may not be allowed to go out on their own, but will be required by a doctor to have 15 minutes of exercise twice a day. This becomes expensive when there are requirements for an aid to always be present, and prevents the person from getting exercise.
Why not use something like a franchise or non profit support system for Alzheimers or housing issues for elders.
Because people with Alzheimers are extremely in the present, Buddhist caregivers are very understanding and appreciative.
Caring is a good thing that comes out of community. There can be a kind of synchrocity when people are together. Someone by themself will be less likely to cook for themself. Community is a great way for people to look out for one another.
We are concerned about what will happen when resources are reduced. The $ for health car will likely go down. Time banking, community groups, family extending, and a more general caring for one another will be options.
It was good to talk about aging issues, and it should be done more.
Happiness correlates with age, possibly because we are wiser and understand ourselves and our needs better, we become more compassionate to ourselves and we have more patience with ourselves.
Too soon old, too soon late.
There are fears about what will happen to us as we get older (such as the symptoms of ALS), and maybe it will not be so bad.
It is an act of generocity to accept the generocity of others.
Continue with formal or informal communication on aging / death issues (aging is related to death).
Start a study group.
The green house concept: www.ncbcapitalimpact.org
The eden alternative: www.edenalt.org
A new model for Elder Care: www.prospect.org
CONVENOR: Tony Dominski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy efficency ceates housing security by lowering maintenance cost and inreasing enertgy security.
Group participants had an active interest in upgrading their homes and apartments. Energy conservation measures: air leak sealing, attic insulation, hot water heating,heat pumps, concrete thermal mass and solar panels were discussed.
Recommendation: Make an appointment to have a utility-sponsored home energy audit done. Insulate attick, add insulating around electric sockets.
1. Plan a skills workshop on home energy conservation at the unitarian Universalist building with the Skillshare Coordinating Crew (contact Meg)
whitney Avenue, New Haven.
2. Contact New Haven Office of Sustainability to determine their resources in home energy retrofits.
Participants: Lynne Bonnett, Marion Gehlker, Terry Halwes, Maria Tupper, Randy Domina, Bernard Brennan,Adam Wascholl
Discussion and Recommendations: There are national building regulations that states and towns adopt. In addition towns or neighborhoods or condo communities add "covenants" that are even more restrictive (minimum square footage, maximum occupancy, no clotheslines, etc.). States like Maine (WA, AR, LO, Ga) have no or more lax building regulations. Not CT!! We are concerned about values of our homes and properties. Building regulations "protect us".Discussed compost toilets. Aren't water toilets the holy grail of our western civilization? Composting toilets are used in rest stops, Hamonassette Beach, Cape Cod. We can learn from their practices. Like peak oil there is peak potash - this could come from human waste. In Seattle, "clean human waste" is bagged and sold as compost. In CT, sewage plants cannot bag and sell waste by law. Building with cobb or straw bales: cobb would need engineering approval stamp and then a variance, straw bale is used for isulating outside walls over wood framing so would be more permitable.
Plan: Research info from Germany where they are building truly passive houses that need no heat source because they are tight and highly insulated. Human bodies, hot water and stoves plus passive solar provide heat.
Look at Fine Homebuilding and Journal of Light Construction.
Work at change at town level where you own property. Or run for office for building and zoning with progressive ideas.
Straw bale for all!! It's renewable and local and non-petroleum based.
Add a building focus to Action Group. Skill sharing as individuals get variances for their own projects. Networking with other residents of your town.
What started as a practical discussion of the immediate consequences of loss of power evolved into ideas about the process of change on the personal and the community level.
- KNOW OUR HOME SYSTEMS: For example, how gas is distributed through a home, how gas is delivered to homes from a central source, how to bypass automated systems like electric-starter gas heaters.
- WHAT IS ESSENTIAL ABOUT POWER, AND WHAT IS NOT? What rapidly deteriorates our life quality? Food preservation, heat, sanitation systems, water, cooking.
- IF ELECTRICITY GOES OFF FOR A MONTH, IS IT GONNA COME BACK ON? What does it say about our situation if a month-long power outage is allowed to happen?
- WHAT DOES A LOW-ENERGY FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
- LOOKING AT OURSELVES: HOW CAN WE PROVIDE FOR OUR COMMUNITY? Can immediately volunteer skills and resources to neighbors. Teach others how to do what you do: use a solar oven, preserve food, etc.
- RESILIENCE APPROACH: Take many different approaches, and see what works.
- PLAN B: Not just a backup plan, but integrated into our daily lives. What we should be doing anyway.
What happens if you prepare for disaster expertly, but when shit hits, you are surrounded by many un(der)prepared neighbors? At what point will your self-sufficiency be compromised?
- HOW TO LIVE IN COMMUNITIES? What will people do if there was no electricity, no TV, no computer? What if we don't like our neighbors? What if you can't just get in your car and drive away? (We currently live in a society where luxury is the norm, which is dislocating, disconnecting, detaching. Leads to an avoidance of reality.)
- HOW DO WE, AS A COMMUNITY, CREATE RESILIENCY? Smaller than a town, larger than a neighborhood. Food production, common resources, shared skills. The Commons.
- 12-STEP PROGRAMS designed to aid in recovery from addiction offer an interesting parallel to the crisis we face. Our society is addicted to oil, shopping, screens, cars. Like in addiction to drugs, only the people who seek change are willing to accept help. Some conventional people may indeed have to hit rock bottom before they will accept a low-energy future and talking with their neighbors. Some people will not be 'saved.' You come to realize that you can't help everyone recover from addiction, and that some people would rather die before they give up their addiction.
- PLANT THE SEED and let it go/let it grow. It's all you can do.
- BUILD A NEW SOCIETY IN THE SHELL OF THE OLD: it really will be a cultural shift to learn to operate on the basis of interdependence and giving/contributing/trading rather than taking.
- ENTICE PEOPLE: The organic, local food movement provides a great illustration of playing off people's ideals. We can make transition and barter, etc., into something people can aspire to, rather than an ultimatum, which is more likely to scare folks back into their socially sanctioned creature comfort zones.
- Form "unplug clubs", where a group of people commit to supporting each other in overcoming a destructive habit. Give up TV for 2 weeks, for example. Get together and make lists of alternative sources of information, fun activities, etc. Discuss successes and pitfalls, learn from one another, support each other, and build community.
- Heart and Soul Groups - A more long term discussion and support group. "We're gonna walk this path together, support each other." Share our joys and concerns.
- Skillsharing practical things, like rain barrels, gardening, bike repair, food preservation, anything. Either teach each other, or find instructors. Try to keep money out of the interaction.
- Live your truth. Plant the seeds without the expectation that the other person will change immediately (how Zen of you). Walk the talk (set an example), then talk the walk (answer questions, have discussions, engage curious people who see your example).
RESOURCES, FURTHER READING
Independence Days, by Sharon Astik
Small Is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher
Herman Daly, author
Convener: Bobcat Carruthers
Convener's contact information: 860-575-9385
List of Participants: Bobcat, Todd Wormell, Fred Cervin, Gaianne Jenkins, Maria Pinango, Meg, Bernard, Patty, Sarah Kirshner
Discussion and Recommendations
-This might be an approach when you cannot afford rent
ways: Wigman, Car, public spaces (lounges), joining a tent city....
-Homelessness can result in a lack of sleep
-Sleep and rest are not human rights, so need for camouflage
-Need for safety
-What do you need to live without a house?
-protection from water
-protection from wind
-access to warmth
-access to water
-access to facilities (bathroom, shower.....)
-access to fuel and energy sources(propane, gasoline, wood, solar panels)
-access to food
-ways to keep animals out of your food (metal cans, prepare what you will eat and no more(no waste!)
-Perks to living "outside"? --> Connection to natural world, a simpler life (simpler solutions to everyday problems, and you tend to always have what you need provided you are off-grid) save money, get more exercise, a slower life.
-Connection to transition?
--> must commute to towns for resources (health care, friends....)
--> in general it is a more sustainable lifestyle
So: how does one live without a house? answer: like a happy dog.
Dogs are happy when: they have food they like, warmth, a pack to hang out with, a warm body to lean on, and the open air (long walks) (Diogenes the Cynic)
- Choose to live below the limit of your economic ability (leads to sustainability)
- Start small
- Identify your needs (need to be in touch? get a cell-phone)
- Try to get an idea of where your goals are and make small steps in that direction.
How to form an ongoing local economy & livelihood action group
Including smallmart revolution, local business thriving, local economy to realize self as viable entity
The other two subtopics are important aspects of this
With the local economy, how can we support a local infrastructure?
Take wealth-creation out of the tax system
What are the consequences?
How does a local, place-based system pick up the slack?
Social services: education, welfare
Follow-up of Session I: concept of alternative currencies
Application, action items
Terry, Jen, Kimberly, Claudette, Adam, Dick, Patty, Bernard, Roger, Adam W., Joe L., Domingo
Discussion & Recommendations
- What are assumptions behind strengthening a local economy
- We are a specialized society
- Goods & services that we don’t generate, we get elsewhere with money
- If we cannot provide the most basic services/goods, what are the implications
- We don’t provide for our own basic needs
- Having an awareness of the limits of our local economy
- We can bring external resources in & provide goods/services in exchange
- Establish links between needs & ways to meet those needs
- One group looking at our needs
o Food, energy, health, transportation, housing, currency/economy
- What is the structure in which these groups can exist?
- Competitive government agencies that accept community currencies
- Alternative currencies: any information form that facilitates exchange of goods & services, the environment, our health, our communities, public resources
- What is real wealth? We are deeply confused about wealth & money
- Gross National Happiness vs. Gross National Product
- Conceptual problems: war is peace
- We are so dependent on money & oil, we are highly vulnerable until we provide for our own needs, generating our own goods & services
- We know that the system is doomed, but we’re in denial
- Increase media presence of our projects
Alternative Currency Action Group: Adam, Terry, Patty, Claudette
- The group turned to discussing decriminalizing recreational marijuana as a way to keep local resources from flowing out of the community. The best paying cash crop in the US since the 60s.
Paticipants: Marie, Jim, Marion, Maria T.
Our larger employers in the New Haven area are the universities and colleges, hopsitals, UI. If they are outsourcing some of their work and buying supplies/food from non-local sources, then they are not fostering our local economy.
We discussed Yale-New Haven hospital as an example. They used to cook their own food for the patients and the cafeteria. They used to have their own laundry service. Now they outsource for packaged foods, laundry. They purchase from outside the local area.
Discussion included ideas from other sources: Yale Sustainable Garden, New Haven schools using local produce or growing own, Sharon CT. Hospital cooking with local produce. Southern CT State U claims to use and buy local but are they really? or how much are they?
1) Grassroots employee actions within the institutions to push for change. "Local" is so attractive today that it could be used as publicity for the institution.
2) Food Action Group as a source of energy/ideas for getting universities and hospitals to use local food.
3)Marydale Dubar from Sharon CT Hospital is an administrator who has brought locally produced fresh foods into the hospital. Contact her as an example and for assistance in approaching Yale-New Haven or St Raphael's to do the same.
Convener: Fred Cervin; fred.cervin@SBCglolbal.net
Alan Brison, Richard Thomas, Justin Pegnataro, Fred Cervin, Randy Inway, Jonathon Parizer, Jaz Lin, Doug Peterson
Credit is hard to come by in the present economic climate and may become even more scarce in future. Our ability to cope in an energy deprived future may require that we ramp up many new productive enterprises locally as globalization unwinds. Startup costs will need to be borne by those who live in this area.
A number of suggestions were made for how this might be done. If a business is viable because it provides something people really need and want. Question: What are our real, basic needs? E.g., water, shelter, food, clothing, etc. Rainwater recovery systems in case the water company lapses. We will have forms of wealth other than money after collapse, which we might share as a kind of capital.
Hard to get credit if you have no track record. Community supported business similar to community supported agriculture. Encourage` local lending by local banks. Coop banks = credit unions. There are investment companies that invest in local enterprises, especially nonprofits.
Capital may become less important in the future.
"Primary productivity" is that which comes from the sunlight and soil of a particular area. We need to live on this current natural income. At present cities may use many times as much.
Outside lenders might be interested on the basis of local collateral not in use, such as streets after we run out of gas.
When the current system ends, people will organize themselves to take care of business.
In attendance - Fred Cervin, Terry Halwes, Justin, Jaz, Marie, myself, Claudette, I think Roger popped in. Some others.
People came to this with a variety of backgrounds and interests.
The Mill River Valley Farm has incorporated into a co-operative CSA. Others came to the discussion with experience in co-operative living, food co-ops and buying clubs.
Different CT statutes were discussed. Co-op Associations, Marketing co-ops and worker owned co-operatives fall under CT law concerning co-ops. Worker owned co-ops have a definite set of regulations while a Co-op Association is under less specific rules. A membership co-op allows equity through member shares that are a one-time investment.
Willimantic Co-op has a yearly fee.
Co-operatives are S corporations that yield negligible profits. Some states are looking into C corporations that are dedicated to the common good.
Two types of co-ops - consumers & producers. Co-ops are a legitimate alternative way to organize business, but have difficulty getting loans.
Idea: Producer Co-ops working with Consumer co-ops in shared space for mutual benefit.
Unlike for-profit corporations, people buy single shares of a co-operative allowing all to have equal interest. Stock corps can have a majority owner who can take over the business.
Concern: How to peacefully resolve conflicts
Green Haven co-housing uses formal consensus (all agree on issues before decision made)
Idea: Co-operative space that offers many types of consumer goods. Strengthen local businesses.
Idea: Small business networks with co-operation among competitors in the same industry.
Buyers association - support local businesses and enhance local marketplace.
Creating an economy of scale.
Great potential for co-ops to keep externalized costs low. Shared values are built into concept.
Alternative to capitalism? Consumer centered capitalism: customer benefit, community values, sustainability. Capitalism = accumulation :: Co-operative = equal exchange.
Family values, commitment to community, time inputs involved in belonging, relationships formed in the interest of economic partnerships.
Flea markets, salvage economy, trash = treasure.
Some talk of discovering which life necessities are locally produced, supporting those businesses, encouraging more (as co-op idea).
Participants: Marion, Greg, Ethan, Adam, Kimberly, Maria, Bernard and others
I (Hans) opened up the session with a description of the website that I am working to develop with several fellow students. It will be an online gift economy where users list everything they need and everything they have to give away, barter or share. They can then find people nearby who have what they need or need what they have. After interacting with one another in the real world, either giving bartering or sharing, users write reviews of one another, documenting what happened. Other users can then read these histories to determine who to give to.
The participants of the groups asked many questions and brought up ideas, suggestions and criticisms of the idea.
One suggestion was creating community nodes or circles that would be accredit and verify the reputations of their members and provide a greater sense of community connection within the site. Another significant concern was how existing class inequalities would play out and possibly be perpetuated within the system. One response to this is the general dynamic that a gift has greater value when given to the person who needs it most, creating an incentive to redistribute wealth. The site will also provide a means for people currently unemployed to find ways to give or barter their work and be rewarded.
The group also discussed how the site could be used by existing local groups and organizations as a tool for drawing the support of the broader community. It will provide a means for people to direct their generosity to where it is most needed locally. More than anything, the site is an attempt to create a system where people can reward each other for their contributions to the community.
The website is launching Friday Feburary 19th 7pm at Dwight Hall (Yale Campus) in the Library.
and the address is www.TheGiftEconomy.org
Convener: Laine Harris
Participants: 3 Eliezer Lee Cruz, Jonathan Parizer and ??
I (Laine) wanted to introduce the concept of "Single Tax" as a useful and necessary component to the transformation of the economy (Local and global).
The "Single Tax" is/was an idea formulated by a man named Henry George in the late 1800's. A simplified way of looking at the concept is looking at economy trough the filter of "to the creator goes that which is created", in particular looking at the creation and distribution of value.
Another basic filter/principle to look at taxes from is; all taxes are a disincentive to whatever is being taxed.
Currently people work on resource available to them creating value as they do. People do not live in a vacuum and tend to congregate in community which creates legitimate community needs. Currently we mutually agree to rob each other one and and another to collect the resources needed to meet those needs. This take the form of various taxes, most of which are impediments to production and commerce. However there is a value created by the community. This value is the sight value of land and the mineral resources in and of the earth such as oil in the ground, air in the sky, water in the ground, etc. These resources I'll simply refer to as "Land".
Currently we allow individuals the special privilege of collecting that community created value as "Land Owners". No individual EVER created ANY land value. Land value is ONLY created by and through community.
The concept of "Single Tax" is that the value of the "Land" will meet the legitimate needs created by the community and should be collected and used by and for the community. This shift in thinking can and will have enormous ramifications.
Shifting all the taxes from collective community robbery/thief to collecting the value created by the community will take all the profit out of speculation. It will not be economically sustainable to hold resources out of use and the resources used will tend to be used to their maximum value. It will also take away the one place the people can currently park economic resources without maintenance or attention. Right now the only place someone can store any large amount of wealth is to "invest" in land resource. They will only and always increase in value as long as we continue to create more people. This value will in crease independent of anything the individual does or doesn't do. It is, by far, the single biggest way the rich get richer. This can be through out right land ownership or through land control such as mortgages.
Implementing a shift from property/income/business taxes to a land base tax will free resources for people to work on and create as well as encourage the best most efficient use of those resources and it will tend to put the economic resources currently "invested" in some form of "land" speculation into production/jobs/and real investments.
This has been implemented in a number of places, usually on a very limited and small scale and in each and every instance there has be a correlate improvement in the local economy. There are examples of this in New Zealand, South Africa, and more locally in Pennsylvania. A key element of the Renaissance of Pittsburgh was a shift in the local tax from property to land. These tax shifts are generally revenue neutral but shift the tax burden from the "improvements" on the land to the site, "Land" value.
Here in CT there has been some legislation (the details of which I am not completely clear on) that allows for some level of township/city-hood to implement a "two rate" system in which the municipalities can separate the land value from the property value and tax them at different rates.
While "Single Tax" is not a "Silver Bullet" without it any and all other useful changes will, eventually be absorbed into rent and our community needs will continue to grow as long as the population continues to increase and natural resource (read oil?) are depleted and we will have to continue to collectively steal from each other value we have created in the form of one kind of tax or another to meet those community needs.
This can also have huge implications for the "ecology" conversations. If corporations had to pay the actual retail cost of the "Land" resources they used much of our ecological ills would be addressed over night. For example, if a coal powered generation plant actually had to pay the retail value of the air and water is used we would start to realize the true cost of coal power and the alternatives to that would immediately be recognized as less expensive and therefore more desirable. Shoreline/coastal real estate development would be prohibitively expensive. If the owner of a desirable beach front property had to pay the true economic site rental value that the collective community creates by their collective desire/value the community places on such a resource they would either a. not build on the resource and leave it for the community or b. they would be paying the very high value the community places on the resource and therefore the community, as a whole, is compensated for the loss/degradation of the resource.
This is a very rich and deep conversation and my intent here is to "open the ball" and start the conversation.
Disclaimer/background, I, Laine, was born in Fairhope Al as a 4th generation "Georgist". My great grandfather and grandfather were part of the founding of the city of Fairhope which was an intentional community formed to demonstrate the principles of Single Tax. Fairhope which is still often listed as one of the most desirable places to live has so diluted and abandoned the actual principles of "Single Tax" that now it is, at best a hollow shell of principles.
S good source for background and links
A good article on the implementation written by Steven Cord, a person who has dedicated most of his life to this conversation and help implement a "two rate shift" in many areas.
The web site for the "Center for the Study of Economics"
You may find a ton of information by googling;
"Two rate tax"
"Georgist" or "Georgism"
and, of course you may contact me to continue and expand the conversation.
Convener: Adam King
Convener email: email@example.com
Our working group had great spirit and many ideas. We quickly realized that we could go on with this topic for months and we hope to do so. However, we ended up focusing on the first part of our question. We talked about the concepts and issues behind currencies. We decided to continue today in a session III where we will address more practical issues regarding starting currencies in our community. In this document we will cover some of the major points that were raised. (great big thanks to Meg for taking great notes during the meeting).
Discussion and Recommendations
It is impossible to discuss our failing economy without addressing the monetary system. Money is the primary medium in our society for making decisions on what we do. It is imperative for us top rethink the centralized, scarce, non-democratic, and unfair system that is in place. Local currencies and democratic currencies will insure that WE THE PEOPLE get what WE WANT. Not what THEY apparently want (wars, disparity between rich and poor, people in debtor’s prison, etc..) Go people!
2) Description of our discussion
- What gives money value?
- People think the US dollar has value, although it has no inherent value
- How do we use money — is it working for us (no!)
- How can we take it back — bring it under democratic control?
- How can we keep money within our community & strengthen our local economy
- Our current federal monetary system is unfair, undemocratic, and destroying communities.
- None of us have enough money. Why not? Why is money so scarce?
- Our current monetary system has gotten us this far, however, it is no longer sustainable.
- How can we transition to a new form of money?
- Money can be viewed as a conversation. What are we trying to say?
- What is the difference between positive interest and negative interest (demurrage).
- Different rules lead to different outcomes. For example, demurrage leads to rapid circulation.
- How do the issues of geographical location and proximity play into how our money works
- How do we generate the possibility of more free exchange
- How does it help to think of money as an information system, where the value comes from US and the agreements made between US. Ultimately, can wealth come from anywhere other than ourselves?
- How does the "growth imperative" drive our current economy and how can we use alternative currencies to combat this exponential growth that is not sustainable on a finite planet?
What are some alternative currencies?
- Let system (Michael Linton of Canada, Riegel and the valun system)
- Dollar can be used as a metric, exchange of units, no inflation
- There doesn’t have to be ONE money system: a diversity of monies with overlapping is the way to go!
- Track what we have done for each other and the concept of debt disappears
- Can we expand our notion of wealth
- We have limited ideas of ways to use our money because it’s so scarce
- With our scarce money system, we have mimicked the use of commodities and commodity money. Money does not have to be scarce, it should be when & where it’s needed!
- Wealth is effort in exchange for value.
- Money is a conversation.
- How do you create & manage a conversation for wealth/currency, currency as means for exchange of time & distance, informed consumerism.
- we have to be willing to have this conversation, to address our concerns, as communities to decide what we value, what we want, and how we’re going to activate wealth that is inherent and latent in our community
- How do we stimulate the local economy by raising our consciousness about how we do business?
- Legal tender law: if you owe a debt, you are allowed to pay them with US dollars, however we can transact in an alternate system.
- Money economy is in serious jeopardy (book Limits to Growth), exponential functions are not sustainable in a finite world
Come up with a set of criteria for currency
Educate ourselves about currency (we’re ignorant about our monetary system)
Start a resource list: websites, groups, books to read
Network systems allow us to exchange things in other ways, set up system where we keep track of our exchanges
Talk to people who could help make it happen or start printing it,
Approach local credit unions & local banks
Have conversations, go to senior representatives
Ask if they would you like to print their own money?
Someone is going to do this here, it could be YOU
Now we have the internet:do we need to quantify value anymore, we can communicate qualitative information instead
2. Build in ways of trying these currencies out and connecting about how it’s going. How do we allow these currencies to modify themselves on the fly or at an interval
3. What resources and infrastructure do we need? Money, legal advice, etc?
4. What are the steps for establishing local currency?
5. What is the community that wants to use this currency? (Localness may or may not)
6. How do we develop an economic system that isn’t going to be worth nothing after a crash
7. Will we be able to maintain our currency when the legal currency collapses?
8. How will we set the rules to set a situation of abundance instead of scarcity — one not based on debt.
We decided to treat this session as primarily one of information gathering and idea exchange. We did plan to reconvene is some for or another in the third session to discuss more proactical and implementation oriented issues.
Community Way: design involving businesses, people, & charities - currency
ShareHaven.org: Greater New Haven Time Share
more to come…
Convener: Henry Lowendorf firstname.lastname@example.org
How this topic relates to the main question of the day (whatever that is):
The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan have sucked $445 million from New Haven, even more from the greater New Haven area. The 2010 defense department budget takes $343 million.
All this money could be available for local needs - more teachers, more health care, more head start, more college scholarships, more police and fire fighters, more sustainable energy, more affordable housing, more music and art.
A sustainable New Haven will be far more likely when so much of our resources are focused not on destruction but on the desperate needs of our cities.
Figures on how much the military takes from New Haven come from the national priorities project www.nationalpriorities.org/ .
The growth of military spending and the influence of the military in the U.S. was described in 1961 by outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower. He coined the term "military industrial complex."
In polls a large majority of those in the U.S. want our military out of Iraq, a small majority want our military out of Afghanistan. But most people don't realize that half of all Federal spending is on war and war-related activities. Most people don't realize that the U.S. spends as much on military as the rest of the world combined, and with its NATO allies over 70% of what all countries spend on military.
Surely we are not more secure with all this spending. Surely our city could use the hundreds of millions of dollars for needed projects and needed jobs.
What can we do locally?
1. Attend and speak out at a public hearing at city hall on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010, at 6:00 pm. This hearing is being held by the City of New Haven Peace Commission (a real commission, like zoning) to explore how New Haven is hurt by military spending and how it could prosper were that spending actually creating what we need instead of destroying.
2. Tell your elected representatives in Washington to stop funding the military. As a first step, accept and act on the proposal of Congressman Barney Frank (MA) to cut the military budget by 25%. Call Rosa DeLauro, Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman.
3. Participate in vigils, demonstrations, letter writing, petitions, visits to our elected representatives at all levels, outreach with local peace groups, e.g. Greater New Haven Peace Council email@example.com. Reach out to your neighbors, friends, colleagues - educate what the military budget is doing to us - and urge them to speak out. Participate in the demonstration at the UN on Sunday, May 2, calling to "Disarm Now! For Peace and Human Needs." www.peaceandjustice.org
4. Support social initiatives, green jobs bills and insist that they be paid for by cutting the military budget and transferring savings to things we need.
Session I: 11:00-12:30
Discussion & Recommendations
Groups that help conserve land:
CT Fund for the Environment
American Farm Land
CT Farm Land Trust
American Land Trust
Work Force Alliance
Growing Home Inc. in Chicago, got federal land
Soil testing important
Tim Ciprano - head of New Haven public schools food
Groups interests: East Haddam Community Garden, CSAs, co-housing, open space left alone for wildlife vs. farming, East Haddam Green Committee, WOOF, Town regs, non-permanent structures, Bill Brown and Eli Whitney museum, fertile ground usa (website), how to get kids onto land, Jack Healy - after school, programs in NH, Chatham Sq in Fair Haven, How to expand the menu of options for land owners? Farm vs. open space for wildlife vs. development.
Road Blocks - property values, taxes, town regulations, building regs, ignorance
Refarming schools in NH - Mayor's program, Community Foundation of Grter NH, Promise (city pays for college education). United Way - to get support staff around schools, old or new programs, focus on achievement gaps in NH. Lee Cruise is the charge of funding green spaces and community gardens in NH. Connecting Common Ground students to their neighborhood gardens - this would help get the broader community connected to youth.
Judy - offered to the group free documentation through her photography. "Power of pictures to story."
Soil Testing needed - UConn Ag station
Farmer - useful occupation
Basement of Branford College @ Yale complete Woodworkers shop
Stay in touch thru http://www.gnhcommunity.ning.com/ - non-profit - a place to share info
Motivators of Landowner:
Common Values we share
We get to decide - cultural values
Education of Interdependence
As economy goes down - how do we help relationships
Need each other
Grants for Gardens:
Grass Roots Environmental Fund
Creating a Menu of Options:
Land Use Regulation - subdivide for houses or commercial
Create More Categories
What makes it work legally and politically among neighbors to have town land used for community garden?
Land Use Bill for CT - if land wanted for recreation use, landowner protected from liability
Fall Creek Consulting:
The Healthy Neighborhood- framework for uses, declare a vision
email for convener: firstname.lastname@example.org
I: It is important to consider growing jobs based on what we need (we also considered what those things might be) with a focus on opportunities for local business development in the form of cottage industry and consideration of broader issues of the need for manufacturing. As transportation costs grow goods may become more expensive and without local production we will pay more for our standard of living. We have also lost jobs because of globalization and job exportation; there must be businesses that will meet our needs that are not easily exportable.
II: Our needs center around food and shelter.
A: The foods we eat influence our health and well being. Many people live on prepared food that is quick to fix but not nutrionally balanced.
Local business opportunity: offer to shop, cook, prepare a nutritious meal based upon local food production for people that request it based on trust of the people involved in the same way that one would hire a babysitter to take care of their children for a night out.
Start a cooking school focusing on local food, nutritious eating, food shopping and preparation.
Currently there are businesses that offer coaching, personal fitness training, exercise physiology that could expand to include a focus on health and wellness through food`preparation.
heating/cooling issues, weatherization
local business opportunity: investment in capital equipment and network of workers could do energy audits ($5000 for heat images; $10000 for blower fans to assess leakiness) and provide information to help homeowners make good decisions to make their home use resources more efficiently.
Insulating materials: ceramic paint, new or old technologies, cob buildings. Old homes in New Haven are definitely a challenge to make more energy efficient; any business that could figure ways to do this for a reasonable cost are greatly needed.
Water use: technologies exist for cleaning storm runoff in order to reuse it for home vegetable gardening.
Building demolition: disassemble buildings in order to save materials for reuse instead of demolishing them; Urban Miners and Reclamation on Grand Ave support this idea. There is a good supply of old buildings.
Custom window covers that insulate in summer and winter save money on heating/cooling; do not require special hardware to put up; could be made locally (measured and manufactured locally) as a cottage industry.
C: Surplus materials:
Urban leaves: currently New Haven sends its leaves to West Haven for composting. The city supports a new initiative to plant new trees. We need to compost our own leaves and make the compost available to residents for use- residents now have to purchase our composted leaves from West Haven.
Urban gardening: Gardeners need to be able to test their soil for toxins. Currently residents have to send their samples to the University of CT in Storrs for a fee. We need a local business that can test our soil, tell us what the levels of toxins are and what would those levels mean for growing our own vegetables. People need information about how best to deal with toxins found in their soil samples.
Pragmites: anyone know what to do with these?
Intellectual waste: Workers in Germany contribute to corporate decision making but not here.
D Local manufacturing and or cottage industry.
making pickles canned in glass containers (avoid BPA toxins from cans and plastic).
Sustainable harvest in water authority property converted to crafts, furniture, other?
Could car generators be refurbished to be used for renewable energy?
We may not be able to get things in the future due to globalization and some things are too big and heavy to be made in other countries such as sewer covers.
ACTION ITEMS: Fred asks if we should make this a new group. Our focus was on thinking of cottage industries that we could do now with little capital investment. Would people be interested in trying to start new businesses based on some of these ideas? Drew mentioned that he currently works in personal training and would like to expand into the health and wellness arena through healthy eating. Tony is currently exploring home weatherization/energy audit on a personal level but has not yet decided about whether to offer it as a business. Jen has education in chemistry, is definitely interested in a business that would help a local person get started in healthy eating through gardening. Future action to be determined. Lynne has made window coverings that insulate in summer and winter and really help keep the temperature moderate inside.
List of contacts relevant to the above. To be determined.
This is the body of the report
This is the body of the report
1. A brief note on how the topic relates to the main question for the day
2. A description of your discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations
3. Action items (next steps)
4. Links or contacts relevant to the above