Building a new world in the shell of the old

This is the lead article from the Alternative Estuary paper which pretty much lays out what we want this project to be about…and why we want you, the progressive, grassroots activists in the south of Essex, to get involved in it:)

It’s easy to know what we’re against in a dysfunctional, unsustainable and increasingly dystopian world. Railing against the world we have to endure may make us feel better but…does it lead to positive change? We know that the political, economic and social system we inhabit is rapidly heading towards its use by date and that we have to bring about radical change if we’re going to survive.

There are many ways of bringing about the change that’s needed. What Alternative Estuary looks at is what can be done in the here and now to boost sustainability, community cohesion and neighbourhood resilience in an increasingly volatile world. It’s about building the new world we need and want in the decaying shell of the old one we currently live in.

That means grassroots initiatives and projects that start to make a difference right now as opposed to waiting for the ‘big day’. Essentially, it’s about experimenting with and building what we want to see in the new world while recognising what can be achieved is subject to the constraints of the world as it currently is. As these projects grow and have more influence, those constraints may well start to loosen their grip as a better way of organising our lives and communities emerges.

It could be a community garden that gets people asking questions about how their food is produced. It could be a repair cafe that goes beyond merely fixing household items and challenges the basis of the unsustainable consumer society we inhabit. What we’re interested in are projects that prompt people to start questioning the world we live in. It’s also about grassroots projects set up in such a way that people involved in them are empowered to start self organising without the need for leaders.

That’s what we want to achieve with Alternative Estuary – encouraging and supporting the process of grassroots initiatives linking up to support each other, exchanging ideas and experiences so they can all grow together. Bringing projects like these together has the potential to create something considerably greater than the sum of its parts. That’s how we’ll start to bring about some real change.

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