A lot of my reading recommendations come from my brother Glen. And I do a lot of reading when I travel. I’ve just returned from another weekend on the Bruce Peninsula in Northern Ontario, and I have just finished Alanna Mitchell’s Sea Sick. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m not sure how Mark Winne’s Closing the Food Gap; Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty found its way into the plant library, but I am glad it did. Read the rest of this entry »
I must confess I approached this book with a gigantic dose of skepticism. It was published by Green Team, the New York advertising firm where my daughter works. Read the rest of this entry »
For many people, the word “industry” brings to mind images of sprawling factories belching toxic emissions in a blighted natural landscape. “Industrial” has become synonymous with pollution, human rights abuse, and corporate greed. In Industrial Evolution, Lyle Estill seeks to reclaim the term, with its original connotations of hard work, diligence and productivity, and to show how community-scale enterprise can create a vibrant, sustainable local economy.
Industrial Evolution is a story of survival. It is about how the small group of committed entrepreneurs introduced in Small is Possible managed to keep their dream alive and thriving through the economic recession, emerging with a model of what a sustainable local economy might look like in a post carbon future. Compulsively readable and seasoned with light humor, this grassroots account demonstrates that ecological stewardship and enterprise at an appropriate scale can lay the foundation for abundance.
Industrial Evolution skips the doom and gloom and is all about solutions. By showing that it is possible to take the big out of industry, this book motivates people to work together in a meaningful way. Filled with inspirational tales of success, failure, perseverance, and real world experiences that anyone can relate to, Industrial Evolution is a must-read for activists, organizers, politicians, and anyone who cares about resilient communities.
I have a strange relationship to Douglas Rushkoff’s latest book, Life Inc. How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back.
Wow. It appears the Federal Trade Commission wants to regulate bloggers. What was that Dylan line? “Someday your own garden will be against the law.”
I got off on the wrong footing with this book. I was at the beach, my buddy needed a book, I had it in my knapsack, and was engrossed in the post mortem biography of Hunter S. Thompson, so I flipped this book his way.
I’ve spent the summer running about with the family and a FLIP camera. Trying my hand at video blogging. Here is my summer’s work:
My first attempt came after a Fourth of July weekend on Kilby Island, off the coast of North Carolina. My daughter Jess received a new camera, and filmed everything from badminton to magazine reading on the couch. 2 hours of footage was reduced to this:
My second attempt was in Lion’s Head, Ontario, visiting my brother Glen on the edge of Georgian Bay. One of the cool things I did when I was there was publish an entry in his Wind Blog that stirred up a sea of discussion that is still swirling about. Less controversial is the movie I putzed around with while I was there.
I just came back from London, where I had the exquisite pleasure of reading Harm de Blij’s The Power of Place. (Oxford University Press, 2009)
Tonight I did an interview with Douglas Rushkoff on his WFMU show out of New York called Media Squat. He’s a “bottom up” proponent and thinker who is coming out with a new book about corporatism entitled Life Inc. I’m looking forward to it.
His path to Small is Possible came via the PLENTY, which is our newly revitalized local currency. In the chapter “Financing Ourselves,” I accidentally did two things. First, I wrote about our locally owned Capital Bank. Local readers became enamored with the idea of banking locally and started opening accounts there. They got a copy of the book to find out what their new customers were talking about. The founder of the bank bought some copies. I accompanied him to his wife’s book club at Mrs Lacy’s Tea Room in Sanford, North Carolina. For a moment there I was the darling of Capital Bank.
Secondly Small is Possible was picked up by BJ Lawson, who was running for Congress. In “Financing Ourselves” I told the story of the PLENTY–which was a currency I had supported and used for many years. Monetary theory is a hobby of BJ’s. One day at lunch a group of us kicked around the idea of breathing fresh life into the PLENTY organization. It was one of those idle conversations where one person says “I could do the website,” and another says I could do “this” and my suggestion was that I might be able to “get a bank.”
We did all of those things, the new PLENTY was launched and it turns out “Local Bank Accepts Local Currency” became international news.
It started with a misquote in USA Today which said, “We are a wiped out little town.” That led to a local burst of media, followed by the national guys. I headed off to Democracy Now. Next thing we knew our mayor was on FOX news, and Melissa was on the BBC, and CNN trucks were rumbling through our little town. Then came the Russians, and the Polish TV crews. Then Inside Edition. It’s been nuts.
I confess to being at a deep disadvantage on the TV front. Having not owned one for 18 years I have never seen many of these shows.
One of my favorite sidebars to this story is that of Janine Saunders. She was raised at Blue Heron Farm–which is an intentional community in Pittsboro–written about in the chapter “Housing Ourselves.” Janine moved to New York, hired on as an assistant with Rushkoff, and was given the task of getting me on the show. I love it. Rushkoff has thought deeply about currency and capitalism, and I am thinking it might have come as a surprise to Janine that in order to get “the story,” from Manhattan she would need to start back in her home town of 2500 souls…