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Sender: Richard
Subject: From Richard Flyer and Connecting the Good
Date: Fri, Mar 28, 2014
Msg: 100893

  Hi all: Thought it would be a great time to say hello.  I'm Richard Flyer and have really enjoyed the conversations...thank you Sandy et. al for getting this together.   I have been reflecting where my work of more than 30 years fits in this dialogue.   I believe it was Tom Atlee who identified two aspects of Transpartisan strategy---one that works within the system, reaching across ideological lines (local, national) and one that works to transform the system by transcending ideologies altogether (with a focus at the regional/national)

My work with Connecting the Good (CTG) in Reno, NV is in the second category.

 And, Bruce Shuman's wonderful summary of his an other's thoughts (Don Beck, Joan Blades, Rich Tafel, Tom Atlee, and more) got my juices flowing! “Get beyond dualistic thinking”; “Holding the tension while working together with an open heart”; “holistic and integral”; “connect ALL the dots”; Listen with an open heart, “Cross-sector” beyond silos; “mutual respect with an open heart”.

The phrases resonate deeply within me.  I have been applying these "words" for a long time in my work to "transform the system" but at the scale of local regional  communities.   In Reno, CTG created a region-wide "container" for people, organizations, businesses, and government to play in.   

CTG is based on 5 Shared Values (Love, Integrity, Courage, Service, and Respect) and 12 Common Needs (sectors).....these sectors include: Strong local economy, local food and water, local energy, clean and healthy environment, community peace and safety, neighbor helping neighbor, empowerment of those on the margins, arts and culture, housing, health and wellness, education and mentoring, and personal/community transformation.

CTG is based in part on the success of the Sarvodaya movement in Sri Lanka.   IMHO it is one of the world's best models for both personal and community/society transformation founded by Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne in 1959.  I have known about this movement for 30 years and worked with Dr. Ari  as he is called for the last 20 years to figure out how to translate this  transpartisan movement of 15,000 communities to the West.  Simply put:  In Sri Lanka, they used their shared values/common ground to build new infrastructure--pre schools; irrigation and farming; village banking (3,000 of their communities are financially self reliant); and 100,000's small businesses; and more. That strategy is appropriate in their context as a "developing" nation.  In our overdeveloped nation, instead of creating projects in our local community ofReno, we connected existing ones....that was the Connect the Dots as Don Beck has eloquently stated.

One common ground that cuts across ideological divides is to build strong communities in the face of the global economic meltdown.  The Transpartisan working "within" the system and working outside the system can come together.    In 2003 we started our areas first "Buy Local" movement. Many people and groups were politically opposed to Big Box stores like WalMart coming into our region.  Instead of fighting against that, we were able to get "Liberal" and "Conservative" business owners together to focus ON WHAT WE ARE FOR!  We built a network of 300 locally owned businesses and community groups.    After 10 years we have achieved a cultural change not only in our city, but our county, and the whole state of Nevada.  Our Republican governor has made We Think Local a statewide campaign and has instructed every level of government to analyze opportunities for sourcing products in Nevada.   That includes the huge State of NV pension fund.

This was accomplished without having to lobby or pressure any governmental entity.  We worked patiently, and over a period of time the mass consciousness of our region shifted and a bottom up transformation of one political divide occurred.  We did the same around Local Food.  We started a movement in 2005, when in our region local food was considered a fringe and business and political interests really liked the idea of paving over empty land:-) More property taxes, etc.  Over time we found a common ground between "liberal" and "conservative" and even across the religious divide by getting "neo-pagan" urban farmers together with Evangelical Christian urban farmers!  The result is an amazing story of a new food cooperative that now has 6,000 members; 10 community supported agriculture projects; networks of backyard farmers; and a public farmers market. I give these two examples to illustrate how it is possible (like many of the other posts) to find a common ground and make meaningful change.  

CTG now is converting our method of Connecting the Dots in a local region to a mobile application and website for use by each community.

We will be in beta this summer and are looking for other cities to pilot this.....looking forward to learning more about what everyone else is doing and finding ways to collaborate.   Warmest regards,   Richard Flyer Connecting the Good Check out our FB group CTG with 2,000 members here locally (775) 721-3287


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