Great Book:The Abundant Community… Long Beach?

Hey LB: Do you like community and do you enjoy reading? Then check out this book, and let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you.

We have enough right here in LB despite all the talk of lack and scarcity. We need begin by getting to know one another’s gifts and passions. We need to be willing to learn from one another and teach one another. We need to create quality time for one another, not just events and entertaining guests, but conversation that builds trust and allows for honesty and vulnerability.

This is the “Heart” of We Love Long Beach.  We invite you to the table to break bread and sup with us, because we need each other more than we ever thought, hoped, or dreamed.  We need to invite one another into the mess and joy that is our lives at times, to be welcomed, listened to, and accepted.

Maybe this book and others can be the hinge to the door that opens up our lives to one another. It might be a place where we sense, maybe even for the first time belonging and love. These things take time and patience, but in the end what could be better?

Wendell Berry’s 17 Rules for a Sustainable Community

Wendell Berry’s 17 Rules for a Sustainable Community

Wendell Berry is a strong defender of family, rural communities, and traditional family farms. These underlying principles could be described as ‘the preservation of ecological diversity and integrity, and the renewal, on sound cultural and ecological principles, of local economies and local communities:

1. Always ask of any proposed change or innovation: What will this do to our community? How will this affect our common wealth.

2. Always include local nature – the land, the water, the air, the native creatures – within the membership of the community.

3. Always ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources, including the mutual help of neighbors.

4. Always supply local needs first (and only then think of exporting products – first to nearby cities, then to others).

5. Understand the ultimate unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of ‘labor saving’ if that implies poor work, unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination.

6. Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products to ensure that the community does not become merely a colony of national or global economy.

7. Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm and/or forest economy.

8. Strive to supply as much of the community’s own energy as possible.

9. Strive to increase earnings (in whatever form) within the community for as long as possible before they are paid out.

10. Make sure that money paid into the local economy circulates within the community and decrease expenditures outside the community.

11. Make the community able to invest in itself by maintaining its properties, keeping itself clean (without dirtying some other place), caring for its old people, and teaching its children.

12. See that the old and young take care of one another. The young must learn from the old, not necessarily, and not always in school. There must be no institutionalized childcare and no homes for the aged. The community knows and remembers itself by the association of old and young.

13. Account for costs now conventionally hidden or externalized. Whenever possible, these must be debited against monetary income.

14. Look into the possible uses of local currency, community-funded loan programs, systems of barter, and the like.

15. Always be aware of the economic value of neighborly acts. In our time, the costs of living are greatly increased by the loss of neighborhood, which leaves people to face their calamities alone.

16. A rural community should always be acquainted and interconnected with community-minded people in nearby towns and cities.

17. A sustainable rural economy will depend on urban consumers loyal to local products. Therefore, we are talking about an economy that will always be more cooperative than competitive.

Enhancing the Lives of Others: Reflections on Long Beach’s Recent Tragedies

 Our city is overwhelmed with grief and exhaustion in the wake of the recent local and global tragedies. The aftermath of the recent tsunami in Japan continues to

transpire, resulting in catastrophic loss for thousands of people and incomprehensible destruction for thousands more. However, it is not the perplexity of the event that keeps many of us from fully understanding the gravity of these recent events; it is our proximity. Distance leaves us out of reach, and often out of touch. We feel compelled to help, but also limited in how we can lend tangible support to those who are experiencing these calamities first hand. As a society, we tend to impulsively throw money at things that we can’t fully comprehend. And while giving money may not bring us any sense of understanding, human loss that occurs close to home allows us to better empathize on a smaller scale with those who are dealing with the tragic aftermath in Japan.

Two weeks ago, the lives of five influential men from Long Beach were lost in less than 24 hours from each other. First came the news of the death of 41-year-old legendary hip-hop singer Nate Dogg, whose impact spans both on a local and global level, having contributed immensely to the world of hip-hop music. Then came word of Wilson High School’s beloved art teacher, Rick Vandruff, who lost his brave battle with a rare brain disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob. And, finally, a plane crash occurred at Long Beach Airport that claimed the lives of five men, three of them with local ties: Long Beach native Mark Bixby and Long Beach businessmen Jeff Berger and Tom Dean. 

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