Shouldnʼt a neighbourhood be a fun place for children and adults to live, work, learn, and celebrate?
4th Sundays (@4) is a tool for creating communities both resilient and productive, that is fun. 4th Sundays (@4) suggests a time and focus for local gatherings, leaving the location and content adaptable to many situations, much like the ʻTransition Town Movement.ʼ As a response to dominant car-culture, it proposes limits on local roadways (ie. significantly lower road speeds) as both a means, that is a transition to a different way of life, and an end, ie. limits on all “tools” of society as a condition of justice, happiness, and durability. Conveniently, the process of localizing economies can gain broad support from many sectors of the community, including youth, commuters, and seniors. As well, organizations promoting arts and crafts, service, and social services may see the benefit to be gained.
Meetings have three primary features: to provide learning opportunities and ritual to enable individual change; to connect individuals with their neighbours; and to build support for slower road speed in order to facilitate community adaptation to large scale change. Things we need to learn and discuss come in two categories: “the local economy;” and “our situation.” Building a local economy includes the opportunities to share skills, re-imagine ourselves as producers rather than consumers, and see our neighbourhood with new eyes. As well, methods for building trust, resilience, and personal connections locally are important.
There are many models for organizing more localized production and commerce, including LETS (local exchange trading system), local currencies, co-operatives, community supported agriculture, microfinance, and the like. Early work on these kinds of initiatives, though slow, is important as our situation unfolds.
Key factors in our situation include peak oil, climate change, globalization, brittle systems, food security, and roadway speeds. Road speeds are the hinge between our lives and the oil dependent globalized economy we serve and need. Fast transportation, while often convenient, has several down-sides, the most ironic of which is congestion and frustration; and our roadways are the most common cause of death and injury among people under age 45 in Canada (first in the category “unintended injury”), an injustice against our youth and an enormous expense to “the economy.” High road speeds enable sprawl and facilitate centralization making it difficult or impossible for people not to commute. As Wendell Berry put it,“Because we can (travel at high speed), we have to.” Research suggests that on average road speeds would need to be 40% slower, 30km/h and 50-60km/h on roads and highways respectively, to prevent death and serious injury. Slower speeds would help people make choices they would prefer. No one wants to commute.
Public ritual can both facilitate healing for those who have directly experienced loss, and raise public awareness, enabling change. Our meetings, our neighbourhoods, then, become a bridge between individuals, and government policy through which communities lead change rather than passively letting it happen. If your answer to the above question is, “yes!” then let’s begin!
For more information on the 4th Sundays (@4) in Delta project or help to start your own, contact Rob Copeman-Haynes at 604 592 0094 or firstname.lastname@example.org