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Tom Greco's Newsletter, Fall 2010
Observations from Tubac, AZ
by Thomas Greco

Tubac sits alongside the Santa Cruz river in a lush green valley forty-five miles south of Tucson and about twenty miles north of Nogales and the Mexican border. When I first arrived at the end of August, and on through September, it was like a ghost town. Said to be the oldest European settlement in Arizona (around 1752), Tubac is now an artist’s colony populated mainly with shops, galleries and a few restaurants. The village is now starting to come to life as the tourists and winter residents begin their seasonal migration. Adjacent to the village on the north side is the Tubac Golf Resort, and to the south an upscale housing development, all nicely done.

My time here has been pleasant. Though it lacks the conveniences of the city, I’ve enjoyed the relative peace and quiet and the lack of distractions, the only noticeable noise an occasional dog barking and the traffic on the I-19 freeway that skirts the western edge of the village. Now, as I write this, I’m also packing up and cleaning up, preparing to vacate my casita and begin the next journey.

The Mightiest Creature

What is the mightiest creature on Earth?

I have no idea. But consider this: A couple weeks ago, I was out for a walk when I noticed an exceptionally large grasshopper moving slowly across the road. It was not moving as grasshoppers normally move; it was lying on its side and sliding gradually over the pavement. It was dead, of course, and when I moved in to take a closer look, I noticed a brigade of ants laboring together to carry it off, presumably to their nest. What they would do with it, I don’t know—food, perhaps, material for building, or a place to lay their eggs?

A few days later, while on an afternoon walk, I spied a parade of tiny magenta colored flowers moving slowly across the street. Again the motive force was ants, each flower carried by a single ant, the point of origin, a popular ornamental shrub known a Texas Ranger. Toward the other end of the line I noted an accumulation of flowers at the base of a near vertical curbstone. I watched as the tiny critters, slowed but undaunted, scaled the precipice and proceeded on their way with their precious loads.

The obvious lesson for me in all this is that a few tiny creatures, working together in coordinated fashion are able to accomplish amazing feats. It is not their size, or even their strength as individuals, but their coordinated action and their determination to achieve a common purpose that is so impressive. That got me thinking about what it might take to get us humans through the extraordinary challenges that currently confront us. While natural disasters are recurrent, they are usually localized. Our most serious problems are of our own making. We have plenty of resources, talent, and skill, but do we have sufficient will to make a world that works for all?

To Europe and Beyond...

In a couple days, I’ll depart for Berlin, Germany to attend the International Commons Conference. This event will bring together almost 200 invited participants from three dozen countries to work toward “Constructing a Commons-Based Policy Platform.” What that means is finding ways to assure access to those things we all need to live a dignified life, all those things that are the common heritage of all of us.

My main goals are (1) to call attention to a generally unrecognized aspect of the commons (the credit commons), (2) to educate people about historical and current exchange alternatives that can be optimized and scaled up to provide a sufficient supply of credit to productive enterprises, and (3) to stimulate widespread action toward the creation of an honest and equitable network for facilitating exchange and finance.

And then...

A couple years ago I joined an international social network called, Couch Surfing ( It’s not just a way to travel on the cheap, but a way for people to make meaningful human-to-human connections with diverse cultures. This is from the CS mission statement.

At CouchSurfing International, we envision a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter. Building meaningful connections across cultures enables us to respond to diversity with curiosity, appreciation and respect. The appreciation of diversity spreads tolerance and creates a global community.

My plan is to couch surf in Berlin for a few days following the conference, then play it from there with possible subsequent destinations in Europe and/or Asia. I’ll keep you posted.

The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
Thomas H. Greco, Jr.
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The End of Money and the Future of Civilization from Chelsea Green Publishers is now in print and can be ordered from Chelsea
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2010 November 02
Posted by The Coffee Coaster™ w/permission of the author
Thomas Greco | | Reinventing Money | Voluntary Money

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