by Terry Sterrenberg
In 2013 my wife Laurie Simons and I left our life in Bellevue WA in search of an answer to this question. “Can we in this country address many of today’s social and economic issues by creating communities that look after their own food, energy and economic needs at a local level?” In some ways it seemed to be an idealistic and naive notion but even now it seems absolutely possible. We had no idea of what kind of factors outside of our control would impact and guide that search. The story of this journey continues to be told in my blog posted on our website (https://edvideoplus.net).
Since 2013, we have moved to New York City, spent six years in an intentional community, produced two more feature length movies, started and stopped planning our own intentional community, were gifted with our only grandchild who we babysit often, and have been living with the effects of Trumpism, climate change, and Covid, like everyone else in the country. In 2021 we bought a coop apartment in Brooklyn and we became more involved with a group called “Activate Us” who, like Laurie and me, are looking to live within a different economic social structure (https://activateus.org/). (https://activateus.org/blog/)
From their website: “Activate Us is a group of people doing our part to help society keep pace with human evolution. We’ve developed a practical pathway taking us from our competitive capitalist environment to one more in tune with natural processes. We call this pathway The BRIDGE™.”
When Laurie and I moved to Brooklyn I felt like we had taken a huge step backward. I immediately felt as if our search for something new had brought us full circle to where we started – home ownership. In the end feeling security and familiarity won out. Cutting new ground seemed to take a back seat. I literally could not cope with all the inevitable change that was happening in the country and the universe. Hunkering down and loving the life I had available seemed appropriate. The new thing in our life was “The Bridge” which seemed like an ominous undertaking to take on. Now I understand this differently. The Bridge is literally a Bridge. It is not a leap from here to there. To use a modern technological metaphor it is a pathway to a new “operating system” that uses different “apps” than our present finance-based operating system, which is based on the profit motive. The Bridge takes us to a different operating system where value is placed on human beings rather than profits. The Bridge literally moves toward a new paradigm that integrates economics (Aikido economics), community development (Coordinated Effort), and personal growth (Wakie Wakie).
Anyone in any situation can begin to use the bridge and will soon discover a community around them to work with and share their life together because the bridge is also about creating community wealth, building affinity, and evolving as human beings.
As I ponder the possible futures for this planet The Bridge provides that ray of hope I was looking for when Laurie and I left Bellevue in 2013. The world sorely needs an operating system that puts life before profit and that leads to cooperation and a livable habitat. I think The Bridge can be that pathway.