Adirondack Cooperative Economy

We are a new community of concerned citizens and businesses that wants not only to boost our economy but bring about a shift in our attitude towards money.

Starting the Conversation in Warrensburgh

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Please feel free to post comments below. See also Facebook: AdirondackCooperative Economy.

On the evening of March 21, a good representation from the Warrensburgh Community met to hear Michael’s inspiring talk about the need for creating a Sustainable Economy and discuss ways to make this happen. There were three Town Board members, two Chamber of Commerce Board Members, prominent business and commmunity leaders and residents as  well as Thom Randall, our faithful journalist from the Adirondack Journal. We even had neighbors from other communities: Argyle, Washington County, Glens Falls and two C of C members from Ticonderoga.

(for background on Michael and the theme see the previous posts)

Click below to see his Power Point Presentation:
Steady State Economy1

Michael began the evening with a compelling plea for our need to “change the way we do business” with our plant earth. As of about the year 2000 the world population has overshot the carrying capacity of the planet. Our resource use and waste production cannot be sustained. We do not leave enough room for our fellow animals and plants to live. As a matter of fact, if everyone were to live like Americans, we would need three planet earths to sustain us. We have also overshot the “Happiness Factor” in economic growth. After a certain income level our happiness level no longer increases. Our goverment is still using the outdated model of increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to solve our financial woes. Perhaps we do not realize that included in GDP are also things like wars, divorce and cleanup of man-made pollution and increasing storm damage. He sugggested we begin using another index he referred to as the Quality of Life (QoL) Index. Also, as we have learned from the concept “99%/1%“, the gap between the very rich and poor has reached astronomical levels. New York State alone may be the greatest example of this in the world. We have 26 billionaires and one in five children are impoverished. Our own Warrensburgh community of businesses and residents is scraping along close to the survival level. Our Cost of Living is too high and Income Level too low. We do not have what is called Discretionary Income. That means we do not have enough money to buy what we need beyond the basics. In this situation we of course look for the cheapest commodities (Walmart). It alleviates our individual problem for the short term but in reality destroys our local economy which will eventually backfire on ourselves as well. (The True Cost of Cheap) With money draining out of our community like this and our purchasing power going elsewhere local prices must go up and businesses eventually fail. So what do we do?

We need to put our heads together as a community, all of us, and find solutions. What kind of life do we want to live? What kind of community do we want? We have it in our power, collectively, to create the future we want. It is up to us.

Michael introduced us to the concept of a Steady State Economy (SSE), of Enough rather than More. This means

  • stable population,
  • stable per capita consumption and waste,
  • energy and material flows are reduced and kept within ecological limits,
  • constant stocks of natural and human-built capital.

Characteristics of an SSE are:

  • Sustainable Scale,
  • Just Distribution
  • Efficient Allocation
  • High Quality of Life

So how do we achieve this SSE?

  • Top-Down Approach – Adopt the right macro-economic goal and gradually change the existing policies from growth towards a steady state (influence town, county, state, & federal governments)
  • Bottom-Up Approach – Develop a local plan & local practices to make the goal a reality.

The Top-Down Approach means:

  • Limit Resource Use – eg RGGI cap & trade
  • Stabilize Population (not a problem in the west except for the immigration issue)
  • Reduce Inequality – cap resources so incomes are capped, no more excuses for huge wage/wealth disparities
  • Reduce the work week – redistribute the workload to achieve full employment (reduce unemployment and welfare)
  • Reform monetary system away from debt/interest based system
  • Change measures from GDP to QoL

Local Plan:

  • Buy Local First to create local jobs and keep more money in the town economy – participate in the Adirondack Cooperative Economy Program by accepting and using Adirondack Bucks – increase the income of the community
  • Participate in the local business survey and help develop an SSE Transition Plan and redefine our local economy’s priorities by establishing a local QoL.
  • Take a new look at our town Comprehensive Plan
  • Take Action Now to reduce the local Cost of Living by…
  1. Reducing local energy costs = Develop local municipal hydro, solar, wind, landfill-gas energy
  2. Conserve energy now – Weatherize public buildings, businesses & homes – actively promote
  3. Explore municipal cable (internet, phone, tv)
  4. Support & expand local agriculture (CSA’s etc)
  5. Reduce private auto use by car/vanpooling, public transportation, buying local and smart growth land use policies
  6. Create a local universal health insurance – look into potential of Hudson Headwaters Health Network
  7. Use our own resources  to create jobs for the unemployed – clean-up, working at food pantries, community gardens
  8. Home industry – Cottage Industry
  9. Tool lending libraries, Car sharing
  10. Educate young and old alike to be good stewards; living more simply (“Less is More”)

At the end of thepresentation there was a lively discussion of how this could be done. Linda Marcella from the Town Board told us what the town is already doing:

  1. We have Adirondack Bucks, similar to a re-usable coupon – a step towards monetary reform
  2. We are putting solar panels on 5 of the municipal buildings.
  3. We are looking into making energy from the capped landfill.
  4. We are working on energy conservation, encouraging NYSERDA surveys
  5. We receive grants based on our Comprehensive Plan
  6. We will explore municipal cable.
  7. We are supporting and expanding our local agriculture.
  8. We are carpooling and looking into bus routes in Warrensburgh/Chestertown, exploring migratory patterns, car share programs.
  9. We are working on educating young and old alike:  Library expansion, introducing a school garden, Youth Works programs

There was not enough time for everyone to get a word in. The conversation needs to continue!

Some pictures:

Candace, Todd, John

Jayne, Bill, Colleen, 4, 5

Herta & Harvey

Ticonderoga CoC

Michael & Linda2

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This entry was posted on March 23, 2013 by .

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