Inspiration Station: How to Change the World from your Own Backyard

I binge watched Orange is the New Black on Netflix and now I’m perturbed that I have to wait until who knows when for the next season; I admit it. I have unhealthy attachments to my iPhone, Facebook page and emails—full confession.

However, I’m a little bit uncomfortable about ignoring the giant catastrophe that is our planetary reality at the moment. Plastic bottles choke our oceans. Football-sized sections of Rainforest get mowed down every second. Climate change(s). At this point I’m poised for the day when I say oops where’s my electricity? Gone forever (voice in my head).

Which is why my ears perk up when I hear about people making change. I don’t mean those who sit in a boardroom and discuss policies lined up for 2099. I mean the people who take inspired and enlightened action: now.
 

Where does it start? With the Basics.

Allow me to present Back to Basics Social Developments—a not for profit organization with a focus on youth programs that benefit the whole community. In 2009 Executive Director, Andrew Miller and Director of Arts & Music, Shane Dennis manifested their collective vision for change and voila: the Unity Café in Barrie was born.

Part hip hop chic, part farmers with style, Unity boasts a recording studio, bustling café and community kitchen. This uplifting project weaves together a sustainable food and housing system (use of urban, rural and vertical farming) with educational programs on organic cooking, art, and music—all youth and activist friendly. The melding of artistic energy (Dennis) and a love of the land (Miller), seems to be the ultimate synergistic partnership.

So much so that the concept morphed into The Global Unity project; a free franchise business model that uses the principles of sustainable living and equal accessibility to resources. In 2013, The Georgina Island First Nations community developed a store and community gardens based on this model.

And that, folks, is just the tip of the melting iceberg.
 

Where does it grow from here? It’s planetary.

In true activist form, Miller doesn’t rest on his laurels; he’s taking the Unity vision up a notch as Director of New Earth Urban. This enthusiastic, self-proclaimed Executive Tree Hugger (why can’t I think of cool titles like that?) is on a mission. Please note: this is not mission impossible or “drinking the Kool-Aid” (google it).

New Earth is an international organization committed to improving the planet using an entirely new paradigm. The proven sustainable systems and models nurtured at The Global Unity project, will now translate into the New Earth projects.

Let’s face it—our current economic and environmental system is badly broken and a whole new outlook on life is needed. This is where you come in! Here’s what it means to be an activist in today’s world according to Back to Basics Social Developments:

  • Are you like Miller? “I wanted to stop doing things as [just] an individual”
  • Act local, think global; “localize principles while sharing knowledge globally”
  • Focus on sustainability in a peaceful and loving way
  • Inspire others: “Youth have found enough inspiration by this work to completely change their lives, even finding inspiration from being suicidal”, explained Miller when I asked how these projects impact those they serve

So, if this sounds like you, grab a towel and “don’t panic” (hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy reference).

Bring your skills to the virtual table; register here as a New Earth contributor or contact Andrew Miller for the Toronto, Canada area here: back2basics09@gmail.com.

Projects in the works include locations in Southern Ontario starting this summer, but the reach is global. Special thanks to Canadian Organic Grower's Toronto 2014 Conference for highlighting all the wonderful things people are doing to change the world!!

Eleanor Healy