Thursday, June 28

taking care of business

From Harvey Jones:

The article below was in our local newspaper last night. Eketahuna is a small town of only about 1,000 or less people, nearby my home town of Pahiatua (pop 3,000).

There has been a running down in New Zealand of various local services.
At Eketahuna the local community are taking things into their own hands. A few years ago the petrol station burned down and none of the oil companies wanted to be part of any rebuilding.

The town created a community trust which all local members were invited to contribute to. From this, they funded the building of a new service station. Now there is no need to travel 25 kms to fill the tank.

A hardware store was similar funded.
There is no doctor in the town so they organised a community nursing service to provide a front line service and reduce travel needs. Now a banking service as well.

I noted that there is no history of
their previous accomplishments in the article below. Now we have to find ways to grow the movement and share the expertise.

Original source URL:
Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Do-it-yourself banking arrives

The small Tararua town of Eketahuna is taking Do It Yourself to whole
new levels.

It didn't have a supermarket, so it created its own. It didn't have a
petrol station, so it set one up.

Now, the town is taking banking into its own hands as well.

After all the major banks refused to put either a branch or automatic
teller machine in Eketahuna, locals decided to set up a money exchange. The exchange was the brainchild of Tararua district councillor Claire Matthews, a banking studies senior lecturer. She said Eketahuna's population of about 500 made it too small for a bank. "It's purely a question of profit. It would not be economically viable." An exchange was the obvious solution, after seeing similar systems in other small towns. "A bank branch is only of use if you are with that bank, and an ATM really only allows withdrawals, which may attract higher fees for customers of other banks. I suggested a money exchange, as I had seen in Northland." Mrs Matthews said not having banking services was frustrating for people in Eketahuna, where the nearest bank facilities were 25km away in Pahiatua.

The exchange will be run by staff in the council's service centre and
will aim to break even rather than make a profit, with the council subsidising the operation for the first six months on a trial basis. It will provide access to cash through an eftpos machine, change for businesses, cash or cheque deposits, and cheque cashing for approved customers. Deposits will go by courier to banks in Masterton. It is expected to be up and running by August.

Thursday, June 14

Willits Economic LocaLisation

Kelpie Wilson Interviews Jason Bradford

Jason Bradford is a PhD evolutionary biologist who studied the effects of climate change on cloud forests in the Andes under the auspices of the Missouri Botanical Garden and other institutions. But in 2004 he switched his focus from study to action by initiating a remarkable community organizing effort in his new home town of Willits, California, called Willits Economic LocaLization (WELL).

Kelpie Wilson: Jason, in a nutshell, what is the mission of WELL?

Jason Bradford: The official WELL mission is to foster the creation of a local, sustainable economy in the Willits area by partnering with other organizations to watch for opportunities and vulnerabilities, incubate and coordinate projects, and facilitate dialogue, action and education within our community.

The greatest challenge we, as a species, face right now is to create a way of life based on the energy flow of sunlight, not fossil or nuclear energy, to do so without destroying our soils, and to enroll others in this transition. We are under no illusion that Willits can tackle this alone, but hope that Willits can be an inspiration to others. If we can do it here, it is possible elsewhere.

Kelpie Wilson: How did you make the decision to switch from a career in climate change and biodiversity research to this hands-on engagement with sustainable living?

Jason Bradford: I became really frustrated and disillusioned as a researcher. I would sit in my office and read the flood of data about the climate system, habitat loss and extinction, soil and fresh water depletion, and the impending peak of global oil production. Then I would listen to the radio or look at the newspaper and these issues were basically ignored, meaning my work was being ignored...

Kelpie Wilson: In his Labor Day speech, President Bush addressed our "oil addiction" and said that the problem is that "dependence on foreign oil jeopardizes our capacity to grow." In your view, is the energy crisis mostly about our dependence on foreign oil from "people who don't like us," as the president said? Or is there a deeper problem?

Jason Bradford: It is extremely important right now to give people heartfelt honesty. The lies of Bush and Cheney make them bigger threats than those swarthy people they like to scare us with. Cheney said the American way of life is non-negotiable. In a bizarre sense that is true. The laws of physics and ecology won't negotiate and can't be unilaterally ignored. And those laws are telling us we need to change how we inhabit this planet very quickly or we may not be around that much longer.

I have an idea. Let's stop blaming others for our problems. The deeper issue is our addiction to growth. Oil has permitted astounding economic growth, and we have become dependent, both structurally and psychologically, upon not just the oil but the growth process itself. Instead of questioning our assumptions, we are going to war for oil and we are looking for substitutes that are very dirty, like coal, tar sands, and nuclear. And while I am in complete favor of developing renewable energy systems as quickly as possible, I don't believe it is either possible or wise to grow our economy using renewable energy.

The problems with growth are easy to understand, but the implications are hard to face. For example, I have two children, twin boys who are seven years old. For now and over the next dozen years or so I'll be happy if they grow. During certain phases of development growth is perfectly good. But our economy is now beyond any reasonable limits, and we are making ourselves sick with more growth - as a society we have obesity and cancer, and the vital organs are starting to fail. Suburban sprawl, highway expansion, military build-up, air pollution, climate change, and mass extinction of species - these all stem from our drive to grow the economy.

Ironically, there exists a counter movement to slow down in life. Enjoy quality rather than quantity. Many are finding that the pleasures of a beautiful home, neighborhood and community are rewarding enough. Spend time building relationships where you are instead of traveling afar and spending money on things. Less is more. Now that is truly economical.

Full article...

Friday, June 8

Economics 101

I have passed this to a few friends and they all found it to be helpful in understanding the con that is the present economic system. Check it out and see if it doesnt change the way you look at banking and the entire social structure that is built on "modern day economics."