Providing tools and support to community members to create local initiatives that build local capacity and leadership, increase environmental sustainability, and foster greater livability and vitality.
Many communities are highly vulnerable to disruptions in the national and global economies. Climate change, rising energy prices, water shortages, and other looming challenges can spell the difference between comfort and crisis, especially in areas that depend heavily on outside resources, goods, services, and funding.
An important way to reduce your community's vulnerability is by promoting local self-reliance. Localizing the economy is one important step, and can help to ensure that as much money as possible remains in the local economy rather than leaking out. Another opportunity is community banking, which can reduce your community's vulnerability to Wall Street and an unpredictable global economy. Check out the Institute for Local Self Reliance for news and advice on how you can encourage the growth of "humanly-scaled" projects in your community.
Another way to promote self-reliance is by encouraging community members to learn new, useful skills. Check out the pages on "Promoting Self Reliance" in our Beyond Consumerism program. To take it to a community scale, host a "reskilling" festival with workshops and how-tos.
Coming Together for Common Security
Sometimes, the best way to be self-reliant is with the support of one's community. With that in mind, several national organizations have fostered the development of Common Security Clubs, or small local groups that could come together to "prepare for economic change."
Together, these groups strive toward three goals:
To learn together, including some of the root causes of growing economic security today and how to deal with our personal situations, like how to get out of debt.
To provide mutual aid, including helping one's neighbor and receiving help in making ends meet, getting out of debt, and how to work together to increase economic security at the community level.
To help change society. Along with acting locally, these clubs ask global questions and encourage participants to think and act globally, not just locally.
In practice, Common Security Clubs quickly find ways to help each other, exchanging skills, goods, time, and aiding each other in big and small ways. And through this process, feelings of security can increase along with political engagement.