Localise – in New Zealand

Localise  is about sharing ideas, networking creative visionaries, resourcing, providing tools and bringing people together in a collaborative way for the betterment of our community – specifically here in Northland, Aotearoa New Zealand. 

We are trying to achieve community well-being – a combination of economic, social and spiritual factors. A strong social fabric based around shared values and joint responsibility lies at the heart of this. The term ‘economy’ has been co-opted to the pursuit of individualism and materialism – sharing and caring has been forgotten.

Often specialisation and the desire for efficiency has enabled us to forget the reason for an economy – that all in the “household” will be provided for. All we do economically should be filtered in terms of well-being and the sustainability of our community and land for future generations.

Working with others including from Transition Whangarei a discussion document has been developed that proposes a major re-development of the food system for Northland – from producer, to distribution, to processing, to consumer, including collaboration with a wide cross-section of stakeholders. Visit the site to see the Local Food Northland video. Projects include:

Networking Software

Our plan is to develop an interactive database of businesses and organisations in Northland that are rated by their “Local” status – how they rank in terms of local inputs – materials, ownership, financing, energy usage, and other services. This will then be a place to look for people to deal with who wish to promote the idea of keeping resources and ownership local, to build up our community well-being and provide meaningful work for future generations.

Going Local – Ideas for Northland Project

This is about developing a whole paradigm shift away from reliance on the global economy to rebuilding local resilience that then provides a base from which exports and tourism may begin to flourish without jeopardising our natural environment, our communities and the vulnerable. There is a brief summary of the concept on a blog post,  parts in much greater detail are here, and parts are in process via online collaboration.

 We are starting to realise that:

  • The story of infinite GDP growth at any cost equalling a better life for all isn’t working.
  • Cheap abundant energy was a temporary state and our binging is soon to be replaced with a very serious hangover.
  • Adversarial economics harms and collaboration and open-source economics works.
  • As Martin Luther King Jr said, the ultimate measure of a society is how it treats it’s most powerless members.
  • What we pay in terms of currency doesn’t necessarily represent the true cost – “externalised” costs such as exploitive labour and environmental practices sour the sweetness of our imported trinkets.
  • There is a connection between “cheap” imports and the social disasters that occur when our own people have no work, low-wage unskilled work, or having to accrue student debt – still with no guarantee of actual work at the end.
  • We are starting to realise that ta good life cannot be bought – we have gained the world but lost our souls on so many levels.

So let’s learn to focus on what we can change.

What could a more localised future look like?

Go to our blog page to start browsing articles around local Food, Fabrics, Energy, Community, Events, Housing, Engineering and more.

This is an expanding collaborative project so please sign up to receive emails and join us on this journey. We also have a Facebook page.

Join in the conversation on our Slack chat!

We want to join with others interested in our goals to foster diverse and creative ways to facilitate this. Please pass this on to others who may be interested in exploring this. 

 

 

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Support available for WM’s community energy schemes

Press Release                                                                                      no embargo

Community Strand of the West Midlands Low Carbon Economy Programme

Up to £40,000 of in-kind funding has recently been won by local Midlands-based organisations Marches Energy Agency and Localise West Midlands to help community renewables schemes.

The in-kind funding will be made available to help community groups and third sector organisations develop community owned renewable technology and sustainable energy projects.  £30,000 of this has been allocated for up to 12 community groups across the region to provide them with packages of support tailored to their specific needs.  £10,000 is allocated to train a pool of 40 mentors capable of helping further groups and communities develop locally owned and generated energy projects.

Talking about this exciting project Simon Ross from Marches Energy Agency said “This is a great opportunity to help community groups develop their plans for community energy generation.  With the funding we have we will be able to provide between 5-10 days per community of the best tailored support possible.  With our plans for mentor training we will be able to carry that message much further and so help accelerate the move to a low carbon economy.”

Coupled with Government incentives that pay community groups to generate electricity this project has the potential to help communities earn tens of thousands of pounds each year.  This could provide a guaranteed  income stream for re-investment in that community to help reduce fuel bills, generate local jobs and reduce CO2 emissions.  Applications from community groups and third sector organisations are warmly encouraged  and are due by the deadline of 5pm on Monday 25th July.

For more information about applying for a tailored support package, please contact Simon Ross simon@mea.org.uk 01743 277106.

To express an interest in becoming a mentor or to suggest a mentor candidate please contact Phil Beardmore philbeardmore@virginmedia.com 07791 839025.

To find out more about the West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme, please contact Fran Gilbert fran.gilbert@swm.org.uk 0121 237 5890.

Notes for the Editor

Local authorities and their partners are facing unprecedented cost savings measures, rising energy bills and taxes, and shrinking public sector employment, while also trying to capitalise on the emerging opportunities from the low carbon economy.  The West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme aims to help West Midlands authorities use the low carbon agenda to achieve cost reduction and private and third sector low carbon job creationImprovement and Efficiency West Midlands has allocated £500,000 from the Climate Change Skills Fund from the Department of Communities and Local Government to deliver the West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme. Sustainability West Midlands is co-ordinating the delivery of the Programme on behalf of Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands, supported by partners including the Environment Agency, Energy Saving Trust and Carbon Trust. The programme includes a Community Strand, which is being delivered by our partners Marches Energy Agency and Localise West Midlands, and it’s this strand that forms the basis of this press release.

11th July 2011

Yorkshire and the Local Sufficiency Economy

News from the Local Economic Sufficiency and Security Network

  

Steve Schofield’s paper, published in January this year, gives three examples of small-scale projects in his region which are developing indigenous sources of food and renewable energy and illustrate the real potential for local economic alternatives that reduce dependency on non-renewable resources while also cutting carbon emissions:  

  • Incredible Edible 
  • Settle Hydro 
  • Kirklees Re-Charge  

This initial review, focusing on three examples, illustrates how activities that would have been considered marginal only a few years ago can be rapidly developed. As such, they provide signposts to the practicalities of adopting a sufficiency framework for the local economy.  

However they face serious challenges, which include Incredible Edible’s dependence on external funding and a current lack of the capacity to produce locally the equipment used by Settle Hydro and solar installations. 

Schofield believes that if the transition process as considered by NEF and the SDC, takes hold to any degree: “ it will be around institutional manoeuvring, with government incentives offering the usual array of support to attract private investment, including R&D and relocation grants. Corporations will take advantage by selling themselves as ‘national champions’, providing domestic capacity and local supply chains. But the unavoidable reality of capitalist production will be that they will draw on a global resource base and be driven by the imperative of expanding international markets for their products to ensure future profitability.”  

A radical message 

“Localism, therefore, is not a counterbalance to the continued reliance on global capitalist networks. It must be seen as the development of an independent capacity to reproduce the material base that supports the necessities of life within the framework of a no-growth, zero-carbon economy. Rather than a transitional model, this would be more accurately described as a parallel economy that can function independently of capitalism in order to replace it . . .

“Two key aspects of this revolution will be access and ownership. Access simply means having the range of available productive resources to satisfy the basic material needs of life, including food, housing and transport. Ownership requires complete control by working people and elected local representatives over forms of production, coupled to the power to prioritise investment in the local economy. Fundamental goals will be zero growth, the dematerialising of production and the equitable distribution of goods and services, all embedded in a political culture of direct democracy . . . 

“Put simply, there are no practical economic or technological barriers to local sufficiency  . . . millions and millions of people around the world recognise that capitalist renewal is a gigantic confidence trick, masking gross and increasing inequalities of wealth and power and a lethal environmental impact. And those same millions want a radical alternative. We can build a new form of work based on social utility rather than private profit, and we can create a balanced relationship between people, technology and planet. Whether we achieve that or not is entirely up to us.”