Building socially resilient communities in the 21st century
Adapted from Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains: A guide to high-altitude, semi-arid home permaculture gardens: In the 21st century as economic globalization continues to unravel in the face of climate change, energy descent and economic chaos, community cohesiveness and resilience will be become ever-more important. Building on permaculture principles, the Transition Town Movement is a positive, proactive approach to the interrelated challenges of climate change and resource scarcity. The movement began in 2005 with English permaculture designer Rob Hopkins. Hopkins is the author of The Transition Companion, a primer for anyone interested in helping his or her community become more self-reliant and ecologically, economically and socially resilient.
Although Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has vetoed infamous SB 1062, questions remain about where we go from here. SB 1062 would have legalized discrimination by businesses based on the religious beliefs of the business owner. The bill was mainly aimed at civil rights ordinances here in Flagstaff and in Phoenix and Tucson that protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, as well as military veteran status (Tempe passed a similar ordinance last Thursday, 24 hours after Brewer’s veto). Last Sunday, more than 1,000 Flagstaff, Arizona residents rallied to reject prejudice and discrimination.
Similar bills have been introduced in other U.S. states with varying degrees of support and rejection. Of course, these bills in no way compare to much worse laws criminalizing gay, bisexual and transgender expression in Russia, Uganda and elsewhere.
I wrote the following letter to the editor for the Flagstaff daily newspaper:
To the editor,
Dear Flagstaff residents who supported vetoed bill SB 1062 and support similar bills in other states: I was a co-organizer from 2007–2009 of volunteers supporting the creation of a Flagstaff ordinance to prevent discrimination in public accommodations, employment and education based on gender identity and sexual orientation. I also volunteered during the successful 2011–2013 effort. I am also bisexual. In addition, I live with PTSD due to school bullying. I know what it is like to be shunned, harassed and abused on a daily basis for years.
The Golden Rule is a foundational ethical principle of civilization; it makes everyone safer and happier. “Treat others as you wish to be treated” predates the major world religions. In fact, the roots of reciprocal altruism extend into our pre-human evolutionary past. Local, state and federal civil rights laws, beginning with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, enshrine the Golden Rule in law by requiring businesses to accommodate protected classes of people. Yet some people belonging to some religious sects want a special exemption from the Golden Rule. Most of us think this is immoral and damaging to community life.
Do those of you who wish to refuse service to transgender, bisexual and gay people really want to live in a community or nation that doesn’t honor the Golden Rule? Don’t you see that exempting yourself from the Golden Rule means many people will refuse to reciprocate with you in return? Don’t your businesses need customers? What happens when you need help?
I designed the bottom bumper sticker. I sell it on my etsy store. We sell both designs at www.carryabigsticker.com.