On Saturday, March 21, 50 organizers and activists from all six New England states (plus one intrepid Californian) gathered in Keene NH to discuss resilience, Transition, and the future we want to create. It was an amazing chance to realize that we are not alone in this work!
After introductions, Cheryl King Fisher kicked us off with the Story of the New England Resilience & Transition (NERT) Network, which is now on its fifth regional gathering. We then heard three local stories. We also heard from two “kindred networks”: Food Solutions New England and the Post Carbon Institute. Folks then had a chance to pair up and share their own stories with each other. We looked for themes in all these stories. To wrap up the morning, we looked at an in-progress map , which aspires to show all the resilience-related work happening here in New England.
After break-outs, we moved into Part II: Where We Are Now: Network Formation, facilitated by Lisa Fernandes. Lisa asked us to think about vibrant networks we are familiar with, and we brainstormed their characteristics, such as: clear identity, results, appropriate organizational structure, resources, transparency, trust, and relationships. Lisa reminded us that networks are made up of many one-to-one relationships between people, and thrive on connectivity. Importantly, a network must have three components: process, results, and relationships. “So whatever else we are doing, we had better also be building trust-based relationships,” she reminded us.
We then brainstormed how the ROCkers could support the network. Lots of great thoughts poured in, including: developing an online resource so we can share best practices and lessons learned, continuing with the mapping project, connecting local groups to each other to provide one-to-one support, and providing more opportunities for skills-building, especially around anti-oppression work.
Chris Boke facilitated Part III: Where We’re Going: Our Common Story. Here we focused on expressing our Common Story, or our Common Identity. In two lines facing each other, we iterated different answers to the prompt: “What are you doing in the world? What do you hope to become?” Folks then noted the common threads in these stories. A small group of folks is taking this input forward and writing a version of our Common Story.
More details of that meeting are available here on the New England New Economy website.