Resilient Community & Leadeship Building

Module 6

The world was almost at the point of forgetting what a fine time people can have helping one another. That people like to work together and to kick back after work and share their experiences. What would happen if our foreign policy centered on the cultivation of joy rather than pain? She thought. Alice Walker, Now Is the Time To Open Your Heart

Creating Resilient Communities

Why a resilient community?

Cohesive communities create resilience

A resilient community is possible by building the social capital that binds together and supports the community. Investing social capital in communities by building social networks has multiple benefits: improved education, better health from addressing environmental issues, and strengthened connections between elder and younger generations so that, over time, a community holds together and renews itself.

What a Resilient Community Means

A resilient community is a place its members can identity with, a place of identity. Social capital (“human” capital termed in this TED Talk) necessary to build a resilient community is the dividend from investing in the local community. “We are all related. We are better together.” This Ted Talk showcases the resilient community of the Pine Ridge Tribe. They reconnect with the land, and reclaim their cultural history and identity associated with the land. They did this under young leadership with a motto of “a time to stop talking and start working”. They integrated the regenerative principles to instill resilience that intersect the three P’s: Planet, People, and Prosperity.

Building resilient communities: a moral responsibility

How to Build a Resilient Community

The road map to community resilience
  • Get to know your community — learn its history and culture so that it becomes your place of identity. You can create a community story map that everyone can share.
  • Create community spaces — build a community center, plant community gardens (my favorite!)
  • Organize community events — community meetings, reading group, a seed swap, tool swap, potluck, speaker series, etc.
  • Volunteer — offer to help a neighbor or bring dinner to families experiencing hardship.

Slow Money to Invest in Local Communities

There are many organizations in various levels that promote building resilient communities. My all-time favorite, “Slow Money” featured in the Ted Talk is one of many examples. I can’t emphasize its main message enough: you get what you invest. Invest in your local community and let it sit and circulate there. “We need to measure return on investment not simply by profit, but by things like soil fertility, by the jobs that will make the relationships we build, the ecology we restore.”

Building a resilient community entails comprehensive coordination of social, economic and environmental sustainability: changing business models, restoring our environmental ecosystems, and building relationships — the main reason CC4ES Six Modules overlap and interconnect. Again, it all starts with each of us.

DIY: What does “Slow” in “Slow Money” mean to you?

Recommended resources

  • The Permaculture Promise, by Jono Neiger
  • Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farm and Fertility Matterd, by Woody Tasch
  • Soil, Soul, Society: A New Trinity for Our Time, by Satish Kumar

Keywords for further exploration

  • permaculture
  • resilient community
  • ecological infrastucture
  • Slow Money
  • social capital
  • social mobilization

Questions to reflect

  • Why a community is necessary for our own sustainable lifestyle?
  • What do you identify with in your own community, and why?
  • What is your own definition of “resilient” community? What does it mean to you?
  • Land or soil is a recurring theme for sustainability. How is the land ownership related to building a resilient community and environmental justice?
  • Referring to the opening quotation by Alice Walker, what do you think made people forget the joy of working together? HINT: Find out about Alice Walker.