Building momentum for a relocalized, revitalized, democratized Massachusetts
by Eli Beckerman
With economies and ecosystems unraveling all around us, it’s clear we need bold and decisive action IMMEDIATELY for a healthy, just, green future. Thankfully there is a grassroots movement bubbling up from below, pushing for transformative action. This movement showed itself at our statewide Relocalization Conference this fall, and it continues to inform and inspire MCHC’s work going forward.
We continue to make new connections with people across the Commonwealth who are blazing the trail in their communities. With improved coordination and collaboration, we believe these grassroots endeavors have the power to transform not only our individual communities, but even decisions on Beacon Hill and beyond, where short-sighted policies awash in special-interest influence discourage and even thwart grassroots community progress and continue to push us towards the brink.
By bringing a community health perspective together with economic relocalization, MCHC is developing a wonderfully proactive framework for converging solutions for healthy people, healthy communities, and healthy local economies to power them. This framework transcends the typical constraints of single-issue activism, and allows us to focus on the many cross-cutting solutions that are at our fingertips. From community-owned renewable energy production, local sustainable wheat production , and community-supported fisheries and agriculture to community-owned healthcare and community-owned banking, there are a staggering number of grassroots initiatives already underway in the Commonwealth that are literally transforming the landscape. This is all happening despite a policy playing field sharply tilted against it.
Moving into 2010, MCHC plans to build momentum around common sense policy changes that would give urgently-needed support to this incredible work. We are currently exploring initiatives to use state “surplus” land to create healthy and sustainable local food systems; to devise new incentives for distributed, clean renewable energy production; to advance the integration of sustainable, public transportation systems with pedestrian and bike infrastructure; and to encourage the adoption of innovative community solutions like ridesharing, yardsharing, weatherization/solarization barnraisings, and more. Such programs would simultaneously cut our reliance on fossil fuels, jumpstart the post-carbon economy, reduce our global warming pollution, make us happier and healthier, and significantly cut our healthcare costs.
We plan to maximize our statewide capacity by holding regional relocalization events in the first half of the year leading up to another statewide conference in the fall. With your help, we can build momentum across the state to pull us back from the brink and build the healthy, just, sustainable future we deserve. The winds of change are blowing strong. Please take a few moments to help us in 3 critically important ways:
- Fill out this survey if you ATTENDED the 2009 MA Relocalization Conference OR
fill out this survey if you DID NOT ATTEND the 2009 MA Relocalization Conference
- Join MCHC in 2010 and let’s thoughtfully build power as a member-supported grassroots force
- Chip-in to help us raise $5000 towards this year’s relocalization work: