Anneleise Hall: Can a grass roots NZ (R)evolution lead the way in community resilience and social interrelationships?

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I really want to share this interview with you as it was a heartfelt eye opener for me as it showed that there are many people in our towns, villages and rural regions across NZ, diligently focussing on pulling the threads of community together - in many ways under the radar - at a grass roots level.

As a ‘systems thinker’ Anneleise Hall’s insights are invaluable to all people who are wanting NZ as a whole - to prepare itself to become far more robust, sustainable and resilient. With a fast coming future descending on us - we need to really commit to ‘conscious action!’ Not only for our biosphere and all biota, but especially for the sake of our children and grandchildren too.

Many years ago, Anneleise was working for a local newspaper in a small region on NZ’s West Coast where she basically had full control of the content of that newspaper and as she was there for many years she got an overview of the makeup of this small town and she noticed that after the extractive industry of logging was closed down and the subsequent good pay-out by the NZ government - it interested her how this small town responded to losing major income streams – and how they innovated.

So in putting together the newspaper she grew an awareness of other ways of entrepreneurship such as the West Coast wild foods event, which went on to a film festival then tourism and art - resulting in boosting their own income and the local economy.

She ended up teaching young teens skills how to get a job and build up their self-worth that lead her into community work – then it was noticed that a lot of kids had fallen through the cracks – that if there was no sport, there was not so many options – so she started up a trust to get music into schools and the smoke free rock quest. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smokefreerockquest

Because of the lack of interest in some of the challenges of the youth and the teachers of the schools unable to have the time etc, that she noticed another small town nearby that had a ‘green dollar’ group and they were having markets in the weekend and it was quite active. It was here that she enjoyed getting fresh organic produce that were traded – and use the ‘various credits’ for other things and people were building tiny houses and rebuilding buses as a sustainable community was growing up on her periphery .

Yet on the other hand, Anneleise still in her newspaper role, was harvesting stories from around the world of other small towns that were doing very exciting and innovative things to mitigate the so called perfect storm of global circumstances. With globalism creating massive change even if it was not necessarily in everyone’s awareness at that time – she said that she was just led there without really being conscious of how it would unfold.

As she was in an industry where she was able to get all the news-feeds from around the world via news-wire and in doing so, receiving torrents of information that she could choose from. She was in a microcosmic situation of a little NZ town – looking out towards all the other towns globally in the greater planetary macrocosm – and how these towns were changing to meet the ever changing global circumstances.

One thing she became aware of just how creative people are and what is the potential when you start to think outside the square by creating real long lasting positive change – and this empowered her – in realising that these small towns and regions could really progress.

That when one town creates an innovative model – it gives other towns a blueprint and an ompetus as to how they too, can reinvent themselves.

Then Anneleise talks to the fact that she is a system – of breathing heart, lungs and this is her immediate ecology – and then in her family unit that’s another ecology and then her community - it is an even larger one – and all the parts interlink and interweave and if we are healthy, that little local microcosm is too. That there is a correlation that if our wellbeing as individuals is healthy, there is a very good chance our community will become one too.

Uncertainty and faster change affects us all

She noticed that the more uncertainty and faster pace of the world affected our levels of stress, depression and anxiety - plus fear of the future increased.

As a result of the changing global dynamics, she is also seeing more fragmentation and mistrust – as we haved moved away from our innate humanity and the ability to cooperate, when we as a species are really social creatures, and have been basically interrelating since the beginning of time. Whereas the current program that we are being inundated with is having the best, the brightest always winning, “we have gotta have this” mentality … and it’s turned into such a competitive mind-set that it’s now a case of the haves and the have nots. The winner and the losers and that can be seen nearly everywhere especially in the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

Yet in our hearts:

Yet in our hearts there is another thing happening, people are moving back to really basic ways of being, that she finds very exciting. That all this has been seeded over the last 30 to 40 years – that was quite fringe back then – is now becoming more and more mainstream as people look at a ‘time bank’ or green dollars and a community garden, a local food growing project, an energy project like a car pooling project - all being ways to counterbalance the status quo. Especially as the resources on the ground cannot keep up. (i.e - be sustainable).

So when the Christchurch earthquake happened, over the hill in Lyttleton the ‘time bank’ that was set up was able to quickly jump into action and able to be utilised by the emergency services because they had their own telephone tree and were already embedded and known throughout that community.

This is where PLAN B comes into it.

Project Lyttleton http://lyttelton.net.nz - cherry picked all the other pilot initiatives that were happening anywhere in the world, to see how they may be integrated into their localised situation

This is where Anneleise then noticed that the mainstream newspapers were not interested in printing any articles on ‘time banking’ – that Project Lyttleton Initiator, Margaret Jefferies could not interest these local corporate newspapers into covering this innovative method of enabling the community to become more resilient and self reliant.

She noticed there are little pockets in areas where inspired people inhabit and come together – however how do you communicate with these people when the mainstream local newspapers do not wish to help you? (hint, they are not here to bring community together ‘they’ are here just to make money and keep the status quo – Tim)

It took a while to build up the time bank – because the whole concept of throwing ‘money’ out the window and instead trading on ‘time’ was so new! “That one person’s time was exactly that same as another person’s time – so that every bodies time - is equal.”

That everyone has something intrinsic to offer and everyone’s time is equal.

Dr Edgar Cahn – Time bank guru: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_S._Cahn

It was a way to not use our national currency the NZ dollar, especially if we were short of cash and instead at a community level get things done with just a giving of one’s time.

Anneleise says that from a systems thinking process, it is a rich ecology where there is a much greater choice when the community engages in a community wide ‘time banking’ system. This is because there is an amazing range and depth of talents and skills plus expertise that when you connect into and access this community you have this goldmine of real knowledge and wisdom.

That time banking is really a facility to go beyond our instinctive ‘modern’ mistrust of each other and start to rebuild both networks of community that Anneleise says, were once far more prevalent back in the past.

So the key here is to have some clear, accurate and balanced communication forms going on.

In the UK the Time Bank system expressed itself differently as the Government allied them to health centres – in giving assistance to old people in their homes and by helping out the elderly in their house, it meant that they could stay and live in their home longer instead of having to move to a retirement village for example. Also in Britain’s Prisons – (listen to hear the story)

The Non Market Economy

The ‘non market economy’ can be seen as up to 40% of the economy – like child care, care for the elderly, civic participation – volunteerism – all of this work is not contributing to GDP and it is not measured – yet it is the glue that holds our communities together.

So these activities are the foundation of our healthy human existence - yet under our current economic measuring - they are completely ignored.

Love comes into it !!! What is that worth?

Sustainability is a whole system – of many interlinking components that is inclusive of ‘closing the loop.’

Even the garage sale and car boot sale are parts to this whole. Where you are reusing and recycling things they are all integral to your community functioning at a social and at an economic level.

Having connection in your community is critical

Having a network of friends and kin is imperative! (listen)

Healing was another imperative !

Transition Towns

Malicious propaganda via mainstream media like sensationalism of war, terrorism, crime etc – we must not let it undermine our sense of community, undermine our sense of connection, undermine our humanity and our caring for other people - and to where this leads us …

Systems thinking and healthy children growing up with healthy boundaries, that have healthy connections to each other and our world – this requires a lot of modelling. Modelling what the adults are doing in the community. So if adults are heart centred and aligned with a very balanced intent – positive change can ripple throughout the community.

She mentions Bruce Lipton’s understanding of ‘conscious evolution.’ See www.brucelipton.com

Finding that laughter and connection is in community.

Finding that little quiet place in nature or meditation – this is so essential to us in bringing us back to our basic humanity.

Letting go of stress, letting go of the negative media programming.

As a ‘serial researcher’ :) … these are other things covered by Anneleise:

We do not know what will eventuate until we go out into the community and involve ourselves.

We need to commit to make things happen

There is a richness of people who have skills talents and gifts to share.

We need to get together – share ideas and rebuild trust as well as rebuild a collective energy – where we work together in a cooperative movement and collaborate - as against competition

There is a document on http://lyttelton.net.nz – called ‘our story’ – which is like a blueprint or template, of what you can do.

Anneleise would also like to see a reduction of poverty and incarcerations, better health care, swimmable rivers – even a universal basic income … plus curtailing foreign land investments and what we need to do in regard to the election cycle.

Time banking and other community financial methods can be found on:

www.le.org.nz

An extremely vivid overview of someone who has thought deeply of how community comes together - 5 Stars. A must listen for NZers wishing for a greater cohesive community connection.

anneleise(at)gmail.com

409 episodes available. A new episode about every 7 days averaging 59 mins duration .