About the Summit

Join Your Neighbors for the 1st Community Summit
at the Cummington Community House
Saturday, March 23, 2013

We all know that our community, our nation, and our planet face staggering problems, but we react to these challenges in different ways. Some of us express fears of economic stagnation and the possibility of widespread bankruptcy and systemic failure. Others are depressed over the dangers of global warming, environmental degradation, and potential ecological collapse. Still others are angry that our political and legal institutions appear unresponsive and even antagonistic to “we the people.” With seemingly few options for breaking the cycle of inertia and decline, many of us feel a loss of faith in our spirit, in our dreams, and in the future that lies ahead for us, our children, and our grandchildren. These are hard times.

But these are new times – times of great opportunity – and our community is particularly blessed. We are comprised of intelligent, caring and passionate individuals who are finding ways to work locally to build and care for community, tackle environmental problems and sustainably cultivate our abundant resources. Our work gains added momentum because it finds expression in the context of socially conscious businesses, government and public services, churches, community groups and nonprofit organizations, which collectively constitute a wealth of natural and social capital. Informed visitors, who have taken a look around, tell us that what we have here is as good as it gets.

Our community just might be as prepared as any to face the hard challenges ahead. At the same time we have to admit that we are not yet fully prepared. Despite our advantages, the challenges we face are still greater than we can currently imagine overcoming. One thing we do know is that we won’t solve these problems individually. If anything is to be done, only “we the people” can do it. That means we have to do the hard work of applying our skills, talent and energy to be the change we want to see in the world. We must recognize that we are the leaders we have been waiting for.

It is in this spirit that we propose to convene a Community Resiliency Summit. During a day of meetings in March – a time of quiet retreat, reflection and planning – we invite the community to assemble for a series of open discussions on the topics most pressing to our collective future: food; water; housing; health; education; energy; communication; transportation; land management; elder- and child-care; emergency response; solid waste; economics; self-governance; justice; faith communities; the arts; and responsibility for all our neighbors – people, plant and animal. Let’s find out who we really are as a community, take stock of our resources, and share information and ideas so we can rigorously plan for the future. Please join us.