For years I have been reading articles of all sorts, sizes and colors. Each time I am struck by it and each time I think how much worse does it need to get before the message arrives. And here is a town that is in total ruins because their main industry, the car industry, is totally collapsed. More than half of the population has left the city. The infrastructure is still there but crumbling down, there is hardly any public transportation since why would they need that when everybody has a car. Office buildings are empty, productionplants abandoned and houses are left to the weathergods. Even the large supermarketchains moved on.
About 800.000 people, mainly african-amercians, are left behind. They chose to stay and start anew. The loss of the availability of fresh produce in their neighbourhood was something that needed to be addressed, the need to eat fresh vegetables hadn't moved out. Something so simple started a number of shared gardens since there was more than enough land around. A special highschool was started with learning farmingskills on the curriculum. These activities led to a healthy environment for bees and the another possibility to earn money.
Besides the agriculturel activities artists found a surplus of space and abandoned materials which led to a number of art-galleries. Since a lot of chainstores also left the city, small businesses took the chance to take over. They are now thriving because they also contribute to local pride. The local pride grows because people started connecting to each again, they meet and make plans, they raise money together or for example via kickstarter.
Now maybe you are thinking, that is nice but what has all of this to do with you? Well I live on an island with the highest unemploymentrate of Danmark. A lot of variables are different but a lot of people are out of work. In Detroit people in their 20's and 30's are the catalysts, here on the island that group, for the large part, already moved on. All of this left me with questions:
- how can we, the citizens, help ourselves to live a more sustainable life?
- how can likeminded people find each other?
- how is creativity stimulated?
- how can we raise awareness to see local pride?
One way I met like minded people in my community (which are hard to find) was by starting discussion groups at the local library. I posted info. about the discussions at the local co-op, the libraries, laundromats, grocery stores, anywhere that had a bulletin board. I also had the local newspaper run a blurb in the community section which they do for free. We discussed books by The Northwest Earth Institute (www.nwei.org). They're set up to read one section a time and then discuss the questions at the end. I met people I am now very close to and never would have met otherwise.
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