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Articles in "The Road to Resilience"

This article finds us a day or two after the mid term election.  For the last 8 months, we have been besieged by  non-stop daily emails (“All is lost!”, “No Hope!”, “Triple Match!”) desperately pleading for donations.  We knew it was coming after the Supreme Court decision in favor of faux grass roots group Citizens United.

Coming of age in the 60’s, I had great hopes.  We had marched for civil rights and to end all wars and the Age of Aquarius was right around the corner.  I knew that the same aspirations occur about every fifty years, but this time was different!

Last week, I urged all of you to attend The People’s Climate March to show our leaders, and us, how many of us are really committed to doing something now.

Over three years ago, our Transition Vashon group formed to address our community’s preparedness to face the changes that we saw coming in adapting to climate change and avoiding its worst affects.


The transition movement upon which Transition Vashon is based began about nine years ago in Great Britain.  It was calling for personal and community changes to make us more resilient to the dual threats of climate change and “peak oil.”

Some aspects of building an effective, resilient community are more attractive than others. Working toward greater food and energy security and a healthier environment are exciting and engaging goals.

Long before the money economy developed, Many societies had gift economies that  served to strengthen bonds between family and tribal members, to consolidate pacts between neighboring groups, and, practically speaking, to insure that goods were well distributed so as to flow to the areas of greatest need.

Here we are again in the season of consumer frenzy.  It is easy for most of us to heap scorn on the Black Friday shootings and fist fights in WalMarts and the like.

Typhoon Haiyan was certainly a tiresome embarrassment for the beginning of the latest UN convention on Climate Change in Warsaw.

I first became intrigued with the question of absolute necessities for a happy life when I encountered happy, hospitable people living in dirt floor houses in small villages in Venezuela during my stint in the Peace Corps.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, they told us our future would be a time of leisure where machines would do all the work

As you probably know by now, Transition Vashon originally formed to help our community to adapt to the changes we can expect due to climate change, resource depletion, and the accompanying economic and political instability.

The launching of the Vashon Time Bank was attended by about 30 people, a significant number of which filled out applications to join. 

The Island Ingenuity Tour is coming around again. On Saturday, Sept 21, from 10 ‘til 4 you will be able to see how your friends and neighbors have figured out how to save energy and resources and to produce local food and energy.

For a couple years now, I have been pounding away at the idea that we need to increase our resilience as a community in order to ride out the chaotic economic and political future that we are likely to be heading into.

This past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a couple days of the Backbone Campaign’s annual Localize This! Action Camp, culminating in an action at the Seattle Army Corps of Engineers office.

After the Ingenuity Tour last September, I had in mind that we could hold a series of workshops to teach specific skills that were exhibited in the tour. Unfortunately,

I’m continuing to take a break from discussing how we become more effective and resilient as a community so as to address the need for all of us (you and me) to rise up to meet the threat of climate change disaster that is actively being locked into place by the shortsighted corporate global agenda.

In the last few columns, I was talking about how we need to stop seeing ourselves as consumers and start thinking and acting as citizens. Being a good citizen means striving for social, environmental, and economic justice through sustainable activity.

You may remember in the last column that I was saying that building a local economy and becoming more resourceful and resilient will not protect us from the ravages of climate change that we can expect from the present course of global activity.

The global climate pattern we know is a historically stable phenomenon that we take for granted. Huge land, water, and air masses interact with one another in a very finely balanced way to produce the climate patterns that we have counted on for so long.

In the last couple columns I’ve dwelt on what’s wrong with our lifestyle and in what ways we need to change, but I didn’t say much about how to get from here to there. You may have thought,

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been noticing a real disconnect between our welfare and that of our "captains of finance". Pundits appear to be truly vexed by the fact that Wall Street prosperity doesn’t spread to the rest of us.

I want to express my appreciation to Steve Allen, editor of the Loop, for giving me this front page space every issue for over two years.