I have recently been involved in a number of discussions about citizen led and electronic government. In one of these engagements I wrote the following reply to an email. I feel it was worthy of a blog post.
It is hard for me to disagree with most of what you say here. So I wont. I will tell you my story and what I am doing about community issues. Over the last few years my beliefs regarding centralized government have changed. I see Gov't as more concerned with getting re-elected and servicing special interests. They no longer serve the basic needs of citizenship. And with the environmental and economic realities we are all faced with we need to start living with less and think about becoming small, self sufficient communities (Neighborhoods). I also see most people more concerned about what they can get out of a system instead instead of what they can put into it. I believe history will look at the human species at the end of the 20th century at its most selfish and overly entitled. I believe the level of comfort we in the west have become used to is no longer sustainable. This dissonance of what we expect with what we can afford will cause infrastructures to increasingly fail. Our society can no longer afford garbage collection and street clearing like we have been used to... I believe this is just the reality of our time. I also believe there is a huge upside for people at all levels (mental, emotional, financial, spiritual...) to be more involved at a grassroots level with their neighborhood. In a way its all about love.
So what am I doing about it?
I try to put into the system more than I take out. This is difficult for it seems to go against the status quo. If something needs to be done i try to do it myself and if people show up to help, that is good. I try to be transparent with what i do by publishing it to the internet as public record and to attract interest. This is what I did with snow clearing in our cul-de-sac. I just started doing it, slowly I was making progress. Others joined in... eventually the municipality also helped. I am learning as much as I can about e-Gov't and self-sustaining communities. I have engaged the internet and others from Bowen who also use the internet to encourage self-sustaining activities and to look for ways the support each other in getting things done. I tag everything related to this with the BOWEGOV tag. This provides a way to begin building a body of knowledge. I choose tagging because it does not force people to use any single platform (the bowen forum is a platform) it gives people the freedom to choose how they engage and if they want their activities to become a part of the collective online Bowen Island intelligence, all they have to do is tag it with BOWEGOV. What comes of this tagging approach, i don't know... I do know it is an ongoing longterm project and i have faith positive results will build. I believe it is a positive step in the right direction. Only time will tell.
Thanks for engaging me.