Communities have always had to respond creatively to forces and conditions beyond their control. But this age of peak oil and climate change is disturbing assumptions that for generations have been fundamental to the way communities function socially and economically: their profound dependence on cheap fossil fuels for transport, heat, and innumerable products; and their expectations with regard to precipitation, temperature, seasons, as well as vegetation and animal life.
The rules of the game of community are changing. To thrive, communities have to become more resilient. We have to develop a capacity to assess, learn, adapt, and innovate all the time, especially in terms of the ways in which we meet our most basic needs: food, energy, housing, asset ownership, and the means by which we pay for all this creativity, finance.
These six realms - food, energy, housing, ownership, finance, and community resilience itself – will be crucial to the way communities contend with the forces and conditions unleashed by peak oil and climate change. Of all the innovation that is to occur in the years to come, the strategies, models, and tools that communities develop in these six realms will be key.