In 2005, I was just an ordinary, low-profile guy in my thirties living in the town of Totnes, England. Like many of us, I worried about the crises endangering humanity—the rampant exploitation of natural resources, the frenetic and dehumanizing quest for profit, exclusion and widening of inequalities.
It disturbed me profoundly, for example, that of the £30 million spent yearly on food in my town alone, £22 million ended up in the cash registers of supermarket chains. If people shifted just 10% of the money they spent in large chain stores to local businesses, they would inject £2 million every year into the local economy.
I wanted to be able to tell my children that during this critical period, when we still had a window in which to act, I did everything in my power to find a solution.
So I started knocking on my neighbors’ doors. As a Kinsale College teacher of permaculture—which aims to foster resilience by turning farms and communities into autonomous, productive and efficient ecosystems—I envisioned engaging the people around me in exploring a different model of change.
Could communities unite to organize a new, locally based economy that could withstand both environmental and economic crises, while planning for a post-oil, post-growth world? […]
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