Good Neighbors in the Time of Coronavirus

This morning in the New York Times Daily Briefing there was this short piece that caught my attention:

The limits of a globalized economy were becoming clearer even before the coronavirus, and the pandemic’s effects could cement those changes, our senior economics correspondent writes. “There will be a rethink of how much any country wants to be reliant on any other country,” said Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

And from resilience.org this paragraph from a longer article by Chris Rhodes written in April:

It might appear sage, therefore, to prepare the ground in advance of any collapse; to divert our resources and planning away from the proverbial global village, and toward a globe of villages. The currently enforced “working from home” may become part of the new normal. Thus, although Transition Towns thinking came about primarily through considerations about peak oil, all essential efforts toward re-localisation and community resilience may provide the strongest available single buffer against the many storms that are likely to prevail upon us.

So, there is a growing understanding of the danger of our globalized world and maybe this will be the moment when we truly change how we live on our beautiful planet. For almost 15 years I’ve been active with the Transition Town Movement both locally in my community of Charlotte, Vermont and nationally. The Transition Movement emphasis has always been on supporting healthy and happy communities and neighborhoods. I’ve been very influenced by the rightness of this effort. It includes creating a strong local economy, weaning ourselves from over-consumption and the globalized markets, caring about our effects on the environment, and searching for ways to reduce our carbon footprints.

So, it seems so natural and right to live in a neighborhood where we know each other well, are welcomed into each other’s homes, and where we care enough to help out when help is needed. I live in a small town in a section where there’s a small group of homes that have been built and inhabited over several decades. A couple of decades ago there was a concerted effort to create a well-connected neighborhood with summer celebrations, potlucks, and fun. The outcome of those efforts is a place where neighbors know one another, help each other, and check-in with each other on a regular basis. And this was way before the Coronavirus came into our lives.

Louis and I lived off-grid for a couple of decades and when a huge ice storm hit, eliminating power to homes for almost two weeks. We were the house that still had electricity and so neighbors came to take showers, watch a movie, or just hang out. Now, in the time of Coronavirus, we neighbors are shopping for one another, picking up orders for take-out meals to help support local restaurants, taking walks (with the required six-foot distance), talking on the phone, and having Zoom chats to help stay connected. For those who live alone, this can be a great life-line. We’re also a bit of an aging group, so we can make sure everyone is safe and healthy. I feel blessed to be surrounded by these loving neighbors.

I hope everyone can create such a place, not only for this moment, but for the rest of our lives. All it takes is a phone call to begin that journey.


About ruahswennerfelt

I am searching for a global vision for a sustainable, resilient world in the face of peak oil, climate change, and economic instability.
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