Even though our country seems turned on its head with nuttiness—between Washington, state legislatures and Facebook—encouraging news is percolating from the ground up. New York Times’ columnist, Tom Friedman’s op-ed, I Want to Be a Mayor, says that the most effective problem solving today is coming from cities all across the country. Far away from Washington, leaders are setting aside their differences and working together.
A superb example of this is Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperative Network.
The Evergreen Cooperatives of Cleveland, Ohio are pioneering innovative models of job creation, wealth building, and sustainability. Evergreen’s employee-owned, for-profit companies are based locally and hire locally. They create meaningful green jobs and keep precious financial resources within the Greater University Circle neighborhoods. Worker-owners at Evergreen earn a living wage and build equity in the firms as owners of the business.
Here in Chicago….
The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) is the organizing sponsor of “accelerate 77” and created the program in order to increase the role and positive impact of local community actions. Our underlying strategy is to IDENTIFY current sustainability initiatives in all of Chicago’s 77 community areas; CONNECT them with one another to inspire new ideas, practices, self-consciousness and motivation through peer interchange; and ENGAGE residents in systematic learning, planning, and collective action.
Detroit isn’t rolling over and playing dead. A friend who recently moved back there reports that she “loves Detroit” where she finds energy, ideas and neighbors working together to make a better life. I’ll be visiting soon. Here are links to some exiting work.
- Keep Growing Detroit
- D:Hive Detroit
- Center for Community Based Enterprise
- Detroit Community Cooperative Declaration of Interdependence
Of course Detroit’s significant problems aren’t going away anytime soon. This conundrum is a microcosm of many looming municipal and corporate collapses taking place all over the country. Nevertheless, Detroiters are awake and many of them are working together to bring their city back.