Can cooperation save the world?

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"It’s a very interesting time in history, there are a lot of things going on that are driving people to experiment, explore and hunger for something different. the old system isn’t working not only ecumenically, but ecologically, in human terms. People feel that in their bones. If we were really able to build the foundations of a cooperative world, what would it look like?" starts  Gar Alperovitz in the New Economy documentary.

On 6 April, the Participatory City Foundation enabled conversations about a re-imagined future. A future where people come to work because they feel a sense of ownership, where they can care for each other, nurture their community, and support their local economy. Where opportunities to participate are a part of our everyday lives and everyone has a voice.

A screening of the provocative documentary “A New Economy” gathered interested parties together. However it wasn’t as much the film that created such a raw and lovely energy, as the inspiring people that filled the room and the connections made.

Stories, ideas, visions... hopes and fears were exchanged between a diverse group of attendees. The event attracted members of the Council, the Forum for the Future, the Young Foundation and Unltd. Curious and supportive Twitter followers, local volunteer organisations, residents including children and a neighbourhood dog were all a part of the mélange of attendees. 

It is our human nature to cooperate, and to connect, but as the film notes, we are conditioned to be competitive and individualistic. 

"We’re not taught to cooperate and we’re not taught to trust.” 

The film demonstrates that in an unstable world, community, resilience, and interdependence are the key to survival and happiness. How and what we value is being reinvented. No longer is money alone going to support economic and emotional well-being. 

"Real wealth, is not money, it is fresh air to breathe, family, community.”

A prolific way of viewing our world and its future is trending on a global scale. Individuals are making choices to revert back to basics, to choose quality over quantity, and to invest in local economies, in people.

The screening left viewers feeling optimistic about the possibilities of a new cooperative world. John, a local resident, spoke about his desire to grow flowers and plants in unused and sometimes unorthodox places to attract bees and butterflies. He extended an invitation to visit his houseboat and a desire to get people out of their flats to build friendships. 

“The challenge is to figure out how to switch out engines on the plane while the plane’s still in the air.”

The world we live in is fast paced, and we cannot afford to stop. But we must “switch out the engines” and find more meaningful and sustainable ways of living in community on this planet.

“We are laying the groundwork for a very moving period of history… potentially very big things can happen.” ~ Gar Alperovitz

By Kendra Shillington

Wayne Trevor