As noted in NJSpotlight (Feb. 20, 2015), New Jersey was ranked 34th out of 50 states in the most recent State of American Wellbeing index of the 2014 Gallup-Healthways Index report. The study takes into account how people feel about their life’s purpose, social and financial life, physical health, and community.
According to the NJSpotlight story,
The two areas in which New Jersey severely underperformed the rest of the country were purpose and community. Purpose was defined as liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve goals. In this area New Jersey only ranked 43rd. And New Jersey’s leaders should take serious note of the ranking of 48 for community. This element was defined as liking where you live, feeling safe, and taking pride in your community.
This clearly underlines the need for the kinds of “regenerative community solutions” that we’re seeking to foster through our nonprofit. And it also shows how poorly NJ’s economic and political class are doing in serving the needs of the state overall.
What we’re doing fits within the framework of “whole systems development.” It is made possible by the new levels of human coordination and communication in the digital age — what some people have called the emergence of “the global brain” — and by the possibility of pragmatic and sustainable solutions to human problems.
We are, in our own way, an expression of the most significant event so far in the course of human history, where we graduate to a new level of integrity, responsibility, and interrelationship with ourselves, with other species, and with the universe as a whole. If we’re aware of it, if it’s happening here, it’s likely also happening in many other places and contexts on the Earth. But it’s significant either way: whether we’re leading or joining the parade does not matter as much as the fact of our participation and our stand.
We have a number of ideas that we want to contribute to society, and we want that contribution to be recognized and rewarded in a way that’s proportionate to the value that’s created, so we’ve come up with the idea of a Contribution Economy. This economy would be fueled by an alternative global currency, Commons Credits (CC), awarded according to rules established and continuously updated by a collaborative of the best minds of our era.
“In 1929 I began to consider what the little individual could do on behalf of his fellow man that government and corporations could not do. It became evident that the individual was the only one that could deliberately find the time to think in a cosmically adequate manner. Each human has his lifetime to invest. If he commits to operations in cosmic integrities he will find himself participating in nature’s own formulations and will realize the potentials of her various freedoms and choices, to be employed to the advantage of all human beings to come, in order that humans may fulfill their cosmic functioning on board of our planet.”
—R. Buckminster Fuller
Certainly Buckminster Fuller was no “ordinary individual,” as he liked to think of himself, but he did not consider any other humans as potentially less capable than himself. Each of us has our unique contribution to make, which is taking the next step for ourselves. Such a step is never arbitrary, in that it occurs inside of a given set of circumstances, and is given to us by the totality of our unique life experiences and understandings. But it is also voluntarily chosen. It is possible to seek one’s calling, to discover one’s inner purpose, but ultimately we also have to choose it.
Kosmos, a “Journal for Global Transformation,” recently published A ‘global call’ from our friends at Share the World’s Resources (STWR), which is in turn taken from Sharing.org (which offers its material under a Creative Commons License, as we’ve begun to do with our materials on The Contribution Economy).
The lead-in to their article expresses as well as anything I’ve seen recently the current problematique, the central challenge and response of our age:
Asking for money is one of the more challenging things that every charity has to do. The first question we need to answer, however, is “Why are we asking?” If we don’t have a clear and compelling answer, we’re handicapping ourselves from the start.
So here’s why.
- It’s to give people the opportunity to contribute to the world they believe in.
- It’s to give us the ability to keep working on creating a world that works, by providing “regenerative community solutions,” i.e., practical ways of restoring and building communities that last and become self-reinforcing and self-sustaining.
- Ultimately, it’s to empower the world of generosity, the you-and-me world, rather than the you-or-me world.
In The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist, who has raised more than $150 million in individual contributions, tells the story of her own first monetary contribution:
We’re committed to a future that has New Jersey PACE as a local success story in the making. Working back from this future, what will this look like, and what will it mean for New Jersey?
Let’s imagine what New Jersey might look like in ten years with PACE. Continue reading
Cities across the US are competing to install 10,000+ rain gardens as part of community-wide campaigns — Seattle is looking for 12,000 near the Puget Sound; Kansas City, Mo is creating 10,000; and Sustainable Jersey City thinks 11,000 is about the right number for Jersey City.
What’s even more interesting is that these are being seen as community engagement and revitalization projects. Jersey City’s is indeed “crowd-sourced”: Continue reading
The challenges we face in New Jersey as a result of climate change are significant, and so therefore are the opportunities. The experience of Superstorm Sandy showed us just how ill-prepared we are for the more frequent recurrence of extreme weather; and how important it is that we set an example for taking action to mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions, as other states are doing around us. And there’s also no doubt about the urgency of it — as you can see from this remarkable video:
Developing our crowdfunding campaign is giving us an extraordinary opportunity to explore using PACE to revitalize New Jersey communities. By itself, PACE is an innovative business model that creates jobs and economic development while providing the ultimate tool to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on private properties. But leveraging PACE for community development is where the real payoff is, that is to say, for the benefit of the community as a whole.
Now that we have our 501c3 designation, we’re asking for your financial support. We have just a couple of days for you to make a tax-free contribution this year, so we’d like to suggest that you do so as a way of expressing your faith, your commitment, and your support of our mission.
We’re not just about a good idea whose time has come. We’re about making it a reality here in New Jersey, and in doing so transform our built environment. And this is the ideal place to do it — an older northeastern state, with many declining cities and older suburbs, and enormous opportunities for revitalization. So we’ve put more an enormous effort over the past year into developing a state-wide NJPACE program, and bringing PACE to a number of specific New Jersey communities in 2014.
But we can’t do this alone. We created the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions to be the nonprofit umbrella for the education, the development of tools and alliances, and the administration of this program, so that the industry, the property owners, the lenders, and the municipalities could take advantage of the benefits that NJPACE offers them. Our goal is to raise $350,000 in order to create this opportunity for our state, as other groups are doing elsewhere in the country.