“Another world is possible. Another world is happening.” These are the hopeful phrases on the homepage of the New Economy Coalition website. I invite you to join me in embracing these truths, and in exploring the NEC website for inspiration and ideas.
Pathways to a People’s Economy
For example, the NEC “Pathways to a People’s Economy” toolkit offers concrete policy suggestions and strategies for a people’s economy, divided into these four areas…
1. Own Our Workplaces: We envision a world where there is no difference between “worker” and “owner.”
2. Build Our Neighborhoods: We envision a world in which safe and quality homes are a human right — where our housing system and policies are rooted in community, participation, equity, and anti-displacement.
3. Finance Our Future: We envision a world in which our financial systems put people over profits.
4. Restore Our Planet: We envision a world where regenerative economies ensure that both people and the planet are thriving.
I highly encourage you to read through the specific policy suggestions for each of these areas – they are short, simple, and laid out in an easy to read format. You will likely find some that resonate with you that you can start pursuing today, or perhaps that you have already begun making happen. I’d love to hear about the strategies you are engaging with!
Where are we following these pathways locally?
While this is not a comprehensive list, here are a few places I am witnessing another world happening in Buncombe County, based on the areas listed above.
PODER Emma Community Ownership is implementing #1 and #2, as they help build and sustain worker-owned cooperatives and resident-owned housing cooperatives. PODER Emma is part of Colaborativa La Milpa, a collective of organizations based in the in Emma community that I have been working with since late last year. I’ll share more about their incredible work in the near future.
For #1, I’ll also shout out to Firestorm Books, a great local worker-owned cooperative.
For #2, there is also the Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust, who is hosting a virtual event Monday, August 17, at 6 pm. It will be “a conversation rooted in the history of discriminatory policies and practices that took place in Asheville and cities all around the United States. The event will begin with a screening of Segregated by Design – a short film based on the book The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein” and will be followed by a panel with “Amber Banks, Julia McDowell, Rob Thomas, and Renee White [who] are all deeply ingrained in the community with a strong focus on social justice and racial equity work.” Click here for more on the Aug 17 event and the Zoom link.
#3 is an area that, though I know of some action that is just about to be underway, I am seeking more examples if you have any to share.
While the things I want to mention for #4 do not exactly fit into the framework as outlined in the NEC toolkit, they are strongly on my heart.
“A 2019 Urban Tree Canopy study found that between 2008 and 2018, Asheville lost 891 acres of trees – 675 football fields worth of trees and over 6% of our tree canopy. This massive loss of trees continues, making our city hotter, more polluted, and leading to flooding and loss of habitat for wildlife. Tree loss is also concentrated in areas of the city with historically disadvantaged communities, worsening our city’s structural and environmental injustice. Asheville’s trees provide many important benefits to our community, including clean air and water, lower energy bills, flood prevention, and improve the health and well-being of our community.”
Related, you can donate to the Ravenscroft Reserve Initiative, and help protect a stand of old trees slated for development. As someone who has lived in this area since I was in elementary school, I can REALLY feel the urban tree loss we’ve experienced and am passionate about protecting the trees that remain.
Secondly, there is a “Call on Asheville City Council to do its part to clean up the French Broad River, starting with the establishment of a Stormwater Task Force to address the City’s water pollution problems. Not only does the City have a legal obligation to protect water quality, Council’s commitment to racial equity demands action to protect residents of the Southside neighborhood from the highest pollution levels in the city.” Click here for details.
Achieving social justice will mean little without healthy natural ecosystems to thrive within.
More on another world
I’ve written before about the powerful work of Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project which “inspires and engages in transformative action towards the liberation and restoration of land, labor, and culture.” They have recently hosted a series of online conversations under the title, “Just Transition in the Time of COVID-19.” Visit their YouTube channel for recordings of these convos.
May we keep manifesting positive possibilities for people and planet.
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