Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking Ahead to 2011

Well it's been a while, hasn't it?

I admit, it hasn't been on purpose; life just has a way of finding other things for you to do sometimes. Back in April, I launched a new endeavor -- The New Pursuit -- and it just took off. My voice felt a bit freer there. But the Call of Community has never been far away. Of late, it's been scratching at the door again.

The more I look around, the more the signs are clear: The return to the power and solace of community is a necessary step for reclaiming our collective sense of self; for rediscovering that our similarities far outweigh our differences; for achieving that critical balance between our existence and the long-term prosperity of this little planet we call Home.

It is through that Unity of Experience we can transform ourselves, our communities and in no short order, our world.

I continue to believe that here in our neck of the woods, we are poised to blaze a trail in this direction. As I drive around and look at things, as I talk to folks, it is clear that people want a return to simpler things; to things that are deeply rooted in the people and places that are familiar.

That familiarity is the base from which our community can grow and prosper -- socially, economically and ecologically.

Socially speaking, 2010 saw a boon in events that brought us together. From farmers markets to cow flops to fund raising concerts; from theater performances to art exhibits to youth sports; from garden tours to open houses to cultural bazaars. The energy and vibe that such gatherings creates is undeniable. We're creating ways to escape the four walls of our homes and interact; to meet and exchange with neighbors and friends. This is way better than any TV show or movie.

In terms of economy, there's not much to say here as few have escaped the shadow of the ongoing 'Great Recession'. Many of our neighbors have seen better times. Local businesses -- that backbone of our local and regional economies -- have also had to bear their part of the struggle. Our support of these businesses is more critical than ever.

Looking at our local environment and ecological resiliency, we continue to be at a critical juncture. The often-opposing pressures of development, investment and conservation are at an all-time high. There have been successes though: The preservation of Ferolbink Farms and the advancement of the East Bay Energy Consortium hit the highlight reel for sure. But we need more as the challenges will only be getting stronger: Redesigning local transportation in the face of rising fuel prices; continued investment in our local food and economic infrastructure; community and school education... This list is long. But not impossible to achieve with the proper investment of time, willpower and resources.


Alas, it will be only through the coming together of all of us -- hanging our labels, ideologies and agendas at the door -- that we will be able to take up these challenges and work together for the betterment of all. This is OUR community and OUR earth; OUR lives and OUR future.

With that, I want to leave you with a few resources that I have found absolutely amazing over the past few months. All bring together a fantastic intersection of community, environment and renewed resourcefulness.
As always, any thoughts, ideas or comments about how we continue to make the Sakonnet Community more sustainable and resilient are welcome! What would you like to see worked on in 2011?

Be well,


Lynn Fang said...

Thanks so much, Bill! I'm honored to be in the same list as Yes! Magazine. =P

I totally agree about community - I think community is one of the most powerful ways to encourage people and ease them into lifestyle changes and civic engagement. I love your wrap-up of the progress we've made this year. Thanks!


Thanks, Lynn.

The more I reflect on 2010 the more I feel the need to re-ignite my local voice more. The return to community is/will continue to be of the utmost importance as time goes on.

I love what you're doing and so happy to share a bit of that with the folks in my neck of the woods.

Perhaps we can compare notes as we both work to engage our communities -- you on the West Coast, me on the East -- as the year goes on.

Be well!