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Community Resources for Sustainability, Self-Reliance and Resilience

See also: Community Co-Intelligence

Here are sites that can help you understand more about community sustainability, self-reliance and resilience:

The grand central of sustainability networking is WISERearth. You gotta see it -- and use it -- to believe it.

The Global Ecovillage Network provides info and connections to conscious eco-living experiments around the world. People interested in intentional communities will find the Fellowship of Intentional Communities site fascinating. It also has great links on sustainability subjects.

The Rocky Mountain Institute provides guidance for communities that want to be economically and ecologically more sustainable.

"Living in the UXA" - John Curl provides compelling history about how people have worked together for mutual aid, including an inspiring story of Oakland, CA, in the 1930s.

The Simple Living Network provides "tools and living examples for those who are serious about learning to live a more conscious, simple, healthy and restorative lifestyle."

In Context, Grassroots Economic Organizing, and Yes! are all magazines that provide inspiring, educational and practical articles about building a sustainable, humane, positive future. Many useful articles are on-line, and they can lead you to more resources.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has been researching and promoting environmentally sound economic development strategies including community energy and financial self-reliance for many years. In particular, see its New Rules Project, a growing storehouse of model community and local economy-building rules, laws, regulations, and ordinances.

Sustainable Community Network offers "New Resources for Sustainable Community" provides interesting online articles, as well as links. And People in Action for a Better World offers link-lists to other community and sustainability websites.

For information about the basic principles of sustainability, see The Natural Step. Also become familiar with permaculture, a coherent theory and practice of sustainability in all areas, at all levels, starting with the garden.

With a bit of web research you'll find many regional community-development organizations, such as the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.

Learning for Sustainability offers guidance for sustainable development and collective learning at the leading edge of the mainstream.

Appropedia is an alternative wikipedia on sustainable solutions to community and global challenges

The Community Solution offers down-to-earth solutions to support local resilience in a future increasingly defined by peak oil, climate change, and shaky economies and infrastructure

Center for Community Enterprise has an extensive toolbox for community resilience and renewal (although not necessarily environmental sustainability), especially for small towns.

For guidance and examples of local currencies that keep economic energy within the local community, check out local and complementary currencies.

Worldchanging is a big blog of alternative approaches and sustainability initiatives of all types.



  • Creating Community Anywhere by Carolyn Shaffer and Kristin Anundsen (Tarcher/Perigree, 1993). "The most comprehensive book I know of about the community movement." -- M. Scott Peck. Building community with friends, family, support groups, neighborhoods, co-workers, cyber-companions, shared households and visionary communities. Excellent guidance on conflict, decision-making, celebrations, communication and dealing with community evolution and "shadow side."
  • The Basketmaker: Helping People Create Communities of Opportunity, ed. by Michael Patterson, et. al. (available online). A fascinating mix of vision, inspiration, how-to's, references and stories, especially targetted for people working with disadvantaged communities, but powerfully useful to all of us.
  • The Quickening of America: Rebuilding our Nation, Remaking our Lives by Frances Moore Lappé and Paul Du Bois (Jossey-Bass, 1994). Powerful examples and new theory about how Americans are "doing democracy."
  • Reworking Success by Robert Theobald (New Society, 1997). An accessible re-examination of how to make communities and societies work better in the 21st Century.
  • Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets by John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight (Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research, 1993; $15 from ACTA Publications [800] 397-2282). The manual for asset-based community development.
  • The Spirit of Community: The Reinvention of American Society by Amitai Etzioni (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1993). The kick-off of the communitarian movement.
  • The Power in our Hands: Neighborhood-Based World Shaking by Tony Gibson (Jon Carpenter, UK,1996). How-tos and stories for those who want to make a creative difference in their communities.
  • Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age by Michael H. Shuman (The Free Press, 1998). The title says it.
  • Self-Reliant Cities by David Morris (Sierra Club Books,1982). The classic visionary text on the relationships of American cities to energy. This and many other books on that topic can be found at

See also

Community-building organizations

Other Resources for Community Self-Organization and Collective Intelligence

Community Resources from the Co-Intelligence Institute

Note: During 1998-1999 the CII did a "Using the Year 2000 Problem (Y2K) for Cultural Breakthrough and Transformation" Program which contains many pages that may be of interest to community organizers concerned about major crises now or in the future that may challenge the resilience of their communities.


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