Sustainable Bellingham Vision (Where we want to go):
To promote and participate in the co-creation of sustainable community in Bellingham and the surrounding bioregion, in partnership with other groups and individuals.
Sustainable Bellingham Mission (How to get there):
To reach the goal of Sustainability, we advocate for the process of Relocalization – becoming self-reliant (not self-sufficient) at the local level and rebuilding communities based on the local production of food, energy, and goods as well as the relocalization of governance and culture. Relocalization includes a firm commitment to reducing consumption and improving environmental and social conditions.
Because our current Sustainable Bellingham Mission statement is about Relocalization, I want to make sure everyone has a good understanding of what this term actually means.
After viewing The End of Suburbia in 2004, the first activity I’m aware of by the group that came together to become Sustainable Bellingham, was to host a day long workshop with the founders of the Post Carbon Institute: Julian Darley and Celine Rich. We then became affiliated as a Post Carbon Outpost – now renamed as The Relocalization Network. The Post Carbon Institute came up with the term “relocalization,” I suspect, to distinguish it from the term localization, which is commonly used in computer software, but is also used in response to economic globalization. “Economic Localization” concerns itself primarily with counteracting economic globalization.
The tagline the Relocalization Network now uses, to put the term into the smallest nutshell is “Reduce Consumption; Produce Locally.”
Here's how the Relocalization Network defines the term:
“Relocalization is a strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency, governance and culture. The main goals of Relocalization are to increase community energy security, to strengthen local economies, and to dramatically improve environmental conditions and social equity.
The Relocalization strategy developed in response to the environmental, social, political and economic impacts of global over-reliance on cheap energy. Our dependence on cheap non-renewable fossil fuel energy has produced climate change, the erosion of community, wars for oil-rich land and the instability of the global economic system.
The Relocalization Network helps Local Groups develop community activities and programs that can be used locally and as working models for other communities when the effects of energy decline become more intense.”
Our Sustainable Bellingham website has always contained a page on Relocalization, which contains the following content:
To reach the goal of Sustainability, we advocate for the process of Relocalization. RELOCALIZATION means becoming self-reliant (not self-sufficient) at the local level and rebuilding our communities based on the local production of food, energy, and goods as well as the relocalization of governance and culture. It moves one step further than the strategy of Localization (increasing the local production of goods and services in order to fight the detrimental effects of globalization) in that Relocalization also makes a firm commitment to reducing consumption and improving environmental and social conditions. In this way, communities begin to develop a greater degree of economic self-reliance and stronger sense of community.
The Goals of Relocalization:
* Increase community energy security
* Strengthen local economics
* Dramatically improve environmental conditions and social equity
* Operate well inside eco-system limits
* Address the fears of scarcity and redefining the concept of “needs” and “enough.”
* Implementation of the Earth Charter – a sustainable framework and progress measure
The Results of Relocalization:
* A self-reliant local economy run by local stakeholders.
* A healthy community for ALL.
* A healthy and intact ecosystem that can sustain us.
* An increase in local manufacturing and energy production.
* Living wage jobs that fulfill the desire for right livelihood, and opportunities to reclaim lost skills.
* Healthy food grown locally on family farms.
* An improved quality of life—meeting the basic needs of all.
In these times of uncertainty, are you interested in actively helping to create the systemic change necessary to ensure the continued quality of life we enjoy so much here in Whatcom County? Yes, this is a challenge. But, together, it's one we can meet. We have more in common than our needs for clean air and water, and nourishing soil.
We can work locally to create a microcosm of sustainability than can serve as an example for all the people that are fleeing the areas they live in now because they've been destroyed. Together, we can build a society that is ecologically wise and socially just. Our grandchildren will thank us for it.
Join us--because it is going to take us all to create the change we want to see in the world.
Sustainable Bellingham is a member of the Post Carbon Institute's Relocalization Network.
For more, read Global Relocalization - A Call To Action, from the Post Carbon Institute.
And Relocalization: A Strategic Response to Climate Change and Peak Oil, by Jason Bradford of WELL.
And Relocalization and Reconnection, by Dave Ewoldt.