[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="362" caption="Image from The Sharing Solution"][/caption] We are living in exciting times. In the midst of an economic crisis that was created in part by unprecedented levels of corporate greed and corruption, a peaceful and conscientious revolution is emerging. Around the country, everyday people are creating their own solutions to address issues of poverty, unemployment, exploitation of natural resources, food scarcity and racial disparity. These innovations are at the core of the paradigm shift Rebuild the Dream likes to call The American Dream 2.0. The old American Dream promised: if you work hard and follow the rules, you can have a good life in America - earn a middle-class wage, own a home, send your kids to college, retire with benefits, and still have room for dessert. For many of us, the American reality has been battling foreclosure on our homes, being trapped under a mountain of student loan debt, living check-to-check and feeling powerless to turn things around. The American Dream 2.0 is about challenging ourselves to take the steps necessary to create an economy and social system that benefits all people. It’s about shifting from a focus on individual success to thinking about our collective well-being and acting on it. It’s about asking ourselves the tough questions. What are we willing to do to solve some of the most basic problems in our community? Are we willing to take ownership and responsibility for injustice and inequality in our community? Who can we turn to address our collective struggles? “We need to stop criticizing Washington for what it is not doing, and focus on what we as concerned citizens, can do,” says Van Jones, founder of Rebuild the Dream. “Change doesn’t come from Washington, it comes to Washington.” In the weeks to come, we’re going introduce you to some of the people who aren’t waiting for Washington but are rethinking old ideas and developing innovative solutions that are driving the American Dream 2.0. We’ll touch on new models for employment and economic opportunity like worker-owned cooperatives - businesses where you are your boss. Can they offer a more meaningful, viable alternative to the 9 to 5 job at the factory? How about housing? With no end in sight to the housing crisis, nor a move to a market that’s within reach to most wage earners, should we question the idea of individual ownership? We’ll talk to a few families and friends who are finding their way through shared living and shared ownership. We’re also going to take a look at innovative resource-sharing programs at the heart of the new economy movement. Can these “greener” corporations impact the local economy of communities that desperately need the resources, but may not be able to afford the buy-in required to participate? We’ll continue the discussion on equitable access as we discuss urban food deserts--areas with high poverty rates and low access to healthful food--and the innovative work of everyday people who believe healthy food is a right, not a privilege. We also want to hear from you. What does the American Dream 2.0 mean to you? Are you or do you know of organizations, individuals or groups that are taking an alternative approach to creating economy and justice at a local level? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned for more to come!
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