Climate-Informed Mutual Aid

Mitigation:
To reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to limit warming and its impacts.  This requires broad-based organizing for systemic change, like the Sunrise Movement or 350 Mass does.  

Adaptation:
To harden and rework our physical systems to better handle current and future climate impacts, locally and regionally.  This requires local will, skill and funding. 

Resilience
The ability of our social and ecological systems to withstand the crisis events baked in our earth systems now, even in best cases, and re-organize. This requires: all of us.  

What is Resilience?

Resilience ... has roots in systems theory, and it has a variety of interpretations and applications including for ecosystems management, disaster preparedness, and even community planning. ...  Resilience is commonly defined as the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and re-organize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks.

Resilience Fundamentals

Articles on Cultivating Resilience to the Climate Crisis

From Despair to Hope

In this Q & A, the author responds: "Hope isn’t something you have in response to seeing glimmers of good out there. It’s because you decided to have hope that you see those glimmers. That is, hope isn’t just a matter of what you think is likely. It’s also a matter of what you choose to pay attention to, where you spend your mental time. And that – more so than the state of the world – is up to you."

Discusses the emotional toll that grappling with the climate crisis can take. Communicating this requires a shift from detached analysis to a more empathetic approach. Examples on how to communicate complex emotions and find comfort and solidarity with others.

Simply reporting the bad news does not inspire action. People who are aware of the crisis are more likely to take action than those who are not. The author calls for creative responses to the crisis. Musical performances can be a way to connect with others and build solidarity. 

The Adaptation Game:  a team game making connections to networks and resources

What Does Local Resilience Look Like?

There are amazing Greenfield groups that address Adaptation and Resilience:

Civic action groups like these  build social bonds for those who participate and those who are helped, whether people, pollinators or public works.  We help each other for the joy of it, and because we feel each others' pain. 

These groups can all use our help right now  There is less money and more need: COVID emergency funds have dried up, the cost of living keeps rising, and the social safety net is being stretched thin.   

The need for volunteers and donors keeps growing.  How do we sustain these efforts?  

Covid Pandemic and Resilience

Many of us tasted the power of mutual aid when COVID struck, reaching out to neighbors to walk dogs, buy groceries and lend money, knowing we might be sick next  The interpersonal connections we made persisted since then, and we learned a lot about how to do mutual aid better the next time.  

When lockdown struck, mutual aid organizations sprang up, inspired by the Medford Somerville model.  including our own Western Mass Community Mutual Aid Network (site no longer up).  Challenging questions included: how to quickly build capacity to provide skilled help?  How to distribute pooled donations to people in need?  How to match a coverage area to the capacity of volunteers? How to resolve claims of abuse or neglect, racism or classism?  Mutual aid capacity does not arise instantly, and does not scale.  

The study at right found that "community-based organizations and networks [build] social capital through mutual aid networks rooted in solidarity, care, and reciprocity and forging new collaborations with government, funders, and service providers."

What could Resilient Greenfield become?

From In community, we have everything we need, Substack 4/14/24  - Teju Raviloshan and Josh Kramer

GatherFor, at the core, believes that in community, we have everything we need. We organize neighbors into teams to support each other and to bring forth the type of neighborhood they want. We then build a self-governance infrastructure in that network of Neighbor Teams, that allows neighbors to lead themselves. 

Neighbor Teams are groups of five that meet regularly to support each other. They will watch each other's kids. They will bring each other food. They will visit each other in the hospital. We give those teams $300 a month to convene and gather. They often start financial pooling plans that we match. They put together a $500 pot, which we match to make $1000, which goes to one person in the group. The recipient rotates each month. It's called a susu in Caribbean and West African cultures, though it’s practiced all over the world.

Degrowth Prefiguration: Living like we need to live.

...[T]he answer is not trying to get the standard Degrowth utopian policies implemented here and. now. It is by working on the cultural problem, working to change ideas and values, so that in time most people are for Degrowth. 

...[W]e can get nowhere unless and until there is a very different mentality, keenly aware that growth, affluence and capitalism have to be dumped, and that the answer is to adopt mostly cooperative, self-sufficient, self-governing, frugal, local systems. 

The most important thing we can do to contribute to the emergence of that mentality is simply to raise the issues whenever and wherever we can.  Perhaps the most effective way to do this is to get involved in “prefiguring” alternative ways, building some of the structures and processes the revolution is for, such as cooperatives, community gardens, community owned swap-shops, our own town aged-care arrangements. Some towns are building their own schools and dementia homes. 

But it is most important that these ventures be designed as educational devices, intended to introduce visitors to the big picture and thus to raise awareness of the need for huge and radical transition. The point of this prefiguring is not to increase the number of post-revolutionary ways one by one until the old society has been replaced. It is primarily to create devices that will introduce subversive ideas, and illustrate the kinds of ways we will enjoy in post-consumer-capitalist society.

from A (Friendly) Critique of the Degrowth Movement - Ted Trainer

Resilient Greenfield

Flexible volunteering:  

Whether we team up for ongoing local projects (the way Transition Northfield did) or short-term or one-time efforts (like cooking a Stone Soup meal, helping resettle Haitian refugees, or removing invasive species), we offer our time, skills and resources to groups that make our community stronger. 

Celebratory organizing: 

We need more parties and potlucks, not more meetings and Zoom sessions. We will connect regularly and get to know each other -- and also get to the serious organizing work needed.  

Facebook Groups

The Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee and many of our other mutual aid / resilience groups are informed and supported by Facebook Groups.  Click the image at left to join Sustainable Greenfield. 

Join our Google Group?

Visit the Group Home Page and click contact the group's owners and managers to get added.  We'll use this for discussions, notices and file sharing for notes and plans we're working on.   You need a Gmail account to edit the files, but any account will get emails.

We can set you up for each email, daily digest, or "no email" (if you'd just like to be able to see the group online and collaborate) - so tell us that when you ask to join.  Thanks!