“From your neighborhood to our nation, there’s plenty of important work for the next five generations of construction workers, teachers, farmers, scientists, and everybody else, regardless of education.”
Paul Glover is one of my all-time most-admired and inspiring heros. An organizer (like me!) of tremendous compassion, wit, and creativity, he creates answers where some stop at bemoaning problems. His drive, patience, and kindness are unbelievable. He has created long-lasting change-making community institutions that (for example) print their own money, and accept it for payment* and (for another example) offer a kind of “cooperative health insurance,” in the form of member-owned health-financing systems with their own emergency health coverage and clinics!
Paul Glover sees a need and meets it. His gumption feels to me based in a deep abundance that comes from knowing how to work well over the long haul to achieve much together with other people. This is a vital skill we teach at RAISING CLARITY to visionaries who may not ever have even heard of organizing!
And Paul often works together with folks who may have defined themselves as having very little resources. How does he do it? I asked him recently, interviewing him via email. Read a bit and then find out more how Paul (and you) can work miracles, everyday. Read a chapter of his book Deep Green Jobs available as a pdf for just $4.25 here.
Paul, I’ve wondered how you come up with your particular ideas. People fascinate me who come up with solutions that go far beyond meeting their own personal needs to respond with larger, structural changes meeting the needs of many.
I consider community needs that are unmet (food, fuel, housing, health care, education, transportation, finance) then draft simple plans by which we can meet these needs with more reliance on one another and less reliance on dollars. This is enlightened self-interest: history shows that social dysfunction (war, economic collapse, etc) drags everybody down. My book How to Take Power describes how to both confront and to build.
I’m also interested in what has inspired you to go the distance and remain so creative in your structural solutions.
I’m most powerfully motivated by the beauty of children and nature. Our cities are full of beautiful children who deserve cities as beautiful as they. And I’m convinced that we have the resources and imagination to rebuild civilization so that human life on planet earth gets better rather than worse: http://www.paulglover.org/lahofbook.html
Would you tell just a bit of your personal story?
I grew up in Ithaca, New York. After high school there, I took degrees in Marketing and then City Management. I never used these for their orthodox purposes, but to develop and promote new paths. You can read more about the details at http://paulglover.org.
Strong influences are my father, who involved his friends and neighbors in his latest idea of fun (skiing, flying, hiking, fishing, exercise, etc). My first employer taught me public relations and publishing. Some of my heroes are Thoreau, Edward Abbey, Johnny Appleseed, Nicola Tesla, Abbie Hoffman, Saul Alinsky, Patch Adams, Mother Jones, Michael Reynolds, plus thousands of unheralded organizers who have set good examples. Add to these the millions of people who daily take risks, assert themselves, restrain themselves, share the little they may have, challenge bad things and join good things. I have been married twice, not currently. I’ve met thousands of people through the movements I’ve started or joined. I have thirty-five nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and one great-grandnephew.
*Ithaca HOURS: Ithaca, NY. 1991-Present. Paul Glover is the creator of the Ithaca HOUR, the first U.S. bioregional currency, accepted by thousands of residents (including 500 businesses). See Paul’s chronological list of accomplishments here, reading carefully from the bottom of the page.