Along with direct action and other forms of resistance, a successful movement must also build new institutions based on solidarity, justice and cooperation. From small, worker-owned cooperatives to national advocacy groups, hundreds of thousands of people around the country are working to create democratic and sustainable systems that meet the basic needs of all people. Below are some organizations, tools and other resources to help you get involved creating a new world.

Featured Video:The video to the right is the trailer for the new film, Fixing the Future, highlighting effective, local practices such as community banking, worker cooperatives, local currencies and more.

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Recent Articles in Create!

Grandma's Tiny Home Shed, Gives Daughter's Family A Home

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Many people have been moving into smaller homes for a host of reasons: it could be a conscious change toward a simpler lifestyle, it could be a way to avoid paying all the bills and taxes associated with a larger home, or for some younger people, tiny homes are a quick and affordable start for home ownership and an early lesson in independence. But choosing to live in a tiny home could also be done for selfless reasons, as this elderly woman did when she chose to give up her own house to her daughter and five kids, all of whom had recently become homeless. Instead of seeing her daughter go out onto the street, Monica Smith elected to move instead into a converted 8-foot by 10-foot shed in her backyard. Monica gradually transformed a tool shed into a two-storey tiny home. There is a kitchen, a sitting area and a bedroom tucked above the ground floor, accessible by a stepladder. Monica did much of the renovation work herself, keeping costs down.

How U.S. Kids Are Welcoming The Central American Child Refugees

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“You matter.” “We are working hard to make sure you are able to stay in this country.” “Come and live in California!” It’s not exactly the incendiary rhetoric we’ve grown accustomed to in the last few weeks, as American leaders clash over the question of what to do with tens of thousands of child refugees fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The messages above—along with more than 1,800 others—have flooded the website TheyAreChildren.com since it was launched last week by the California Endowment and partner organizations. The aim is to bypass severe political condemnation from those who are calling for the immediate, no-questions-asked deportation of the children (see Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks’ proposal of buying them all one-way tickets for a $27 million bargain). Instead, letter-writers are sending kids messages of encouragement, compassion, and solidarity. Hundreds of notes submitted by ordinary people—many of them children and members of faith communities—will be translated and delivered through service providers to children in detention facilities “to make sure these children know that thousands of people are praying for them and extending support and compassion,” said Anne Stuhldreher, the project’s coordinator.

This Town Is Using The Ocean To Provide Heat To Low-Income Residents

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When most people think of harnessing renewable energy from the ocean, the gigantic spinning blades of offshore wind farms are probably the first thing that come to mind. Or maybe it’s gracefully bobbing buoys capturing wave energy or dams that skim power off rushing tides. Very few people, however, think of the oceans as a vast source of renewable heat that can be used to keep homes warm and showers steaming. But that’s exactly what a growing number of seaside towns in northern Europe are doing, despite having some particularly chilly ocean water. Technologies like solar panels were just too expensive and wouldn’t produce enough energy in this region. It should perhaps come as no surprise that the ocean can be used to climate control our homes. After all, the Earth’s oceans essentially climate control the entire planet. The more than 70 percent of the Earth that is covered by water serves as a kind of global thermostat. Oceans take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which helps to moderate temperatures, and they also emit heat from the sunlight they absorb. Clouds, too, which perform a variety of cooling and insulating functions to help regulate temperature on Earth, form from water evaporating off the ocean. Harnessing just a tiny fraction of the heat stored in the world’s oceans has theoretically been possible for many years, but has only recently been put into practice. One of the first places in the world to draw on the ocean for residents’ heating needs is Duindorp, a small harbor town near the Hague in the Netherlands.

16-Year-Old Creates App To Expose Corrupt Politicians

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While it’s easy and almost safe to assume that most of today’s politicians take large donations from dubious corporate interests—given the fact that we live in an oligarchy and all—inquiring minds still want to keep track of who’s taking money from big oil, big pharma, big defense contractors, you name it. Seattle teenager Nick Rubin recently made keeping track of the money trail a whole lot easier with his creation Greenhouse, a browser plug-in that operates under the motto “Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.” (Get it? Green House?) His website describes Greenhouse like this: “A free browser extension for Chrome Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation. Puts vital data where it’s most relevant so you can discover the real impact of money on our political system.” Said to be surprisingly easy to use, the app shines a light on dark money, and helps you deepen your understanding of why your representatives vote the way they do.

Ending The Youth To Prison Pipeline

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It is time to shed light on an unacceptable unspoken fact that lies in the belly beneath the surface of awareness in Los Angeles. As of July 2014, there are roughly 30,000 young people on probation or locked up in L.A. County, more than any other metropolitan area in the world. 95% of these youth face incarceration for nonviolent offenses. Once a young person meets such a fate, there is an 80% recidivism rate, which means 80% will end up incarcerated again. This system is broken and its rehabilitation depends upon the deployment of acute and revolutionary tactics. Fortunately, New Earth, a non-profit started in 2004, is making significant strides in reducing the recidivism rate in Los Angeles. They provide mentor-based arts, educational and vocational programs to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth ages 13-22.

Indigenous Peoples Hold Sustainable Solutions To Environmental Crises

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I first met Victoria Tauli-Corpuz 11 years ago in Rome. An indigenous Filipina activist, Vicky was attending a meeting on indigenous peoples’ rights at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations rural development agency where I work. In fact, it was the first time indigenous peoples’ representatives had ever been invited to IFAD’s offices on the outskirts of the Eternal City. Since then, IFAD and the UN system as a whole have made progress on bringing indigenous issues and priorities into the mainstream of our work – though we still have plenty more to do. Flash forward to New York this spring, when I heard Vicky’s name called by the chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in the General Assembly hall at UN headquarters.

The World Is Going Solar

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The bottom-line is that solar power and other renewable forms of energy are the energy of today and of the future, in both developed and developing nations. Not coal. Not oil. Not natural gas. And as the richest country in the world, we need to finally embrace that fact, and lead the world in investing more in these clean and green energies that will be powering our country into the future. Each year, Big Oil receives $500 billion in government subsidies. Can you imagine what would happen if that $500 billion went to investing in developing renewable sources of energy instead? Despite what Big Oil executives and their cronies in Washington might say, going green isn’t just a choice. It’s reality. It’s the only option we have if we want to save the human race from a climate disaster.

USFWC: Ten Years of Achievement

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In 2008, a year after the 2007 ECWD conference, Hurricane Katrina battered the city of jazz and Mardi Gras. Quite a few cooperatives, along with musical bands and community members, lost homes and businesses. At the ECWD conference in Asheville, grassroots organizer Shakoor Aljuwani and former Collective Copies member Erin Rice made a strong plea for the next USFWC national conference to take place in New Orleans to help in rebuilding efforts. The Federation board not only took up the challenge, but also organized cooperators to stay an extra week, called a work week, to offer New Orleans residents skills on cooperative building, and to help in locally determined ways. Cooperators helped the Latino Farmers Cooperative, building community organization strength particularly through Common Ground, the coalition of groups working to help poor people get back on their feet. In addition, Jessica Gordon Nembhard led the organizing of a “Showcase of Cooperatives” to explain to local folks what kinds of cooperatives were now functioning, and to model what could be done. That program was a huge success–enjoyed by the locals and the veteran cooperators alike–as everyone got a chance to learn details of what others were doing around the country. That practice has now become a standard part of conferences.

The Ecology Of Change

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We hear and talk a lot today about building new systems to replace our broken one. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” This statement, attributed to the brilliant inventor Buckminster Fuller, is often invoked. Many tend to understand this passage as an invitation to place oneself outside of the reality or system they are set to transform, working on the idea or innovation that will change things ‘in one piece’: the killer innovation, model or system, whether technical or ideological – a controllable one preferably – that will save the world or at least a portion of it by providing a viable alternative to opt into, thus opting out of the previous. And so we find, as alternative to the ‘Grand Soir’, visions of the future where man will have domesticated the challenges of nature and society – or which will provide means for a few to physically flee the existing reality (to better protect their own commons?). Along with revolutionaries on barricades, or utopian designs of perfectly ordered societies, one can easily imagine hubristic heroes – billionaires on a mission – unilaterally deploying geo-engineering solutions, once climate change becomes ‘reality’ – or leaving on spaceships to reach less crowded and resource rich galaxies. Hollywood abounds with such anticipations. All are not science fiction. Projects such as colonizing Mars to conquest new resources, or setting up whole mobile cities on oceans outside of the perimeter of any sovereign jurisdiction, are being designed and funded. But how about the legions who don’t or won’t have the power and means (resources, skills, courage, opportunity, etc.) to opt into the new, or out of the old?

Study: Organic Vs. Non-Organic Food

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An international team of experts led by Newcastle University has shown that organic crops are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown ones. Analysing 343 studies into the compositional differences between organic and conventional crops, the team found that a switch to eating organic fruit, vegetable and cereals – and food made from them – would provide additional antioxidants equivalent to eating between 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The study, published today in the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition, also shows significantly lower levels of toxic heavy metals in organic crops. Cadmium, which is one of only three metal contaminants along with lead and mercury for which the European Commission has set maximum permitted contamination levels in food, was found to be almost 50% lower in organic crops than conventionally-grown ones.

Barcelona: The Fight For The Can Vies Social Centre

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In May Barcelona was shook by four days of rioting and protest against the eviction of an established social centre, Can Vies. Juana Belén Gutiérrez de Mendoza looks at the history of the building, and interviews the organisers currently fighting its eviction. Self organised social centre (Centre social autogestionat) Can Vies has been a space for radical politics and community organising for 17 years. It’s been a place where different generations of activists can meet and learn from each other, where hundreds of people have learnt to be a part of a community, participating in the assembly with consensus decision making and collective responsibility. The CSA is also part of the Sants Neighbourhood Assembly (ABS) which coordinates political and social movements in the area, and several campaigns: against gentrification, migrant solidarity, worker’s struggles, and against state repression. Just having a look at their website you’ll find events from an alternative Pride to radical history, with the spirit of community organising always at its heart. Built in 1879, it was initially a storage space used during the construction of Barcelona’s underground tube system.

Launch Of BRICS Bank, Alternative To IMF

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The BRICS Development Bank is expected to be officially launched on 15 July 2014, at the next BRICS summit in Brazil. The BRICS Development Bank is a proposed development bank run by the five BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as a potential alternative to the US controlled institutions of the Bretton Woods system–World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The establishment of this development bank was first agreed by the leaders of the BRICS countries at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa, in July 2009. The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are expected to sign a treaty to launch the bank in the forthcoming BRICS summit in the northern Brazilian city of Fortaleza.

Canada’s New Settler Solidarity Movement

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When Jana-Rae Yerxa and Damien Lee organized the first #SettlersinSolidarity teach-in in Thunder Bay this June, they expected the lightly advertised event to draw a handful of attendees. To their surprise, they found themselves in front of a roomful of more than 40 participants. “You could tell that people were just hungry to have a different conversation about racism,” says Yerxa, who is Anishinaabe from the Couchiching First Nation. What Yerxa and Lee thought would be a modest beginning has developed into a loose network of non-Indigenous Thunder Bay residents coming together to educate themselves in the wake of several months of heightened racist commentary in mainstream and social media. In Thunder Bay, Vancouver and other locations, non-Indigenous Canadians are meeting together in growing numbers to explore what it means — and doesn’t mean — to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples within Canada.

Restaurant Owner Pays $144K Out of Pocket to Employees After Fire

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In a world smattered with corporate greed, it is good to hear some uplifting news, and the owner of Culver’s restaurant in Platteville, Wisconsin is providing just that. Bruce Kroll owned Culver’s for over 19 years, but last November the entire building was destroyed in a fire, leaving 40 employees wondering how they would make a living. Kroll did something few would even consider – he continued to pay his employees – out of his own pocket – for six months until he could rebuild. This restaurant re-opened just this past week. The employees weren’t asked to pay back the $144,000 that Kroll was out while paying them for not working. He simply asked them to pay it forward with community volunteer work. You can watch a video of his employees talking about this unusual, but welcomed the act of kindness, here.

Seeds Of A New Financial Structure

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On the day following the end of the World Cup in Brazil, the Sixth Summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will be held in Fortaleza and Brasilia, on the 14th, 15th and 16th of July, to establish a financial architecture under the slogan: “Inclusive growth and sustainable solutions”. In contrast to the initiatives of financial regionalization in Asia and South America, the BRICS countries, since they do not have a common geographical space, at a time when they are less exposed to simultaneous financial turbulence, can increase the effectiveness of their defensive instruments. A monetary stabilization fund called Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and a development bank called BRICS Bank will operate as a multilateral mechanism in support of balance of payments and investment financing. De facto, the BRICS will distance themselves from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, institutions created some seven decades ago under the orbit of the US Treasury Department. In the midst of the crisis, both of these initiatives open space for financial cooperation in the face of the volatility of the dollar, and financial alternatives for countries in critical situations without subjecting themselves to structural adjustment programmes or economic reconversion. As a consequence of the growing economic slowdown on a world level, it has become more complicated for BRICS countries to reach growth rates above five per cent.