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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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What Can We Do To Rebuild Our World?

I have had a migraine since last night, so I’d like to share with you a post I wrote earlier this week at the Simple | Green | Frugal | Co-op.

I don’t know about you, but I have been moving between feeling inspired by new leadership and new possibilities, and feeling depressed by economic, agricultural, and climate news.

Our system has failed us. Not completely, but mostly. What a dreadful thought! However, rather than spend my energy down and out and feeling utterly powerless, I’d like to put my energy into make that system whole again. But how do we do that??

We reinvent our system. Large corporations, large banks, and large economies have a great deal of control over our lives. So let’s remove that control. Let’s focus on small businesses, small banks and credit unions, and small economies.

You and I can make a big difference. When we put our money into a large bank, we are one in one billion customers. That bank doesn’t care about us, clearly, because we are quite insignificant in the scheme of things. But if we put our money into a small, local bank, we are one in just 1,000 or 10,000 customers. You better believe that business cares about us and our needs! Suddenly we have some power and control over how that bank does it’s business. We may even know our tellers, or the owner of the bank!

From all that I’ve heard about how banks are faring during the credit crunch, it seems that local and small, regional banks and credit unions are generally surviving this crisis. It is the big, over-extended banks that don’t care about each of us – and who simply want to grow and make more money – who are finding it tough to survive. Most of the local businesses that cater to local needs are doing ok, too.

We can rebuild our world by living locally and strengthening our local communities.

When I buy groceries and produce from local farmers and producers, I can support systems that I believe in. I can be a voice in that system, and truly help make a difference.

  • I can actively take part in sustainable agriculture – which is better for me, the farmers, and our oil supply (from pesticide use).
  • I can keep my money within my local economy to make it stronger and more powerful.
  • I can reduce my carbon footprint and help stave off irreparable climate change – because my produce isn’t packaged and doesn’t have to travel across the world from a pesticide-driven farm!

We have a broken system. Our many world leaders, including Obama, will be working to help save that system from the top down (this a top-heavy inverted pyramid we’re working with). But we – you and I – must work to save our system from the bottom up. We can make the base of that pyramid much bigger and stronger!!

Let’s start today. How can you can support your local economy right now. Will you change the way you buy groceries? Will you rethink your eating out? Will you seek out a local credit union or bank, a place where you can feel good about keeping your money? If you have a bit of extra time, money, produce from the garden, or things you could give away, will you take it to a local organization that could use it? Please write your plans down – anywhere – right now.

The foundation of our world lies in our local communities. It is there, first and foremost, where we must change the system and make it work for us.

We have the power to rebuild the world. Let’s do it!

For more about this subject, please visit our discussions about Community Building and Living Locally.

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7 comments to What Can We Do To Rebuild Our World?

  • Beijo

    Great post! I’m a HUGE advocate of buying from small and local businesses. There are lots of ways to search for the small businesses in your city/town, but my favorite resource is Business Networking Int. (BNI), which is an international small-business networking organization that has a great directory to help you find businesses as local as your own neighborhood. I’ve posted a link here that gives an idea of how it works. The first link is for Seattle, but follow the 2nd link to find links to the local chapters in your area. From there, follow ‘member’ links or search by category. Good stuff!

  • Moving forward is the only way. I’m with you on the local thing. Posted my thoughts about it here

    Keep thinking local for EVERYTHING. Even the stuff we don’t want to deal with, like waste.

  • And let’s be kind. Kindness is in short supply, I’ve noticed. And it does make a difference because it connects us.

  • becky

    “I don’t know about you, but I have been moving between feeling inspired by new leadership and new possibilities, and feeling depressed by economic, agricultural, and climate news.”….

    have you been reading my thoughts, melinda? and yes, i’ve come to exactly the same solution. our best chance to create change is thru a commitment to ALL THINGS LOCAL.

  • We’re doing it! I love your enthusiasm. When I shop at the farmers’ markets I feel like the money I spend is not only supporting the farmers but is also a contribution to keeping the land alive and vital. It’s more than just the people but an investment in the environment too. Right now I’m feeling lucky to still have a local bookstore as several of them in the area are closing. And our local radio station is my other local love. Thanks for the reminder to appreciate and support these things.

  • I love you all. Thanks for your great comments. And enthusiasm, too! Right now I’m off to a community meeting on sustainability!

  • Thank you for the reminder to buy local, Melinda! I was so excited about the fact that I live across the street from a mall that I forgot how much I love locally-owned stores. They usually have better selections and better prices on everything, and they’re all right there on the street next to the big, corporate mall. I shouldn’t've spent so much time in the mall! Oh well, now I know that there are really cool other stores nearby too.

    One place I don’t feel bad about going to that isn’t local is the Oxfam Shop on the corner of the street though. Hope you don’t mind that it’s tied for one of my favorite stores around here! ;)

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