Experiment in (e)co-habitation gets the green light
Much of my life has been based in community - in Canada, South Africa and the U.S.; from extended visits in 1973 to the intentional community in Ontario which was renowned for its Granny's Special Blend granola, to the one I live in now: 108 Mile Ranch, a British Columbia residential neighbourhood of about 700 households.
". . . one of the most radical programs of the anarchist branch of the ecology movement is the bioregional proposal that nobody should move - that they should all stay where they are and live there the rest of their lives. In other words, the idea is to become like a normal human being over the last 40,000 years and have a place. . . . what you're suggesting to people is that they go to school board meetings, and join the garden club, and take responsibility for what goes on in their community. And is that old or new? I don't know. But it sure does improve the quality of life."
100 Mile House is about ten miles south of us. With it's shopping facilities, 2,000 residents plus many more who, like us, see it as theirs, it has a fine sense of community, in the less "intentional" sense. A trip to town invariably involves a number of encounters with friends and associates.
My intentional community experience began in 1974 at Twin Valleys, an educational community for teens in trouble with the law. Then, a number of communities, rural and urban in Canada and South Africa.
COMMITMENT TO PLACE
"What holds people together long enough to discover their power as citizens is their common inhabiting of a single place", (Daniel) Kennis, (mayor of Missoula, Montana) argues. "Being so placed, people volunteer for community projects, join school boards, and accept nominations and appointments. Good minds, which are often forced by institutional or corporate policy to keep moving, make notable contributions to the neighborhood if they are allowed to stay put."
One can learn and live deeply in the natural systems of any sort of neighbourhood - from a big city to a sugar beet farm. This sort of future culture is available to anyone who makes the choice, regardless of their background.
A commitment to place is not just good environmentalism, not just a move towards resolving social and economic problems, but also a means for us to become citizens in both the natural and the social worlds. If the ground can be our common ground, we can begin to talk to one another once again.
Extracts From a Speech Given by Gary Snyder, February, 1992
GREAT LEADERSI hear people everywhere saying that the trouble with our time is that we have no great leaders any more. If we look back we always had them. But to me it seems that there is a very profound reason why there are no great leaders any more. It is because they are no longer needed. The message is clear. You no longer want to be led from the outside. Every man must be his own leader. He now knows enough not to follow other people. He must follow the light that's within himself, and through this light he will create a new community. You see, wherever I go in the world this, to me, is a general trend. I am aware of the fact that there are already people in existence today - take us - who really belong to a community which does not exist yet. That is, we are the bridge between the community we've left and the community which doesn't exist yet.
Laurens van der Post, A Walk With A White Bushman
South Cariboo Community Drum Circle
Sustainable Community Action A Wiki site - open to contributions
Sacred Lifeboats Getting together to handle the challenges ahead.
108 Mile Ranch Community Association Our neighbourhood organisation
Nabuur.com Become an online volunteer and help a community in a developing country.
CEEDS Community and Organic Farms Experience life on an organic farm in Canada
The City Repair Project - creating public gathering places and helping others transform their neighbourhoods.