CCIHC's First Resilience Circle is meeting in private homes beginning in October 2011. We want to record resources group members mention in our discussions. [Occasionally initials of the group member is in brackets)
See Chuck Collins - Founder of Resilience Circles, TED TALK "Taxing the Wealthy" www.commondreams.org/video/2011/11/19Session 6 - Changing the Rules
Community Wealth from Democracy Collaborative at the Univ of MD - http://community-wealth.org/ and It's Our Economy - http://itsoureconomy.us/
Occupy Wall Street Takes On Black Friday Amid Skepticism - www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/24/occupy-wall-street-black-friday_n_1111064.html
We are encouraged that the OCCUPY movement is changing the rules and allowing all of us to talk about the growing inequity in our society, and about the many changes we desperately need to restore democracy. We shared how we have been following the OCCUPY movement - some of us have been to the 2 sites in DC and the Baltimore site, others are following news on TV, the internet and blogs, checking the IPAD D first thing in the AM for news, etc. An Interfaith Coalition in DC is providing a Thanksgiving dinner for both Occupy sites in DC and the group walking from OCCUPY Wall Street to DC Wed 11/23 2-5pm at New York Ave Presbyterian. Donations can be made online at https://www.wepay.com/xnw20u/donate/53423 OR Make out checks to: Network of Spiritual Progressives / Tikkun, Wording for Memo Line: Occupy Faith DC Dinner, Mailing Address: 725 6th Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, tax deductible through NSP/TIKKUN.
EJ wants to change the rules on re: the Farm Bill and we agree! Plan to rush approval of bad farm bill here and here. Big ag is getting outrageous subsidies - see article here. Food and Water Watch cartoon on farm subsidies here. Unbelievable raid on small farm food dinner here.
Permaculture is changing the rules in growing food - Margo recommends: Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. She will have a copy of the book for us to look at, and invited us to bring information on growing food to our next meeting. She also referred us to the Howard County page on our local transition website - www.ecolocity.org/
See: www.ecolocity.org/group/transitionhowardcounty. We had a lively discussion about the Monsanto and GMO Seeds and the need to change the rules in agriculture (see article here).
Laura is excited about the work of the Maryland and Howard County Single Payers groups - www.mdsinglepayer.org/ and recommended the book Poisoned Nation: Pollution, Greed, and the Rise of Deadly Epidemics. She also recommended the website "Alcohol can be a Gas" - www.permaculture.com/, David Blume's website on alternative fuels. We agreed we need to stop turning corn into fuel but there are other sources of bio-fuels that can be developed for broader use.
She is also excited about www.change.org and how ordinary citizens can start viral petitions that actually change things like the petition against Bank of America debit card fees And also about www.dwolla.com/ which gives people and small businesses a way to process payments without credit card fees.
R. A. recommended the 10% is enough campaign - www.10percentisenough.org/ to fight usurious interest rates and excess bank charges. She also recommends the book Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization by Jeff Rubin about the new global economy will look like and what it will mean for all of us in terms of reducing our opntions.
Homework for next week, complete the online quiz "How Resilient Are You?" and bring results -- at www.yesmagazine.org/issues/a-resilient-community/how-resilient-are-you
AND we are having a pot-luck and will each email Margo with what we are bringing!
Session 5 - Strengthening Community: Mutual Aid
In talking about Ecology and Our Security, Margo recommended the movie "Addicted to Plastic, the Rise and Fall of a Modern Miracle" www.crypticmoth.com/plastic.php
online at www.documentary-log.com/d402-addicted-to-plastic/
Tom mentioned the Perpetual Engine - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_perpetual_motion_machines
And we discussed
NOTE: Someone mentioned an article on a Wyoming fracking study - this one? www.propublica.org/article/epa-finds-fracking-compound-in-wyoming-aquifer/single or this one? www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=epa-finds-fracking-compound-wyoming-aquifer
One member does ZenTangling - www.zentangle.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=111
See article "For Real Change, Build Relationships: Resilience Circles & Occupy Wall Street" by Sarah Byrnes of http://localcircles.org here.
The Story of Broke is out - watch it at www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-broke/
Margo recommends the article "The Great Deflation" by Robert Kuttner on Huffington Post here.
R.A. recommends the article -"How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the OWS Protests; Much more than a movement against big banks, they're a rejection of what our society has become" here.
Session 4 -Strengthening Community: Real Wealth and Security
We shared stories of tough times from stories we hear of or from our parents and grandparents - going back to the 20s and 30s.
And we talked about tough times today. We've heard of tent cities in places like CA and FL and one member recently saw groups of homeless living in cardboard "houses in FL. One member mentioned "Take Back the Land" - http://takebacktheland.org/ which helped people facing foreclosure. How we are seeing increasing homelessness and yet so many abandoned foreclosed homes - where is the logic?
We created our real security tree showing our roots - those things from which we draw stability and security and branches - the things we offer back - our skills, talents, and gifts.
Some Roots - friends, family, community, scouts, spirituality (mystery), mentors - thought leaders some we have met in person and sopme through books and writings, Rolling Stone articles (Matt Taibbi on Rich Perry ), our local food network (may it grow),
We found many things we give back. We'll expand on this discussion in the next session.
We wished for a stronger government one that worked for the common good (for the 99%), not the government we have which seems to be working for the 1% (banks, big corporations and the stock market).
One of us went the the ASPO Peak Oil (Truth in Energy) Conference in DC Thurs AM and learned that in the Depression the US still had substantial oil reserves and cheap energy on which to build an industrial base (which helped us win WWII). We don't have access to cheap oil any more (it doesn't exist anywhere). Most economists don't understand the interrelationships between energy and "growth". We can't assume even 3% growth - we need to focus on renewables , green energy and local economies. There were many fascinating speakers, but one of the best was Jeff Rubin, former Former CIBC Chief Economist and author of "Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization"
We'd love to have workshops on how to can food & how to use social media to advance our causes, and we like the idea of dinner circles.
Some of us looked at http://shareable.net/how-to-share and found it fascinating and a bit overwhelming. (So many "how to's", though How To Start A Revolution is recommended). We will try to find more time to explore it this week in preparation for our lists for next week. Our homework is to bring in a list of Gifts (skills, time, tools, equipment, etc.) that we could make available to other group members, and Needs we would like to receive help with (on index cards if we have them - or cards will be available before our next meeting)
Session 3 - Changing the Vision: A New Story
The First Reading "Living in Borrowed Times" prompted discussion about debt and how going into debt was pushed in our culture and how banks and credit cards prospered. The 10% is enough campaign - www.10percentisenough.org/ - in our area has raised the issue of usury. Some us of are concerned about excess interest on the loans pushed by some commercial groups at tax time. They say file your taxes with us and get an advance on your tax refund and the rates can be excessive. Some commercial student loans have had excess interest rates. We discussed the need for teaching financial literacy in schools at the high school and even middle school level so students know how to balance a check book and avoid excess credit card charges and debt. Someone mentioned Carroll County has a program (see article here.) (Does anyone know about this Howard Co. group - www.makingchangecenter.org that says it teaches financial literacy? See Baltimore Sun article on program here and Facebook page here.) Actually students need life skills of all kinds - both handling money, doing laundry, cooking etc. Some parents in the group found their teens could function at college and their peers were asking them how to do laundry.
In Transforming the Story we reviewed and expanded on our list of cultural messages, but skipped the skits outlined in the cirriculum, and instead expanded on our ongoing discussion and fascination with Occupy Wall Street (DC, Baltimore etc) Someone noted that Occupy Annapolis begins this weekend at the Maryland State House (info here.) ABC news said that Occupy Wall Street has raised quite a bit of money. Is Occupy a "flash mob" community? Those of us who want community can find people to talk to about things we care about just by visiting a local Occupy site!
We shared what we knew about the emerging Occupy movements. Some of us have been to the DC and Baltimore Occupy sites but most have not yet. Faith communities are holding services in Occupy Wall Street some said (and Occupy Baltimore and Freedom Plaza have had Spirituality and Activism discussion groups, Occupy DC has a Chaplain, and faith communities in the DC area are organizing to support the Occupy sites by bringing food, providing clergy support for occupiers and bringing people down to the sites. This past week DC chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressives held a meeting of interfaith leaders to increase coordination of support where they started a private Google group "Faith of 99". There is a public google group anyone can join called "People of Faith 99 Percent" which is open to all who support the Occupy Movement. Facilitators are working with the Occupy sites nationwide (see www.occupycafe.org). There is livestreaming of many daily General Assemblies (at 6 or 8 pm), where a careful concensus process is practiced with a focus on hearing everyone respectfully. (Freedom Plaza, Occupy DC, Occupy Bmore etc.) There are classes in facilitation etc., a daily schedule of meetings that involve Occupiers and people from the community, "teach in" type events, rallies, marches etc. They are feeding the homeless and reaching out to the homeless and mentally challenged (not necessarily the same people) in their area. As time goes on an increasing number of community groups and recently unions are working with them. (See local meeting schedules DC, Freedom Plaza and Bmore.)
We asked ourselves would there ever be an Occupy Howard County. Two of us saw the PATCH article "Occupy Howard County" at http://elkridge.patch.com/articles/occupy-howard-county. So many comments were very negative about the Occupy movement. Our county has a strong and vocal conservative element. We asked, are we in this county in denial about the financial pain of many? Some have seen an increase in food insufficiency (via food programs at Howard Community College). Why is there surprise in some of our voices when we note there is a Howard County Homeless Center and for the homeless that live in the woods along Route 1 a Howard County Homeless Project coordinated by a number of faith communities. Someone mentioned a friend was shocked to discover recently that Howard County has trailer parks and story here. The Baltimore Sun yesterday noted Maryland now has more millionaires per capita than any other US State. Howard Co is the richest county in Maryland, third richest in the US. per this article. As housing in Columbia and Howard Co. became very very expensive, we became a millionaire magnet. We commented that we see the affluence, but in this suburb the poor are more invisible (unlike in the inner cities). How many in our county are the 1% or rich aspiring 1 percenters? Are we delusional? Do we just not see the poverty (which is increasing), and the the middle class (like us ) are increasingly downwardly mobile. More than 40 years ago Jim Rouse founded Columbia as planned community to be an affordable open home people with a wide income ranges, and to be a place that build strong community bonds and caring and diversity. How far are we from that vision now?
Like other community groups, Howard County and Baltimore MoveOn chapters are holding a number of upcoming events in coordination with Occupy Bmore. The first is on Move Your Money Day, Sat Nov 5. Optional meetup at OccupyBmore.org at 10 am and march to Wells Fargo Bank Branch at 11:15 am near intersection of S. Eden St. & Lancaster St., 725 S Eden St, Baltimore MD. HoCo carpool from Broken Land Park and Ride WEST at 9 AM See sign up here. Carpool info on Facebook here.
Several of us only bank with credit unions (the APL Federal Credit Union is open to all in Howard Co. and is part of the Allpoint network with 43,000 Surcharge-Free ATMs Nationwide. Info here.)
We talked about the few people we know who have a community described in part 3 "Toward a Vision of Security" and what we are doing to build community where we live (we all would like to do more and have more of this vision). One of us has a neighbor facing foreclosure and has been offering the neighbor fix it up jobs to help him financially. We wish there were a larger job exchange which could match those of us who can afford to hire help with household projects with people who want work.
Article by William Greider in the Nation - "It's Time for Debt Forgiveness American Style" http://www.thenation.com/article/164216/its-time-debt-forgiveness-american-style
Article by Gar Alperovitz " Occupy the Banks: Strategies for Transformation, Beyond revolution and reform: Gar Alperovitz on how we can fundamentally transform our financial system" from Yes Magazine - http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/occupy-the-banks-strategies-for-transformation?utm_source=wkly20111028&utm_medium=yesemail&utm_campaign=mrAlperovitz
Tax on High Frequency Trading - stet tax- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AJKcPyJOMbM, http://localcircles.org/2011/07/14/wall-street-reform-a-video-about-how-to-cut-wall-street-down-to-size/
Barbara Max Hubbard on "Occupy Wall St., Evolve the World" - www.barbaramarxhubbard.com/site/blog/archives/118
Session 2 - Changing the Story: Breaking Isolation
Homework for Session2
Rolling Stone Magazine - Matt Tahibit's column on Occupy Wall Street - www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/occupy-wall-street-washington-still-doesnt-get-it-20111021, Bill McKibben, www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/environment-ten-things-obama-must-do-20110914 and other articles on these topics [TM]
Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network speaking in Columbia! His emails have some of us fired up to join the Tars Sand Action Circle around the White House on Nov 6! [LW}
Mother Earth - latest issue on sustainability - is this the link? http://magazine-directory.com/Mother-Earth-News.htm [FM] ALSO autumn leaves in the sun.
Ex Marine Sgt Speaks on Occupy Wall Street Incident - www.veteranstoday.com/2011/10/18/ex-marine-sgt-speaks-on-occupy-wall-street-incident/ [TM]
Pick Up America - http://abcnews.go.com/US/pick-america-removing-litter-coast-coast/story?id=14536641 One member's daughhter is on the bus for Pick Up America, and it gives her mom hope. They have gotten national coverage and should be on Brian Williams soon too. [LW]
We discussed self-worth and how sad it is when self-worth is tied to advertised products! And how important a spiritual dimension of gratitude and self-care is! No one of us can do it all. Spiritual activism, combining inner renewal with activism. [FM, LW RA and others]
Focus on what is important - Take your to do list and put the bottom 80% on a NOT TO DO list. [GC]
Book - Millenium Momentum, How a new Generation is Remaking America, http://millennialmomentum.com/ [RK]
Seeing Julian Bond of the SNCC at the New Organizing Institute http://neworganizingeducation.com/content/event/organizers-forum-julian-bond - although live-streamed this is not on the web (yet) [RA]
3 YouTube videos a member of this group posted from Occupy Baltimore walking tour showing adverse effect on jobs and housing from major Baltimore corporations and banks, and the sad history of utility deregulation. www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9vMFUgBwcM, www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qkfqdivmsw, www.youtube.com/watch?v=51wC41h6P7w [RA]
In Session 1 we explored Security and Insecurity - the sources of our own security and insecurity, and the role the larger economy plays in our lives.
NEWS - A new Ning group - www.occupycafe.org is starting a series of free conference call for people involved with and/or support of the various Occupy movements in cities across the country starting at Wall Street. You can register to join the NING group and sign up for the phone calls. The first one is Mon 10/24/11 at 11 AM. On a transition town listserv, they said this effort "is dedicated to expanding and connecting #Occupy conversations here in the US and throughout the world. Real and meaningful change for good comes when we, the people, stand, speak and act together, cooperatively and collaboratively."
Session 1 HOMEWORK - Read the Economic Meltdown Funnies here.
Books we are reading
We Need Each Other: Building Gift Community by Bill Kauth & Zoe Alowan (free .pdf or sale of paperback copy available here - www.sacredlifeboats.com/book.html ) [JS]
The Gift by Lewis Hyde (Same book published over the years with different subtitles - The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, 1983, The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World, Sept 2007, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World Dec 2007 [RA]
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Homeland (2004) by Dale Maharidge (Author), Michael S. Williamson (Photographer) about post 9/11 America, Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass, 1996 by Dale Maharidge (Author), Michael Williamson (Author, Photographer), Bruce Springsteen (Introduction) , Someplace Like America: Tales from the New Great Depression, 2011 by Dale Maharidge (Author), Michael S. Williamson (Photographer), Bruce Springsteen (Foreword), and (upcoming film - Someplace Like America - www.facebook.com/someplacelikeamericathefilm and www.eitherorfilms.com/upcoming.html [RA]
The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century by James Howard Kunstler (2006) [MD], also by Kunsler a novel, World Made by Hand [RA]
Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future (2011) by Robert B. Reich
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health (2006) by T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II, Howard Lyman (Preface), John Robbins (Foreword) [LW}
Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity (2009) , by Michael Lewis and his new book Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World (2011)
Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth by David Korten [RA]
IFG Teach-In: Confronting the Global "Triple Crisis" "Climate Change, Peak Oil, Global Resource Depletion & Extinction" September 14th-16th, 2007, Washington, DC Slides here, video and audo here. [RA has DVDs of presentations to lend also]
Groups we track:
The Transition Town Movement Link - Including Howard County Transition Group here. [MD, RA ]
United for A Fair Economy and its Responsible Wealth Project and the work of Willliam H. Gates, Sr. (Bill Gates father) (Incidentally William H. Gates Sr. Co-wrote a book with Chuck Collins, Resilience Circle founder, titled Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes (2003) www.faireconomy.org/press_room/2010/millionaires_to_congress_tax_us and wealthforcommongood.org/
Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Baltimore, Occupy DC, Occupy Cafe, and DC Occupy at Freedom Plaze, www.October2011.org - Many us of expressed being encouraged by the Occupy movement
Article on the intellectual roots of occupy movement here.
Occupy Howard County article in Patch here.
Top Ten Occupy Wall Street Cartoons from Climate Progress blog here.
http://localcircles.org/ - resources for Resilience Circles
Inequality and the Common Good Project and Inequality.org
Adbusters and Buy Nothing Day on Black Friday (11/25/11) Buy Nothing from the convenience of your own home or office! Check out also Buy Nothing Christmas. Buy Less or Buy Indie Christmas and the Gift Exemption Card! And join this an international campaign against consumerism and excess consumption. [RA]
YES Magazine - www.yesmagazine.org/
One of our members is starting a "Red Tent" circle for women only in Ellicott City 10/30 - Contact AM (see book which inspired Red Tent events - The Red Tent: A Novel by Anita Diamant )