Today is the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street’s beginning in 2011. I also remember that last year at this time I was feeling that people would be more amenable to our plea and message. At heart, I stand with them, but I wonder what the protesters believe the future is.  Who do they think is going to make the difference? Do they want someone else to force it? because I would think that would not be very useful, as people resist that sort of “guidance.”  Do they want others to change their ways? which ways  should they change?  How do they think the nation, economy, climate and society change?

I have my answer, and I know my board and our members see it the same way.  Rather than tell people what they need to be doing, we are working to show them how to do it, and creating a “go to” place to learn those skills. We certainly aren’t the only place, but we are one location. I also believe that many people want to make those changes, but they face challenges in facilities, funds, or direction. That’s another place we can help.

But if our society is going to change, we need to shift the way we address issues. Rather than being “for” or “against,” we need to try and explain why we take those stances. Many people, I’ve found, haven’t really thought their opinions through. They are just comfortable with them, and try to find others who also share those views.  But if you can get past the resistance, and fear, opponents can find a shared place to work from.  That’s just not happening, right now.

We are trying to “occupy” a piece of land in rural New England, 8 miles from Gardner, and Fitchburg, MA and 45 miles from Boston.  We want to move our sustainability center into these old buildings and illustrate many of the ideas that Occupy protesters are expressing.  We want to reuse existing buildings and make new businesses.  Our land can grow food, knowledge and fun, empowering people to grow their own food, on our site, or at their homes.  The arts are an important part of any culture, and while there are those who excel at certain areas, but there are some arts that provide a common thread, such as stories, music, even home skills such as quilting, woodworking and others.

But we live in a place where more than 10% of our population is unemployed.  People think of us “way out there,” in terms of geography, but if we lived in the Midwest, we would be considered “nearby.”  Through technology we can make our offerings available worldwide, and we can assist other communities, beyond Central New England, of how to “occupy a better future.”  We need help, though.

Our ideas are “outside of the box,” though polite people call them “creative.”  But that is what is going to be needed to make a new sustainable community.  People who used to bicker, can find common ground, and make both sides happy.  Please, we’re not asking for thousands of dollars. But we are asking for thousands of people to send their “coffee money” or more, to us at www.crowdrise.com/northcountrysustaina  or by Paypal to Pat@northcountrysustain.org.  We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, so we can provide donations for those who want to declare the donation on their taxes.

Please give what you can. Tell others. Are you a person who wants things better, but wants someone else to the action? or are you one of those who actually make it happen?  Join us in the latter group. We’ll remember you, and thank you – Everyday we bring a new business, a new family, a new member, a better future, into our community – Thanks to you.

For more information, visit our website at www.northcountrysustain.org or our YouTube channel – Pat Stewart or hamesfarmer.  (This was my personal site that I gave over to the NCSC, so that’s why it’s under my name.)

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