“Oh Shit!” moments

From Dave Smith

Over the years, our community has engaged in Buy Local, Shop Local, Localization, Support Locally-Owned Business, and other educational and action efforts with some limited success.

But the timing of individual leadership and our community’s awareness and urgency has never coalesced effectively or long-term around the efforts.

Recently, one of our local merchants realized that his major product was not selling, and he had an “Oh Shit! Moment.” The economy was crashing, local customers were not visiting his store, and it was affecting him personally. He got on the phone and sent out emails and organized meetings and the business community jumped on the bandwagon and created an effective Buy Local campaign in days that woke up the local merchants and the community.

The urgency of one person (the hundredth monkey?), and the response of the community as a whole, created action on a grand local scale… at least for Holiday 2008. And then what? On to Blackholesville?

In the future, there will be Oh Shit! Moments around local food, farming, energy, money, media, water, and more, just like the consumer and credit scares of  this moment. We’ve had several scares in past years — with momentary, urgent action — then the momentum drifted off into black holes somewhere. The energy scare during the seventies certainly created awareness, but the culture as a whole drifted off once again into ignorance when the emergency was over.

Here’s to more epiphanies that create long-term actions for the common good. It looks like this time there’ll be no second chance.


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