Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Can local save us from global?

Posted on Sunday, April 19, 2009 by No comments yet

Greg Sterling writes recently

This article from the Sunday NY Times magazine has some interesting and controversial “food for thought” about the future of the economy and local communities. The piece focuses on the “Transition” movement, whose central idea is that to be sustainable in a coming era of no oil, society will have to “relocalize” to feed itself…

A great deal of the “malaise” that afflicts us as a culture is built upon our collective use of things and consumables to satisfy what are essentially emotional and spiritual needs for community and connection to other people. The irony of most people’s lives is that they chase objects and material comfort only to discover — if they’re lucky enough to attain their objectives — that those “things” make false promises…

Yet if we all had enough wealth to stop “working” or worrying about money we probably would behave differently and not continue chasing more money. We’d probably start working on personal creative pursuits, the collective good or doing something to help others. I tend, because of this belief, to be somewhat mystified when I read about Internet entrepreneurs who no longer have to work, but are working on their next startup.

Important topic.  Even without the current attention to this subject brought on by looming global perils (economy, environment, war, disease, etc.).

The whole concept of localism (e.g., as put forward by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance) is finally getting some traction.

Our observation… one can’t get very far with this approach if neighbors are strangers to each other… which is, increasingly, the case in the United States.  So, we created and launched Front Porch Forum and now 40% of our pilot city subscribes and 93% report increased civic engagement because of FPF.

While we might lose the internet when catastrophe hits (say it ain’t so!), at least here in greater Burlington, VT, real face-to-face networks of neighbors are flourishing, catalyzed by Front Porch Forum.

Posted in: Community Building, Democracy, Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Neighborhood, social capital, Stories

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