Community From Chaos

We take more than we give, consume more than Earth produces.

Too many I’s and not enough teams.

From me-to-we an unovercomeable struggle, it seems.

Confusion breeds ignorance, media is negative, and we’re out of excuses.

A bringer of change.

With myriad range.

The Gumboot’s recipe.

For you all to see.

Creative solutions for community!

So there it is. And here we are. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a bit bleak out there. I mean, Obama just brought healthy tyranny to the world’s most important democracy – times are scary. Sure,  “scientists” and “business leaders” and “David Suzuki” will tell you that melting glaciers, rising seas, catastrophic earthquakes, desertification, staggering poverty, and the decline of the honeybee present far more serious reasons for us to fear for – or just plain fear – the future, but some of those ideas are complicated and the words that explain them are hard to spell. Solutions need to be easier!

In the spirit of positivity and community-building, the Daily Gumboot is pleased to provide you, the people, with some fantastic options that you, the people, can consider as we lurch forward. Feel free to apply one, some or all of the options to your life and, most importantly, have fun with it!

Option 1. Embrace Chaos.

THE IDEA: A few weeks ago, I saw Career Development Phenom Jim Bright speak in Vancouver. His theory is Einstein-esque – simple, but nothing simpler – and here it is: there is no linear career path, as where we work has more to do with chaotically interconnected random events – both lucky and tragic – than with education, training, self-assessment, counselling, research, and/or the cultural landscape of our home town (though all these things are important). Our careers – like life – exist in chaos and we need to prepare ourselves for it. Here is the concept explained in video form:

OUR ACTION: Stop trying to plan and control everything, Batman/Kurt. You can’t organize the trillions of random variables – like fuel prices – that make up the enormously complicated fabric of our planet’s community. What we need to do is create both personal and community-based “adaptability toolkits” that allow ourselves and our neighbourhoods to roll with the punches that life throws our way. After all, every neighbourhood needs food-growers/makers, artists, leaders, accountants, builders, designers, fixers, and creators to collaboratively thrive within chaos. So begin preparing your “adaptability toolkit” today!

Option 2. Get to Know Your Business Community.

THE IDEA: Many folks will argue that business got us into this mess. And many folks, myself included, will argue that business can get us out of this mess. Mostly because it has to. Henry Mintzberg’s article, “Rebuilding Companies as Communities” outlines a from-me-to-we solution for the many wrongly-worshipped CEOs out there. “We are social animals who cannot function effectively without a social system that is larger than ourselves,” says Mintsberg. “This is what is meant by ‘community’ – the social glue that binds us together for the greater good.” Mintzberg cites several examples of forward-thinking, people-firsting companies who ‘get it’ – one such organization, federation of Basque super-cooperatives, Mondragon, definitely jives with a les Nordiques as co-operative notion, as told by Gumbooteer Martin Renauld. As it turns out, putting people first is really good for business!

OUR ACTION: All around the world – in business, education or non-profit and with volunteerism, neighbourhoods, families, and politics – the simple, age-old concept of “community” is being re-applied everywhere. So, whether you’re sitting at your work-desk, sipping coffee in your ‘hood, or chatting with your mouth full during family dinner, reflect on this very important question: “how is this activity- this one I’m doing right now – positively contributing to my community?” Because if your idea/action involved a plan to create a superawesome social networking community that specializes in volunteerism and philanthropy, well, Chris Hughes, of Facebook fame and who only 26 years old, stole your idea before you even had one. It’s called Jumo and, like Chris, it’s pretty awesome.

Option 3. Reset Ourselves to Natural Capitalism.

THE IDEA:Termed by entrepreneur and world-changer Paul Hawken, Natural Capitalism seeks to solve the dirty, dirty problems being created by our outdated global system that is driven by Industrial Capitalism. Hawken argues that this can be done in four key ways:

  1. Radical Resource Productivity.
  2. Biomimicry.
  3. Service and Flow Economy.
  4. Investing in Natural Capital.

OUR ACTION: Make love to Mother Earth! Dig a hole in the ground. Put a little water in it. And go to town. No, wait, this is an inappropriate use of natural capital and, more importantly, such action has already been taken by Will Ferrell with great success. Anyway, we basically need to incorporate this stuff called “nature” into our economic formula, which currently employs a ridiculous equation that seems to assume our planet’s resources will keep pace with the exponential consumption of industrial capitalism. Be the change, people!

Option 4. Become a Radical Homemaker.

THE IDEA: Wency Leung presented the notion of Radical Homemakers in a recent edition of an up-and-coming print newspaper called the Globe and Mail. Again, a simple idea: give up the rat race and take care of your families and communities by growing local, organic and, more than likely, healthy food.

OUR ACTION: “In pursuit of a more personally fulfilling and ecologically sustainable lifestyle, these so-called ‘radical homemakers’ are relying less on monetary income and are, instead, picking up domestic skills such as vegetable gardening and cooking to help meet their basic needs,” says Leung. Accept the honest fact that a reduction in income does not necessarily equal a drop in your standard of living. If you need a place to start, check out a recent post by Pete’s favourite Correspondent, Katie Burns.


Option 5. Piracy.

THE IDEA: Forget the global community. Heck, forget everyone outside of your neighbourhood! This option is all about you and your closest friends/family/shareholders. Sure, people outside your immediate circle might vilify you. But, remember, it’s not about them, it’s about you and your very local community.  Somali pirates aren’t really “Somali pirates”, after all; according to over 70% of Somalians, they’re actually a necessary component of a patch-work coastal defense structure!

OUR ACTION: Find some friends. Secure a boat, truck, web server, and/or multinational corporation. Pillage things from people and places without asking and, if necessary, use force, coercion and, possibly, the Internet to do it. Sure, pirate ships were and are bastions of democracy at it’s truest, but they’re also pretty violent. So, any action taken by us, I hope, is conceptual and only literal if necessary.

Have fun with your consideration of such options. May they inspire us all to create many, many more!