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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/17/11

Channeling Citizen Solidarity into Productive Channels of Action

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6. Develop appropriate technology for adding value within small industries in each community at a scale that is in balance with nature, the actual community scale, the real human social scale and the actual carrying capacity of the local ecology.   Use local resources to produce local goods.

  7 . Develop small scale industry and business to support local farm, fishery, and forest economies to produce real goods for real needs.   A sustainable society can only be supported with resources from sustainable sources.

8. Produce as much of the energy needed by the community as possible at the local level. Conserve and utilize all energy within intelligent systems to lessen the actual need for energy.  Effective conservation is much more cost effective than chasing after an illusory, temporary techno-fix.   Nature conserves energy whenever possible. There is no waste in nature.   We need to apply scientific bio-mimicry to build an efficient human ecological-economy.

9. Work to increase the real income within the community and lessen the need to purchase goods, resources and services outside of your community.  The net value of economic activity is the only valid and real measure.   .

10. Set up integrated systems to circulate money produced locally within the local economy through as many cycles as possible with inter-dependent local goods and services.  Bank locally.  Support the local economy in all sectors. Goods purchased inside our local economy re-circulate an average of 5 times as goods and services are traded between local individuals and organizations


11 . Build direct local market connections between urban consumers and rural producers of food and energy.

12 . Be aware of the real economic value of neighborly acts and community cohesion.  A safe, sane society is much less costly to operate than a society burdened with systemic dis-enfranchisement that leads to crime and violence. A world that works for all of us can only be built up from local communities that work for all of the participants.

13. Develop reality-based currencies, web-based direct value trading and traditional barter systems in your local economy to replace the inflationary/imaginary global money system.  

As the sub-prime mortgage crash painfully demonsted, a sustainable economy must be based on the trade of real goods and services, not just financial "paper".  Sustainable societies can only be operated on real resources and real capital, not false credit conjured up out of thin air.

14. A local community works best if connections are built with other local communities.  Live locally, and connect globally for knowledge exchange.  An interconnected "global village" is possible with our present electronic voice and web communication.  Knowledge is the most viable resource to transport over long distance in an energy scarce era.  "Best practice" in permaculture, energy conservation and production of real value can be shared in this way. We need to see the survival of the entire human enterprise as a shared global responsibility.   A fear based "survivalist" mentality is deadly.   Life only works when we understand the multiple layers of our global ecology.

15 . Maintain the human community without despoiling any adjacent or distant ecosystem.  It is all connected.   We cannot sustain human life without sustaining the host ecology.

16 .  As we plan the operating systems of our sustainable economy, we must include the entire natural living system; The local ecology of land, water, air, native fauna and flora are full members of the community. We need a "whole systems perspective" to decide the best course of action for each community and the human species as a whole.

17 . Account for real ecological costs now hidden.  Have those that cause these real costs pay for the cost.  No more corporate or governmental deferral of real and measurable costs to future generations.    Our children deserve this consideration.

18 .  Always think about how our actions contribute to measurable economic value, not just the movement of cash.  An industry may in fact generate a lot of cash, but create huge long term loss to the community in social and ecological costs and damage. We need a new economic measure; RPP, Real Productive Product to replace GDP.


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Michael Richards is a life long innovator, entrepreneur and author. His most recent book is; SUSTAINABLE OPERATING SYSTEMS/The Post Petrol Paradigm (available on line at; Mr. Richards has presented as an author, speaker and (more...)
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