Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Go Green and Living Green



GM Pollution

Global EmpactAffects



Daily guide to Living Green

  1. Never throw away chemicals in the trash
  2. Recycle.
  3. Use power strips
  4. Take shorter showers
  5. Use bleach alternatives
  6. Wash clothes in warm or cold water
  7. Use non-toxic cleaners (carpet, tile, all purpose, etc)
  8. Turn off lights when not in use
  9. Use Energy Star products
  10. Turn off lights and electronics
  11. Unplug appliances when you're not using them
  12. Use sunlight instead of lamps
  13. Lower thermostat in winter
  14. Use water filters and reusable water bottles
  15. Plant trees to cut back on Co2
  16. Use low flow shower heads
  17. Cut back on pesticides
  18. Use fans instead of AC
  19. Carpool with people you know
  20. Use all natural products
  21. Try composting, which can be used for your garden
  22. Use energy saving fluorescent light bulbs
  23. Next time you buy a car, get a hybrid one
  24. Use reusable shopping bags
  25. Shut down computers and printers when not in use
  26. Try not to water your lawn too much
  27. Air dry clothes
  28. Place a brick or 2 liter bottle in old toilets to conserve water
  29. Walk or bike somewhere instead of driving
  30. Only use dish washers when they are full
  31. Use biodegradable laundry detergent, dish detergent, and glass cleaners
  32. Use Rechargeable Batteries
  33. Go Veggie Once Per Week

Living Green

Living Green is a lifestyle that you adapt into your daily life.

Living Green is a simple way of living by saving natural resources.

Living Green is saving enegry and using organic products in our daily life.

Click here to view our Daily guide to Going Green



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Having and Being

By Mary Jaksch

Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
- Lao Tzu

Spend five minutes watching TV ads and you’ll know what makes us happier. In the eyes of the advertiser, that is. A new car, diamond earrings, a new kitchen, carpets, house, overseas travel – everything that adverts offer us pretends to be a magic pill that will make us happier.

But does it?

Actually, it does.

I remember a time when I was so small that I had to stretch to see over the table. My parents bought me a pair of shiny red shoes. And I loved them! I loved them so much that I put them under my pillow at night.
I can’t remember what happened next. But I suppose it is what always happens after we get a new toy. Scuff marks appear on the new shoe, or you drive you car into a hedge and get scratches over the gleaming paintwork. You put down a hot pot on the new kitchen bench and can’t get rid of the burn mark. Your new shiny thing ages.
So, yes – buying something new does make you feel happier. But only for a short while. That’s what our consumer society is built upon. Because when the thrill wears off, we need to go shopping again.

The beauty of less

A minimalist embraces the beauty of less, the aesthetic of spareness, a life of contentedness in what we need and what makes us truly happy. ~ Leo Babauta in The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

I’ve recently been thinking about the difference between the mind of having, and the mind of being. These two are completely different ways to experience life. In a commercial society, everything is for sale, and everything needs to have a benefit.
The focus on benefits is all about having. What we’ve lost sight is that there is also being. If you look at the question below, you’ll see how limited the ‘having’ mindset is:
What is the benefit of being alive?
That questions is absurd, isn’t it? It just doesn’t make sense. Because being alive is – well – about being. And not about having.
In our consumer society, the mind of having is predominant. Our value in society is measured not by how we are, but by what we have. Everything turns into a lifestyle accessory when we look at it from the perspective of ‘having’ – even love or friendship.
One of the ways to escape the trap of having is the way of Minimalism
I’ve recently come across a thought-provoking book by Leo Babauta, called The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life. In it he describes simple ways of escaping consumerism, in order to heighten happiness.
What is a minimalist life?
It is a life, say Leo, “that is stripped of the unnecessary, to make room for that which gives you joy…It’s not a life of nothing, of boringness. It’s a life of richness, in less.”
How to become a minimalist
Leo sets out four steps that help us embrace a life of minimalism:

  • Start by realizing you already have
  • Start cutting back on clutter and
  • Start simplifying your schedule.
  • Slowly edit everything you do.
These are four simple principles that we can start applying immediately.
It seems to me that the principles of minimalism – which also find expression in spare Zen aesthetics – are a practical way to foster spirituality in one’s life.

From Goodlife Zen

There is an urgent need to transition to a low carbon economy to address the global challenges of diminishing fossil fuel reserves, climate change, environmental management and finite natural resources serving an expanding world population.

All or any of these reasons mean that urgent action is required to transition to solutions which minimise environmental impact and are sustainable. Failure to deliver such action will have catastrophic consequences for mankind, both economically and physically.

The Opportunity
The opportunity to act to maximise the positive economic benefits as well as minimising the consequences of inaction is here today.
Many say that the transition to a low carbon economy offers the greatest economic opportunities ever known. At the start of the information revolution, few would have guessed at just how widespread and profound the effect would be on society: today we can barely imagine life without modern information technology. Companies like Google, Yahoo! and Amazon are some of the most successful companies in the world.

We are now at the start of the low carbon revolution and those that have started on their low carbon journey already are seeing benefits such as new markets and customers, improved triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental performance) and reduced bills and risks.

In a Low Carbon Economy:

•All waste should be minimised - reduce, reuse, recycle

•Energy should be produced using low carbon energy sources & methods - renewable & alternative energy sources, fuels & sequestration

•All resources (in particular energy) should be used efficiently - more efficient energy conversion devices, combined heat & power

•Wherever practical local needs should be served by local production - food, materials, energy

•There is high awareness and compliance with environmental and social responsibility initiatives - industry, commerce and individuals

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guide to a Global Climate Deal

The challenge & the opportunity

All the information from this special sub-site on climate is collected in a single simple pocket guide:

Pocket Guide to a Global Climate Deal 1.29 MB pdf

The global community will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009 to agree on a new global climate deal aimed at protecting the future of our planet.
  1. Home
    1. About Our Earth
      1. Climate

This is the generation that must stop the spread of the pollution that is slowly killing our planet... Rolling back the tide of a warming planet is a responsibility that we have to ourselves, to our children, and all of those who will inherit creation long after we are gone.

Barack Obama, Strasbourg, April 2009

2009 needs to be remembered as the year the world found an answer to climate change.

The year it found the political will to meet the challenge and found hope and opportunity in doing so.

For out of crisis comes opportunity.

And out of the twin perils of financial and climatic crises comes the opportunity to bring the global economy back in line with global ecology.

To put the future development of the world economy – for ALL its citizens – on a sustainable foundation.

THAT is the challenge and the opportunity of 2009.

And in Copenhagen, in early December, 2009, is where we will see if that OPPORTUNITY IS TAKEN.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Guide to Create School Gardens as Outdoor Classroom

A Guide for Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms
by Center for Ecoliteracy

Available FREE
Getting Started is a 51-page guide designed and published by the Center for Ecoliteracy in collaboration with Life Lab Science Program, a national leader in garden-based education.

Among the topics covered are:

  • Nurturing a child's curiosity
  • Connecting the garden to the classroom
  • Selecting and preparing a garden site
  • Understanding nature's cycles
  • Identifying the responsibilities of the garden coordinator
  • Involving the community

The California Department of Education, in collaboration with the Center for Ecoliteracy, has distributed more than 25,000 print copies of Getting Started: A Guide for Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms.

Download your copy of Getting Started now.

Download (1.7mb) Adobe PDF Document Download

Green Design with Life Cycle in Mind

Kimi Ceridon “It is not impossible to integrate sustainability into early stages of design. Cradle-to-grave environmental impact analysis methods are rarely used as a metric during product development. In early stages of a project, companies measure feasibility according to money, performance and time metrics. Sustainability is commonly measured at a design cycle’s end on finished products when design features cannot be easily modified for sustainability measures. It is ineffective to apply new design metrics to finished products. Evaluating the 'greenness' of products is typically done to market the 'greenest' product in a line. This does not address the need to create sustainable products at project onset; thus, products remain 'un-green' and unsustainable.

It is time for new feasibility metric — Green Design with Life Cycle in Mind. Green design thinking must be accessible and applicable to product development through a set of tools designed for early stages of product development.”

Download to your hard drive
or view in browser

About the author:

As Mechanical Engineer with Master’s Degree and 8 years of diverse experience, Kimi Ceridon worked technical roles ranging from contributor to lead engineer and project manager of multidisciplinary teams,including working with Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), MIT’s D-Lab and the International Development Design Summit to develop appropriate technology for third world applications. She aims to develop technologies for a positive social impact on the world in two areas: 1. Design for Sustainability: applying principles of life cycle analysis to product development and 2. Technology for International Development: develop appropriate technology for third world applications.

Green Design

Cultural Intelligence

What’s Your CQ and Why Should You Care?

“You’ve heard about IQ and EQ. But what’s your CQ? CQ, or cultural intelligence, is more than just a kitschy catch phrase for cultural competence. It’s a fresh, new approach to leading in our multicultural, globalized world. Cultural intelligence is defined as the capability to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures. And research demonstrates a leader’s CQ may easily be the single greatest difference between thriving in the 21st century world and becoming obsolete.”
Download to your hard drive
or view in browser

About the author:
David Livermore, Ph.D. (Michigan State University) is the author of the newly released book, Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success (AMACOM; September 2009). He’s the executive director of the Global Learning Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a visiting research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and a senior research consultant at the Cultural Intelligence Center in East Lansing, Michigan. Dave has done training and consulting with leaders in 75 countries across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Visit for more information.

Cultural Intelligence

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

20 Ways to Make a Difference

When we do what we were made to do, mentoring others and finding volunteer opportunities, we discover that we all have resources to create a personal legacy, using our time, our money, and our ideas. Information on how to give back through charitable donations, involvement in non-profits as a volunteer, and starting one’s own business with the intention of giving something of value back to society. (Charity, environmental, philanthropy, volunteering and mentoring.) Here are 20 ideas to get started...

1. Homeless Shelters and Food Banks
Most people think of helping out during the holidays but homeless shelters and food banks can only survive on the assistance and kindness of others. Cleaning and maintaining the facilities, passing out food, using your business skills to organize their inventory and books are just some of the ways to help out. Local businesses and restaurants help with the donation of food or linens to keep up with the demand.

2. Neighborhood Cleanup
Schools, youth organizations, church groups, businesses, neighborhood associations and others in the community can participate in a community and neighborhood cleanup. Plant trees, eliminate graffiti and water lawns to create a cleaner more peaceful neighborhood. This helps decrease crime by building pride and relationships within the community. It also gives an opportunity for the youth to learn about community service and build character by seeing firsthand the results of destruction of property.

3. Habitat for Humanity
Volunteers help build houses for people in need. Build character and friendships a long the way. You can also learn some great skills in the process. They are international so if you live near a big city, chances are there is one local office near you.

4. Make a Wish
The Make a Wish foundation is nationwide. "It gives and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. There are opportunities to volunteer based on skill set. See to learn more.

5. State and City Programs
Many state parks and beaches offer programs, clean up days or places to volunteer your time and talents. Working outdoors with kids or at the nature park are just some of the choices out there.

6. Hospitals
Hospitals offer a lot for interns and volunteering. You can work with kids who need some good cheer or help keep the facilities clean. This can also offer insight into the medical field for those interested in the demanding career. There are hospitals everywhere so this is a great place to start.

7. The Ronald McDonald House
The Ronald McDonald House is a place where families can go if a child is seriously ill. Instead of a hospital the child is treated in a warm home setting. "These programs provide a bridge to accessible health care and allow families more time together, which helps in the healing process." Volunteers can bring activities and fun to the house or help in the clean up and care of the children.

8. Senior Citizens Centers
Senior citizen centers offer volunteer programs to provide friendship and community activities to senior citizens. Friendship and caring is always needed as well as assistance in the health care of residents.

9. Animal Shelters
For all the pet and animal lovers, animal shelters need volunteers to help take care of animals, keep facilities clean and work with the public. Often the amount of public awareness for shelters is the difference between life and death for many animals. Call a local animal shelter for more information.

10. Special Olympics
"The Special Olympics is an international program of year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with mental retardation." The site also describes a wide variety of volunteer activities, including sports training, fund raising, administrative help, competition planning and staffing and many more.

11. Mentoring
"Mentoring is the presence of caring adults offering support, advice, friendship, reinforcement and constructive examples – has proved to be a powerful tool for helping young people fulfills their potential." See for more info and needs near you.

12. Red Cross
The American Red Cross helps people in emergencies whether it's half a million disaster victims or one sick child who needs blood. Volunteer opportunities exist across the country. Contact your local Red Cross for more information.

13. Salvation Army
The Salvation Army provides social services, rehabilitation centers, disaster services, worship opportunities, character building activities for all ages and character building groups and activities for all ages. Volunteer opportunities exist across the country.

14. Go Green
There are many new programs to aide in the clean up and awareness of many environmental issues. Sometimes this work involves beautiful locations and unique animals. Go from energy efficiency production to beach and river clean-up and then save the dolphins. Environmental activism is heroic and worthwhile.

15. Libraries and Literacy
Many libraries need help re-shelving books, running children's programs, making books available to the community, and so on. Volunteers can assist library staff and the public during the Summer Reading Program. Contact a local library for volunteer opportunities in your area.

16. Your Talents
We are all unique and have either natural talent or training that can contribute in some way to many organizations. People skills, technical skills and even artistic skills aide in the awareness and reaction to charities. Most people want to give but need to be inspired or notified to make a difference. They need and call to action and a great speech, poster or website often does the trick.

17. Walk for Charity
Many charities have group events and charity walks. This is a great way to utilize your time and meet other people who take action to make changes in the community. Creating groups is a great way to help out and have a good time.

18. Fundraisers
Organize a special event to bring in donations to important causes. Simple fundraisers include cookie sales, car washes and yard sales. Golf tournaments, poker tournaments and dinner parties are also great ideas to bring attention and needed funding to your cause. The more creative the better.

19. Donate
Find the right charity to put your money into. Find a reputable organization that locates charities that fit your needs. Make sure their books are open that the money is getting to the right people. An organization that we believe in is They connect users to charities and offer businesses the opportunity to sponsor.

20. Start your own group
Schools and community centers provide a great resource to pull people together for a great cause. What cause is important to you? Your ideas and your time are valuable. Use your talents to make a difference and you’ll be amazed at the changes you can make.

View more BetterSelf Blogs at:

Do Interesting Things

Sing out loud, and inspire.

“Whatever you dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” - Goethe

Post written by Leo Babauta.

We live in interesting times. We’re blessed that way.

The world is changing rapidly.

The way we work is changing, the way we live has already changed. Entire industries are crumbling, and more are growing on their ruins. People are empowered to express themselves, to create, to become a part of a global conversation and transformation, in a way that has never existed before.

What will you do with that?

What will your place be in this new, interesting world? Will you have a voice? Will you be a creator, or just a consumer?

Do something.

Do something interesting.

Be a part of the conversation, and say something remarkable. Create something unique, new, beautiful. Build upon the works of others and transform it into your own.

How to do this?

Write a book. Or an ebook. Write poetry and publish it on the web. Create interesting, lovely or funny videos, put them on You Tube. Be passionate. Write a web app that will solve a problem in people’s lives. Become a watchdog to replace the faltering newspapers. Explore the world, and blog about it. Try something you’ve always been afraid to try, and put it on video. Be yourself, loudly. Start a new company, doing only one thing, but doing it very well. Start a business that does a service you’ve always wanted, or that you are frustrated with in other companies because the service sucks. Put your heart into something. Say something that no one else dares to say. Do something others are afraid to do. Help someone no one else cares to help. Make the lives of others better. Make music that makes others want to weep, to laugh, to create. Inspire others by being inspiring. Teach young people to do amazing things. Write a play, get others to act in it, record it. Empower others to do things they’ve never been able to do before. Read, and read, and then write. Love, and love, and then help others to love. Do something good and ask others to pass it on. Be profound. Find focus in a world without it. Become minimalist in a world of dizzying complexity. Reach out to those who are frustrated, depressed, angry, confused, sad, hurt. Be the voice for those without one. Learn, do, then teach. Meet new people, become fast friends. Dare to be wrong. Take lots and lots of pictures. Explore new cultures. Be different. Paint a huge mural. Create a web comic. Be a dork, but do it boldly. Interview people. Observe people. Create new clothes. Take old stuff and make new stuff from it. Read weird stuff. Study the greats, and emulate them. Be interested in others. Surprise people. Start a blog, write at least a little each day. Cook great food, and share it. Be open-minded. Help someone else start a small business. Focus on less but do it better. Help others achieve their dreams. Put a smile on someone’s face, every day. Start an open-source project. Make a podcast. Start a movement. Be brave. Be honest. Be hilarious. Get really, really good at something. Practice a lot. A lot. Start now. Try.

Inspired by the doblog.

Leo Babauta.

Permaculture Principles: Gardening With Nature

Permaculture offers sustainable design principles inspired by nature.

By Sami Grover

Permaculture Principles: Single Function with Multiple Elements

Diversity breeds resilience.

Related Posts
Permaculture Principles: Gardening with Nature
Permaculture Principles: Sectors
Permaculture Principles: Relative Location
Permaculture Principles: Zoning

Permaculture Design Principles

The movement not only involves chemical-free organic farming, but also a number of key permaculture design principles aimed at keeping modern farming methods streamlined with nature.

  • Zones: This involves the division of areas on a farm based on movement and the amount of human attention required for different areas. Think of a permaculture farm as a circle with a farm in the center. Dividing a farm into zones involves arranging farm activities into a series of concentric rings moving out from the center. The higher the human traffic required for the activity, the closer that zone is to the center.

    © Turner
    Permaculturists believe the best way to raise plants and animals is to follow nature's examples.
  • Sectors: This is another method of arranging the location of farming activities, this time based on the flow of necessary energies or resources from a given point, such as a farm house. Imagine the farm as a pizza. Each triangular slice is a sector radiating from the center. Permaculturists attempt to arrange farm activities so that each area has easy access to the center.

  • Relative location: This principle involves the thoughtful planning of both zones and sectors based on where they are in relation to each other. Permaculturists aim to position these elements in a way that maximizes energy usage and minimizes waste. An example would be planting crops downhill from a pond to allow for easy irrigation without the need for a pumping system.

  • Single elements with multiple functions: To maximize efficiency, permaculturists place farm elements in a way to encourage the performance of multiple functions. For instance, a properly positioned pond can supply irrigation and fence in livestock. The right choice in a hedge plant could provide wind protection and produce seeds to feed poultry.

  • Single functions from multiple elements: If a function is important, make sure multiple elements can supply it -- think of it as having a backup plan built into the farm. This involves backing up feed crops with edible fodder trees or using a pond to help irrigate during drought.

  • Energy efficiency: Permaculture calls for the input of as little energy as necessary from outside the farm. Energy-efficient designs, like using solar or wind power, help make this possible by wasting very little.

  • Biological resources: Whenever possible, leave farm work to more efficient, non-human elements. This involves the use of animals for tasks like weed control, pest control and fertilizer production. Using wasps to control plant parasites and manure to nourish crops is an example of this principle.

  • Plant succession: In a natural environment, plant populations develop over time, transforming from fields and weeds to include progressively larger plants. Ultimately, they develop into a forest. Permaculturists plant a variety of crops with this in mind, growing fruit and nut-bearing trees alongside short-lived food plants. In this example, the land is still bearing fruit and enriching the soil while the trees grow to maturity.

  • Nutrient recycling: This involves using the ecosystem within the farm to replenish nutrients instead of relying on imports. A good example would be composting organic matter and using manure as fertilizer.

  • Diversity: Permaculture encourages raising multiple crops and farm animals to prevent farmers from becoming dependent on one product. This way, fluctuating market prices or breed-specific illnesses are less likely to have catastrophic results.

More on Permaculture
How Permaculture Works
Chickens Provide Bug Control
Green Glossary: Permaculture
Permaculture: Permanent Agriculture and a Mini-Movie

Saturday, September 5, 2009

2012- A Time of Change?

ariane.debonvoisin's picture

There’s been quite a bit of talk about 2012 and whether some dramatic change is going to face the world, the planet, each of us individually. I wanted to share a few thoughts about what I know, what I’ve read and what I personally choose to believe about this subject. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, keep reading!

The Mayans were an ancient civilization that created a calendar (the Mayan calendar) which has been right about major shifts, climactic events over the past 5000 years on planet Earth. The calendar ends on the 21 December 2012. Hmmm. This has led many to question what might happen after that? Why does the calendar end then? Some have gone to extremes to say it’s the end of the world. (There’s an app in the iPhone store that counts down the days till then.) Astronomers factually state that on that same day, there is an alignment of planets that only happens every 26,000 years and could cause dramatic shifts in our Earth’s climate or poles, or magnetic fields. So, those two elements are what we know.

Here is what I believe. The energy of 2012 is already happening now. Everyone can feel that change is happening all around. This kind of planetary change has been present for a while now. Many people are starting to raise their consciousness, their ability to connect with the light and not the dark. They are choosing faith over fear. They are moving more from their head to their heart. This is contributing to the elevation of the Earth’s general vibration. Spiritual teachers say we are shifting from the third to the fifth dimension, a dimension that will embody more joy, more of our divine nature, more connection and unity between human beings as opposed to discord and despair, more remembrance of who we really are, what is our divine essence, and whether we have a collective memory of why we are here. There are more “light workers” as they have been described than ever before. People trying to make a difference, contributing more love and kindness on the planet than ever before.

Is it the end of the world? No. It may be the end of one type of world we have been living in. An end to the way we work to doing things we love, an end to 95% of the world’s wealth being controlled by 5% of the population, perhaps a shift in how we think of and utilize money. Perhaps there will be more of a dramatic change in how we think about our health, medicine, and food. We may be leaving one world behind only for a better world that awaits.

How do we prepare for this shift? By connecting more from our hearts, from a place of trust, from going with what our intuition tells us, not our minds, by learning to let go, put the past in the past, by forgiving finally, by being not attached to material things, by not having any expectations only of how life should be. If indeed we are going from one world to another, we must all learn not to cling or regret this world we are leaving and just go with the flow, go with where things are taking us now. Treat your body better, it’s the harbour for your life force. Strengthen it. Eat better, stay hydrated. Concentrate on cleansing so your immune system will be strong.

Overall, in other words, just be in the present, now, this moment. Bring as much love and light to any situation you find yourself in, at home or at work. Contribute more light to this planet in all that you do. All is well.

Read more inspiration and expert advice for any change in your life at her website

Friday, September 4, 2009

The leisure economy: can we save the planet by working less?

Ewan Kingston

The idea of a 'leisure economy' has been predicted for decades, but never realised. Despite this, research shows that our working habits continue to put a strain on the planet's resources. Could tackling climate change be as simple as working less?

There's something wonky with the way we work. Those of us with jobs are stressed when we work, and fatigued when we're not.

Many of us don’t feel we have time to interact with our communities. 46 percent of Brits have described themselves as being 'exhausted' at the end of a days work. A similar survey by the Families and Work Institute found one third of Americans were 'chronically overworked’. Less than a quarter of Brits are 'satisfied' with their work hours.

But while some of us are shackled to a long-hours culture, unemployment has been rising.

Firms across the industrialised world, from car manufacturers to consultants to city councils have been offering employees the choice to work less hours for less pay, instead of lay-offs. Many workers have accepted the new conditions willingly, some even relishing them. One British delivery firm found when it offered its workers a three-day week, some asked to work only two.

Sustainable cities: the future of the human habitat

by Hank Dittmar

Guest editor Hank Dittmar presents a series of articles on the green cities of tomorrow, and explains why they hold hope for us all.

The environmental tradition has historically been about embracing and preserving the wild places, and environmentalists have often viewed cities as dirty, polluting, unfortunate habitats that pose a great threat to nature.

This tendency to position nature and humanity in opposition derives from both the popular rejection of the Victorian city, its polluting factories and foul sewers, and from the roots of environmentalism in saving threatened species and preserving habitat and scenic beauty.

Environmentalists responded by regulating industrial and urban discharge into water and air, through planning laws to preserve countryside and reclaim industrial land, and through preserving and conserving farmland and wild places as green lungs for the planet.

The result has been, at least in the global north, cleaner water, purer air and dedicated parks and nature reserves. At the same time, however, huge global population growth, and the move from subsistence and market farming to industrial agriculture have together brought about an urban explosion, and cities have become a dominant feature in both the human and natural environment.

Will modern-day flaneurs help rebuild fragmented communities?

by Nika Stella-Sawicka

In the age of high-speed travel, walking - alone or in groups - is the foremost way to reconnect to cities, our environment and one another

In the 1960s, the French Situationists coined the term ‘psychogeography' to describe a radical method of mapping cities. Through aimless walks, they would recover what was unnoticed in the urban landscape, performing a phrenology of all nooks and crannies in the Parisian metropolis. The revival we see today in the idea of the flâneur as a writer of cities - through the work of Will Self, Peter Ackroyd, Iain Sinclair and Stewart Home amongst others - should inspire us all to look at walking as a form of urban participation in greater detail. As a community activity that can be freely undertaken in groups or individually, one that raises awareness of our surroundings and fosters connections between people, walking should be seen as powerful technique for defragmenting communities that have been hijacked by mass culture and capitalism.

The joy of strolling

For me, it all began with Will Self and a trip to Paris. Sat on the Eurostar late one Friday evening, faintly aware of the blurred landscape of fields and French farmhouses whizzing past me, I found myself engrossed in ‘Psychogeography', Will Self's and Ralph Steadman's collection of short pieces reflecting on the connections between people and space. My frame of reference set as I strolled around the narrow historic streets of the Marais the following day, I noted my own curiosity as to what lay behind the intricate facades and towering wooden gates guarded by lion-headed door knockers. Meandering without fixed destination and mapless, I was hopeful that the city would reveal to me some treasured secret as yet undetected on the tourist radar.

The experience did indeed reveal some hidden worlds [secret gardens, lost cafes, canalside refugees camps] but most excitingly, it unearthed in me an emotional connection to the rhythms of the city and a deeper understanding of how we as urban walkers connect and disconnect with the city and spaces around us. This understanding of how we as human beings relate to our immediate environment is, I believe, a fundamental prerequisite for creating responsible citizens and a basis for sustainable communities.

Speedy living

'We stumble, walking wounded from the intray to the teatray, numb with disbelief, and when the bandages come off, we do not recognise ourselves, our bruised expressions, our ill-fitting lives. How did we become these wraiths in treadmill corridors?
What were we before we were this?'
A Moore, A Disease of Language (2005)

We city dwellers fly though our lives as if there were no tomorrow. Division of labour has resulted in people being treated as commodities - no more than cogs in a giant machine that turns relentlessly, regardless of our toils and troubles. We get up, catch a train, grab breakfast on the run, sit a computer for 8 hours, catch a train, go back to bed and live equally fast on the weekend - relaxing at the speed of light. The cycle is set to speedwash - time is of the essence and efficiency is king. We are living in what Henryk Skolimowski (1995) described as the fourth great cycle of western mind, ‘Mechanos.'

'Mechanos has been the worldview of modern times: it is based on the frighteningly simple yet powerful metaphor of the clockwork universe.'
Reason, 1998.

The supersonic speed at which we live in urban environments is unnatural, unhealthy and destructive and results in our inability to stop, see and notice. Such city living takes its toll on people and communities in many detrimental ways: bad health and stress; deteriorating local environmental conditions; social polarisation and crucially a lack of time to reflect - which prevents us from seeing the consequences of our actions on the larger global community. Rushing through our lives so quickly causes us to become disconnected from the places we dwell and work and we neglect to see what is happening around us. The prevalent growth of ‘non-places' and ‘clone towns' goes unchallenged surrounded by such apathy.

Becoming an urban explorer

Last summer, on a day of a tube strike, I accepted defeat as I stood at the end of a large queue of desperate but hopeful bus travellers - or so it might have appeared to onlookers as I turned away. But what I actually experienced was a dawning. As I stood at the edge of Hyde Park, under blue skies, on the other side of which was the mid point in my journey home, I asked myself why I was so desperate to get on a crowded bus when I could become an urban explorer for an hour or two. As I walked in to the park, I immediately felt myself slow down and relax. Ten minutes later and I was seeing and noticing cyclists, rowers on a lake, roller bladers and...other walkers. As I took part in this new form of urban travelling I began to feel connected to my fellow pilgrims - united in our quest to get home whilst (shock horror!) enjoying the journey.

Walking for pleasure as well as practical reasons allows us to understand what is important to us. What we value reveals itself with each step instead of whizzing past us and remaining hidden when we choose a four-wheeled mode of transport. Richard Register in his book Ecocities: Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature writes of pedestrian-orientated ecocities and situates urban living within the larger biosphere. This points to a new wave of pedestrian-friendly designed architecture as encapsulated in Paulo Solieri's visionary Arcosanti, an experimental town that aims to fuse the architecture with ecology and the New Urbanist movement where the emphasis is on mixed use community building, walkability, connectivity and public space rather than the homogenised urban planning we know so well.

Secret histories

Walking also fosters experiential knowledge and learning by revealing local stories and cultivating emotional connections with our surroundings through awareness of the contours, rhythms and patterns of our world. HistoryTalk is one organisation which unearths local stories, based on the premise that local histories and stories build social capital. By organising a variety of themed community walks, from those that uncover local sites of historical interest to Spanish or black communities for example, to cemetery walks that provide information about the famous and infamous people buried there - making people feel that they matter, inspiring pride based on ancient vibes and nurturing in them the confidence needed to participate as active citizens.

A commissioned series of local psychogeographic pamphlets by historian Tom Vague are HistoryTalk's attempt to counter the dissolution of community spirit in North Kensington and Notting Hill. This is a move away from the mass culture that has overwhelmed our communities towards a more folk-based culture where the myths and quirks of locality are revealed through the tapestry of local history.

Notable artist-led interventions that aim to foster urban connections include Janet Cardiff's Whitechapel walk ‘Missing Voice' (which can be sampled on her website Her narrative allows listeners a deeper engagement with the city, empowering the walker through access to secret histories rather than following established cartographic routes.

For me, walking the city has now become a means of satisfying that unquenchable thirst for adventure and curiosity that I believe to be emblematic of human nature. I see through new eyes, rather than feeling despair at crumbling walls, zombied unhappy people and static traffic by choosing to unearth what I now know is there - because I have free will. I hope to use the knowledge and insight it gives me to pass on stories and open other people's eyes, because if anything, walking helps to change our perspective of what we value through participation and when we recognise what we value, we can see what it is that we are trying to preserve.

Nika Sawicka is a recent graduate of Exeter University's MSc in Sustainable Development, a permaculturist and a modern day flâneuse

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Higher Education - 12 Things You Might Not Have Learned in a Classroom


Flies With Geese 555px

You won’t find “takes honors classes,” “gets good grades,” or “attends only Ivy League schools” on John Taylor Gatto’s list of qualities of an educated person. Gatto taught in New York City schools for 30 years and was named New York State’s Teacher of the Year, but his experiences convinced him that what students need is less time in classrooms and more time out in the world. Building character and community, Gatto argues, is more valuable than learning from tired textbooks and rigid lesson plans.

Really educated people ...

Blue Number 1Establish an individual set of values but recognize those of the surrounding community and of the various cultures of the world.

Blue-Number-2.jpgExplore their own ancestry, culture, and place.

Blue-Number-3.jpgAre comfortable being alone, yet understand dynamics between people and form healthy relationships.

Blue-Number-4.jpgAccept mortality, knowing that every choice affects the generations to come.

Blue-Number-5.jpgCreate new things and find new experiences.

Blue-Number-6.jpgThink for themselves; observe, analyze, and discover truth without relying on the opinions of others.

Blue-Number-7.jpgFavor love, curiosity, reverence, and empathy rather than material wealth.

Blue-Number-8.jpgChoose a vocation that contributes to the common good.

Blue-Number-9.jpgEnjoy a variety of new places and experiences but identify and cherish a place to call home.

Blue-Number-10.jpgExpress their own voice with confidence.

Blue-Number-11.jpgAdd value to every encounter and every group of which they are a part.

Blue-Number-12.jpgAlways ask: “Who am I? Where are my limits? What are my possibilities?”

John-Taylor-Gatto.jpgThis list was adapted from John Taylor Gatto latest book, Weapons of Mass Instruction (New Society Publishers, 2009) for Learn as You Go, the Fall 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Gatto was a New York State Teacher of the Year. An advocate for school reform, his books also include Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.

Soil, Seeds, Salt: Education Brought Down to Earth

by - Living - Food, Living - Learning

Dandelion leaves flown thousands of miles north from Mexico now grace the organic section of our best local grocery stores. For this new addition, we can thank the demands of green consumers, educating themselves on prevention of cancer and other diseases through organics and the natural gifts of Mother Nature.

I find myself smiling at the latest proof of the power of our greening greenbacks. I am as well amused and saddened by the irony that the leaf generously and effortlessly yielded every hour for most months of the year by soil and worms in our own backyards must be carried north in airplanes guzzling barrels of oil and spewing millions of pounds of greenhouse gases.

How many young and old in our campuses and classrooms lack the simple knowledge possessed by illiterate peasants who are skilled in recognizing a dandelion leaf at a fleeting glance, and who have been taught by their unschooled mothers and grandmothers about the healing powers of its minerals and vitamins?

Humble handfuls of dandelion greens stand ready to teach us abundant lessons in humility; as well as profound lessons in how our backyards can educate us about healing our bodies and our earth. The humble dandelion needs no fossil fuels to perennially generously feed and heal us. All it requires to do its good work is to be left alone.

Mexican peasants—mostly school dropouts and illiterates—must surely wonder why a plant that literally grows itself needs to be imported by Pennsylvanians and other northerners.

What education will it take 98 percent of us—stuck indoors in concrete classrooms and offices—to enjoy harvesting our own dandelions for free, instead of paying grocery stores to refrigerate and fly them all the way north from the southern fields of Mexican peasants?

Education in the Abstract

Every Philosophy of Education course I have taught has begun with all students sharing a brief set of reflections on their philosophy of education—“uncontaminated” by any of the readings I assign in my courses.

Those personal philosophies are invariably defined by abstraction; lacking any real texture or grounding in any particular place on earth. Education happens in indistinguishable classrooms and tech-labs everywhere, nowhere, any place, no place, … cyberspace?

Listening to such ideas and ideals of education, I grope to learn where they belong. Which soil or place do these learners and teachers seek to learn or teach about? To care for? Where are the commons that cultivate and nourish their common sense? Such questions haunt my reading of their first philosophies of education. They float, as it were, out in cyberspace. Laptops beam onto printers. Each “writing” is in perfect print— zero trace of human hands—as clean and untouched as Wonder Bread packaged without the threat of being sullied by human hands or an infinitesimal hint of soil.

Not once has the word “soil” ever appeared one of my students' first statements. Yet, by the last week, soil becomes less alien stuff. They know well that the health of our soil and of our bodies is inextricably linked; that moving from Fast Food to Slow Food is as essential to their personal well being as it is for the healing of the damage each one of us is doing not only to our place on earth, but to other peoples places as well.

Learning to Escape Soil

When I started life in the classroom in my native India, 98 percent of Indians toiled on soil for their subsistence. The higher I climbed the education ladder, the more I ached for that 98 percent, doomed to subsistence, to slave and toil on soil.

As I delved deeper into my studies on Development Economics, I found the solution: The American Dream, where 98 percent can escape toil on soil because of the genius of agribusiness. Two percent feed the whole nation and generously stretch to include some of the starving billions of the world. Voila!

Lady Liberty held out to me the promise of an education to liberate the majority of people on earth—India’s peasants included—from subsistence. I began dreaming the American Dream: democracy, freedom, equality for all.

Five years later, with my newly minted Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Education in hand, I was ready to spread the gospel of Global Education for Development across the world. My education had enlightened me about the shame of subsistence.

Dismal statistics about the millions stuck to the soil dominated our studies of educational policy and theories for global development. How do we escape underdevelopment? This was the question directing and pushing our academic research of Education and Development for every nation on earth. Thanks to all the technological advances in travel, communication, and health care, a shrinking planet could offer each and every global citizen the gift of good education.

Philosophers of Soil

One brief encounter with a philosopher and thinker we had never bothered to study in all the decades I had spent in classrooms, however, suddenly, out of the blue, came to haunt and harass my philosophy of education, which I assumed to be engraved in stone. Suddenly, shockingly, it all collapsed like a flimsy castle built of cards.

Ivan Illich did not exist even as a tiny blip on the radar screens of all the educators shaping and directing my doctoral studies in education. But a few weeks after I had launched my professional career as a philosopher of education, a brief, unexpected, and unplanned exchange of ideas with Illich left me sitting disheveled, dumbstruck, and distressed amidst the wreckage of all my educated certainties about Education.

Everything I had built upon as the foundation for rational, scientific, statistically sound, and well-documented Education/Development Theory, Policy, and Analysis was revealed by Illich as the professionals’ hocus-pocus modern myth making, industrially manufactured and disseminated world-wide with the finesse of toothpaste advertisements, and fabricated to sell us all of the illusions defining the American Dream.

Illich provoked and pushed me to study in ways none of my professors ever had. More dangerous yet, he moved me to seriously study philosophers I had either never heard of or, even worse, revered as the greatest minds and spirits of contemporary times without knowing a single thing about their books or ideas.

Following Illich’s gaze, it was inevitable that I arrive at the doorstep of the American philosopher Wendell Berry—as unfamiliar to me as to anybody else I studied with. Equally inevitably, I soon discovered why the Gandhi we revered as a Mahatma (i.e. Superman) was never studied; his 90 volumes gathering dust in the best libraries. Berry and Gandhi were clearly not joining the Great March headed by Nehru, Truman, and others to the newest and shiniest Temples of Progress, Development, and Education.

Gandhi and Berry’s writings and reflections, joined to Illich’s, became for my philosophy of education the Non-violent Gang of Three—peacefully, without guns, humiliation, or insult slaying all my modern certainties. All three wrote about reality that ripped into shreds every theory and statistic I had ever studied including, of course, the “fact” that the American Dream could be dreamed and realized by every hard-working, sincere, and educated global citizen. Each of the three rendered unacceptable the view that all the illiterate billions of peasants on earth needed to be fully educated and liberated from their toil on soil.

Turning on its head this central certainty of education—that every highly credentialed graduate of the world should empower every peasant-farmer into also becoming an educated professional—these three thinkers invited us to gaze at the uneducated, the illiterate, and the drop-out in a whole new light; learning to humbly respect rather than arrogantly reject their traditional ways of working, learning, teaching, and living—exemplars of what it means to be well-rooted and grounded in soil.

“Look down at soil, humbly” Ivan Illich urges us. “Search below our feet because our generation has lost its grounding in both soil and virtue.”

Bringing us down to earth, down below expert ecologists’ abstractions about “planet earth, global hunger, threats to life,” Illich invites us home: to the soil on which we stand, right beneath our feet; or the soil we put into our mouths with zero thought –as disengaged “industrial eaters.”

Stanford, NYU, and other famous centers of education could not seduce Berry into prolonging his city residency. Before wasting too much time out-of-place, Berry found his way home to his native Kentucky, where his grandparents and other ancestors learned and taught how to tend, toil on, and love their soil.

Berry invites us all to find our way home: to live, teach, and learn the knowledge and skills it takes to deeply care for the physical and cultural soil of our own places. Every place on our diverse earth has its own special and distinctive soil—whose particular and peculiar tending explains the fabulous diversity of every one of the earth’s millions of “local cultures.” And the health of local soil has always depended on the shared stories people have told each other—keeping them alive with daily telling and neighborly talk—the living memory that is the “stuff” and “soil” of every local culture. Berry says:

If the local culture cannot preserve and improve the local soil, then, as both reason and history inform us, the local community will decay and perish … A human community, then, if it is to last long, must exert a sort of centripetal force, holding local soil and local memory in place.

Practically speaking, human society has no work more important than this.

Gandhi’s sovereignty was rooted in people taking back their soil, seeds, and salt. Soil had to be tended daily for growing food and taking care of shit. Shit work must be done by every person who shits; bread labor by everyone who eats. This inevitably nourishes the character of self-rule or autonomy. Soil constituted the center of Gandhi’s quest for sovereignty.

Nai Talim (new education) and Hind Swaraj (home rule)—Gandhi’s two shortest treatises on soil for subsistence—offer rich, succinct, juicy shortcuts through his 90 volumes that elaborate on every aspect of freedom and sovereignty. Instead of being good consumers or colonized subjects to empires and multinational corporations, Gandhi’s Education cultivates the knowledge and skills necessary for sovereignty.

Digging In

How do we bring alive the ideas and ideals of Gandhi, Berry, Illich on a philosophy of education at the center of which is living soil? How do we explore these questions so that they are not abstract and opaque—something read and forgotten minutes after the end of examination week? These are the questions that perennially push and challenge my philosophy of education. They are far from easy to answer mechanically or bureaucratically. Stuck for hours in industrial classrooms, how do we speak of soil without rendering it yet another abstract idea. Stuck in the context of dirt-free zones, how do we celebrate dirt and enjoy the pleasures of mucking around in it?

Jesse, a student sick with Crone’s disease, shared her dreams of starting a garden with her six friends and growing good, nourishing healing foods for herself and her little community. They knew next to nothing about growing food and, as typical student apartment dwellers, lacked land to start their experiments in learning. Jesse’s joyful enthusiasm and hopefulness, joined by that of her six “ignorant” friends, melted my reservations. In hours, they had dug up a backyard piece of my typical suburban lawn.

Three years later, not only was Jesse robust and radiant again; this “Gang of Gardening 7” became the most compelling and contagious spokespeople for a philosophy of education that uses soil as the center for teaching and learning all of the school disciplines in an integrated, non conventional manner.

I know of no professor of education on my campus who was as compelling as this group of undergraduates. Students could identify with them in age and pressures of schooling and, in addition, be moved by their capacity to take the formal Philosophy of Education curriculum and root it in soil.

Each time they candidly and humbly shared their story of starting from ignorance and learning from unending, multiple failures on their little plot of lawnscape-turned-foodscape, the resistance and cynicism of their classmates melted.

For thousands of young people bored by the irrelevance of what they are learning and moved by the desire to eat food that heals rather than sickens, the message to become the change they wish to see in the world has the awakening and compelling ring of truth and conviction.

Grounded Education

Simple questions bring my philosophy of education—as those of my students—full circle. Questions like these invite us out of confinement into the vast, open outdoors—where millions of peasants are joined by our three philosophers of soil in enjoying the abundant gifts of the earth; no longer viewed as toil-on-soil, instead, we learn to teach and savor the gifts of bread labor, re-linking our heads, hearts, and hands … along with miles of intestines … to the soil on which we stand—grounded and well-rooted.

Among the 2 percent most educated people on our planet, freed from all illusions of the superiority of my knowledge over that of unschooled peasants and farmers, I have also been liberated from the hubris of wanting to liberate the 98 percent who toil on soil, empowering them with my classroom knowledge and skills. Instead, daily I seek to learn with them; by their side, enjoying the contagious wisdom they gain through toil in soil.

Stood on its head by Gandhi, Illich, and Berry, my philosophy of education is finally finding its feet on the ground; growing roots in real soil.

Madhu PrakashMadhu Prakash wrote this article as part of Learn as You Go, the Fall 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Madhu is a professor at Pennsylvania State University. Her books include Grassroots Postmodernism, Escaping Education, and the forthcoming No Chive Left Behind.

What We Need Is Each Other

Community - How to Build Community - by

There is a new worldwide movement developing, made up of people with a different vision for their local communities. They know that movements are not organizations, institutions or systems. Movements have no CEO, central office, or plan. Instead, they happen when thousands and thousands of people discover together new possibilities for their lives. They have a calling. They are called. And together they call upon themselves.

In many nations local people have been called to come together to pursue a common calling. It would be a mistake to label that calling ABCD, or Community Building. Those are just names. They are inadequate words for groups of local people who have the courage to discover their own way—to create a culture made by their own vision. It is a handmade, homemade vision. And, wherever we look, it is a culture that starts the same way:

First, we see what we have—individually, as neighbors and in this place of ours.

Second, we know that the power of what we have grows from creating new connections and relationships among and between what we have.

Third, we know that these connections happen when we individually or collectively act to make the connections—they don't just happen by themselves.

We also know that these three steps leading our way can often be blocked by great corporate, governmental, professional and academic institutions. They often say to us, "You are inadequate, incompetent, problematic, or broken. We will fix you."

It is our calling to ignore these voices that create dependency, for we are called to find our way—not follow their way.

We are striving to live in a democracy. A democracy is a politics that gives us the freedom to create our vision and the power to make that vision come true. We strive to be citizens—people with the vision and the power to create our own way, a culture of community capacity, connection and care.

Unfortunately, many leaders and even some neighbors think that the idea of a strong local community is sort of "nice," a good thing if you have the spare time, but not really important, vital or necessary. However, we know strong communities are vital and productive. But, above all, they are necessary because of the inherent limits of all institutions.

No matter how hard they try, our very best institutions cannot do many things that only we can do. And what only we can do is vital to a decent, good, democratic life.

People in the new movement know what only we have the power to do as local neighbors and citizens.

First, our neighborhoods are the primary source of our health. How long we live and how often we are sick are determined by our personal behaviors, our social relationships, our physical environment, and our income. As neighbors, we are the people who can change these things. Medical systems and doctors cannot. This is why scientists agree that medical care counts for less than 10 percent of what will allow us to be healthy. Indeed, most informed medical leaders advocate for community health initiatives because they recognize their systems have reached the limits of their health-giving power.

Second, whether we are safe and secure in our neighborhood is largely within our domain. Many studies show that there are two major determinants of our local safety. One is how many neighbors we know by name. The second is how often we are present and associated in public, outside our houses. Police activity is a minor protection compared to these two community actions. This is why most informed police leaders advocate for block watch and community policing. They know their limits and call to our movement.

Third, the future of our Earth—the environment—is a major local responsibility. The "energy problem" is our local domain because how we transport ourselves, how we heat and light our homes and how much waste we create is a major force factor in saving our earth. That is why our movement is a major force in calling us and our neighbors to be citizens of the Earth and not just consumers of the natural wealth.

Fourth, in our villages and neighborhoods, we have the power to build a resilient economy—less dependent on the mega-systems of finance and production that have proven to be so unreliable. Most enterprise begins locally, in garages, basements, and dining rooms. As neighbors, we have the local power to nurture and support these businesses so that they have a viable market. And we have the local power to capture our own savings so that we are not captives of our notorious large financial institutions. We also are the most reliable sources of jobs, for in many nations word-of-mouth among neighbors is still the most important access to employment. The future of our economic security is now clearly a responsibility, possibility and necessity for local people.

Fifth, we are coming to see that a part of our domain is the production of the food we eat. So we are allied with the local food movement, supporting local producers and markets. In this way, we will be doing our part to solve the energy problem caused by transportation of food from continents far away. We will be doing our part to solve our economic problems by circulating our dollars locally. And we will be improving our health by eating food free of poisons and petroleum.

Sixth, we are local people who must raise our children. We all say that it takes a village to raise a child. And yet, in modernized societies, this is rarely true. Instead, we pay systems to raise our children—teachers, counselors, coaches, youth workers, nutritionists, doctors, McDonald's, and MTV. We are often reduced as families to being responsible for paying others to raise our children and transporting them to their paid child-raisers. Our villages have often become useless—our neighbors responsible for neither their children nor ours. As a result, everywhere we talk about the local "youth problem." There is no "youth problem." There is a village problem of adults who have forgone their responsibility and capacity to join their neighbors in sharing the wealth of children. It is our greatest challenge and our most hopeful possibility.

Seventh, locally we are the site of care. Our institutions can only offer service—not care. We cannot purchase care. Care is the freely given commitment from the heart of one to another. As neighbors, we care for each other. We care for our children. We care for our elders. And it is this care that is the basic power of a community of citizens. Care cannot be provided, managed or purchased from systems. Our way is made possible by the power to care. Democracy is the way we care for our freedom and responsibility. So it is the new connections and relationships we create locally that build community because in joining each other together, we manifest our care for the children, neighbors and the earth.

Health, safety, economy, environment, food, children and care are the seven responsibilities of our movement. They are the necessities that only we can fulfill. And when we fail, no institution or government can succeed. Because we are the veritable foundation of the society.

Fortunately, at the heart of our movement are three universal and abundant powers. The three basics of our calling are:

The giving of gifts—the gifts of the people in our neighborhood are boundless. Our movement calls forth those gifts.

Second, the power of association—In association we join our gifts together and they become amplified, magnified, productive, and celebrated.

Third, hospitality—We welcome strangers because we value their gifts and need to share our own. Our doors are open. There are no strangers here. Just friends we haven't met.

Ours is the movement of abundance. There is no limit to our gifts, our associations, and our hospitality.

We have a calling. We are the people who know what we need. What we need surrounds us. What we need is each other. And when we act together, we will find Our Way. The citizen's way. The community way. The democratic way.

We are called to nothing less. And it is not so wild a dream.

John McKnight authorpicJohn McKnight is a professor at Northwestern University, where he is Co-Director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute and Director of Community Studies of the Institute for Policy Research. He delivered this address to the Coady International Institute in Nova Scotia.