Exploring the “New Economy”

After the Wall Street financial empire crashed the world economy in 2008, thoughtful observers started to call for a major overhaul of the entire system. It is not enough, they say, to restore government oversight of financial institutions that had been deregulated since the 1980s. We need, instead, to rethink the basic design and underlying assumptions of our economy.

One of the most influential of these observers is David Korten, whose 2009 book Agenda for a New Economy envisioned an economy that is “locally based, community oriented, and devoted to creating a better life for all.” He distinguished real wealth, measured in the quality of life, from what he called the “phantom” wealth produced by financial manipulation. A “real” economy would support “ecological balance, an equitable distribution of Earth’s resources, and a living democracy responsive to the needs and values of ordinary people.” See livingeconomiesforum.org for more about his ideas.

Report on the Flood Relief Fund


The Woodstock VT Area Flood Relief Fund

Serving Barnard, Bridgewater, Killington, Pomfret, Reading and Woodstock


Purpose of the fund:  This fund provides assistance to residents of the greater Woodstock area who need help re-establishing their lives due to losses related to Hurricane Irene. The fund is a collaborative effort of community individuals and organizations. It is administered by Sustainable Woodstock, a 501c.3 not-for-profit corporation.


The Woodstock VT Area Flood Relief Fund raised over $425,000 from more than 700 individuals, businesses and organizations.

Collaboration: The Key to Community Success

Sustainable Woodstock’s distinctive role in our community is to hold a focus on long-term environmental and economic challenges that affect our quality of life. SW’s board regularly discusses a wide range of pressing issues–from energy and transportation, to food production and waste reduction, to housing and local economic development—to determine which of them we ought to address at any given time.

There is a lot of work to do, and we fully realize that we, a small group of concerned citizens, cannot tackle any of these challenges on our own, so we seek to collaborate with other organizations, businesses, and agencies that are also working to improve our community. All the projects SW undertakes depend on community collaboration. Here are some examples:

Why We’re Helping to Build a Sustainable Community

Usually this column describes one of the specific projects that Sustainable Woodstock is facilitating. This week, though, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture: Why is it important to have a local organization devoting so much time, effort and thought to “sustainability”?

The term “sustainable” refers to ways of meeting our economic and cultural needs that can continue for generations. For the past century, affluent modern societies have not lived sustainably; we have been over-consuming precious resources and over-burdening the soil, water and atmosphere with waste by-products,  jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Our “ecological footprint” exceeds what the planet’s life support systems can renewably provide. Ecologists call this imbalance overshoot, and historians (Jared Diamond, for example) identify it as a primary cause of the collapse of civilizations.