The journey toward a thriving, resilient society is not usually the headline on the evening news, although it would be very nice if it were! The gradual evolution in community healing and transformation is happening almost under-the-radar so it can be hard to see progress unless you are looking for it. In this mapping section, we build our collective wisdom by sharing “pattern maps” of the metamovement to help us see the healthy forest through the trees.
What we are calling the thrivingresilience metamovement is made of thousands of local initiatives, hundreds of regional alliances, and numerous national networks which bring diverse perspectives to the work of local community transformation while sharing many common aims and approaches. Kesler and O’Connor in their American Communities Movement report (2001) identify common themes among a variety of U.S. community-based movements:
- An emphasis on developing a shared sense of community
- A concern for social justice
- An emphasis on caring for the natural environment
- A commitment to the process of community building, in particular through supporting:
- ongoing, inclusive dialogue; community-based indicators; and
- collaborative decision-making processes to shape public policy.
The metamovement has its roots across the main organizational sectors of what is now called the megacommunity: the corporate/business, civic/government, and social/grassroots fabric of our society. Community social systems (such as food and water providers, building, emergency response, health, education, community welfare, government, business, etc) are so interdependent and so tied to environmental ecosystems (plants and animals, water, land, air, biodiversity, etc) that the dynamics in one part of this living system ripple through the rest of what we call the local ecosocial system. Co-creating a healthy ecosociety requires committed participation from across the megacommunity. Inclusive community councils, whole-systems planning and analysis, and collaborative organization and funding structures are examples of the geographic community leadership tools for both today and tomorrow.
In the United States, local community wellbeing and stewardship has long been the concern of community members and local organizations such as faith, education, health, community service, social services, environment, government, business, and emergency response groups: United Way, Rotary, Catholic Charities, Lions Club, Sierra Club, urban planners, water boards, fire departments, just to name a few. These institutional stewards are being joined by new “emerging” initiatives that focus on more recent social issues: Compassionate, New Economy, Occupy, Transition, Thrive, and more. It takes a village to create a thriving, resilient village, so we need each other to find our way. These pattern maps explore the following metamovement terrain.