Monday, 2 February 2009

What Can We Do To Rebuild Our World?

by Melinda Briana Epler
One Green Generation

I don't know about you, but I have been moving between feeling inspired by new leadership and new possibilities, and feeling depressed by economic, agricultural, and climate news.

Our system has failed us.  Not completely, but mostly.  What a dreadful thought!  Though rather than spend my energy down and out and feeling utterly powerless, I'd like to put my energy into make that system whole again.  But how do we do that??

We reinvent our system.  Large corporations, large banks, and large economies have a great deal of control over our lives.  So let's remove that control.  Let's focus on small businesses, small banks and credit unions, and small economies.  

You and I can make a big difference.  When we put our money into a large bank, we are one in one billion customers. That bank doesn't care about us, clearly, because we are quite insignificant in the scheme of things. But if we put our money into a small, local bank, we are one in just 1,000 or 10,000 customers. You better believe that business cares about us and our needs!  Suddenly we have some power and control over how that bank does it's business.  We may even know our tellers, or the owner of the bank!

From all that I've heard about how banks are faring during the credit crunch, it seems that local and small, regional banks and credit unions are generally surviving this crisis.  It is the big, over-extended banks that don't care about each of us - and who simply want to grow and make more money - who are finding it tough to survive.  Most of the local businesses that cater to local needs are doing ok, too.

We can rebuild our world by living locally and strengthening our local communities.

When I buy groceries and produce from local farmers and producers, I can support systems that I believe in.  I can be a voice in that system, and truly help make a difference.  
  • I can actively take part in sustainable agriculture – which is better for me, the farmers, and our oil supply (from pesticide use).
  • I can keep my money within my local economy to make it stronger and more powerful.
  • I can reduce my carbon footprint and help stave off irreparable climate change – because my produce isn't packaged and doesn't have to travel across the world from a pesticide-driven farm!
We have a broken system.  Our many world leaders, including Obama, will be working to help save that system from the top down (this a top-heavy inverted pyramid we're working with).  But we - you and I - must work to save our system from the bottom up.  We can make the base of that pyramid much bigger and stronger!!  

Let's start today. How can you can support your local economy right now.  Will you change the way you buy groceries?  Will you rethink your eating out?  Will you seek out a local credit union or bank, a place where you can feel good about keeping your money?  If you have a bit of extra time, money, produce from the garden, or things you could give away, will you take it to a local organization that could use it?  Please write your plans down - anywhere - right now.

The foundation of our world lies in our local communities. It is there, first and foremost, where we must change the system and make it work for us. 

We have the power to rebuild the world. Let's do it!

Image by phoenixdiaz on Flickr.