Regenerating Paradise

Paradise is a freedom-loving community that treasures open space and independence. In early 2019, in a process funded by the Butte Strong Fund, our community worked with Urban Design Associates of Pittsburgh to  lead us through a planning process which made our values as a community visible so that they may serve as a guiding force in our rebuild process, this was the beginning of visualizing what the future might hold. A plan was  shared that was ultimately adopted officially by the town. You can see more here. A great deal of what needs to be done falls on the shoulders of local government. AND, it’s people who step forward with their dreams and ideas and creativity that create true community. Regenerating Paradise is a framework to connect that creativity and nourish it. 

One of the things that always happens after a disaster of this magnitude is people step forward to help. A collage of new ideas and ones held dear before the disasters start to become visible. Our work is to help each of these possibilities become reality. We’ve just started up our Regenerating Paradise website and you’ll soon be able to see details about these different projects there. I want to tell you about the process we’re developing with NewStories’ support.

A lot of our work at Regenerating Paradise is to listen, really listen, even to the whispers. And to help people listen to each other. They share ideas and concerns, grief and joy, problems and possibilities as they begin to explore next steps.

It’s actually hard to really listen, not interrupting with our own individual plans and ideas, but listening to someone in ways which bring forth the essence of what’s really important to them. 

We encourage folks to try stuff. Find others who care about the same thing. Create a prototype of their idea. See what happens. Try again.

We’ll work with people and organizations as strategic partners. We’ll offer individual coaching as well as training and workshops on how to provide leadership and build regenerative community.

At least once or twice a quarter, we’ll bring people together who are working on different initiatives to talk with each other. Share ideas and cross pollinate them. We’ll talk and most likely listen to great music and share some wonderful food. Sometimes people will discover new synergies and collaborations. Other times they’ll go away more clear about their work — and knowing how much they are part of a larger whole.

On a regular basis — and in a celebratory way — we’ll bring all of what’s going on back to the community as a whole. We just had our first Paradise Revival Festival, as an example. When people know what’s actually happening, when they understand the ways in which their neighbors are stepping forward to regenerate paradise, they get inspired and informed. It is regeneration in action. 

Maybe they’ll join an existing project, or maybe they will start something new. The regenerative spirit grows. 

Finally, we know that what’s happened to us in Paradise — and what we’re doing now — is not unique. Everywhere people are finding new ways to live. They want to be kinder to themselves and each other. They want to help in regenerating our lovely planet rather than just exploiting it. They want to be in community again.

In short, they want the same things we do. We’ll reach out to them, and they to us and together we’ll create lives and communities that are more healthy and resilient.

We’re making our plans and raising money for 2020 now. Most of us have donated our time and other resources for more than a year now to deal with the destruction, trauma and grief. With each other, and with the Town of Paradise and Butte County, we’ve had a lot of issues to face and initial decisions to make. Please keep checking back at Regenerating Paradise and here at NewStories to see what’s happening and how you might help.