Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fixing the Future

Last night I attended a screening of the documentary, “Fixing the Future,” hosted locally by Ownership Appalachia. In Fixing the Future, host David Brancaccio, of public radio’s Marketplace and NOW on PBS, visits people and organizations across America that are attempting a revolution: the reinvention of the American economy. By featuring communities using sustainable and innovative approaches to create jobs and build prosperity, Fixing the Future inspires hope and renewal in a people overwhelmed by economic collapse.

The film highlights effective, local practices such as: local business alliances, community banking, time banking/hour exchange, worker cooperatives and local currencies.

Last night the documentary was screened simultaneously in theaters around the nation. At the conclusion of the film, audiences were treated to an exclusive onscreen discussion panel featuring:

Bill McKibben: Author, environmentalist, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College
Majora Carter
: Peabody Award winning broadcaster & Urban Revitalization Strategist
Mike Brady
: CEO, Greyston Bakery & social entrepreneur
David Brancaccio
: Host, NOW on PBS

It seems to me that there is little hope of fixing our national or world economy in the next several decades. It’s not broken for everyone, and those who hold the most political power to initiate change either feel they have too much to lose or don’t have the courage to tell the emperor he’s naked. Likewise, there’s slim chance that we’ll see meaningful policy reform that will redirect us significantly off the path to climate/environmental destruction.

So why do I keep on going? Why did I invite my neighbors to start a community garden? Why shop at and promote the Mills River Farmers Market? Why do I turn off the water when I brush my teeth? Disconnect electronic chargers from outlets unless they’re in use? How can my tiny efforts make any difference?

I don’t know and sometimes despair that they can. But I can’t stop. I am compelled to make my contribution – for myself, for my own self-esteem; that’s it. And there are so many benefits beyond feeling good. Some of them are consistent with the message of this YouTube video about a Time Bank in Vermont.

The Time Bank was one of my favorite ideas featured in the documentary. Community cooperation. That’s the ticket. We are dead in the water if we wait for national action or international agreements. The “evolution” (not revolution) will come from the bottom up - from the heart, not the mind. From the 99%. Those of us who are feeling more vulnerable to economic uncertainties and climate anomalies reaching out to one another – as far as we can reach – which tends to be local. Using all the fantastic human creativity that got us to where we are today to head toward where we know we want to be, where we’ve always wanted to be – a healthy, peaceful life of relative abundance.

I’ll bet you too would like to live in a neighborhood that embraces the attitudes and strategies embodied by the people participating in this Vermont Time Bank. Why not try?


  1. Good post, Sharon. Funny how the newest "Story of Change" just came out, and it's along the same lines. I think the change is going to be that we all see that the politicians and the government, and mommy and daddy are not going to get us out of the mess we are in. It's gonna come from us, together!

  2. I've seen that "Story of Change" YouTube and am so glad there are many people getting the picture. Thanks Sadhvi.