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For inspiring examples of how individual neighbourhoods and towns are "starting to build a new economy based on local action," in particular an economy that is both democratic and carbon free, read Rob Hopkins' book. The Transition Town movement, which he helped to start, has spawned hundreds of initiatives from below in 40 different countries. Don't wait for permission, writes Hopkins. Instead, he says, explore what's possible to do right now. He gives numerous examples of people joining with neighbours in riding bikes, baking bread, installing solar panels, planting community gardens, and sharing skills with each other. Our urge to participate isn't dead. It just needs resuscitation.