Friday, June 16

circuses, fire and love

It began for me when I received a phone call from Daring Donna a few weeks ago, inviting me to co-create an event for 45 people who were coming over to Waiheke for some team building. This was followed by a couple more phone conversations, then the "serious" fun meeting 10 days before the event was to happen, at a cafe in Auckland. That was when the six of us agreed on the basic format of helping them to create a circus, which they would then perform at a free-to-public event. As we sat around the table, I imagined helping support this team by bringing a web based project software (Basecamp) into the mix, and showing how it could be used by everyone involved.

As the days passed, through the weekend and the days leading up to the event, I began to see the project growing and taking form. You can browse through this and a range of other projects by clicking here and logging in with the name: ccguest, and password: ccguest. When you get in, check out the various tabs at the top of the page. The event was huge success, due to a lot of different factors.

I was particularly delighted, in seeing how this collaboration tool was supporting the project that itself was occurring in an environment of a high level of trust, clearly evident between the co-creators. I choose to see this as an example of how we can operate when we have turned from Empire to Earth Community. From the assumption that the world is a place of competition, domination, top down management and scarcity, to the world as a place of conscious individuals, acknowledging inter-dependence, love, caring, celebration of life.

As the urgency of our situation (dependence on a finite oil supply) becomes more apparent, a wide range of responses will manifest, from denial, to panic, self-protection, anger, and for some - acceptance. Those who accept the situation can then begin the process of building the new society.

I spoke with a friend, in Nelson, who has been studying Peak Oil for almost a decade now and who understands very well the implications of it. As we talked I sensed his deep and understandable frustration that people don't get it - that denial is still so prevalent. How to move things forward? A section from Michael Ruppert's film "Denial Stops Here" came to mind, in which he expresses that in his earlier career as a policeman he had been in situations where he had to choose who was going to live and who was going to die. Some people will remain in denial and that is just the way it is. We need to work with those who have accepted the situation. These people are ready to make changes and herein lies the opportunity.

Imagine regional networks of people all making creative local changes, then feeding ideas for what is working in their area into a "Things that work place" from where they can draw more good ideas from other regions. Like starting a campfire on a cold winters night, beginning with the small pieces of dry grass, and slowly adding a few twigs as the flames start to take hold. It's important to give people small projects to begin with, and not to smother the fire by loading up too much material until it takes hold.

Here on Waiheke we have had a food exchange stall at the Saturday market. It is a simple concept, easy to embrace, where people bring the excess produce (fruits, vegetables, preserves) from their gardens and share it with others. Sometime people make donations if they wish, but money is not a pre-requisite for receiving from the abundance. The stall is also supported by the community garden, which people put effort into and from which we draw excess. This is one simple idea, which can be initiated in any community, and it can become a focal point for conversation.

There are other initiatives which I can describe - but my point is the process by which these ideas can be shared across regions. If you would like to share ideas that have worked in your region add a comment to this post, with your email, and I can send you an invitation to participate in a Basecamp project where we can share these ideas across the country and beyond.

Each of these new expressions of a healthy, caring society can, like the sticks and finally the logs on the fire, generate the heat which consumes our denial and warms us with vision for a brighter future.

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