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Page added on March 26, 2015

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New England New Economy Transition

New England New Economy Transition thumbnail

On Saturday, March 21, fifty organizers and activists from all six New England states (plus one intrepid Californian) gathered in Keene NH to discuss resilience, Transition, and the future we want to create. It was an amazing chance to realize that we are not alone in this work!

After introductions, Cheryl King Fisher kicked us off with the Story of the New England Resilience & Transition (NERT) Network, which is now on its fifth regional gathering. We then heard three local stories. First up was Greg Sankey from Revive the Roots in Smithfield RI. Greg and three of his friends live in an old farm house that they are renovating into a community center and farm. Scott Vlaun of the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy in Norway ME is “helping people overcome their paranoia and fear so they can do cool stuff,” and Lisa Conlan’s New Hope Time Exchange in RI is serving low-income families and connecting with all kinds of amazing community groups. We also heard from two “kindred networks”: Food Solutions New England and the Post Carbon Institute. Folks then had a chance to pair up and share their own stories with each other.

Greg Sankey

Greg Sankey

We then we looked for themes in all these great stories. We noted that activities that are both fun and productive (“fun-ductive”) are the best way to get people involved. And, we agreed that you can’t force change, but that luckily many people are more open to new ideas than we might expect. We reminded each other to be persistent (but not forceful!), to actively listen, and to never let fear stand in the way.

To wrap up the morning, we looked at the in-progress map being created by Cheryl, Conrad Willeman & Elizabeth Marcus, which aspires to show all the resilience-related work happening here in New England (see below).

We then moved into lunchtime, with yummy food provided by Keene’s Community Kitchen. Folks then got to choose from six different break-out topics: Building a Regional Communications Network, Food Solutions for New England, Inner Resilience, Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming, Skills for Building Equity, and Time Banking. The equity break-out group circulated some excellent resources after the event – check them out here.

MapAfter break-outs, we moved into Part II: Where We Are Now: Network Formation, facilitated by Lisa Fernandes. Lisa asked us to think about vibrant networks we are familiar with, and we brainstormed their characteristics, such as: clear identity, results, appropriate organizational structure, resources, transparency, trust, and relationships. Lisa reminded us that networks are made up of many one-to-one relationships between people, and thrive on connectivity (check out the slides here).

Importantly, a network must have three components: process, results, and relationships. “So whatever else we are doing, we had better also be building trust-based relationships,” she reminded us.

Lisa then asked people to brainstorm how the ROCkers could support NERT to move us forward. Lots of great thoughts poured in, including: developing an online resource so we can share best practices and lessons learned (one is in the works here!), continuing with the mapping project, connecting local groups to each other to provide one-to-one support, and providing more opportunities for skills-building, especially around anti-oppression work. There was also a call to develop a coherent story and identity for the network, so that we can “transform our collective efforts into a broad regional identity.”

Brooke

We addressed this need in Part III: Where We’re Going: Our Common Story, facilitated by Charis Boke. Here we focused on expressing our Common Story, or our Common Identity. In two lines facing each other, we iterated different answers to the prompt: “What are you doing in the world? What do you hope to become?” Folks then noted the common threads in these stories. A small group of folks is taking this input forward and writing a version of our Common Story.

Finally, to conclude we sang a rousing version of “Row Row Row Your Boat,” with various creative lyrics interspersed throughout (“If you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream!). We left energized and inspired, brimming with the knowledge that we are not alone in this work.

See the full notes from the day here.

Big thanks again to Katy Locke and Transition Keene Advocates for hosting us!

New England New Economy Transition



12 Comments on "New England New Economy Transition"

  1. Makati1 on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 8:00 am 

    What? The last song was not “Kumbaya…”? LOL

    Well, good for them. At least they are trying.

  2. paulo1 on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 9:42 am 

    As soon as I read, ” Folks then got to choose from six different break-out topics:”

    I knew then this was a feel good exercise run by ___________ (my first guess would be teachers unable to handle working in the ‘school system’) and totally out of touch.

    Yes, they are trying. But when TSHTF, transition will happen naturally and out of desperation and necessity. Until then, this is just playing at it. Folks would be better off developing their skill sets and getting out of debt. Debt vanquishing #1 priority.

    I apologize for my offensive remarks to those who love workshops like these. As you can see, I don’t and would never attend one having been required to in school venues in another life.

  3. Davy on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 10:02 am 

    Paulo, I hate workshops and conferences. When I was in the family business 12 years ago I had to go to them. At that time they had the goofy numb-nut stuff coming out of the management training sector. I remember one situation where we had to fall backwards and be caught by a group to show trust and teamwork. In our case one big guy was dropped and suffered a bloody nose. He should have sued the bastards for being an example of stupid.

    I do think this activity in the article is better than poor lifestyles and attitudes that abound in our BAUtopian society. How is running a bass boat 2 hours in a huge pick-em-up-truck to a lake with a weekend of running around a lake in a $30K boat with 200hp motor catching and releasing fish helpful to the future of a descending BAU? It ain’t.

    I would just ask these folks in the article to be honest with what is ahead. What is ahead is pain, suffering, and likely death. The BAU we need to transition out of BAU will decay leaving us helpless in many cases. The problem is many of these folks have no clue and no understanding of the collapse ahead. All that hopium will be crashed and burned at the brick wall when the BAUwreck happens.

  4. ghung on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 10:08 am 

    Going to the original article and looking at the pictures is fun; largely a bunch of mostly gray-haired baby-boomers, kind of like the ones who frequent these PO/doomer boards: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7623/16722263410_d837540536_b.jpg , although if you browse the photos, there are a few pre-middle aged folks involved. Must be neo-hippies or something 😉

  5. lawfish1964 on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 10:21 am 

    Haha, Makati! My thoughts exactly. This article just throws around touchy-feely hippie nice words and doesn’t come to any meaningful conclusion. Sounds like a day of pre-school to me.

  6. GregT on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 10:50 am 

    “Going to the original article and looking at the pictures is fun”

    And strange at the same time. I mean look at those people. They are actually talking to each other. No cellphones, no social media, only primitive human interactions.

    Those people are clearly out of touch with reality. 🙂

  7. Revi on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 10:54 am 

    We have a small transition group, but I have to say that the transition movement is a great idea, but it isn’t catching on as fast as I would like.

  8. Plantagenet on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 11:01 am 

    Its easy to make fun of transition group for being greying boomers, but at least they are taking steps to transition off oil.

  9. Aspera on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 1:31 pm 

    I looked through the pictures that Ghung mentioned. There seemed like more than just a few non-greys.

    But this is an issue we might be able to handle using Erickson’s notion of generativity. If you get old, have time on your hands, the garden is in, pantry stocked, etc… what are you supposed to do with your time?

    Erikson suggested generativity as the struggle against stagnation that consumes _some_ people in late adulthood. It’s about guiding the next generation.

    Under a resource descent scenario it might be about helping younger folks to learn how to respond better than they otherwise would.

  10. GregT on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 1:43 pm 

    “There seemed like more than just a few non-greys.”

    Amazing what hair colouring can do! 🙂

  11. Makati1 on Thu, 26th Mar 2015 6:38 pm 

    Ghung, GregT, maybe the older generation is not attached to the I-toys as tight as the under 40s? We can actually put down our cell phones or I-pads and have a face to face conversation. We can enjoy a live presentation without all the CGI background noise to keep our attention.

    Aspera, yes, we older people have spare time to do some of the things we want to do without feeling guilty about it. I spent 28 years raising a family with little time for myself or my interests. Now I can take all the time I want as my spare time far exceeds my required maintenance time. I just lost another uncle at age 89. Seems I might have another 18-20+ years to enjoy doing whatever I want. Good thing I enjoy gardening and animals.

  12. dubya on Fri, 27th Mar 2015 12:01 am 

    It may be all a feel good exercise, but there is something to be said for making and having a community of neighbours who you trust. I think I can wrangle up a couple of dozen people who are competent with rifles and bows (don’t laugh, they can kill a deer in a herd & the others don’t even notice – that’s an allegory) to keep watch on our street, and I share food off our farm with all of them. One person hasn’t got a chance.

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