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Enterprising People Might Influence Local Candidates

Recently in my (snail) mailbox were first appeals for support and votes from mayoral candidates in Woburn.  Their presence and my need to write again prompted me to begin thinking about the parts a mayor and a city council could play in fostering the steady development of a healthy local economy.  Given the roller coaster of the past eighteen months and uncertainties about the next eighteen, this would be a good year to ask candidates about their inclinations, if not their plans, in this regard.  If they have none, they can start getting some now or take their (and our) chances.
 

By Love For The Good At Hand We'll Dance Into The Future

"All the grand and perfect dreams of the technologists are happening in the future, but nobody is there.
 
What can turn us from this deserted future, back into the sphere of our own being, the great dance that joins us to our home, to each other and to other creatures, to the dead and the unborn?  I think it is love.  [But] I do not mean any kind of abstract love, which is probably a contradiction in terms, but particular love for particular things, places creatures, and people, requiring stands and acts, showing its successes or failures in practical or tangible effects. And it implies a responsibility just as particular, not grim or merely dutiful, but rising out of generosity.  I think that this sort of love defines the effective range of human intelligence, the range within which its works can be dependably beneficent.  Only the action that is moved by love for the good at hand has the hope of being responsible and generous.

Community Lost as Pretense Sustains Denial of Interdependence

"Because we cannot ever be totally adequate, self-sufficient, independent beings, the ideal of rugged individualism encourages us to fake it.  It teaches us to be utterly ashamed of our limitations.  It drives us to attempt to be superwomen and supermen not only in the eyes of others but also in our own.  It pushes us day in and day out to look as if we had it all together, as if we were without needs and in total control of our lives.  It relentlessly demands that we keep up appearances.  It also relentlessly isolates us from each other.  And it makes genuine community impossible."    - M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum
 

Live and Let Live

I once read that "civilization consists in frustrating nature."  That means they coexist; the former requires the latter.  For civilization to be sustainable, nature must be frustrated in various ways, including new ones, but not ever eliminated.
 
Powerful beyond their understanding and effective beyond their horizons, humans are eliminating nature everywhere, faster and faster, as if to make a substitute life support system (aka THE ECONOMY).  It's a dead end at a big nothing.  We must pull back from that activity, probably by choices and commitments made one by one.  We must regulate our powers with our understandings while keeping our effects on our side of the horizon.  It's a way that leads on to ways (thanks Robert Frost!).  It's a different sort of accountability. 
 
We must let nature be... merely frustrated.

Go Beyond Wondering What They'll Do

Prices for gasoline, slowly on the move for weeks, now exceed $3.00/gallon in parts of the USA.  Is it still just a game they play, corresponding to the approach of summer drive time, or is this the beginning of the ascent from which prices won't fall again?
 
Do you have an idea of what you'll do without when fuel and petroleum product prices go up and stay up... and go up some more?  Do you have an idea of what it will take, under those circumstances, to obtain something you cannot do without?
 
What gives you hope that they will be thinking always of your wants and needs?  Who are they?  Can you budget some attention, time and energy for working with us to make new arrangements?
 
Would you leave port on a cruise ship lacking lifeboats?

Six Month Review Begins June 23rd (Or When You Choose)

On June 22nd I'll reach the six months milestone as a blogger at woburnite.com.  I'm very happy that I've posted more than once a week, on average.  I'm happy that I can see myself doing this for months to come.
 
If you've never commented on one of my blogs, why not share your thoughts about the body of work, beginning now or June 23rd, if that makes more sense to you?  Write to Fel (contact info on the About Us page), if you're not comfortable with posting where all can see.
 
Thanks for reading here.

Got Hopes?

The Sunday paper came and I sorted the parts so I could zero in on what interests me.  A curious coincidence soon struck me.
 
First, I read Dilbert.  The boss started a statement he mysteriously couldn't finish.  Dilbert became more and more worried and agitated about the meaning of the silence and the boss's body language.  He concluded "My only hope is to injure myself and go on disability so he can't legally fire me."
 
I put the comics aside and opened the Ideas section to the editorial page, the cartoon of which included a couple at a kitchen table loaded with bills and demands for payment.  The fellow says "Our only hope is somebody stealing our identity."
 

New Wine Club at Cafe Escadrille

Cafe Escadrille recently launched a new Tuesday Night Wine Club, and we couldn't pass up the chance to be at the first dinner.  The promise of a four course meal with excellent wine pairings for just $45 was an easy sell.
 

Secretary Chu's Prediction Could Be Irrelevant Here

Today's Boston Globe reports on a speech given during commencement exercises at Harvard University by US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, stating:
 
"'If the world continues on a business-as-usual path,' the resulting climate change 'will be so rapid that many species, including humans, will have a hard time adapting.  The climate problem is the unintended consequence of our success.  Energy is a fundamental reason for the prosperity we enjoy, and we will not surrender this prosperity.'"
 

Vegetable gardens in Woburn

Heimlich's Nurseries and McCues Garden Center of Woburn, MA have a great selection vegetables for your garden. Check them out at http://woburnite.com/taxonomy/term/230

Language and Thought

My title suggests a book or a lifetime of scholarship, and I may use it for a new series of posts here.  For now, I just want to focus your attention on the mission of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
 
"... to safeguard the Earth:  Its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends."
 
See how that statement gives the impression that there are three to four separate priorities in safeguarding the Earth?  This may have seemed a complete and illuminating list when it was approved and put into play, but it paints a misleading picture.  It obscures a key fact that's already difficult for an individual to see.  It might even spur controversy that NRDC does not enjoy.  People more easily say "I choose this, but not that."
 

Power tool and equipment rental for do it yourself projects

Power Tool & Equipment Rental Company on Main Street in Woburn has all kinds of power tools and equipment for your do it yourself projects. Make sure you get instructions for properly using any equipment you rent. Also, exercise caution when you use the equipment.  

Town Sees Value of Local Bakery

I found this recent story from the Boston Globe to be an interesting example of how people value locally owned businesses, both for the product they provide as well as the space they provide to connect with their fellow community members.  The town of Colebrook, NH, came together to keep open this bakery, Le Rendez Vous, when its owner couldn't get his Visa renewed initially.  The town had suffered their share of recent economic hardships, with plant closings and the like, but decided to make a stand on behalf of the bakery.  

Enterprising People Have Various "Tags"

I spent last Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the annual BALLE conference in Denver, among peers and guides from communities urban, rural and in between.  All are passionately exploring and discovering in order to arrange for more local capacity to retain and create value.  It was confirming, affirming and energizing, to be sure.  While not a BALLE member, woburnite.com is allied, if only because I'm a member of the local chapter (Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston).
 

Sushi Cafe - Woburn

 I didn't grow up eating seafood, so it has been a gradually acquired taste in adulthood.  I have come to enjoy many types now, salmon and scallops being among my favorites.  Yet I've still been a bit reticent about the raw fish--sorry, sushi--thing.  

Make A Difference Immediately

In these messages, I've put a lot of emphasis on what we can arrange for ourselves over an extended period of time.  I've said the sooner we begin the more we'll have in place and the more know-how we'll have if/when normal goes away and doesn't come back.
 
What I've neglected to state is that purchasing from locally owned businesses (LOBs) is good for our area right now.  Studies show that dollars paid to LOBs stay in an area longer, and do more good, before they depart in exchange for something we need or want but don't produce.
 
There are more reasons to honor LOBs.  Let our Cambridge cousins explain:  http://www.cambridgelocalfirst.org/clf15/about-us/top-10-reasons-to-think-local  That city's Local First campaign is one of many in the nation.

No Guarantees For Any Venture

I've stated and repeated in the series for entrepreneurs that there is always a market in a locale for the goods and services that satisfy fundamental human needs.  My intention has been to highlight the relatively low-risk, high-local-value business opportunities most likely to give our area's own economy a complete and enduring foundation (or core).
 

Characteristics of a Resilient Community

I found this list at http://www.resilientus.org/
 
- IT ANTICIPATES: problems, opportunities, potentials for surprises
 
- IT REDUCES VULNERABILITIES: related to development paths, socio-economic conditions, sensitivities to possible threats
 
- IT RESPONDS: effectively, fairly, and legitimately
 
- IT RECOVERS: rapidly, better, safer and fairer (objectives which may not align perfectly, calling for widespread community participation in strategy development)
 
Resilience is a measure of local community wealth.  It emerges because of proactive investments of attention, time and personal energy that local people make when they aren't busy, or exhausted from, coping with problems and surprises.
 

"More Millionaires Don't Feel Wealthy"

The Boston Globe today printed an item from Bloomberg News which reports that the percentage of millionaires who don't feel wealthy has doubled in one year.  I don't think they're using our definition of wealth, but I'm sure they are right.  The riches amassed by most millionaires are not wealth and cannot provide the same security or sense of security.

What Do We Absolutely Need? [sixth in a series]

This series is to stimulate visions of new niches in the local economy. It's addressed to people with businesses and to enterprising people not yet in business.
 

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