A Response to “Pathways to Community Collapse: Can We Intervene?”

April 12, 2009 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment


This is my response to Kathy McMahon, Psy.D.’s excellent article, “Pathways to Community Collapse: Can We Intervene?


My adventures in helping to fortify resiliency mechanisms in communities have been eye-opening.

In Portland, we have successfully deployed a community system with Bright Neighbor that augments the modern communications methods used by people: Facebook, Twitter, mobile devices, laptops and desktops.

We have truly become wired into a constant buzz-buzz-buzz about who is doing what. The government doesn’t need laws to institute Big Brother’s playbook, we have done it for them. People want everyone to know what they are doing, all the time.

If there ever were a concentrated effort to overthrow the capitalist system as it stands, everyone would know about it because if it’s cool, it grows and it spreads. Right now, while everyone is so upset about the economy, we still go about our days tweeting and Facebooking about whatever we decide to publish.

Because community has now moved online, and it knows no geography for communications, but it is relevant when it comes to immediate real world needs.

If we need something, we go to the store and get it. Or we ask a friend, or a family member. And we get what we need. Now, we have lots of ways to track ourselves, sell things to one another, and everyone knows we are all in this together.

Whether you are a kid in Tibet, or a spoiled American brat, we all know that we need to change.

We need to stop valuing nuclear weapons as monetary policy checks and balances. Just alone, the cost of all the Air Force plane crashes of the last year could help install enough organic gardens in America to feed every person. The answers are very simple to solve our many crisis situations.

Until, however, that we either make it mandatory or offer incentives for all citizens to go through gardening training courses, we are not serious about solving our greatest problems.

I suggest that the leaders of governments around the world come to gether for a G20 like meeting focused only on boosting global support for instantly focusing all global efforts on soil restoration, water-harvesting mechanisms for both cities and rural towns, as well as local commerce systems based on time-banking and b2b/b2c/c2b/c2c trade.

Business to business: All businesses source locally for their raw materials within a 300 mile radius.

Business to Consumer: Support local entrepreneurs starting up soil farming, vermicomposting, tilapia farming, urban chicken, or other micro-farming and permaculture based businesses. Give them easy access to loans to start their business, and create a standard for local permaculture guidelines that allow us to reverse engineer bad 1950’s era home policies. We must not only encourage, but give incentives to do things like give up your dryer for a clothes line, or converting your lawn into a micro-farm.

Micro-farmers can specialize in their lawns and grow local organic produce to feed micro-livestock. This creates a fruit/vegetable/meat source for city dwellers, while supporting local food commerce. Add in materials providers such as soil makers, vermicomposters, and other positive-impact businesses, and you have a recipe for reversing capitalism to do good for the planet while still making a profit. This can be achieved by home owners becoming lawn farmers, as we have always said over at our blog, Lawns to Gardens. People will eventually go so far as to harness human poop as a raw material and turn it into a profitable soil-building enterprise.

Consumer to Consumer: This has been revolutionized by social media. Whether it is two moms connecting to share a newborn’s car seat, or neighbors trading food, skills, firewood – you name it, it is happening in Portland. Bright Neighbor has created an alternative-economy way of thinking and living supported at the government, community, business, and faith-group levels.

These 4-pillars of society are what hold communities together. As the monetary system continues to crumple, we must focus our efforts on connecting around our common agreements, namely food. At the local level, all other arguments can be resolved without violence as long as their is access to food, water, and shelter.

People will always argue over possessions, including ownership of one another. Whether this relationship is economic, erotic, or plutonic – it comes down to each human’s own way they go about the preservation of their life, living standards, and hope for more before they die.

We all die in the end, so I say let’s party and have a great time while we fix this place up and leave it in the best shape we can for the next set of kids that are going to pop out. Religion or not, we should all work together to preserve our entire species, as well as our neighbors in the animal, plant, and insect kingdoms.

– Randy White / Bright Neighbor


Entry filed under: Article Reviews, Bright Neighbor, Global Climate Change, Lawn Farming, Trends. Tags: .

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