Radical Relocalization


They used to call it a "trade". What could you trade in the relocalized future? 

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It's hard for us to get our heads around, but sooner or later - and likely sooner -  we'll lack the steady supply the goods and services 's produced by a fully functioning industrial economy. We'll need to produce that stuff locally. We don't know how to do this, but we can learn!

What could you do that you can barter with others? How could you concretely contribute value to others' survival or "surthrival"?

And from the standpoint of your needs, what would give you meaning and purpose and satisfaction if you were basing your contribution on it? Don't be discouraged if you don't know the answer to that question; it's not one we're seriously asked much and most of us have to grow into the answer. No shame and no problem.


Specially written for young people, here are some thoughts about how to find work and community security in an economy that's faltering.


Re-skilling for the future

We can't know particulars of what the future will look like. But that we'll live in a more frugal and more local world is certain - there just aren't enough resources to continue consuming at our present rate, not even close. 

Below are some features likely to be part of daily life in a relocalized future. If you can see a job for yourself in one or more of them, go learn it. Don't worry about picking the perfect job. If you love it, figure out a way to learn it. Some trades will mean apprenticing but all can be started on your own. Usually there's someone in your area who can help you. Find that person!  Learning any practical "trade" will likely help you feel more competent and confident in the emerging world.

We're likely to see:

  • fish tanks or ponds in many back yards. (Great protein and the water can be added to fertilizer)
  • a need for fruit and nut trees adapted to your region
  • most everyone being involved with some part of food production.  Most everyone can grow a little or a big something. It's just what we do.
  • empty lots or railway beds, or former parking lots or rooftops becoming gardening sites
  • people with land (or back yards) linking with people who have no land but have farming dreams or time
  • city farms with new sharecroppers going from yard to yard and helping people with their gardens in return for a share of the crop
  • tools being shared at the block level so everyone doesn't have to buy their own
  • entertainment at the block level as people meet face to face and share what gives them life
  • education at the local level. Education will likely be largely by apprenticeship according to inclination. Teach the skill you have.
  • a local currency that's used with pleasure and pride, helping each person's quest for more local. (The national currency will always be needed for goods that aren't produced locally; but agreements among local consumers, and extensive barter are likely.) This is not a first step, but when a number of people are working together you could help get a system started.
  • more local production of everyday items like food and soap, lanterns, shoe repair, finished wood - and much much more
  • solar hot water heaters on the top of more and more houses
  • micro-solar applications (with panels from around the local hardware store connected to used batteries for example) for around the house
  • most shopping and business is local; you live close to where you work
  • intercity travel is largely by rail (highly efficient and subsidized)
  • local travel is by bicycle (learn to repair them and make them more efficient) and special-lane buses
  • more local chickens
  • houses not requiring strict "code" compliance
  • land use freed up as people share acreages
  • citizen cooperatives decide on what businesses and innovations needs to happen locally
  • justice is administered locally by restorative circles. "Punishments" often involve restorative efforts made while the offender remains within the community. Those who can't work within the community are sequestered and those with a special calling work with them. The way out of sequestration is through a demonstrated long-term commitment to getting better.
  • most everyone helps build houses and most everyone owns one. You could start by building a Tiny House; they have a myriad of uses including space for "new immigrants". We're building a flurry of them in our area this summer (2010) using a "work bee" approach. More on this soon.
  • work for everyone who wants it, growing food.

Whatever captures your imagination suggests a good place to start! You'll learn by the process of doing. You could also try this exercise (adapted from Michael Dowd), for discerning your calling.

Note that learning a skill or trade can be very beneficial, even if it doesn't bring in cash or immediate return. It gives you practical value in your communuity. You're going to value that, and for good reason.

Because the best protection isn't owning 30 guns; it's having 30 people who care about you. Since those 30 have other people who care about them, you actually have 300 people who are looking out for each other, including you. The second best protection isn't a big stash of stuff others want to steal; it's sharing what you have and owning little of value.”

- Charles Hugh Smith

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Check out some thoughts on developing a relocalizing mind.