10 Practical Tools for Building a Resilient Local Economy
By Environmental Change Makers / envirochangemakers.org

The economy is changing. Dramatically. Coping with these changes means changing the way we do things. The path of the future involves root level, radical changes. Things we have always considered “normal” won’t work anymore. We must think LOCALLY, and act now to begin growing a resilient local economy.

Understand the full extent of the problem.
We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg: Prepare for hard times to get worse. ? Any plans we make today –from business plans to individual career/college/retirement planning, to government policies – must presume they will unfold in an environment of ongoing, long-term economic downturn. Otherwise, they are not viable plans. ? We’re facing (simultaneously) the growing costs of climate change, the end of the oil age, plus there are fatal flaws in the original design of our economy. Eternal “growth” is impossible on a finite planet. We are living in a contracting economy and life as we once knew it is changing forever. ? We can no longer “go it alone.” The crises we face demand that we work together with others in ways we never have done before.

1) Build resilience.
As the conventional economy continues to crumble, we the people at the grassroots still need to keep a roof over our head, feed our children, and maintain a relative degree of peace within our local community. In order to keep things going, we are going to have to use different economic tools than we have in the past: tools to facilitate transactions between people. ? Develop practical life skills which will get you through challenges. Grow food. Now. Everywhere you can. ? Relocalize: shift to lifestyles which require far less transportation. Powerdown: decrease your energy dependence overall. ? Develop a supportive community circle around you to fall back on emotionally or more tangibly. Develop Inner Resilience – the character and spiritual base to remain flexible and feel good about it.

2) Expect Contraction
Conserve your cash. Make the most of the U.S. dollars you do have. Use budgets and learn to get by on much less. Decrease your outflow, don’t merely seek to increase your inflow. ? Debt, leveraging, and interest are great tools in a growing economy, but they doom you to faster decline in a contracting economy. Systematically begin to reduce/renegotiate/eliminate all your debts and don’t take on more. (Don’t vote for more government debt, a.k.a. bond measures, either) ? An economy is like an ecosystem: it has many interrelated parts. We need to build much greater resilience into each of the parts – local business, currency, investment, measurement systems – in anticipation of what lies ahead.

3) Rethink the idea of “Jobs.”
The role of “employee” of a giant facility controlled by corporate executives is part of the fading past. Even “green jobs” and “stimulus” are tied into the fatally-flawed eternal growth presumption. ? As the crises unfold further, making a living is much more likely to be as “proprietor,” rather than employee.

4) Support Resilience-Building businesses and industries.
What kinds of businesses will your immediate local neighborhood need to survive? Which businesses will provide the basics like locallysourced food and water, basic clothing? Particularly as we face limited petroleum and with local supply chains? These are the “business opportunities” of the new future. ? As you create your resilience-oriented business, plan to accept multiple currencies (#5). Work with local investment vehicles (#7). Evaluate success using alternative metrics. Reduce your volume expectations in keeping with planetary limits (biocapacity). ? Meanwhile, support the future with your voting dollar. BUY LOCAL. Every dollar you spend at a non-resilient business or industry (chain store) is a vote against local survival.

5) Develop multiple financial vehicles.
We cannot count on the U.S. dollar alone. With the looming possibility of severe inflation or deflation, at a local level we need to have a wide variety of alternative ways to conduct economic transactions. ? Try sophisticated barter systems: Set up or join time banks or LETSystems (Local Economic Trading Systems). Trade goods and services with local neighbors, without the need for U.S. dollar cash. Several time banks are active and operating in various parts of L.A. ? Practice sharing: Set up lots of sharing networks, like carpools, home repair groups, garden sharing, group purchasing, tool libraries, gift cultures and more. Do it now, while times are relatively good, so these networks will be in place when we really need them.

6) Community-based Investment
Got investment funds? Retirement funds? Retain them within your local community. Put them to work locally on resilience-building projects within your community – projects which will help your local community cope with peak oil and economic downturn. ? In the new paradigm, security, peace, and safety are so dear that they are worth “investing” in, with hopes to preserve them. Rather than seeking “rate of return,” better shop for local investments which might help secure our collective future. ? In Totnes, UK, people are pooling their investment funds to build community-owned wind farms. In Marin, California, they pooled their funds to buy options on farmland to keep it out of the hands of suburban developers. In Washington state, L.I.O.N. investors seed local sustainable businesses.

7) Demand new economic indicators.
Economic Indicators are our measuring sticks. They’re the way we determine whether (or how far) we’re moving in the right direction. Our old, outdated set of economic indicators --which includes things like GDP, bottom-line, and sales volume-- measures economic growth and profit, period. ? For humanity to survive in the new future, we must measure the right stuff. Ask businesses about their scorecard on the things you care about: how they’re cutting carbon emissions; how much of their supplies are locally-sourced, whether they buy from other local businesses and hire local workers. Then vote with your buying dollar to support vendors who give you good answers.

8) Redefine “Success.”
Our conventional economic system is broken because it defined “success” so narrowly, exclusively in terms of dollars, profit and growth. That lone measurement has taken us far off track with respect to environment, social ills, and quality of life. ? “The economy” is the sum total of transactions between people. And people’s lives and experiences are about much more than just dollars, profit and growth.

9) Strive for a Socially-Just Economics
We cannot forget that our local communities are not islands. Particularly within our cities, we are kidding ourselves if we think we can help prepare or “transition” only our own household or neighborhood without regard to helping nearby neighborhoods. Reach out to others and share the message in this document. Help others get prepared!

10) Help build the safety net.
Viewed separately, any lone one of these Practical Tools may feel flimsy and insufficient. Assembled as a unified whole, the Practical Tools create a resilient safety net. As the current economic structures wobble and crumble, the safety net is there to catch us -- to keep our local communities functional at a very basic level. ? Look for signs of a safety net in your neighborhood. As you discover small portions of it, help build these, shift your transactions to support them, and make these the way you do things within your social circle. As the conventional economy crumbles, a resilient local safety net is your best hope for maintaining peace. These are excerpts from “Economic Resilience” by Joanne Poyourow. The expanded version of “Economic Resilience” can be read free online at http://EconomicResilience.blogspot.com/ Please share it with your friends, and take action to make our Safety Net a reality.

4.0 ·
2
What's Next
Trending Today
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 27,266 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
Brené Brown on How to Reckon with Emotion and Change Your Narrative
Brené Brown · 20,800 views today · The most powerful stories may be the ones we tell ourselves, says Brené Brown. But beware—they're usually fiction.
North Dakota Gov Cuts Water Supply to Native Americans as DAPL Protest Swells in Number and Spirit
Lauren McCauley · 16,097 views today · Thousands join protest camp as supporters are holding a rally in Washington D.C. on Wednesday outside of Army Corps hearing
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 12,146 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Willie Nelson Has Some Advice for You: Don't Be An A**hole
2 min · 8,133 views today · Since childhood, Willie Nelson has been living by the golden rule. In this episode of "Hey Willie," the superstar talks about applying the golden rule to his everyday life and...
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 5,392 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 5,314 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
This Off Grid Handmade Island is One of the Most Amazing Homes in the World
3 min · 3,842 views today · Floating off the coast of Vancouver Island, a 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town, is a sustainable island fortress complete with a dance floor, art gallery and garden. For...
Mesmerising Video of Tiled Roof Hut Built Entirely from Materials Found in the Forest
14 min · 3,725 views today · I built this tiled roof hut in the bush using only primitive tools and materials. The tools I used have been made in my previous videos. It should be pointed out that I do not...
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 3,648 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
Time for Degrowth: to Save the Planet, We Must Shrink the Economy
Jason Hickel · 3,273 views today · What is so refreshing about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is that they recognise the inherent tension between economic development and the ecology of our planet. Or so...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 3,203 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Donald Trump Supporters Given an Ideology Test. Spoiler Alert... They Fail
4 min · 2,996 views today · After Donald Trump proposes an ideology test for potential Muslim immigrants, Jordan Klepper quizzes the presidential hopeful's supporters. 
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,857 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
How Stress Affects Your Brain
4 min · 2,406 views today · Stress isn’t always a bad thing; it can be handy for a burst of extra energy and focus, like when you’re playing a competitive sport or have to speak in public. But when it’s...
If You Want to Say Thank You, Don't Say Sorry - And 6 Other Examples of Beautiful Communication
Yao Xiao · 2,281 views today · Appreciate others for what they have done, don't apologise for simply existing.
Mental Health and Masculinity - A Personal Perspective
8 min · 1,833 views today · 'I think people make quite positive assumptions about my mental health, because I'm outwardly very energetic, very enthusiastic. Actually, when I've been at my most energetic...
30 Days of White Privilege
Jonah Smith-Bartlett · 1,664 views today · The straw that broke the camel’s back was a New York Times comment section. “There is no such thing as white privilege. It’s something the liberal media created. Black people...
Powers of Ten - Fantastic Film from 1970s Takes us on Journey from Macro to Micro
9 min · 1,600 views today · Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every...
Workers' Control in the Crisis of Capitalism
Dario Azzellini · 1,337 views today · Recent years have seen a proliferation of recuperated workplaces around the globe, laying the foundations for a truly democratic workers’ economy.
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
10 Practical Tools for Building a Resilient Local Economy