What permaculture can teach us about prosperity
Listen to a conversation between Ethan Roland, author of Regenerative Enterprise and Permaculture designer, and Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity discuss the 8 forms of capital and how staying prosperous in changing and uncertain times is about building wealth in all 8 forms. This goes for us as individuals as well as families, businesses, ecosystems and communities.
They share many examples and ideas of how building all forms of capital can reshape and reflow the systems from degenerative to regenerative. They go over some principles about where to start, such as educating yourself in the forms you are least familiar with and valuing where you are strongest. They both suggest that each of us start out by becoming an entrepreneur and figuring out how to convert the various forms of capital into each other to create more diversity and increase our abilities (and our environment’s) to handle whatever comes along.
Read the first of a series of blogs by Carol Sanford who has been researching and writing about the concept of regenerative business since the 70s. She will dive into the history, dissect the principles and hopefully make the practice more accessible to some of us just starting out. If you are curious about what it means to be a regenerative business and how it came about, bookmark this series. She starts out by presenting her definition of regenerative, then promises to go into detail about how that relates to business. This is going to be some serious business geekery!
Check out this simple website that has amassed a large collection of cooperative-related articles, videos, case studies and tools specific to the US (with a few for Canada). Read the startup guides, watch some TED talks and see who is offering classes and job opportunities. This is the place to be for up-to-date articles and news.
These Neighbors Got Together to Buy Vacant Buildings. Now They’re Renting to Bakers and Brewers
This excellent article tells the story of two neighborhood economic cooperatives who are proving that this model can not only provide a return for investors but enliven an area and create jobs. The first is in Minneapolis where neighbors invested their money into a few vacant, unsightly buildings and loaned money to people who wanted to start businesses in them. Now the street is a vibrant hub and they are acquiring more co-op members for other projects, keeping money in their communities and increasing property values.
The second example is a tiny community in Alberta, Canada that was losing people and investment to other towns. The neighborhoods got together and built a cooperative whose job it was to build more cooperatives to bring back the services needed to keep people shopping in town. They started with the businesses that already existed and helped them thrive, using grants from government programs that already existed in Canada. When the government agency saw how much difference the grants made, they added new services for local communities and together the programs are growing to spread this model throughout Alberta.
Both stories highlight the hard work involved in setting up the co-ops initially but also give credit to local laws that allow these alternative economic models to succeed. The article goes into details about both the laws and the way they were used, giving anyone interested in creating a co-op a fantastic head start on what to look for and what pitfalls to expect.
Read this Holacracy article by Mark Vletter of Voys/Spindle Telecom to get a wonderful feel of what this system of governance can offer a growing company. He acknowledges that Holacracy is not easy to implement, but that its benefits far outweigh the learning curve. He shares advice and some of the positive aspects he and his companies have experienced.
“We treat Holacracy as a proven system; we never had any debate on whether or not a part of it is good or bad. We take it as a whole. The system has evolved this way for a reason. We don’t want to develop a new system; we want to adopt a proven one.”
Read The Next System Project’s interview with Jessica Gordon Nembhard to learn about the fascinating and extremely effective systems that Black people set up during the civil rights movement in direct contradiction to the current capitalism models. Men unionized and worked, and women studied and kept the co-ops and money flowing within the Black communities. We need to learn from them and recreate these cooperative commonwealths and solidarity ecocnomies to take us into the future towards the next phase of humanity. As she says, we already know how to do this. We just need to have the will to keep getting up, as they did, when the status quo knocked them down.
Listen to this video where Yancey Strickler, the CEO of Kickstarter, announces that his company will become a Public Benefit Corporation, which is more binding than the voluntary B Corp. To be certified as a B Corp, any for-profit entity is on its honor to report its social and environmental record, whereas a Public Benefit Corporation is under legal obligation to meet certain requirements and give back to the community. It must show accountability, transparency and measurable progress towards its stated purpose to its shareholders in a yearly meeting, just as it must share its financial goals. Kickstarter plans to support artists and musicians, art education and will also donate money to non-profits fighting inequality. Read its extensive charter. They also remain a B Corp… check out their scorecard!