Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mutual Self Reliance Proposal

Our neighborhood mutual self-reliance group is planning a public meeting and conference for February 27. We are also forming an alliance with the official neighborhood organization, CNO. CNO is the group that is responsible for the Midtown Farmer’s Market, whose vendors and customers made it the fourth most popular market in the country in 2009.

I volunteered to write the proposal to the CNO Board. No doubt the proposal will change before we send it to CNO. In fact, I put the administrative stuff at the end together carelessly, throwing parts off the top of my head, and taking some from the CNO website. What matters is my thinking about the economic situation in the developed world, and how citizens need to proceed.

Proposal for Forming a Corcoran Neighborhood Organization Mutual Self-Reliance Task Force:

Several Corcoran Park neighbors are concerned about various trends we believe point to a contracting economy for the foreseeable future. We are organizing to support ourselves and other Corcoran Park neighbors in efforts to create abundance, as resources become scarcer.

Trends that are leading to a contracting economy include:

* Decline in worldwide oil production, subsequent to current or recent peak production;

* Global warming, consensus that warming is industrially caused, and the economic consequences of both;

* An aging population;

* More competitive bidding for resources due to Asian industrialization;

* Past and ongoing off-shoring;

* Superior organization to control resources on the part of concentrated wealth.

Initial work (2010) will be two-fold. Firstly, the Task Force will host an open neighborhood conference on February 27, introducing ourselves and a number of possible projects; there will be a neighborhood-wide spring (2010) project, possibly a group fruit tree purchase and planting or a rain garden design charette and planting bee. Secondly, the Task Force will write what is known as an Energy Descent Action Plan (EAP) for the Corcoran Park Neighborhood.

Energy Descent Action Plans are tools that have come out of the international Transition Towns movement. In producing an EAP, the Task Force will survey the neighborhood’s actual and potential resource consumption, and create a vision for a thriving Corcoran Park in 2030, proposing steps for accomplishing that vision using best estimates of (probably diminishing) available resources. The Task Force will publish and promote these steps and vision, and begin implementing them.

To make it easier to imagine what the Task Force has in mind, but without prejudicing our EAP, we offer these examples from our brainstorming sessions:

* Group purchases of tools, fruit trees, rain gardens, weatherization, and photovoltaics;

* A barter network or local currency (Ithaca Dollars)

* A neighborhood tool inventory or tool library;

* A library of manuals useful to our feeding and sheltering ourselves in a becoming manner, and to
providing ourselves with meaning;

* An inventory of neighborhood expertise;

* Canning bees;

* Socials and entertainment events.

Similar groups are forming in other Minneapolis neighborhoods and internationally. The Task Force will ally with them when there is a mutual advantage.

The Task Force will continue indefinitely.

The Task Force will function as a CNO committee, and be initially co-chaired (for example) by Joe and Anne. Subsequent chairs will be elected by a simple majority of Task Force members, and shall be subject to the approval by the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization Board of Directors.

The Task Force shall include at least five members. Interested Corcoran Neighborhood residents may attend meetings, and vote on resolutions after having attended two meetings within the last half year.

Members of the Task Force must be Corcoran Park Neighborhood residents, more than sixteen years of age.

Task Force meetings will occur on the first Monday of each month, or more frequently as decided by the Task Force at a regular meeting.

CNO staff or board liaison to be decided.

1 comment:

Von said...

Sounds wonderful and hope it is all a great success,hard work but worth it.
Had a slight problem with 'canning bees' until I remembered you are big on bees, we have working bees too but I was thinking hives!Silly me!