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
Load Comments
Trending Today
M.I.A. Just Dropped a Killer New Track in Solidarity with Migrants
5 min · 6,139 views today · Borders is dedicate to her uncle Bala, in a tweet posted this morning M.I.A wrote "One of the first Tamil migrants to come to the UK in the '60s who went [on] to inspire so...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 5,628 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Australian Comedian Perfectly Sums Up Why Other Countries Think US Gun Laws Are Crazy
14 min · 5,028 views today · At least 10 people were killed and 20 others injured when a shooter opened fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon Thursday, October 1. According to Douglas...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 4,421 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...
John Pilger on Paris, ISIS and Media Propaganda
18 min · 4,333 views today · Afshin goes underground with one of NATO imperialism's greatest chroniclers, John Pilger. The award-winning journalist and filmmaker tells us how Washington, London and Paris...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,204 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Confessions of a Walmart Hitman
11 min · 2,198 views today · Former Walmart executive recounts how he would watch Associates sit in the break room during their lunch hour without eating because they couldn't afford food. Walmart banned...
600 Posters, 80 Artists - Brandalism Crew Take Over Billboards Ahead of Paris Climate Talks
2 min · 1,659 views today · Two days before the launch of the UN COP21 Climate Conference, 600 posters were installed in outdoor media spaces across Paris. 82 Artists from 19 different countries made...
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 1,199 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 1,182 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
The Image Hollywood Created of Africa
3 min · 1,169 views today · After viewing Mama Hope's video, "Alex Presents Commando," Gabriel, Benard, Brian and Derrik (the Kenyan men in this video) told us they wanted to make one that pokes fun at...
John Pilger: "There Is No War On Terror... There Is A War OF Terror."
3 min · 997 views today · John Pilger speaks frankly about the "War on Terror," saying that no such thing exists. "There is a war OF terror," he says, and it is primarily state-sponsored terror, and...
We Created Islamic Extremism: Those Blaming Islam for ISIS Would Have Supported Osama Bin Laden in the '80s
Ben Norton · 912 views today · Jingoists conveniently forget the West's Cold War strategy was to arm the Islamic extremists that became al-Qaida
The Century of the Self (2002)
230 min · 882 views today · The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in...
Where Is Our Jeremy Corbyn?
Chris Hedges · 836 views today · The politics of Jeremy Corbyn, elected by a landslide Saturday to lead Britain’s Labour Party after its defeat at the polls last May, are part of the global revolt against...
In 5 Minutes, This Student Destroys Our Double Standards For Men And Women
Tyler Kingkade · 758 views today · Chaz Smith has a problem with boys being taught to play aggressively while girls are taught to "play it safe." Smith, a 20-year-old cinema studies major at the University of...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 609 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 526 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Plutocracy: Political Repression In The U.S.A. (2015)
109 min · 507 views today · Plutocracy is the first documentary to comprehensively examine early American history through the lens of class. A multi-part series by filmmaker Scott Noble, Part I focuses on...
A Brief History of European Colonization in Africa
4 min · 498 views today · This clip, narrated by Kevin Spacey, comes from the feature documentary Uganda Rising. It shows how Africa was carved up by European colonial forces, using divide and rule...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?