Friday, June 6, 2008

Proposal: Ecological & Cultural Resilience for People and Local Communities.

Recently I decided to write down what I would do as right livelihood if money/funding was not an issue. This is what I wrote down:

Learning and teaching toward the goal of how we as individuals, communities, and society can live whole, fulfilled lives with the smallest ecological footprint possible. (Does not presuppose sustaining the way we live now). This means outreach and education on issues, skills, capacity, knowledge, and life-cycle thinking regarding ecologically and culturally sustainable living. Helping to enable people to do what they can now, but also to take the long view and work toward the above goal. The primary focus will be on what individuals can do to transition lifestyles, with ties to how communities can support the move toward non-destructive, ecologically resilient living. The effort would incorporate current and growing knowledge of permaculture design, sustainable low-input rural and urban agriculture, local food systems, sustainable housing, indigenous knowledge and appropriate technology. The effort would have equal emphasis on cultural aspects including cultivating awareness and stewardship values, bridging ecology and religion, supporting right livelihoods, and incorporating valuable ecological literature and ties with the liberal arts; all of which lead to grounding people in the place where they live in order to understand who they are and how best to treat each other and the earth.

Why? Many signs point to ecological and societal collapse…if we continue our current course. But, even if the “Big Bad” doesn’t happen, we should be compelled to embark on the path to discover ways of living that are ecologically and culturally resilient. We are in an ecological and spiritual crisis. We must start asking the questions: “what are people for?, and how shall we live such that we don’t destroy the place where we live?”. Everyone can make small changes that make a big difference collectively. Making more money, having more stuff, and conquering more lands and cultures hasn’t done it.

Audience? Primary audience will be bio-regional – the Lower Great Lakes, Upper Midwest bioregion at the largest scale, but starting within our own local community first and doing these things in my own family. Local communities and watersheds, organizations, groups, and individuals for personal contact within approx. 150 mile radius of home...but could consider providing some assistance nationally via Web and distance learning. Possible inclusion into local courses.

How? Organize learning communities and people networks, workshop sessions, seminars, conferences, demonstration projects, Web, phone, possible in-person for homeowner solutions. Would partner with other specialists and organizations with ties to the above mission (local university, Midwest Permaculture Institute in IL, National Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, The Land Institute, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, etc) .

No comments: