"We all need a sense of community. And we all need to believe that we have agency - a sense that we can make choices that will affect our lives." ~Stuart Comstock-Gay
For more than 30 years the world community has tried to resolve the combined challenges of environmental degradation, fossil fuel dependence, economic inequality and persistent social injustice. Yet, the scale of these trends has grown, and their effects have become so widespread that they now threaten the stability of communities around the world. The global sustainability challenges of the past have become the local resilience crises of today.
Resilience is the ability of a system - like a family, a country, or Earth's biosphere - to cope with short-term disruptions and adapt to long-term changes without losing its essential character. We depend on the resilience of all the systems that support us for life and well-being; if these systems falter, we suffer. A crisis is an unstable state of affairs in which decisive change is both necessary and inevitable. Today we face four major crises - environmental, energy, economic, and equity - that threaten to overwhelm the resilience of the systems we care about, particularly at the local level*.
Communities are the ideal level of focus for building resilience because regular people can most effectively be involved at this level. Cities and states are traditionally the laboratories for social and economic innovation. One community's experiment can inspire thousands of other experiments, providing valuable insights and best practices and ultimately building support for larger-scale changes. This is where the Community Ecology Institute (CEI) comes in.
CEI is a 501c3 non-profit with vision for a world in which people and nature thrive together. Our mission is to help create communities that are both socially and ecologically healthy. We do this through evidence-based programs that provide nature-based experiential education around the 4E crises - environmental, energy, economic, and equity. We put these programs to place in our hometown community and create tools and resources to help other communities do this important work too. CEI is on a mission to offer solutions, and to serve as an example for communities all over the world!
Because of our good work, one of the last remaining farms in our community is being sold to CEI for a fraction of the market value a developer would pay to turn it into another housing complex. This 6.4 acre organic farm in an area rich with important Native and African American history - just saving the land from development is a worthwhile endeavor! We are going bring the farm back to life through regenerative, permacultural, biodynamic practices AND create a Community Ecology Center on the property. The center will be a place where the community can learn through hands-on experiences about how to live happier, healthier, more connected and sustainable lives while helping to create a healthier, more resilient community at large.
Small, local, community based urban/ suburban ecology centers have the power to transform communities, healing the earth and bringing people together with a sense of hope and purpose for the future. As we create this Community Ecology Center, we will be developing videos, articles, tools, and other resources about how communities around the country and world can create their own ecology centers in a way that strengthens their local resilience.
Please help us achieve this purposeful mission by making a donation to the purchase of this farm. Your support will help create a world in which people and nature thrive together and that honors the future generations that are inheriting what we create.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead
Learn more at https://www.communityecologyinstitute.org/ and
*Thank you to the "Community Resilience Reader" by Daniel Lerch for the description of the importance of community resilience.