Community

Community is the basic unit of Green politics, because it is personal, value-oriented, and small enough for each member to have an impact. It is in communities that we can best relearn the arts and skills of public life. For the same reasons, communities are the best provider of social services, and we need to create, strengthen, and transform community-based associations to provide these services. (A real community doesn't even think in impersonal terms like "social services," but in terms of nurturing and caring for its members.)

We advocate economic, political, and social policies that, within the basic standards of fairness, equity, and human rights, nourish and support local communities' self-determined initiatives instead of federal policies that seek to impose uniformity and standardization. We oppose abuse of centralist concentration of power by national government and by national or multinational corporate entities, which results in a variety of legal, economic, and social tendencies that discourage or prevent the development of human-scale communities.

"Social exchange" is critical to community development. Programs teaching consensus and facilitation should be presented on a regular basis. Space should be developed for community meetings and all members encouraged to attend. These gatherings should be both issue-oriented and celebratory. Community must bring together in social exchange all kinds of people, including but not limited to children and the elderly, mainstream and marginal, healthy and ill, differently abled, people of all races, and rich and poor.

In all our community interactions, we affirm that human beings have the potential to be good, loving, worthy, and cooperative. We recognize the inherent value of all generations, and we encourage exchange and interaction between them. In particular, a reconnection needs to be made between the community elders and the very young on a continuing basis. We advocate the strengthening of communities through policies that give them an economic base (for example, locally based small businesses, co-operatives, gift and barter networks), and political self-determination (such as neighborhood assemblies to which city council members are accountable). Strong communities provide space for freedom, creativity, and social innovation to flourish, and they have a low incidence of crime. By talking of community, we emphasize a return to local, face-to-face relationships that humans can understand, cope with, and care about-while creating a consciousness of our intricate interconnections with all peoples of diverse cultures in our region and around the world.

We recognize that defining a community by opposition to outsiders or other communities is obsolete and self-defeating. Healthy communities are free of racism, sexism, and parochialism. Thus we will work toward Green, multicultural communities free of class distinctions.

The Green vision calls for a global community of communities-affirming the immense diversity of heritages, life-styles, and peoples, but also recognizing the necessary emergence of a shared global perspective, kinship, and concern. We support the activities of an effective global organization that will encourage the development of such a community. The basis of a healthy community is the nurturing of a healthy ecosystem. We recognize our interdependence with non-human members of our community-the four-legged and crawling, those who swim in the water and fly through the air, members of the plant kingdom, and the land that supports us all.

Green communities are supported by the implementation of land trusts, intentional communities, shared ownership, and other alternatives to traditional individual land and property ownership. We insist on strict control through community action, to reduce or eliminate all forms of pollution, including noise pollution, for the health and well-being of all community members. Noise and traffic should be eliminated, for example, in sensitive areas and wilderness.

Public communication media in a Green community should be decentralized, participatory, and serve as a facilitator of information exchange (as scribes do when presenting the essence of meetings and gatherings, for example).

We are committed to the transformation of existing public school systems through active community involvement. Indeed, we recognize no separation of learning from life. All members of the community, including children as appropriate to their age, should be able to participate in the process of learning, guided by the vision of long-term sustainability of the Earth community. (See the Education section for specific proposals.)