Five New Year’s Resolutions for Our Movement

It’s a new year so some resolutions might be in order, yes? This is part of the usual business of celebrating the completion of one solar cycle by promising ourselves to be better somehow in the next. But the dawning of this new year should feel different to all of us. We in the ‘rich countries’ need to rapidly and dramatically transform our societies, reducing our emissions and ecological footprint, while providing livelihoods and wellbeing for all – and defeat fascism in all its permutations, too. Usually, resolutions are personal, but recognising the immensity of the collective challenges we face, I’d like to respectfully suggest a few collective, achievable and, hopefully, useful resolutions for our movement.

  1. Act. If we’re not already, each of us must find a way to act, either in building the new system or in dismantling the old. Not much middle ground left on which to idly sit, nor luxurious time left in which to dither. If our activism is confined to philosophical pursuits, self-education, blogging, posting, tweeting, let us make 2019 the year we get our hands dirty doing something practical in the places where we live, too. If we’re not yet engaged in something, there’s no need to ask permission, first. We each have an inherent right to exist and to personal wellbeing, so let’s feel free to act like it.

  2. Act with others. If we individually have rights to exist and to personal wellbeing, we collectively have rights to work together to make positive change wherever we live, regardless of what passport we may carry. So, if we’re not already, let 2019 be the year we join with others who are already doing something, or attract others to our projects.

  3. Act locally. We must radically reduce our ecological footprint and carbon emissions, regenerate our social relations and the the ecosystems around us, build resilience, invent and/or implement new ways of meeting our needs. Perhaps the most important ‘edge-space’ for this rapid transformation is local and regional. Of course, we must be connected with big ideas and global movements, but let us resolve to act locally, adapting and manifesting the insights from these wider connections as appropriate.

  4. Create spaces. If we’re to act locally, creating permanent and/or temporary spaces for people to come together to exchange ideas, collaborate, work, hatch plans, share knowledge can be fruitful system interventions. ‘Open space’ events, collaboratories, hack-a-thons, co-working, incubators – all of these physical spaces help to create conceptual and cultural spaces that enlarge the imaginary of what’s possible in a place. If we’re not already doing something like this, let us resolve to do so in 2019.

  5. Share know how. This may be the most important thing we can do these days. Rob Hopkins has talked about the ‘Great Re-Skilling’ since the early days of Transition Towns. Many of us in the movement are autodidacts or refugees from the world of business as usual. It’s no good to sit passively on our knowledge of how to design, facilitate, start enterprises, secure finance, farm, or build a house, while our local and regional economies remain in dire need of transitioning toward inclusion, fairness, ecological sustainability and resilience. So, let us resolve to share our skills, run workshops, mentor, coach, and teach.

From personal experience, resolutions often carry with them a charge of positive energy in January which dissipates in February, leaving diets, workout routines, book lists and the like to lie fallow until recycled as the next new year’s resolutions. Perhaps collective resolutions will be different? I hope so – for my sake, at least. These seem modest and achievable, and I have adopted them all for myself and vow to follow through. Maybe you’ll join me? In any case, may 2019 be a year of positive and transformative developments for us all.

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