I’m Cliff Figallo. I work mostly in the online social sphere, specializing in virtual community strategies. I lived for over a decade in an intentional community and I managed one of the early, groundbreaking electronic communities, The WELL. I have grandchildren and I’m concerned about the world they will live in when they are adults.

Obama campaigned on the theme of Change We Can Believe In.

pResilience is about Change We Must Adapt To.

While most of humanity has been struggling with dire challenges since time immemorial, most of us in the developed world are just encountering what it means to live within hard limits – limits of income, of space, of resources and of waste.

We feel the impacts of these limits hitting us where we live – in our hometowns, our communities, our immediate surroundings and regions. Suddenly, all of the wealth that has let us create our individual cocoons is not looking so assured.

pResilience is not so much about finding solutions to our crises that will allow us to return to the good ol’ days of the 20th century. It’s about how we will change socially to adapt to our new realities at the local level.

Maybe we used to be more interdependent in previous generations, or when most of us lived in small rural towns and villages, but we’ve forgotten most of that today. We need to relearn the social skills of collaboration, compromise, trust and cooperation if we are going to adapt successfully to these rapid and radical changes.

pResilience looks for evidence of social adaptation and identifies best – or at least promising – practices that you, in your locality, can learn from or apply to your own unique situation. I heartily invite contact and discussion on this blog.

pResilience also has an attitude, based on the following assumptions:

  1. We have entered an era of major change that requires major adjustments in expectations for all humans, especially for those likely to be reading this blog. We may be in species crisis mode for generations.
  2. We have reached the Age of Limits where we can no longer fall back on the crutches of “plenty” as in “There’s plenty of oil,” or “There’s plenty of land.” Nope. Not any more there isn’t.
  3. Most of us living relatively affluent lifestyles have forgotten how to live as members of local communities. We relate mostly through politics and organizations, but not directly as communities of people who can rely on one another. When’s the last time you borrowed a cup of sugar from a neighbor?
  4. Government has devolved to become an institution very separate from its constituencies. Our representatives are no longer very representative of the people they govern. We need to re-establish open, trusted, working relationships between grassroots communities and government, beginning at the most local level.

In this blog, we’ll be tracking the work of organizations and collaborative platforms that are addressing issues like those above. These include Transition Towns, Post-Carbon Cities, ICLEI, WorldChanging, WiserEarth and all of the others shown in our blogrolls and links.

May we live in interesting times.

7 Responses to “Local Social Adaptation”

  1. Lynette Says:

    Good going, Cliff! I read your other blogs and will be checking in here too.

  2. lamarguerite Says:


    One of the readers of my blog mentioned your blog and name in one of his comments on recent post I wrote on MIT Collaboratorium.

    Where are you based? I am in Palo Alto. Would love to start conversation with you, as we both seem to share similar interests regarding Web 2.0, climate solutions, and activism.


    Marguerite Manteau-Rao

  3. methodistchick Says:

    Hi, I just found your site and want to read more on another occasion. You sound like someone with a lifetime of information to share.

    I need to read more of what you are about. Here’s a quick bedtime Utah, mom, civil servant, veteran, gardener, grad student perspective.

    It is up to the people to elect leaders and keep local, state, and federal government in check. So, government is what we the people make of it whether working internally or externally and keeping a checks & balance on governance. If community interest groups can bring solid, factual information to government leaders, then they will have a basis for change. Leaders NEED information from the experts on the subject. Work together to give it to them. It’s easy to ignore things that are far away. Tell leaders the story of why they should do XXX. How they can do xxx.How there is no cost or how to pay for xxx. And, what will happen if they don’t act now! They need the entire roadmap. Be prepared to counter emotional debate and acknowledge it’s value to the individual giving it.

    We have a pretty great community experiencing big changes currently in Salt Lake City, Utah. The group “Envision Utah” is worth checking out if you haven’t yet. On the other hand, we have “Energy Solutions” that is anything but a solution in my mind. So, lots of work ahead here.

    Do good, Do no harm, Stay in love with God


  4. Cliff Says:

    I’m right with ya, Methodistchick. I like the process that Envision Utah follows for engaging communities in change. Thanks for commenting and pointing me to what you’re up to over there.

  5. Re: 2gether08
    I’d like to chat sometime about what you wrote on the 2gether page showing my interview about Low Carbon Communities, maybe we can chat sometime by email please?
    Co Founder
    Low Carbon Communities Network

  6. Angus Parker Says:

    @Cliff: I added your RSS feed to the PResilience org profile on WiserEarth. Hopefully you’ll get more subscriptions that way. Best, Angus (WiserEarth Editor)

    1. cfigallo Says:

      I do appreciate it, Angus. This is WE doing its thing. Cool.

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