Saturday, August 18, 2012

Creating solutions - yes we can!

When the government cut the funding for community education most programmes in the country disappeared.  Not so in Golden Bay - a resilient, co-operative community with a tradition of alternative approaches.  Their Local Enterprise Trading Scheme, HANDS, uses 'local dollars' as currency in addition to New Zealand dollars.  The evening class teachers accepted a pay cut and were paid in a mixture of both currencies.  Evening classes in Golden Bay have continued and flourished.

Laurence Boomert from Golden Bay spoke in Hamilton recently.  He established the Environmental Business Network which became the Sustainable Business Network.  An engaging, generous and positive speaker, he spoke of creatively re-thinking how we get our needs met and making small changes which could lead to radical transformation.  He cited a number of such initiatives where people share and co-operate and in the process build stronger communities.  They include pooling savings through credit unions; local money systems such as 'green dollar'; local food projects and time banks.

Lyttleton's TimeBank proved invaluable after the earthquake in bringing help to people quickly.  It could do so because it already had a co-operative network of 400 people.

Hamilton is planning a TimeBank.  Members will earn hourly credits by helping another TimeBank member with something they need.  They can then draw on their credit for a service they need or they may donate their time.  This enables people to contribute to their community outside the cash economy: ' re-connecting communities, sharing resources and enhancing the quality of life one hour at a time.'

Elsewhere in New Zealand, Wellington City Council plants tomatoes and peas in Civic Square, councils plant fruit trees in parks and on streets, Palmerston North's Green Bikes recycles and gifts donated bikes, international travellers are hosted through Couch Surfers or Servas, Freecycle allows you to donate stuff you don't want but someone else could use; www.let'  enables you to share the costs of the ride to work.

In Hamilton community gardens across the city encourage more people to grow food, the Enderley tool library lends out motor mowers etc., the Milk and Honey cafe operates on a koha basis, Claude Street has a produce exchange table in the street and neighbours combine to restore gullies.

The global financial crisis has caused us to question the current financial system and to look for alternatives.  When times get really tough we could move to Golden Bay or we could build on what is already happening in Hamilton and create our own co-operative solutions.

No comments:

Post a Comment