Page updated: September 14, 2012
IN THIS SECTION:
· Village History
· About Resilience
Humboldt Village began as a conversation on a community facebook page in early November 2011. Before the week was out, a dozen community residents gathered around pushed-together tables in the sun room at Wildberries Marketplace in Arcata. Before the end of that meeting, Humboldt Village was born.
The broken money system, increasing oil prices impacting almost everything we use in this remote area and a political system in shambles without public trust, not to mention more and more of our neighbors going jobless, homeless…it just made sense. Let’s find the hidden wealth in our own community, let’s learn to better depend on one another. Let’s find methods by which we can all see our essential needs met and reduce our local use of natural resources and federal dollars. Let’s support existing programs and build systems where those are needed that support the economic, ecological and social health and sustainability of our community.
The first project was begun immediately; develop a non-monetary system of exchange. Oh the ideas flew, discussions on valuing labor, and how many unused skills abound in the community for lack of jobs. Not lack of work, there is plenty of work to be done, but recompense for any work is becoming harder to come by. Over the next few weeks research was the primary activity. The group members looked at different models in different communities world wide. Which systems worked and why? Which systems had failed, and why? There had been several attempts locally to introduce community currency programs. Why had they failed?
After substantial research and many hours of conversations in twos and threes, and fours over the phone, chats online and officially convened meetings, by the middle of January HUMbucks was launched using an existing online data base called Community Exchange System. It cost our own community nothing to use it, and began “creating” our own wealth with the first people entering their offers into the system.
Meanwhile the group was moving on other fronts simultaneously. The need for local education and discussions with the purpose of finding local livable solutions to the converging economic, energy and ecological predicaments was identified and by the end of January 2012 Humboldt Village Talks were established as a monthly get together screening informational videos with discussions following.
Following the “hidden wealth” conversations were those about waste in the community. While there is an existing and well used “Freecycle” web site, we kept reading about brick and mortar free shops in other communities. The concept resounded deep inside of all of us but was not immediately something the small group could accomplish. Brainstorming continued and resulted in the group working to establish a bi-monthly “Free Market” where community members can give away still good but no longer wanted items. Humboldt Village hopes to hold the first Free Market in spring 2012.
With enthusiasm from the community at large and a committed, creative and passionate core work group, hopes are high Humboldt Village will continue to implement action-based projects to enhance and build a more comprehensive and interconnected sense of community that addresses economic, environmental and resource consumption and conservation.
Resilience is the opposite of brittleness. Resilience is the quality of a rubber band: stretch it, crush it, smash it. It maintains its integrity.
Resilient communities have the stamina and sense of cohesion necessary to adapt to whatever situations they encounter.
These are uncertain times: Resource depletion, destabilized climate and economic contraction are the eminent crises that will confront us with challenges we must be prepared to meet at the local level.
Fossil fuels are the real power behind the Industrial Age. Very little of the way we live now is possible without abundant supplies of coal, oil and natural gas. We have been burning these fuels at rapidly increasing rates for over one hundred and fifty years, and we are now reaching a point where it will no longer be possible to continue to increase our rate of consumption. Starting about now, our available fossil fuels will begin to diminish each year compared to previous years.
Burning fossil fuels has put gasses into the atmosphere that have not been there for tens of thousands of years. These gasses scatter reflected sunlight back onto the earth, adding to the earth’s warmth. This warmth adds energy to the earths weather, making things hotter and wetter (or hotter and drier), and making weather events more severe and more frequent. It is harder to grow crops when weather is more severe, and floods and droughts make life harder for cities built near rivers and oceans.
Modern economies are based on the confidence that future growth will make the repayment of loans possible. Loans are used to build cities and roads, business and industry. When essential resources become more expensive or unavailable, the confidence to loan money is diminished, loans become less available and growth slows.
The interdependencies of these three forces are becoming more obvious: Burning fossil fuels adds greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere and depletes the total available fuel. Destabilized climate adds to the costs of producing food and maintaining cities near oceans and rivers. Declining energy resources make it harder to create loans to pay for things like rebuilding after storms or building new cities further from rivers and oceans.