Conclusion

Modern agriculture has charted a course for disaster. Our soils and water resources, and our weakened food crops, will fail us just as energy depletion makes it increasingly difficult to make up for these deficiencies through artificial means. The fossil fuel-based agriculture that allowed our population to climb so far above carrying capacity in the last century will soon falter most cruelly.

There is, however, a chance to transform ourselves into a more sustainable and equitable civilization. So long as the rate of energy production decline is not too high, we could make a successful transition and allow population to shrink back down below the carrying capacity of the planet in a natural fashion, through declines in the birth rate and life expectancy, with a minimum of pain and suffering. But we will all be required to work in order to make this transition happen. We need to redesign our society, aiming for decentralization and localization. We need to reconnect ourselves to the land around us, through home and community gardens, through local small farms and farmers markets, and through permaculture parks and protected wilderness. And we must work hard to organize our communities and awaken our friends and neighbors to this necessity.

It would be much easier if we could depend on our governments and business leaders to make these changes for us, but it is highly unlikely that they will do so in any significant fashion. In fact, the necessary changes will require abandoning the economic and power structures from which these leaders profit. In fact, we should be wary of any government or corporate attempt to "climb on the bandwagon," as it is likely to be an effort to derail and redirect the movement.

As a grassroots movement for relocalization gains support, it is quite possible that it will be met by stiff government resistance. We are, after all, talking about agrarian reform. The US government has a long history of stamping out such movements elsewhere, from the Philippines in the late 1800s, to Guatemala in the 1950s, to Nicaragua and El Salvador in the 1980s,2 to US attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez in 2002.3 If a movement of agrarian reform swept through the US, who is to say that the federal government and corporate backers might not become just as violent in stamping it out here.

It is also possible that the elite might use economic disruption to their advantage as a tool to prevent a grassroots transition. It is not beyond the realm of possibility for them to use personal debt to keep the public enthralled. An economic crash, coupled with an inability to escape from personal debt, might prevent us from making the necessary changes. To stop this from happening, perhaps a relocalization movement should also tackle the issue of debt forgiveness.

A SOLARI VENTURE FUND

A Solari Venture Fund acts as both a databank and an investment advisor. As a data tool, the entity charts how resources and financial flows work in a local community. By plotting the money flow within the local community, the data identifies problems (i.e., less than optimal current use of resources in the local community, absence of alignment of incentives, impoverishment within the community). Using this model, members can determine how to restructure their local economy to better benefit their community's overall health.

As a facilitator of equity investment or an investor, a Solari Venture Fund helps plan local re-engineering. It establishes localized investments that attract current capital that is leaving the community, while seeking to attract outside capital as well. A few ofthe investment options include liquifying local equity, small business/farm aggregation, consumer aggregation, small business incubation, back office and marketing support, debt-for-equity swaps, and the development of community currencies and barter networks.

For more information on the Solari model, please visit http://www.solari.com

Local organizations such as Catherine Austin Fitts' Solari* could be established, using the funding provided by local investors to help local citizens out of their financial debt and also helping to bankroll the transition to localized agriculture. These Solaris could even establish local currencies, for use within the local economy. Perhaps it might even be possible to back these local currencies with localized produce. Such a system would allow consumers to escape their debt to corporations, keep our investments in the local community where they can do us the most good, and provide the financing for the necessary transition to re-localization and sustainability.

The road ahead will not be easy, but it will be passable so long as we work together and do not give up. If a grassroots transition succeeds, we may even find ourselves in a better world than we inhabit today.

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