What are we trying to achieve with Alternative Estuary?

It’s not often that we cross post between the three blogs we run at South Essex Radical Media but it’s a case of needs must. While this blog and The Thurrock and Basildon Heckler get a decent amount of hits, despite the graft we put in, the number of hits on the Alternative Estuary blog is lagging way behind. As we eventually want to hand Alternative Estuary over to grassroots activists across the south of Essex, we’re using a range of platforms to explain what the project is striving to achieve.

When we were handing out copies of the Alternative Estuary ‘zine at the Southend Vegan Fair on Sunday 5.9, we had a few interesting conversations where we were able to explain what our project is about. This is our mission statement which can be seen on the About us page:

It’s easy to know what you’re against in a dysfunctional, unsustainable and increasingly dystopian world. Railing against the world we have to endure may make you feel better but…does it lead to positive change? We know that the political, economic and social system we inhabit is rapidly heading towards its use by date and that we have to bring about radical change if we’re going to survive. There are many ways of bringing about the change that’s needed. What this blog is about is what can be done in the here and now to boost sustainability, community cohesion and neighbourhood resilience in an increasingly volatile world. It’s about building the new world we need and want in the decaying shell of the old one we currently endure.

A key part of building this new world is encouraging grassroots groups to exchange ideas, experiences and lessons learned with each other. That is what we want to achieve with the Alternative Estuary project. Before we go any further, we want to stress that while we want to encourage grassroots groups to link up with each other, we are definitely NOT interested in creating any kind of umbrella organisation. That would take too much time and energy, and would be an unwelcome distraction from what people want to get on with.

What we DO want Alternative Estuary to be is a reference point / clearing house where groups could publish what they’ve got planned, what they’re doing, and what they’ve learned from their experiences. We’d also like it to be a space where people bounce ideas off each other and come up with new initiatives. Last, but by no means least, we’d like it to be a place where we can offer each other practical help as and when it’s needed.

Basically, we want this to be a collaborative project where we can create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. To achieve this, we need your input. Despite our somewhat gruff appearance at some of the fairs we’ve been at, we’re actually quite approachable:) Ultimately, we want to hand this project over to grassroots activists across the south of Essex to run.

We know that over the years, we’ve stated this as our aim a fair few times. Well, there’s now a sense of urgency about this. That’s not just down to the increasingly dysfunctional and dystopian world we’re obliged to endure while we’re striving to build the new one we want. It’s also down to the fact that the two of us who run this blog will be relocating to Bristol at some point during 2022 and as we hope to be getting stuck into some grassroots projects down there, so we won’t be able to keep this blog going. So we really need to find people we can trust to hand this part of the project over to. The Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/alternativeestuary – which is run by other people will keep going. However, that also needs a lot more in the way of input from the range of grassroots projects that operate across the south of Essex.

Right, it’s over to you – we look forward to some positive dialogue over the next few months…

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