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Why I Never Say ‘Compromise’ When Facilitating

As a consensus facilitator, I am constantly trying to make it easier for everyone to contribute what they have that's relevant to the conversation. Then I do what I can to establish how those contributions are rooted in a reasonable interpretation of group values (and therefore worthy of taking into account), as distinct from personal preferences. About this time, I generally point out that the right to offer one's views and have them be taken seriously is tied at the hip to the responsibility to treat respectfully the views that differ from theirs and have been similarly vetted. Absent this framing, it's relatively common for groups to get bogged down with people who are inspired to defend their viewpoints because they are tied to common values—accusing those with disparate views of being selfish and not thinking of what's best for the group.

Cooperative Ways To Weather The Silver Tsunami

Sierra Allen, 21-year-old barista, had just ended their shift at Baltimore’s Common Ground Cafe on July 2, 2023, when a co-worker texted them the shocking news: Owner Michael Krupp was unceremoniously closing the beloved coffee shop for good and laying off its 30 employees, effective immediately. “It was a moment of shock. I was in a grocery store, and I burst into tears, because no one knew what was going on.” Allen was devastated by the news that they were losing a job that provided stable employment and a supportive community. The layoffs left them struggling financially—to get unemployment and to keep up with mounting bills.

Thoughts On Cultural Appropriation

One conclusion that I can draw from this all this is that my goal of building a strong, localized, place-based community is not just economically intelligent, nor even an ecological necessity — it is the only path to a just system that will not allow for rubbishy things like holidays for colonizers and cultural theft. Living local is a moral imperative. I know many people don’t like that word. Morals are quite passé because we moderns are loathe to admit that we live in community with others — whether we want to or not — and morals are the limits we impose on the self so that we do not harm our communities.

The Beauty, Challenges, And Potential Of Living In Ecocommunity

In 2007, while studying sustainable communities for a chapter on the subject for State of the World 2008, I had the chance to visit several ecovillages. But none stood out like the Los Angeles Eco-Village. Surrounded by car-centric city sprawl, it was a tiny little oasis of green—literally and figuratively, with it being populated by many environmental activists. It was inspiring to meet them and learn about their efforts, and I daydreamed about what would happen if there was a little urban ecovillage in every city incubating citywide change, catalyzing human-centric infrastructure changes, teaching permaculture techniques, and so on.

We Did Not Evolve To Be Selfish; We Can Choose How Our Cultures Evolve

Ours is a critical time in the cultural evolution of humanity that is likely to shape our long-term future, or lack thereof. As a species, we have been on a self-destructive trajectory that has led us to our current polycrisis of unlivable economic conditions, worsening climate disasters, and the potential of an unspeakably devastating war, as the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2023 puts it. The changes we all need to make, if we want subsequent generations to enjoy life, will most likely require big shifts toward improving connections with each other and the planet, and away from extraction and individualism.

Activating The Unrealised Potential Of Care Networks

Most care services use a ‘Deliveroo’ service model: Individual care workers deliver care as if it were a package to another individual's home. These care workers have no connection to that person's wider support network, their neighbourhood or community. They also have no freedom or control over their day-to-day work. This amounts to a service that provides care independently from the support networks embedded in people’s local communities; any collaboration with these support networks in service delivery is generally incidental to a services organisation rather than a direct consequence of it. This is OK if you really are delivering a package, as all you need is a postcode; it is not OK when you are providing care.

Housing Can Help Cultivate Connections

Oakland, California - Shortly after the opening of Tassafaronga Village, a renewed 7.5-acre community in East Oakland, the Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project put down roots in the adjacent park. Founder Kelly Carlisle had been looking for a place to start a community farm and was inspired by the bright new neighborhood. After returning to East Oakland, where she’d spent some of her youth, as an adult, she was on the lookout for a place to make a local impact and seized on the opportunity presented by the new housing. Her nonprofit farm project – named after the Latin phrase for “actions, not words” – set out to invest in youth through urban agriculture, creating a secure and creative outdoor space for East Oakland’s youth and families.

The Neighborhood’s Communication Department

Minneapolis, MN — “We’re trying to be the neighborhood’s communication department,” said Duaba, Confluence Studio’s co-founder, while standing inside a shipping container-turned print shop in South Minneapolis. “We worked with neighbors,” said Confluence’s other co-founder Sam, “to collaboratively construct this idea of what a newsroom for neighbors could be.” The container was initially gifted to Confluence Studio a few years ago. Duaba and Sam, who already had a print shop, worked with the community to build the Autonomous Mobile Media Unit, or the AMMU, inside the container.

‘Pop-Up Care Villages’ Bring Joy To Community-Led Homelessness Services

A celebration with guests, volunteers and partners sharing conversation, hugs, love and laughter isn’t what most people associate with programs for unhoused people. But joyous gatherings may be the secret to creating trusted relationships that restore dignity, rekindle optimism and fuel a sense of opportunity for community members experiencing homelessness. Local government agencies years ago recognized the need to bring services for unhoused people together in a central location. One solution in use across the country is periodic Homeless Connect events, like the Los Angeles County series organized by council members.

From Bayanihan To Talkoot

For all of human history, societies have depended on communal work to sustain themselves into the (often unpredictable) future. However, at a certain point, that all changed. Market forces took over, and communal projects ceased to have the same significance. The individual took precedence over the community, and large public works became the purview of burgeoning states. The classic North American example of such communal work projects is the Amish tradition of barn-raising, wherein the community gathers to help a neighbor erect their barn without remuneration or any expectation of reciprocity because, as we’ll see, these acts of generosity benefited everyone, not just the barn owner.

The London Transition Gathering: Four Days Of Transition Delights

Our four day immersion in London Transition activities started on Thursday evening at the Doreen Bazell Hall, a Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) Hall on the Goldington Estate in Camden, to visit one of the weekly meetings of Camden Think and Do, an initiative created between Camden Council and Transition Kentish Town. Think and Do happens here every Thursday, offering a free lunch as well as workshops on a range of things, from repairing clothes, to energy efficiency advice, to advice about the cost of living and benefits, and much more besides. We spent the afternoon with the community members there, meeting Maria and Tuli who coordinate the Think and Do sessions, and Halima who runs Sharing Space Eats from there, a social enterprise providing catering to local businesses.

Community Radio And Social Power

If we are facing a crisis of civilization and therefore need a civilizational transformation, a total paradigm shift, then everything that decentralizes, localizes, makes society horizontal and empowers must be disseminated and celebrated. We are talking about amplifying social power in the face of economic (capital) and political (State) powers, since social power is the only way to overcome the tremendous social and environmental crisis that humanity is suffering today. Participatory communication is one of the phenomena that has grown exponentially not only in Mexico, but in much of the world. If the Internet has facilitated the spread of all kinds of social networks, then the appearance of community radio has meant the creation of an alternative means of communication against the monopoly of public and commercial radio.

Creating Trust Through Money

In January 2018, a group of artists and cultural workers based in Brussels—including us, Tiziana Penna and Anna Rispoli—committed to living from the same bank account. All income we receive through wages, unemployment, and other benefits is wired into this shared account. From there, we don’t withdraw the same amount we wired in, but whatever amount each one of us feels we need to live our life, including money for mortgage payments, rent, utilities, childcare, monthly savings, groceries, and clothes, but also for holidays, hobbies, going out, and all the unnecessary consumerism one is drawn to.

Worker Ownership Builds Community Wealth And A More Just Society

A recent help-wanted ad for a laundry worker in Cleveland contained some unusual language, asking prospective candidates: “Have you ever wanted to work for a company that is 90 percent employee-owned? What about a company that offers a program to help you become a homeowner?” The ad went on to identify Evergreen Cooperative Laundry as the only employee-owned commercial laundry firm in the country, citing a commitment to building the wealth and careers of its employees. Founded in Cleveland in 2009, Evergreen laundry lies at the heart of a movement that has now spread around the world. This attention to community wealth building is providing a 21st century model for Gandhi’s “constructive program,” which — along with nonviolent direct action — powered his overall campaign to overcome the political and economic oppression of colonialism.

Allied Community And Co-operative Shared Services (ACCESS)

So basically, ACCESS is a shared services platform and it provides a collective of professional services that are aligned with co-ops, nonprofits and other social purpose organizations. And we just have been working on this for the last year and a half. And the kind of the backstory to ACCESS — I was approached by the ED at ACCA, the Alberta Community Cooperative Association, and I was asked if I would be interested in writing a grant. And I think I was a month into the job there, and I wasn't quite sure what I knew about co-ops and, you know, even writing a grant application at that level. But once I saw what the grant was for, I was like, "You know what? I actually really like the whole heart behind this." Having worked in a nonprofit setting for many years, I think capacity — stretching employees beyond their capacity, expecting them to do maybe a little bit more than what they were trained for, or where their passions lie — that was always a piece that I always kind of argued about at the leadership table, or advocated for, like, "why is our bookkeeper writing a newsletter?
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