We held a number of meet-ups to get started. You can find them on our profile page under 'events'.
“I was among the first handful of people from California who gathered online to discuss Doughnut Economics and what it could mean for our state”
says an original member of the California Doughnut Economics Coalition (CalDEC).
“We realized we wanted to use Doughnut Economics to bring our entire state into a more safe and just balance for people and planet.”
Over time those online gatherings developed into several different “circles” that planned and developed a variety of initiatives, including researching the California shortfalls and overshoots of the social and environmental factors that are significant in Doughnut Economics, publishing a website and newsletter, and establishing partnerships with other organizations.
A number of CalDEC members heard of the organization when they attended presentations or visited the website of DEAL, the Doughnut Economics Action Lab. They sent an email, started up a conversation or met with an onboarder from CalDEC, and before they knew it, they were attending meetings and working on projects.
“I was a student and Kate Raworth was a teacher at my school”
says one member of CalDec.
“I wanted to make a plan for what comes next with climate change and found Doughnut Economics”
But whether it was that message that resonated, that search to change the conversation about our relationship with the earth, or finding an Eventbrite about a fun new economic theory, all members of CalDEC had their reasons to join.
“Capitalism cannot last, and when it collapses we need to have a plan for what's next”
said a newer member of CalDEC.
Such a large task ahead can seem daunting, but for this small but dedicated group of people, it’s a challenge they accept.
Despite its small size, CalDEC is pushing forward with trying to build a framework for the state of California to move its economy away from an extractive system to a regenerative and distributive system.
As the Colorado River system begins to fail from overuse and from climate change accelerating the aridification of the American West, the need for better policy choices and business practices becomes greater.
“The problem is that not many people are aware that Doughnut Economics exists”
says a CalDEC member.
To address this issue, CalDEC has formed several different circles or working groups with specific aims and domains.
These circles are based on the model of sociocracy, an organizational system that is designed to honor democratic values while ensuring agile decision-making and action. Many members cite the culture of CalDEC as a fulfilling part of working with the organization.
Work this year is focused on finishing up a Doughnut Snapshot of California and launching a partnership initiative to bring awareness of Doughnut Economics to the many local communities and non-profits in the state.
On an organizational level, CalDEC continues to build internal cohesion and sustainability within the sociocracy model.
Ideas for the future include reaching out to the business community with the DE model and working to build their partnerships into a coordinated movement.
One of the most immediately apparent benefits of working with the Doughnut Economics model is that, in the words of a CalDEC member,
“...it is a model that is a viable alternative to the current system.”
Within this big-picture framework, it provides us with a number of more specific approaches, such as using systems thinking, nurturing human nature, and designing to redistribute - powerful ideas for social change.
Also, as activists, these models require us to do the important work of gathering the data and letting the data drive our thinking and communication.
At the same time, we are left with the challenge of how to manifest these powerful ideas and use this data in the real world.
These questions and discussions include practical personal and policy steps that we can recommend, strategies for communication, grassroots education and actions, how to talk to policy-makers, and how to think about the necessary changes in our society, and how they can occur when these big ideas intersect with the the reality on the ground in our diverse and beautiful state.
Another area of challenge is addressing the need for building a movement around these ideas even if, as the member in the paragraph above appended,
“it doesn’t have the name Doughnut Economics.”
With CalDEC’s 501c3 nonprofit incorporation completed, the sky is the limit for this creative and agile group of people.
“I want us to get a pilot location going within the next 3-5 years”
says one member.
With the hard work, mutual trust, and respect happening within CalDEC, such a goal is indeed possible for the group. And hope is not just for a small pilot location, but a city, a state, a whole region embracing a more distributed, regenerative, and circular economy. One that looks to serve all of the needs of our state’s people while ensuring healthy and viable California ecosystems, and supporting global social and ecological wellbeing.
Get inspired, connect with others and become part of the movement. No matter how big or small your contribution is, you’re welcome to join!