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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Seven Cooperative Principles


While leafing through a recent looking edition of The NASCO Guide to Co-ops (the year of publication was nowhere to be found), I stumbled across a section called “Statement of Cooperative Identity”, and one of the things listed within was a set of 7 co-op principles.  Now, in all honesty my mind went, “Does every organization go by a set of 7 principles???” which was a gross hyperbolization on my brain’s part, but the church that I’m currently attending is also structured on 7 principles, so suddenly it felt like the ENTIRE WORLD was grouped into such a structure.  Anyways, I thought they were interesting, so I’m going to share them with you.  Here they are, word for word according to The NASCO Guide (not including all the explanations, simply to keep this short n snappy):
·      1st principle: Voluntary and open membership
·      2nd principle: Democratic member control
·      3rd principle: Member economic participation
·      4th principle: Autonomy and independence
·      5th principle: Education, Training, and Information
·      6th principle: Cooperation among cooperatives
·      7th principle: Concern for community

Pretty cool, eh?  Sounds like how I like to live…I guess that’s why I’m here! 

Stewards of the Earth


Ilara says: In celebration of Earth Day, I thought I’d do a brief review to summarize the masses of files that we found revolving around various environmental issues. 
It seems quite clear that somebody at some point must have been some sort of an environmental surveyor; there are multitudes of articles on the migration and habitation patterns of various animals of Alberta, as well as a few newspaper clippings on how to get along with the neighborhood wildlife.  Personally, even though I’m painfully undereducated on these matters, I find them fascinating and am ever willing to learn how to live side by side with nature in ways that have a more positive impact on our planet.  I think that it’s absolutely fantastic that co-op living attracts folks with the wealth of knowledge in this area that is presented within the articles we found; everything from the numbers of deer in an area from year to year to what types of trees attract specific species of beetle.  With species going extinct every minute of every day, I take some pride in knowing that the folks I associate with are working to do something to help, even in the little ways.  Personally, I’m excited to grow some of our own food this year and a few flowers from the Heritage Seeds that my housemate found tucked away in storage; it’s nice to have a way of doing my part to care for the Earth.

Faun says: As a fairly recent addition to the cooperative, I have spent the last few months explaining to everyone I know how it is organized, what its values are, and what its members are like. The most common stereotype that people hearing about a cooperative for the first time seem to fall back on is that of the tree-hugger – and to be fair, I’m pretty sure that all of us in my house love trees. Trees are up there with our other diverse loves (including neutron stars, printmaking, welding, music, and ethnographic activism). What I love about my house, the cooperative, and the archiving/discovery process that Ilara and I are going through is the variety of people that all share a commitment to thinking about our impact on our environment. Depending on the person, this may entail anything from buying locally to habitually practicing random acts of kindness. An awareness of being connected with others – socially, environmentally, politically, etc – this is what seems to characterize cooperative members. I think that the values embedded in the co-op community help build this, and have done so over many years, as reflected in the papers Ilara mentioned. In thinking about the Earth, we also think about community.

Happy Earth Day everyone!