Sustaining the local. Some reflections on this Winter Solstice

I just trudged about 2 km through snow covered sidewalks in the biggest storm to hit Ottawa so far this year.  On this first day of Winter and hopefully not last day of life on earth, I attended an evening holiday celebration hosted by Joyce and Toolly of the Brookfield Confectionary & Restaurant.  It was an opportunity to touch base with old friends and meet new ones.  Joyce and her family moved in to the” Confec” in July 1967.  Two months later, my family, the Browns moved in to our home around the corner and down the street from them.  What I was celebrating tonight is that our families are still here in Mooney’s Bay…45 years later.  And so are many of my neighbours.

My previous blog post highlighted the “Idle No More” movement which has sprung up to support indigenous rights across this country and around the world. If we can learn anything from our indigenous brothers and sisters (and we can learn much), it is about the sacredness of place.  Place matters.  Local business matters.  Local parks and green space, local schools all matter.  Yet, our political and business leaders all talk about a form of growth that tugs at the very basic building blocks of local.  Globalisim seeks to destroy local and replace it with bland uniformity.  Our global financial system is only interested in financing uniformity, not local.  And we are all paying the price.

The good news is (and I tend to be a “glass half full” sort of guy) is that communities are fighting back.  We see a renewed interest in co-operatives, especially renewable energy co-ops that create local power.  They are financed in many cases by local investors who are thrilled to be able to invest in their own community.  The Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative just raised close to 1 million dollars to do just this.  Organizations like the CED Network  http://ccednet-rcdec.ca/en ; BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Economies) http://bealocalist.org/ and Centre for Community Renewal (http://communityrenewal.ca/)  are exciting support organizations for communities who want to regain and sustain the “local”.

I am proud to have a law practice (http://georgebrownlaw.com/)  that has a major focus on supporting community organizations who want to “sustain the local”.  It is a honour to work with clients who understand the importance of “localism” and who are working hard to make “local” happen.

Here’s to a Happy and Productive Local New Year!

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