Phoenix Gathering, June 2008, EcuadorThe website of the Phoenix Effort contains the detailed description of the whole meeting.
Draft of the final document is here.
This page contains some additional notes/links (relocalization, Canadian connection, Phoenix 2):
A lot of the time of the meeting was devoted to the (re)localization effort. The main person representing this issue was Michael Brownlee, Boulder, Colorado. He is the founder and apparently the main force behind the Boulder Valley Relocalization: www.boulderrelocalization.org, www.bouldergoinglocal.com. See his video interview in the interview section of the Phoenix site.
He claimed they go further (strive at a complete local economy transformation) than the Transition Movement quite widespread in UK: The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience; by Rob Hopkins. ($24.95 available through Chelsea Green Books in July, 2008; "If your town is not yet a Transition Town, here is guidance for making it one.") There are now over 30 Transition Towns in the UK, with more joining as the idea takes off. With little proactivity at government level, communities are taking matters into their own hands and acting locally: www.transitiontowns.org, interview with Bob Hopkins, transitionculture.org.
Another participant focusing mainly on sustainability was Bob Banner, publisher of HopeDance and a maintainer of a library of alternative films that Bob rents out all over USA/Canada.
Also Glen Barry from Univ of Wisconsin maintains a large database of ecological resources: Ecological Internet.
Leonardo Wild from Ecuador has large practical experience with building functioning alternative economies (no interest, barter), willing to share it with others. His parents established an ecovillage-like community called León Dormido on the outskirts of Quito, centred around a very special alternative school practising democratic education, Fundación Educativa Pestalozzi, e.g. info in English, German or Spanish - it more or less has no teachers, just carefully prepared learning environment. He is also a product of this school, and he is sort of a modern "renaissance man", among others also a writer, builder of a number of modified (triangulized) geodetic domes. Many of the participants spent 1-2 days before the meeting in Leonardo parent's community and the "Pesta" school.
Shrikumar Poddar and K. S. Sripada Raju talked about the unique Indian approach to building self-sustaining communities (relocalization) that have already helped to empower millions of village inhabitants in India. It is based on a mixture of traditional and more recent concepts: the panchayat (council of five wise elders) village governments, self-sustaining micro-loans, elements of Hindu religion, New Global Freedom Movement also known as Nayi Azadi Abhiyan having the main mantra "From Self Transformation to Global Transformation", ethical entrepreneurship.
Book by Margrit Kennedy Interest and Inflation Free Money was highly praised during discussions on alternative economies/currencies.
There were two other participants from B.C.: Kathy Moore from Rossland (the first Direct-democratic community in Canada, by the way), a founding member of the Citizens for Responsible Development, advocating for sustainable and sensible development as Rossland meets the challenges of rapid growth. In her role as the Rossland lead coordinator for Greener Footprints she works to reduce waste. She is proud of the success of the Greener Footprints campaign to eliminate plastic bags in Rossland and is working toward a province wide reduction of plastic waste. She actively participated in Visions to Action, a year long community planning process, which has created the town.s Strategic Sustainability Plan - she was showing it at the meeting. This plan can be downloaded from here.
The second one was Chris Shaw, a UBC professor, and one of
the organizers of the Work Less Party (WLP):
Promotional video and a book by the party founder.
It seems that the next meeting (Phoenix 2) will be help in Boulder, Colorado, in the very place where Michael Brownlee is leading their pioneering relocalization efforts. It's not that far, so you may want to think about attending. See the public group PhoenixDialogForum (at) yahoogroups.com (PhoenixDialogForum-subscribe (at) yahoogroups.com) for more information about the planning of Phoenix 2.