In a world of ever-increasing connectivity, we are more aware than ever of the problems humanity faces. Thinking about fixing some of the global systems creating these issues can be daunting at best and can often be downright depressing.
But here in Bristol, we won’t let that stop us! This city, and our world, is shaped through every action we take. It’s up to us to choose the world we want to live in, by doing stuff. In Bristol, more and more of us are choosing a world where we put people first, not profits, by doing some or all of the stuff on the list below.
Last week we hosted the UK-wide premiere of Demain. Tickets were sold out and we all left the venue buzzing with renewed enthusiasm. The film revealed all the potential, showing us just some of the many alternatives happening around us, which we can be a part of to bring about the better world we all know is possible.
So, in 2017, we’re looking at 7 broken systems and how to fix them – 7 actions you can take right now in Bristol (like right this minute), to change the world.
1. FIX THE MEDIA – Join the Bristol Cable
Problem: Recent years have seen a decided downturn in trust, viability and quality of traditional media outlets, locally and nationally. Yet, it is more important than ever to have unbiased reporting and accountability which challenges power with the interest of people at its heart.
Solution: What luck, here in Bristol we have a media co-operative! The Bristol Cable is created and owned by over 1480 people in the city. They provide online news and events as well as a quarterly print edition and distribute it across the city. You can join the co-op from £1 a month, and once you’ve joined you own the media, not some media baron or shareholders in some distant company. You. So, join now and give control of media back to the people: thebristolcable.org
(Want news, features and ‘what’s on’ around Bristol? Follow B24/7 a Community Interest Company)
2. FIX THE STREETS – Go to an Incredible Edible work party
Problem: The mainstream food system has moved food production into some far off land, out of view. Meanwhile, our cities have been left with ugly, unused spaces and disconnected communities.
Solution: Hey, what if instead of disused lots and uninspired corporate planting, we had edible gardens created by local communities? Well, we do! Incredible Edible Bristol has over 30 edible gardens across the city – they’ve taken over underused land and made gorgeous gardens. They’re in places like Millennium Square, the Bear Pit, right next to St Mary Redcliffe and just off the roundabout next to Temple Meads. They’re everywhere and they’re for everyone. And who is Incredible Edible? Well, it could be you. You can go along to an Incredible Edible group near you, learn about growing food, and when the food’s ripe for the picking it’s anyone’s for the taking! The events are free and frequent – have a look here and just tun up to any session: ediblebristol.org.uk
3. JOIN THE FOOD REVOLUTION – Order a Veg Box
Problem: The mainstream food system involves over-intensive farming which relies on chemicals and fossil fuels and leads to soil degradation and loss of natural habitat. Vast amounts of food we could grow here in the UK is imported from across the globe, with massive carbon footprints.
Solution: Get a local, organic veg box delivered to your door. Take your pick from: Community Farm, Bristol Veg Boxes, Sims Hill Shared Harvest and Real Economy Coop. The more people support this way of producing food, the more food will be produced this way. And hey, they all take Bristol Pounds too.
4. FIX SOMETHING! Anything!
Problem: Throw away culture and ‘planned obsolesce’ (stuff designed to break) make us use up more resources, and leaves us with piles of waste and no handy skills.
Solution: Fixing something instead of replacing it is the new vogue! Plus, it can reduce resource use, save you money and give you practical skills and a sense of accomplishment! There’s sooo many How To videos on the internet to help you do it, or you can go to Craftisan for crafty things or go along to Bristol Repair Café for help fixing stuff, and when it comes to bikes there’s a Women’s Night at the Bristol Bike Project.
5. FREE US FROM FOSSIL FUELS – Change your energy supplier
Problem: The big six energy suppliers are profit-hungry fossil fuel guzzlers. They keep prices high long after the cost of energy production has fallen and primarily use fossil fuels to generate electricity literally costing us the earth.
Solution: Switch to a local, renewable energy tariff. Right now. Just go to Bristol Energy or Good Energy and get a quote. See what you think. As more of us move onto green tariffs we show our demand is for clean energy. Pay your bills in Bristol Pounds for a joining bonus.
6. REBUILD THE ‘GIFT ECONOMY’ – Join Helpfulpeeps
Problem: Over the last century, many of us have become disconnected from our communities. When we need a helping hand, we don’t know who to turn to. And if we have skills and resources and want to help others, we don’t know how to find those in need.
Solution: Here in Bristol we’ve got Helpfulpeeps. It’s an online platform where we can ask for help, and earn Karma when we help others. This is what’s called the ‘gift economy’, where we give without expecting anything in return, but instead earn the respect of our community.
7. CHANGE MONEY – Sign up as a member of the Bristol Pound
Problem: Every time we spend money in a corporate business it leaves the city and heads off via London to places like the Cayman Islands, instead of being respent in the real economy and stimulating our local economy. On top of that, banking and the money system exploits us and the inequality gap is increasing.
Solution: Become a member of Bristol Pound. Switch your sterling into Bristol Pounds each month and spend it in business which are also members. Every Bristol Pound is a commitment to spend locally and when you pass it on, you also pass on that commitment. Money circulates around the local economy, supports local independent businesses and is protected from abuse by the system. Using Bristol Pounds, we keep money circulating in the real economy, supporting local jobs and keeping the power of money with the people.
By doing the things on the this list, you are choosing a world where people come before profits. This list is not exhaustive and doing these things won’t solve the problems overnight, but if we want a healthy, happy city which is world-renowned for leading by example this is the way to achieve it. There is such power of just doing stuff.
So, let’s make a New Year’s revolution.