Tonight I share a few recent inspiring experiences, from a trip to North Carolina to visit cooperative development centers to a recent episode of the podcast On Being where Colette Pichon Battle spoke to all the intersecting issues of history, racial injustice, and inequity in disaster response. 


My GWI colleague Micah and I got to go to The Industrial Commons, in North Carolina, a couple of weeks ago, along with Angela and DeeArah from Coop HV to learn about regional cooperative development and how it might apply here. You’ll hear a few brief snapshots from the trip, including the amazing origin story of The Industrial Commons’ first cooperative business, Opportunity Threads, that launched them into becoming a thriving cooperative development ecosystem, regenerating quality manufacturing jobs. I mention the Asheville, NC project PODER Emma as another cooperative ecosystem that we visited. I also point to a community engagement project that supports the city of Durham to gather better, more equitable input that I discovered as an attendee at the NGIN Cityscapes Summit in Durham on “Igniting Inclusive Economies.”

In the second part of the show, I play an excerpt from an interview with Colette Pichon Battle who speaks with Krista Tippett about her roots in Louisiana, and the devastation she witnessed with Hurricane Katrina, calling her back from a law career in Washington DC to build her community back from destruction. Katrina was not only a massive natural disaster but also a human rights disaster that the federal response failed to adequately address, and Battle speaks eloquently to climate justice and equitable disaster response.

“What we witnessed in Katrina was not a series of poor choices by individuals. We witnessed the breakdown of a system, or: we witnessed a system working the way it was designed to work.” - Colette Pichon Battle, On Knowing What We’re Called To, On Being, podcast

Colette Pichon Battle is co-founder and Vision & Initiatives Partner for Taproot Earth, a global organization which has emerged from the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy that she founded and led in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She and her colleagues are influencing manifold aspects of our ecological present, including equitable disaster recovery and global migration, community economic development and energy democracy.