Why Resilience + Resistance? Join the Online Discussion

Why is the NERT network hosting a convergence for resilience-builders and resisters? What is the kinship between these two movements and schools of thought?

Join Sarah, Ben, and other ROCkers and NERT members for an online discussion about this topic. Read this blog post in advance.

Why Resilience + Resistance?
Online Discussion
Wednesday, May 25, 12-1pm

Join NERT on Slack to watch video from this conversation and add your thoughts!

Regional Convergence: Agenda and Workshop Descriptions

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Register here!

Friday, June 10: Informal Gathering

If you’re in town for the evening, email Sarah@LocalCircles.org about an informal gathering.

Saturday, June 11: Resilience, Resistance & Regional Equity Convergence

First Church UU JP, 6 Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain
Please enter on the Eliot Street side of the building by 9:30 to register


9:00 Breakfast & Registration
10:00 – 12:00: Keynote Address with Richard Heinberg, Responses & Q&A
12:00 – 12:45: Lunch
12:45 – 1:40: Say Hello to NERT and Each Other
1:45 – 3:00: Workshops
3:10 – 4:25: Workshops
4:30 – 5:00: Farewell Fiesta and Sending Forth

Morning Session

The morning will include a keynote address from Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the Post Carbon Institute. Richard is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost educators on peak oil, energy policy and community resilience. He will explore the opportunities and challenges in the transition to a fossil fuel free future. Several energy analysts and environmental organizations have formulated plans for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. Richard Heinberg and David Fridley, staff scientist of the energy analysis program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have gathered and assessed those plans, and in his talk Richard will discuss the future of clean energy and how the characteristics of ~100% renewable energy will shape our lives and economy. Richard’s new book, Our Renewable Future, will be available for purchase. Check out a short summary of Our Renewable Future on YES! magazine.

Two members of the New England Resilience & Transition network will offer responses to Richard’s talk.


Renewable Energy in New England

With Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute and Lynn Benander, Co-op Power

Join this workshop to discuss the New England energy scene in more detail, including possibilities for community owned, renewable energy. Richard Heinberg, our keynote speaker, will give more details on the opportunities and challenges in the transition to renewables. Lynn Benander is the CEO and President of Co-Op Power, a consumer-owned sustainable energy cooperative that operates within a regional network of Community Energy Cooperatives. Lynn has worked for many years to support the development of consumer, producer, worker-owned and other locally-owned businesses that meet basic needs for energy, food, and shelter. She will speak about the network of consumer-owned energy co-ops around New England, as well as possibilities for our region’s renewable future.

Food Justice and Security in New England

With Karen Spiller, Food Solutions New England and Orion Kriegman, Boston Food Forest Coalition

How can we achieve food justice and food security for all of New England, especially given climate change and environmental degradation? Food Solutions New England has a vision for a sustainable New England food system that produces 50% of our food within the region by 2060. Join this workshop to learn about their vision and the essential role grassroots groups and community-based agriculture play in achieving it. This is a great chance to consider how our efforts can combine for a greater, region-wide impact.

Resilience & Resistance in New England: Building a Holistic Movement for Justice & Sustainability

With Chuck Collins, moderator, Institute for Policy Studies and JP New Economy Transition; Tim Stevenson, Founding Director at Post Oil Solutions and author of Resilience and Resistance: Building Sustainable Communities for a Post Oil Age; and Marla Marcum, Climate Disobedience Center

“Resilience” and “resistance” are essential complements in a holistic struggle to build an equitable and sustainable society. This workshop will discuss how all our work can benefit when we situate ourselves in this larger framework. The workshop will also include a discussion of the status of the movement to resist pipelines here in New England.

Building Resilience Together: Get Support for your Current Work, and Think Together about Collaborative Possibilities

With Ben Roberts, Conversation Collaborative and Sarah Byrnes, New England Resilience & Transition Network

Join with other community initiatives to receive support for your community work and think together about how we can be “more than the sum of our parts.” You’ll present a challenge you are experiencing, and receive input and support from your peers. You will also be able to offer input and support to others. We’ll also move into a conversation about what we can do together to enhance resilience, sustainability, and equity. Where are the potential collaborations among us?

The New Economy Movement

With Anand Jahi, Program Director at the New Economy Coalition and Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Vermonters for a New Economy

What is the new economy? Join this workshop to find out! You’ll hear about a vibrant and growing movement from two leading practitioners in the field. Anand Jahi, Program Director at the New Economy Coalition, will offer framing remarks on the state of this international movement that is building a sustainable and equitable economy at many scales, from local to global. Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Director of Vermonters for a New Economy, will give a picture of how the new economy is taking shape in the great state of Vermont — from local currencies, public banking, and genuine progress indicators to a new field of study that brings it together called Permanomics. Together, we’ll consider how to build the new economy in our communities and the New England region as a whole.

The Power of Story for Building Resilience

With Marianne Connor, screenwriter and producer

In times of big change, the stories we tell about where we are headed and why it is worth the journey are critical to building community resilience, creativity and commitment. These stories can compel collective, conscious action or paralyze us in fear and powerlessness. Come learn the key elements for developing your community or organization’s transformation story.

Marianne Connor is a screenwriter/producer and evolutionary activist who uses the power of story to support communities to step into big change by conscious design in partnership with nature. 

Skills for Building Equity: Race and Class in Transition and Resilience Organizing

With Charis Boke, cultural anthropologist, community organizer, and Program Leader with the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice

Equity is intrinsic to resilience, and no one is truly resilient until we all are. Resilience and care are deeply connected, and we can’t heal our planet’s challenges without caring attention to people as well as ecologies. It is essential that we address and heal from historical and ongoing injustices in order to build a world where we can all thrive, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation or anything else. In this workshop, we will explore how we can learn to care for one another as a key part of building resilience. We will consider how our identities impact our community work, and learn approaches for working across difference in order to build multi-racial and cross-class initiatives and work toward an equitable region.

Culture Shift: A Social Permaculture Framework for Creating & Cultivating Powerful, Joyful, & Effective Groups

With Samantha Wechsler, Wildwise

Innovative and promising initiatives often fall far short of their transformative potential—or are stopped dead in their tracks—not because of a shortcoming inherent to the initiatives or the ideas behind them, but because of conflict within and between groups of people. Even when everyone agrees to a shared vision and believes that they are coming to the table bolstered by the highest of ideals, collaborative efforts often come apart at the seams, leaving people feeling discouraged and betrayed.

In this workshop, we will explore key principles of “social permaculture”, learn skills and tools for creating and contributing to functional and effective groups, and develop a deeper understanding of the role of meaningful cooperation in bringing about a just and equitable transition. Participants, regardless of their level of previous group experience, will come away feeling energized, inspired, and better equipped to (re)commit to collaborative efforts.

Samantha Wechsler is the owner of Wildwise, a coaching and consulting business that is dedicated to individual and collective transformation. Samantha provides life and leadership coaching for women executives, entrepreneurs, and changemakers who yearn to make a deeper impact in their personal lives, their work, their communities, or beyond. She also works with organizational teams to increase their effectiveness while building a healthier, more life-affirming culture.

Restoring Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Nature’s Plan for Resilience and Transition

With Adam Sacks, Sharon McGregor, Jim Laurie, and Paula Phipps

Healthy, biodiverse ecosystems provide clean water, abundant healthy food, solid community economics, climate resilience and massive capture of atmospheric carbon through photosynthesis and long-lived complex biomolecules. There are many viable and sustainable approaches for a range of ecosystems; they are inexpensive, low-tech, powerful and just about anyone can participate. In this interactive workshop we’ll discuss a variety of practices from around the world, and focus on the possibilities in urban, suburban and rural environments in New England.

The Resilience, Resistance & Regional Equity Convergence

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With keynote address by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute
Convened by the New England Resilience & Transition network

Saturday June 11, 10am – 5pm
First Church Unitarian in Jamaica Plain, 6 Eliot Street
Boston, MA

Across New England, a new world is being built. Grassroots activists motivated by their love for community and the planet are building resilient local communities, resisting fossil fuel projects, and making sure that all people can thrive now and into the future, regardless of race, class, income and more. On June 11 join a convergence of regional and local actors building this new world. You’ll connect with great people, hear stories and lessons to strengthen your work, help build the New England Resilience & Transition network, and get inspired!

The morning will include a keynote address and responses from members of the New England Resilience & Transition Network. In the afternoon we will have lunch, workshops and network-building sessions. Click here for the Agenda and Workshop Descriptions.

– Light breakfast and lunch included
– Suggested Donation: $15 — But no one turned away due to lack of funds
– In-home hospitality available on a first-come, first-served basis (Email Sarah@LocalCircles.org)

Click here to Volunteer at the Convergence and Attend for Free

Share on Facebook | Download the Flyer

About Richard Heinberg

heinberg-thumbRichard Heinberg is Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost Peak Oil educators. He has authored scores of essays and articles and twelve books. Since 2002, Richard has delivered over five hundred lectures to a wide variety of audiences in 14 countries—from insurance executives to peace activists, from local officials to members of the European Parliament. He has been quoted and interviewed countless times for print, television, and radio. Richard has appeared in many film and television documentaries, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s 11th Hour, is a recipient of the M. King Hubbert Award for Excellence in Energy Education, and in 2012 was appointed to His Majesty the King of Bhutan’s International Expert Working Group for the New Development Paradigm initiative. Richard’s animations Don’t Worry, Drive On, Who Killed Economic Growth? and 300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Minutes (winner of a YouTubes’s DoGooder Video of the Year Award) have been viewed by more than 1.5 million people.

Co-Convening Organizations

Transition US, Post Carbon Institute, New Economy Coalition, New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Co-op Power, Better Future Project, 350MA, Climate Disobedience Center, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, Conversation Collaborative, Vermonters for a New Economy, Global Community Initiatives, Headwaters Garden and Learning Center, Transition Montpelier, Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, Jamaica Plain Time Exchange, Transition Newburyport, Building A Local Economy, Boston Food Forest Coalition, Transition Town Charlotte, Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.), Sustainable Woodstock, Post Oil Solutions, Revive the Roots, Coginchaug Area Transition, Center for an Ecology Based Economy, New Haven Bioregional Group, Resist the Pipeline

NERT Action Planning – November 16, 2015 Update

NERT Nov 16 People!Last week thirteen members of the New England Resilience & Transition Network gathered for an Action Planning meeting in Jamaica Plain, Boston. Folks came from Montpelier, Vermont to Portland, Maine to New Haven, Connecticut, and many places in between. It was wonderful to have representation from near and far.

In the morning we focused on the NERT network itself. NERT now has 44 members across all six New England states! We discussed network engagement, support and inter-connection, in keeping with NERT Goals #1 and #2. We also discussed plans to convene a NERT Advisory Committee to help us stay connected with other networks and glean more information from around the region.

In the afternoon, we focused on NERT Goals #3 and #4: Articulate a Common Story that conveys our vision for a positive future, despite threats of climate change, resource shortages, inequities, and more; and Create a sense of “Network Self-Awareness” among resilience, Transition, and other grassroots groups in New England.

As we navigated this conversation, it became clear that more work needs to be done to clarify the NERT vision for the future, as well as our values. We also dug into the idea of producing a 5-minute video for the network to convey the Story of New England and consider what kind of future we want to build together. We agreed that the video should serve as a conversation starter about the future of our common region.

NERT Nov 16 AgendaWe had a rich conversation, asking ourselves: How does New England’s history position us well for a thriving, resilient future? We noted that there are many examples of inter-connection, resilience, and resistance to oppression in the history of the region that can shape our future in a positive way.

And we also asked ourselves how our region might heal and atone for the grievous sins of the past, including the genocide of the native inhabitants of this land. We noted that without a process of healing, our future will be shaped by these sins, but this time we will be living in a context of declining economic stability, climate change, and resource depletion. Not a pretty picture.

This conversation is far from over; in fact, it’s just beginning. We hope you’ll continue to be involved. To help produce the video, or get more involved with NERT in any way, just email Sarah at sarah@localcircles.org.

Click here to see the full notes from the day.

1/20/16 Update: Follow-up conversations have made it clear that the ROCkers are not ready to pursue the video idea, for now.

The New England New Economy Fund

Onion River Exchange enhances local economy through respect and equality ORE continues to grow as Vermont's largest time bank Read more

Onion River Exchange enhances local economy through respect and equality
ORE continues to grow as Vermont’s largest time bank
Read more

Watch the Webinar about the New England New Economy Fund!

The New England New Economy Fund was founded to support the needs of the local movement for a new economy in New England by: a) fueling the activity of local groups with direct grant funding to support community-based projects, programs and leaders; b) ensuring the sustainability of local efforts by providing skills-building opportunities and technical assistance; and c) building the capacity of local groups by supporting an emerging learning community of local groups through gatherings and network-building activities.

The Fund is a collaboration of New England Grassroots Environment Fund and the New England New Economy Transition (NET) program of Institute for Policy Studies, on behalf of the local, state and regional initiatives working to build a new economy.

Action is needed now in New England and beyond to ensure that residents have continued access to livelihoods, food, health care, transportation, energy, and other basic needs. Action is also needed to adapt to the “new normal”; that is, a world characterized by more extreme weather events, rising sea levels, higher costs of energy, resource shortages, and financial instability.

Small Maine town's non-profit gives aid where banks won't Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative provides low-interest loans to help make community stronger. Read more

Small Maine town’s non-profit gives aid where banks won’t
Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative provides low-interest loans to help make community stronger.
Read more

Across the region, hundreds of local initiatives are taking on the task of building community resilience and shaping a new economy that works for their community. As a web of networked, locally-rooted economies grows, support for the grassroots groups creating these building blocks is essential. Whether it is crafting an community education series, keeping a big box store off their main street, starting a time bank, creating mutual aid networks, starting up a cooperative business, or circulating a local currency, community groups are finding myriad ways to come together in the face of economic uncertainty created by an unjust global economy. They are resisting the forces of globalization and building viable economic alternatives that are based in renewed relationships with each other and the earth.

Fueled by volunteer time, collaboration, and a shared vision, these groups are deeply motivated and committed to building the next economy that benefits all neighbors, not just those with privilege. These groups are finding ways to bridge divides of race, class, and language in their communities, and many are inspired by the insight that equity is intrinsic to true resilience.

Partners: The NENE Fund collaborates with its Partners and other organizations to advance the new economy movement. Our partners resonate with the thinking behind the Fund and commit to engaging in outreach on its behalf. Current formal Partners include:

  • Center for Economic Democracy
  • Co-Op Power
  • Transition US

Interested in supporting the New Economy Fund? Interested in support for your New Economy project?

Visit the NEGEF site to donate or apply!

Bridging Race & Class

BetsyDoes your community group want to engage people from diverse class backgrounds? Do you want to increase turnout at your events, and effectively engage the public to enhance resilience in your area?

Check out the slides from our webinar with Betsy Leondar-Wright of Class Action for tips on creating a cross-class community initiative. (Due to technical glitches with the GoToWebinar software, a recording of the webinar is not available.)

Download the Slides (PPT)

Also check out Betsy’s groundbreaking new book, Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures.

Here is a short list of resources to consider for further reading, discussion and training:

1) NEGEF and Class Action are teaming up to host a training April 11th, 2015, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. This will be right up our alley, linking class and intersectional awareness with climate stuff! Facebook link here, and website here.
2) Training for Change runs several kinds of wonderful trainings, including the Whites Confronting Racism training, several times a year. They will travel to groups who want to have them there, also–it may be interesting for NERT to consider running one of these trainings in our network.
3) The movement resource “Organizing for Power” has a lot of great documents and guidelines on its page–check it out here.
4) One specific document that you might like is an overview of anti-oppression work (FYI, consider using the term “dismantling oppression” in your own work…)
5) For those who want to be able to make the link more explicit between the challenges of climate change and the matter of social justice and “collective liberation,” Peaceful Uprising has written a nice, clear statement that can help support you in explaining to folks why environmental justice must be social justice. This can help you build your own understanding of the link. (For those that aren’t familiar with Peaceful Uprising, it’s the group started while Tim DeChristopher was in prison for fake-bidding on an illegal auction of public lands about 5 years ago.)
6) There’s a great book called Beautiful Trouble out there, co-written by a couple of folks, several of who are key organizers for 350.org (Joshua Kahn Russell, for instance, and several others). Here’s the link to the book’s anti-oppression definition. The book has exercises, definitions, suggestions for tactics and strategies for doing stuff…it’s great, so check out the whole thing.
7) For some good links to discussions about and background information on environmental justice and race issues, check out this website.
8) The book Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability,” edited by Alison Alkyon and Julian Agyeman, is a collection of articles that are focused on how food systems in the US/internationally are systematically discriminatory at all levels on the basis of race, class, and more. There are lots of good articles in here, and if you use Google Scholar to search for the article title as in the table of contents of the book, you might even find a free PDF somewhere! I highly recommend it as a good jumping off point for a reading group or a discussion that is trying to better understand the linkages between these issues.

ROCkers Continue to Rock Regional Resilience – January 19, 2015

ROCkers MLK Day

Members of the ROCkers

On January 19, members of the ROCkers met in Boston to continue the conversation about regional resilience and the upcoming gathering of the full New England Resilience & Transition network.

After introductions and a review of our network story that touched on past gatherings in Boston, Brattleboro, Portland, Keene, and Smithfield, we decided to tackle a big question: what are the objectives of the New England Resilience & Transition Network?

We had a vibrant conversation and came up with four overlapping and interconnected goals:

  • Support Inter-Connectivity, both among the grassroots groups that make up the network, and with other kindred networks, such as Food Solutions New England, New England Local Energy Network, etc.
  • Support Grassroots Groups by providing resources and inspiration to tackle issues like burnout, leadership, capacity, expectation-setting, and organizing. Help groups and individuals realize that they are not alone in this work.
  • Articulate a Common Story that conveys our vision for a positive future, despite threats of climate change, resource shortages, inequities, and more.
  • Create a sense of “Network Self-Awareness” among resilience, Transition, and other grassroots groups in New England, so that folks know this network is there to serve them.

See the Goals on this Google Doc.

After lunch, we talked about the upcoming gathering in Keene, NH, and articulated our goals for that event.

Keene, March 21 Gathering – Goals:

  • Provide space for people, groups and networks share their stories, lessons and practical tips with each other
  • Start the process toward articulating our Common Story (see above)
  • Strengthen relationships and connectivity
  • Raise awareness of the network itself, and convey the role of the ROCkers. Convey also that there will be a Fall 2015 gathering, and annual gatherings thereafter each fall.
  • Check in about the network goals (above)
  • Energize people and build momentum!

Read more notes about the upcoming Keene event in this Google doc.

The ROCkers also explicitly considered ways to enhance the connections we hold with other networks, and brainstormed a list of other networks with whom we’d like to connect. We considered shaping the Fall 2015 event around this form of interconnectedness, and decided to return to this question after the March 21 event.

  • Food Solutions New England
  • New England Local Energy Network – plus VECAN and others
  • Permaculture Institute of the Northeast (PINE)
  • Funders Network on Livable Communities (Transportation network)
  • New Economy Coalition
  • State Bank Networks
  • Co-Op Networks
  • The Environmental Justice Network
  • 350.org state networks
  • First People’s Tribes
  • National People’s Action State Groups
  • Occupy networks

What’s In a Name? Lastly, we decided to continue temporarily calling the network the “New England Resilience & Transition” network, which shortens to the silly and lovable acronym NERT. This will keep us honest and humble. 🙂

NERT Goals Keene Goals