New Year’s Changes

by Molly Brown

I am wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year, in which we all live in greater harmony with Nature (on which our lives depend).  With the new year, I am turning over the editorial coordination of the Community Sustainability Column to the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center.  I plan to continue to write an occasional column, but Bianca Garza of the Ecology Center will manage the column and recruit other writers for it.  Please let her know if you are interested in writing for the column!

Why the change?  I have undertaken a new project that is taking most of my working hours these days.  With two other teachers, I am coordinating and teaching an online year-long Facilitator Development Program in the Work That Reconnects that has been successful beyond our wildest dreams. Over 50 committed and engaged people from 12 countries all over the world are participating in the program.

The Work That Reconnects is a transformational body of theory and practice that helps people move from a sense of isolation and despair to “active hope” as they find their path of service in the web of life.  (I have written several columns based on the premises of the Work That Reconnects.)  Coming Back to Life, which I co-authored with Joanna Macy, sets forth the major concepts and perspectives of the Work, along with group practices for workshops, retreats, and other gatherings.  Although the Work That Reconnects has been “open source” from the beginning, many people have felt the need for more focused facilitator training—hence this program.

I share this with you here to point to an avenue for economic development that does minimal harm to the environment (beyond the initial manufacture of computers and the Internet infrastructure) and could potentially provide livelihoods for many people living in our remote mountain region. Equally important, it doesn’t entail outside corporations exploiting our natural resources and exporting profits.  A local fiber optics network would help support the many talented folks who live here to offer webinars and educational programs online to people living anywhere on the planet with Internet access, on a wide variety of educational topics.  There are several dynamic platforms for such courses that allow people to see one another, listen to lectures with opportunities for questions and comments, and work in small “breakout” groups.  There are of course limitations to this format, but my colleagues and I are finding creative ways of working around them.

Community sustainability requires economic development in harmony with our environment and that keeps profits at home.  Let’s encourage local entrepreneurs to use the Internet (with a community fiber optics network) to bring prosperity to Siskiyou County in 2018.

And let’s keep this Community Sustainability column going with contributions from more local writers and activists!  Contact to do so.