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February 29, 2008

Open Source Ecology

Filed under: Cool stuff,Observations — sbj @ 5:14 pm

There is an interesting “Village” under construction (on the internet via a wiki, of course) with some pretty lofty (and cool) goals. From their Introduction:

Imagine a village with buildings of dirt (CEB) with year-round greenhouses (sawmill, CEB, bioplastics from local trees), with all facility energy produced by a solar turbine, where people drive hybrid cars with car bodies (bioplastics) made from local weeds, with critical motors and metal structures (aluminum) extracted from on-site clay, which are fueled by alcohol produced on-site, on a wireless network linked to the greater world. That’s just a sampling of the technology base. Food, energy, housing sufficiency. There are no poor among us – because we are all evolving human beings and farmer scientists.

The web page can be found here.

I find the idea very attractive, at least in concept.  I do have to wonder about sustainability, and their basic premise that:

… humans are capable of transcending struggle for survival and resource conflicts, where this preoccupation is replaced by higher pursuits of personal and societal evolution.

Mind you, I love that concept, I just know so few people capable of reaching that level of “enlightenment”.  I do not question that they exist (I even “pretend” that I’m one of them), however I do wonder if we have evolved enough as a species to have the requisite critical mass of like minded people to create such a village (let alone numerous villages).  My hope right now, is that I live in a sleepy backwater town, and in reality the world is teeming with folks ready willing and able to make the kind of materialistic sacrifices that are required to live this sort of life.

I was listening to an interview with William F. Buckley (yes, I know… ultra-conservative… not my usual “goto” source of information and quotes, however, I take quotes when they are meaningful, regardless of idealogical concurrence) last night and one sentence jumped out at me.  He said that “we get 90% of our knowledge from reading”.  I was left wondering what percentage of our population, in this multi-media society, can lay claim to that much knowledge garnered from a print medium.   I was struck and saddened to think that not only was the number probably quite small, but my own children were not on the list.  While they do read far more than the average children of their age, they still get a great deal of their knowledge from shows like Myth Busters (or worse).

Those of Mr Buckley’s stock, who have garnered most of their knowledge from books, and more significantly, from the relentless pursuit of continuing education, would thrive in the Open Source Ecology world.  Those who get comfy on the couch and wait for knowledge (or in many cases, simply entertainment devoid of intellectual substance) to come to them… not so much so.

I am forced to ask my self which of these demographics do I belong to?  How about my children?  The whole thing is inspiring some serious thoughts of domestic reorganization…

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1 Comment »

  1. Gosh, isn’t it the case that it is really easy to operate at the lowest common denominator in terms of sustainability right now. We are perched on a precipice. So many people are not even aware of their tenuous location. I know I certainly have a consistent and convenient amnesia in this area. I love putting my apple cores in the compost but the amount of waste I produce in addition is only mitigated slightly. I leave the car running if the baby fell asleep on the way home, I unpackage another packaged food item, and let the boys play, very inefficiently, with water in the sink. I can do these things right now. Even though I know better, I need not change.

    I like this idea of an enlightened populous…I fear (which is weird because I think maybe I want the fear to come true ultimately) that what will manifest will not be a grand enlightenment but rather brutal struggle to overcome the devastation of the land, the lack of consideration for where our life source originates. Paralysis will set in for the majority at the relatively simple place of source your own food. You mean I put this seed in the ground, take care of it, wait, it grows, grows, grows, then I get to eat it? Now is certainly the time for domestic reorganization, because these skills won’t be instantly accumulable when it matters most. The question is who has time for such reorganization when work continues to demand alienation from the most base processes of survival?

    Also, check out this non virtual community: http://www.arcosanti.org/

    I’ve been to this village. The folks are a little strange. But it is still very inspiring. An oasis barely north of Phoenix sprawl.

    Comment by liz — March 2, 2008 @ 1:38 pm

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