Oct 162016
 

If the word eco-village is too loaded with images of low tech and countryside to be used for a nature- and future- friendly intentional community also in towns and cities, what could it be called? There is a therm for a nuclear family. Maybe there should be one for a Nuclear Community, as an alternative building block of any society? To put everything on the shoulders of a small present day family is being too harsh on people. Wait… Then if you say “I plan to build a Nuclear Community here” the residents will suspect you are planning to install a small nuclear power plant in their neighborhood…

Maybe it just has to be a “Good New Town“. I live in Newtown, Powys. Newtown is small yet it is the biggest town in Mid Wales. It is old. We all heard about “Good Old Days”, “Brave New World” and “The Good Life”… Some may also know about “Good Life Project” and “Good Sense Foundation”. – those are my influences for the name.

Whatever the name, I think for true happiness and healthy development this community should not be dogmatic. In his “What’s Left”


Nick Cohen paints a good picture of a political cult. In a way we could try to reverse engineer the good community based on his observations.

  1. The cult leaders “blacken” the word outside their group. We should support honesty and optimism in our perception. If you cry “Doom and gloom!” – that is what you’ll get.
  2. Cult members are not allowed to conduct an open minded inquiry into other points of view, especially critical ones. We should encourage this in ourselves and the people around us.
  3. Cults try to separate people from their friends and families, so they won’t change their mind. We should encourage warms and trust between people, and not just inside the community.
  4. Cults exhaust people so they have no time and strength to think for themselves. We should make sure everybody has plenty of time for reflection and solitude. Community building activities are no good if the people feel like loosing themselves and their way.
  5. That’s a tricky one. Cults make people to invest physically (labor) and emotionally in the cause, so it is just heartbreaking to walk out. The question is whether it is possible to built a stable community without any attachment? I think there should be some balance. It wan’t be e good community if people who feel they don’t belong any more can’t easily pack up and leave. This is why, I think, renting a place to live (potentially indefinitely with a right for inheritance) is better than owning. And a just mechanism for the community to terminate that renting agreement if a tenant completely refuses to cooperate.

Another interesting therm I came across is “Sacred Naturalism“: “a special respect and care for the scientific approach to understanding the natural world, and to the natural world generally”. “Sacred Naturalism honors and serves that part of human nature that seeks transcendence and longs for sacred community and ritual. It answers the real human need to feel a part of something greater than the self and the longing some feel for a connection (oneness) with community/nature/the cosmos. Reverence and awe of the natural world is enough for sacred naturalists who do not believe in a traditional, anthropomorphic god, but nonetheless view science and mystery as both valuable and compatible”. And there also is Sacred Ecology: “Contemplative practices, rituals, ceremonies, and other activities in the world that bring people into a closer relationship with the natural environment and other beings engenders deep caring. Indeed, many sacred naturalists share a desire to protect and nurture ecological wisdom, the rights of nature, a sustainable future, as well as human flourishing and well being”.

I think it is very important to have the feeling of sacred, mystery and communion among people, and there is no additional need for any supernatural beliefs to cultivate those feelings. The world and its people are beautiful and mysterious enough already. That said, you can not and should not force this point of view to anybody.

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Sep 072016
 

It seems that things more likely to happen in cities, but the countryside and nature heal and give inspiration. What if the future manage to merge both? What if we learn to live among proper woods, seas, meadows, streams and mountains yet be able to participate in interesting conversations, attend live concerts and generally be with like minded people with ease?

This could happen either through virtual reality, or through some new form of very fast and cheap travel. Individual flying machines?

The third option is to always settle near like minded people and move when you feel the need to join the new circle.

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Dec 182015
 

Be gentle with all things of nature for everyone

Often we can hear that it is the modern “civilized” humans that exploit and destroy the nature, while the indigenous cultures lived in good 800px-Panneau_algonquinbalance with the land for many generations. Was this always the rule? The way in which the latest extinction of megafauna happened suggest otherwise.

Outside the mainland of Afro-Eurasia, these megafaunal extinctions followed a highly distinctive landmass-by-landmass pattern that closely parallels the spread of humans into previously uninhabited regions of the world, and which shows no overall correlation with climatic history . Australia was struck first around 45,000 years ago,[30] followed by Tasmania about 41,000 years ago (after formation of a land bridge to Australia about 43,000 years ago),[31][32][33] Japan apparently about 30,000 years ago,[34] North America 13,000 years ago,South America about 500 years later,[35][36] Cyprus 10,000 years ago,[37][38] the Antilles 6,000 years ago,[39] New Caledonia[40] and nearby islands[41] 3,000 years ago,Madagascar 2,000 years ago,[42] New Zealand 700 years ago,[43] the Mascarenes 400 years ago,[44] and the Commander Islands 250 years ago.[45] Nearly all of the world’s isolated islands could furnish similar examples of extinctions occurring shortly after the arrival of humans, though most of these islands, such as the Hawaiian Islands, never had terrestrial megafauna, so their extinct fauna were smaller.[28][29]

An analysis of the timing of Holarctic megafaunal extinctions and extirpations over the last 56,000 years has revealed a tendency for such events to cluster within interstadials, periods of abrupt warming, but only when humans were also present. Humans may have impeded processes of migration and recolonization that would otherwise have allowed the megafaunal species to adapt to the climate shift.[46] “

Stone age humans, as close to nature as anyone could be, were bringing the destruction as soon as they could, everywhere they spread. All our ancestors did it. Only then, when perhaps the easy prey was gone, the balance in new ecosystems eventually was established. That’s how Nature works. Any species suddenly received an advantage would spread till stopped by famine, predators and disease.

Only now, when our intelligence has grown enough, we started to think about future. We don’t want to spread till we have to starve because there’s no more resources. We want to study and save other species, even ones which have no nutritional or aesthetic value for us.

There’s no need to do human-bashing. We’ve been very “natural” so far in our desire to spread and conquer. Then our intelligence happened, completely naturally too. Perhaps other intelligent species will rise on this Earth later. We don’t really know if they are going to be gentle with their environment. For us, it is time to search for the new balance on the new level.

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Jul 282015
 

I should admit straight away that I don’t know much about eco-villages, but I want to learn.  Because I feel that lots of things gone wrong with today’s living.  Because I’ve seen how some things could be done better.

I am talking about my childhood and student memories. It’s not just me: I’ve heard stories of people joining or starting eco-villages and intentional communities for the similar “nostalgic” reasons.

When me and my friends were kids in 1970s-1980s Russia, our grannies and grandads were WWII survivors. They mended clothes, cooked homemade meals, never would waste anything.  In summer, when they stayed with us at the countryside, they would grow fruits, herbs and vegetables (and also of course flowers),  they would burn all paper and wood for heating and cooking, they would compost all organic waste, they would pick wild berries,  herbs and mushrooms,  which they would preserve, can or dry.  Nobody had to do all this, but it was perceived as a part of good healthy life.

We were free range kids, in summer playing in the forest and loving exploring wild nature. We never had any “play dates” – we could knock on each other door at any time. We shared books and things. We learned skills from our “survivalist” grandparents.  We were inventing our own games and making our own toys. Later we would create our own plays or sing our favourite songs around campfires. I thought this was how life supposed to be. It was far from perfect, but it was good.

Then came isolation and disconnection… Some of my grown up life package was actually great: like the possibilities to learn anything through the Internet, to travel, to start my own family or to try creating an online business (although this didn’t quite worked out yet).

I am wondering if it is possible to have the best of both worlds? To live closer to Nature, to each other, be efficient and environmentally friendly but without giving up the privileges of being also close to the whole wide world and of doing our dream jobs according to our abilities and interests.

I am going to research how this could be done. What I suspect already is that we can’t build a good community without honestly, transparency and respect of different ways in which people would want to contribute and to do good things. Because a good deed done by order stops being a good deed.  This is why I think that instead of creating strict rules and regulations (which happens in some communities) it would be better to give people opportunities,  examples, incentives and encouragement. Let the good life win because it is better.

What do you think?

ecovillage

an eco-village?

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