For the past year, the Longfellow Sustainability Group has met on the first Saturday of the month, usually at Peace Coffee. At our first meetings, we decided to do monthly mini-challenges on topics the group itself decided to explore — the following month we would discuss how we did on that challenge.
For year 2, we’re considering a change. We recently discovered Resilience Circles. While they use slightly different language than we might use — “personal security” where we would use “resilience and self sufficiency” — I think that concept is very much what we were trying to do when we began our group.
Resilience Circles are intended to help people:
- Face economic and ecological challenges, learning together about root causes.
- Take concrete steps for mutual aid and shared action.
- Rediscover the abundance we have and recognize the possibility of a better future.
- See ourselves as part of a larger effort to create a fair and healthy economy that works for everyone, in harmony with the planet.
- Get to know neighbors, find inspiration, and have fun!
The website about resilience circles talks about three components:
Learning – The realities of our economic and ecological challenges may be overwhelming for isolated individuals. The Circle is a supportive community in which to learn about and analyze structural flaws in the systems within which we live — particularly our current economic system, which has created massive insecurity for young, old and everyone in between.
This is very much in line with the Post Carbon Institute‘s new Community Resilience Initiative. Two books from PCI focus on economic issues: Local Dollars, Local Sense (hot off the presses) and The End of Growth.
Mutual Aid – Resilience Circles provide members with concrete opportunities to stretching their “mutual aid muscles.” For example, in session 5 participants write down things they can offer – such sewing skills, tools, or child care – and things they need — and then take action. This step helps participants gain a new sense of the wealth within the group and the community.
Social Action – Many of our challenges won’t be solved through personal or local mutual aid efforts alone. They require us to work together to bring about change on the state, national and even global level. While there is no official Resilience Circle social action agenda, many groups choose to take action based on their own values and interests.
If you would like to participate in a Resilience Circle — or if you do NOT want to see our current sustainability group shift to this model — please show up at Peace Coffee this Saturday morning to weigh in on this decision. We meet from 10:30 to noon.