Women are currently holding up 94% of the sky in TimeBank Santa Cruz. Of our 82 members, only 5 men can be called actively engaged. Actively engaged means regularly participating in timebank exchanges, being available to others and responding to messages promptly. Some of our female members do LOTS of timebanking and some of those five men only do a little. That skews the percentage even further. Let’s say women hold up 98% of the sky.

How does this happen? Can anyone explain it to me? I assume it’s a distinction between CAN DO and WILL DO. Because both genders have lots of skills, talents and capacities. We’re open to ideas on how to redress this deplorable statistic.

“If there were a reward system where you could get digital credits for socially productive behavior, would you want to jump in and rack some up?” asks Andrew Yang, American entrepreneur and Founder of Venture for America.

Look no further: that reward system exists right here and now in TimeBank Santa Cruz. Join here:

March 10, 2018


Do you sometimes like to look beyond the narrow bounds of self and family?

I do. Because it’s a fascinating territory, an eco-system with a reach and dynamism you can’t control or quite fathom.

Firstly, I like it for what it reveals about my own capacities. (Whenever you deal with the public, you’ll encounter bad behaviors and bitter disappointments. The trick is to not let them discourage you from your service work.)

I like it because it seems to soften people’s hearts, to create a space where it’s ok to give more than you get. I get a glimpse of what it means to be interdependent.

Timebanking itself sets up a dynamic that runs counter to our ‘me-me-me’ obsession. Yes, TimeBankers are expected to both give and receive. The receiving part is key: it creates a vulnerability that connects us. We all need, us members of the human family.

What I love most is when the giving and receiving is gracious. Time is a precious commodity. We hoard it, defend it, binge with it. We probably misuse it horribly.



Here’s my question: Are local businesses and government bodies doing enough to adapt to climate change?


Climate change solutions seem out of reach for us as individuals. Yet citizen’s initiatives and grassroots programs are cited in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act and in every local Climate Action Plan.

What is the most efficacious role for NGOs and citizens? How can we work with local authorities to lower GHG emissions?

The food we waste releases 4.4 gigatons of GHGs into the atmosphere each year, eight percent of total anthropogenic emissions.

TimeBank Santa Cruz promotes Bokashi Composting because it is a simple, highly efficacious method for collecting and sequestering CO2 in the soil. It is a solution that doesn’t require a huge capital infusion or industry investments. It could do with some official support, however.

Remember when I stopped paying my Greenwaste bill two and a half years ago to protest Capitola’s reluctance to address climate change?


We know you’re sitting back cosy and content in this not-so-busy time of year and considering what your New Year’s resolutions will be. How about you resolve to help others on a regular basis?

What would your life be like if you woke up each morning and thought, “What can I give today? Who can I help?” Would you yourself be happier, more secure? I dare say you would, simply because whenever you take the focus off your own self-interest, happiness naturally increases.

Timebanking creates opportunities for you to help others regularly. Joining the TimeBank would be a perfect way to keep a ‘helping others regularly’ resolution.

Beyond specific skills, we want more members who want to pay it forward. People who are woke to our interdependence and want to act upon it to create local resilience.It’s a small commitment (only three hours per month) that yields personal satisfaction and builds social capital.

Join here:

December 11, 2017


The TimeBank holds a lot of talent. Our members are artists and musicians. Nurses and electrical engineers. Teachers, social workers, therapists, body workers. We have a veterinarian and a veterinarian nurse. A horse trainer.

We have quilters and salsa dancers and writers and graphic designers.  

We have people with nonprofit admin and human resources skills. People who help you declutter. Who post your notices to community bulletin boards. Who teach art, French, crochet and how to make chocolate truffles.

We love to showcase what our members do in the greater world.

Here is an example: Cellist Aude Castagna of the Paris String Quartet is CELEBRATING WOMEN COMPOSERS OF THE PAST with two upcoming concerts.

Peace United Church,  Thursday Nov 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Christ Lutheran Church,  Sunday Nov 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Tickets are $25, children/students $10


What do we really know about social capital. The TimeBank’s goal is to grow it. But how do we quantify it? And what is its value?

I’ve noticed recently that we each have a certain store of social capital within the TimeBank itself. Let’s call it a Social Capital Quotient. I suppose it’s determined by the contributions a TimeBanker makes to the organization as a whole - participating, coming to events, sharing skills, being a member in good standing.

This is a measurement wholly different from the number of TimeCredits accrued or exchanged.

TimeBankers also have SCQs with other members. There may be a history of exchanges, a growing acquaintanceship. There may have been challenges that caused the Quotient to sink.

I’m becoming aware that TimeBankers also have SCQs with me, the Director and Coordinator. I’ve noticed that a SCQ (on a scale of 1-10, say) can soar to great heights or it can dip into the negative double digits. A SCQ is a fluid animal in the ecosystem of human dynamics.


Let’s talk about kinship. Do you have a sense of kinship with others? Who does it extend to? Those who are lovely as well as the despicable ones? Where does your heart draw the line? I think it’s a fundamental question.

When I first started working as a community organizer ten years ago, I was quite the recluse. I didn’t even like to hang out in my front yard because, horrors, I might be compelled to make small talk with a passerby.

Now I have a Little Library and Poetry Box at my curb. These resilience building devices draw people to the edge of my property, to the edge of my awareness.

I’ve gotten better at small talk: I’ve learned to weather interactions with all manner of folks. More significantly, however, these hedgerow activities (as permaculture would call it) have changed how I perceive myself. Now I’m known in my neighborhood. I belong. I am a factor, a feature, an actor in an ecosystem. Because this hedgerow culture generally creates goodwill, I feel protected.



The TimeBank has been nominated for the Volunteer Center’s Be The Difference Award along with 50 other local individuals, nonprofits and businesses. The celebration includes a luncheon at the Cocoanut Grove on October 27. They tell us that ‘our story is powerful, inspirational and vital to the health of our community.’ We hope so; we’re just doing our bit.

Timebanking is all about collaboration. We love reciprocity. Collaborating with trusted community partners is the smart way to go: it’s essentially a best use of resources.

So why is it so hard for groups to work together? You’d think our common goals would make collaboration a no-brainer. Maybe it’s because we’re still in the survival mode of the hunter-gatherers. Local nonprofits compete rather than collaborate. We compete for funding, press, prestige, volunteers. It makes you weary how much we compete. Isn’t there a better way?


You know the 80/20 rule. It’s when 20 percent of the people are responsible for 80 percent of the work and giving. Ask yourself where you stand in this imbalance.  Ask yourself, are people are morally obliged to participate in civic society? Are you yourself obligated? I say, yes, you are. How about this: every morning when you get up, you ask yourself, what can I give today? What do I own that I can easily give away that will help someone immediately? Can I comfort someone today? Consider your waking hours. How many of them are spent pursuing your own self interest? Could you spend a half hour, an hour each day working in the interest of others?

Let’s say you agree to try. But your life is so busy and scattered and you have quite a few other obligations. How can you easily move toward participating authentically in civic society without disrupting your pretty nice life?


Come have lunch with some TimeBankers this Sunday, August 20 at noon at Dharma’s, 4250 Capitola Road. Everyone is invited to attend a luncheon with TimeBank members to expand your network, chat about skill swaps, and plan projects. Lunch is your cost.

TimeBank Santa Cruz resists. We contend that the more we help each other, the more resilient our local community becomes. Each act of generosity, each kindness counters whatever forces would weaken our commitment to each other, to a just society.

It’s a quiet resistance. It’s not front page news. It doesn’t count as in-your-face direct action. But it qualifies as resistance because it creates social capital which we can draw on when needs arise.

I call timebanking Slow Currency. It’s like Slow Food and Slow Money. It takes time to timebank just as it takes time to have a friend.

Yes, a lot of practical tasks and chores and errands get done in a TimeBank. But our stealth reason for existing lies beyond the task. It’s the relationships of trust that get created that constitute the social capital.