This is a collection of compelling ideas and activism whose intent is to open our thinking about:

Alternative economy,
Alternative journalism,
Architecture and space that connect us,
Active and missional faith communities.

All essentials in reclaiming our environment.
Welcome.

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Did You Know There’s a Union Co-op Movement?

What possibilities do worker-owned co-ops hold for an alternative economy? In the Basque region of Spain, Mondragon is the world’s largest group of industrial worker-owned co-operatives transforming the region from poverty to thriving and resilient communities. In Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI) is doing the same.

Michael Peck, co-founder of 1worker1vote.org and a North American Delegate for Mondragon, and Kristen Barker, president and co-founder of the CUCI, join Peter Block and John McKnight in a conversation about union co-op possibilities, successes and struggles. Listen to the full conversation:

 

Quotes

“This integrated network of co-ops is one of the exciting things that is now coming to life in a much bigger way in the United States because of this Mondragon union co-op.” Kristen Barker

“Stakeholders are coming together who have decided that it’s time to re-own their own economy. It’s time to take their economic sovereignty back and they look to us as a way forward to do that, not just a pathway out of poverty, but a pathway to actual prosperity.” Michael Peck

More Resources

1worker1vote.org

Mondragon: http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/eng/

Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative: https://www.cincinnatiunioncoop.org/

Upcoming event: National Union Co-op Symposium

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Old Age as an Asset: Conversation with Parker J. Palmer

World-renowned writer, speaker, and activist Parker J. Palmer talks about aging as an asset that is tied in with community development. Parker is co-founder of Center for Courage and Renewal. Parker talks about the need for meaningful, intergenerational activities, where seniors sit with school children or talk with young adults about their vocation and life calling. He shares about periods of struggle in his life and how a friend found a surprising way to provide comfort and connection.

Quotes:

“…this abundance we all have if we’re not afraid of each other, which is the abundance of simple presence to another human being.”

“When our circles gather, we say, rule number one is there shall be no fixing, no saving, no advising, and no correcting each other.”

“It doesn’t matter how old we are, the search for meaning and purpose never ends.”

 

Listen to the full conversation with Peter Block and John McKnight:

 

(Parker J. Palmer photo courtesy Center for Courage & Renewal)

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Citizens and local democracy: a conversation with David Mathews

David Mathews shares the story of a community where the schoolhouse’s paint was falling off. When a group of neighbors got together and repainted the school the purpose wasn’t about getting paint on the walls – but to demonstrate when people get together they can make a difference.

The Kettering Foundation’s primary research question is “what does it take to make democracy work as it should?” Research is conducted from the citizen’s perspective and explores what people can collectively do to address problems.

David shares these ideas and more in a conversation with John McKnight and Peter Block. Listen here:

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Creating an Alternative Economy: BALLE’s Michelle Long

Michelle Long, BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) executive director, shares the story of BALLE’s co-founder Judy Wick, who built the socially responsible White Dog Café in Philadelphia through sourcing based on relationships with the land and people in her community.

Founded in 2001, BALLE (pronounced “bahl-ee”) works with local businesses who want to collaborate for the good of their communities, and helps the communities share ideas in various places in North America.

BALLE formed a Community Foundation Circle for foundation leaders who want to see investments used to strengthen community economies. Traditionally, when a donor gives a community foundation gift, the money is placed as a community grant. People are waking up to using money for impact investments.

Listen to her full conversation with Peter Block and John McKnight:

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Peter Block and John McKnight in Conversation

On Dec. 12, 2016, more than 60 callers listened to Peter Block and John McKnight reflect on their long history of working to building communities by focusing on gifts and connecting people. They discuss what ideas have endured and what questions remain. (more…)