“The material out of which we shall build a new world is in us, in our minds, in our memory of things past, in our hopes for the future. We are the source. We shall conceive it; we shall design it; and we shall put it into operation.” ~ John W. Gardner, Founder, Common Cause
A project of Community Resources US, the following solutions highlight the creative spirit of our fellow citizens. Its founding conviction is that there is not a problem (we’ve discovered thus far) that hasn’t already been solved — be it across town, our state, country, or around the world — solved by fellow citizens, who perceived the problem to be, above all, a challenge and opportunity.
Appreciating this reality, the main problem before us today is not, we suggest, lack of solutions, but lack of more effective communication. Once this is recognized, we envision our “North Country” transforming itself into a “Northern Commons”, where smiles return to faces, hope to hearts, and, through hard and dedicated work, fortunes return unto our land — through the revival of our native common sense.
Examples of such working solutions follow — but the tip of the iceberg. We invite you to fill in the picture by noting those solutions that you’ve either worked to develop or are familiar with. Simply send us a brief summary with the web link, like those that follow: < firstname.lastname@example.org >.
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~ PROBLEMS-CHALLENGES–OPPORTUNITIES ~
1) A Problem: Many small family farms are being forced to close down due to increasing land values, the costs of production, and the low prices for their produce, the fruits of their labors.
The Opportunity: In 1986 the Temple/Wilton (NH) Community Farm developed a model for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that addresses these very problems. The model has been adapted in hundreds of communities in the US and continues to spread, producing healthy food in a way that cares for the land and offers itself as a treasured resource for the community. This has been achieved through a common sense approach to farming: http://www.twcfarm.com . Just One Organics is taking the CSA’s the next step, with an emerging nation-wide CAS: http://www.justoneorganics.com
2) A Problem: Many towns, school districts, and cities are suffering from the related problems of a debilitated infrastructure, that requires investment of large sums of capital, and prohibitive interest rates on the bonds and loans necessary to achieve the investment.
The Opportunity: Guernsey, an island state in the British Channel Islands, has addressed these twin problems by issuing State Notes, public money, that turned the island from ruin to prosperity and is still going strong — debt-free, no inflation, minimal taxation — after two centuries. This has been achieved through a common sense approach to funding our infrastructure.
3) A Problem: Many entrepreneurs and businessmen and -women can not get access to the capital they need in order to develop and/or continue their operations.
The Opportunity: “Working Capital”, originally based in Cambridge, MA., developed a business credit program that helped small businesses throughout the North Country, New England, and the country to get access to capital, so as to not only stay in business but to grow and prosper. Its work is being carried on both nationally and internationally by its partner ACCION International. This has been achieved through a common sense approach to capital: https://www.accion.org
4) A Problem: Many businesses and communities are sending millions of precious dollars a year in energy costs out of town to national and international corporations.
The Opportunity: ICS Corporation, based in Billerica, MA has a 33 year history of providing dramatic energy savings for customers, 40-50-60%, including communities such as Quincy and Westward Massachusetts, school systems, hospitals, businesses, institutions, and power plants. This has been achieved through a common sense approach to energy conservation: http://www.kwhsaved.com
5) A Problem: Many towns and counties are struggling with what they believe to be excessive state and federal regulations, which undermine their local economies and way of life.
The Opportunity: Catron County, New Mexico has exercised its constitutional right to self-determination by passing relevant federal laws as county ordinances. These laws assure county governments joint planning power with federal agencies in regard to environmental mandates. This is achieved through a common sense approach to regulations: Google: “Legal Framework – catroncounty.net”
6) A Problem: Many of our homes have become health traps that, additionally, consume a large and growing amount of costly energy.
The Opportunity: 5 Star healthy, energy-efficient homes have addressed both problems at, often, a lower cost than conventional building. This is achieved through a common sense approach to building: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK9H442sEVw
7) A Problem: Many individuals today are suffering from inadequate health care.
The Opportunity: The Good Neighbor Health Clinic in White River Junction, Vermont has creatively pooled the resources of its local and state communities, so as to provide health care for those in need. This is achieved through a common sense approach to healing: http://www.goodneighborhealthclinic.org
8) A Problem: In today’s economy, many families have trouble meeting their expenses in order to cover their most basic costs and maintain themselves.
The Opportunity: The Global Action Program (GAP) in Woodstock, NY has developed a conservation program, which allows families not only to save precious dollars, time, energy, and their share of the environment, but also to strengthen their local economies. This is achieved through a common sense approach to conservation: http://www.toolsofchange.com/en/case-studies/detail/9
9) A Problem: Many non-profit and community services are being cut back due to lesser contributions in our poor economy.
The Opportunity: CloudPay introduces a new form of payment (“e-dollars”) that increases the flow of money in our communities, in such a way that benefits its citizens, merchants, and banks, while generating funds on each purchase for our local non-profits. This is achieved through a common sense approach to payments: www.cloudpay.org
10) A Problem: Our legal system has become clogged with expensive, time-consuming, and, often, lose/lose judgments.
The Opportunity: The Restorative Justice Project has for decades offered alternatives to our traditional juvenile and criminal justice systems, as well as school discipline processes. Rather than focusing on punishment, restorative justice seeks to repair the harm done in a way that gets to the root of the problem and, thus, ultimately benefits all the parties, as well as the community itself. This is achieved through a common sense approach to justice: http://nccdglobal.org/what-we-do/major-projects/restorative-justice-project