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An on-going theme all around the world is self-sustainability. But how many of these first world cities are truly sustainable? Very few. Almost every third world relief program in existence advocates sustainability to its international recipients. Unfortunately, even though we have the means, first world countries are hardly advocating true sustainability in leading by example. Well, who really knows what true sustainability is? True sustainability is the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting any natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. Simply put, sustainability quite clearly means that every new year finds the Earth in at least as good of a condition as the year prior. This means: no increasing degree of deforestation, no fewer sea life in the ocean, no higher levels of toxic pollution, and the concentration of atmospheric pollutants remaining the same or lower than the previous year. Ideally, we would all want to leave the Earth in a state of gradually increasing improved conditions as the years go on. We have not been living in a way that would allow for these kinds of positive changes.
While we expect the communities of the third world to learn from us, what have we been learning from them? In my research of third world communities, I have been most fascinated with the inner workings of tribal living. These tribes looked to family, friends, and community as a valuable resource, whereas in modern society we look at monetary objects as being the valuable substance of daily life. Tribes looked to the environment as a provider of shelter and food and understood that this was what sustained life, and made it worth living. The people of these tribes rarely suffer from depression, suicide, and many other modern day ailments. The principles of tribal living are upheld by being socially conscious, unifying its people, and allowing everyone to have lives rich in creativity, freedom, and purpose. Modern living and tribal living both surely have their pros and cons. A marvelous solution would be to combine the strengths of them both, creating an entirely new kind of community.
Imagine a place that was entirely sustainable. You would own your own land, grow your own food, and build an entire community that ran on renewable energy. Our community would consist of socially conscious, like minded, creative, intelligent, resourceful people that all lived in harmony. There would be no place for the hypocrisy of organized religion, the injustice of capitalism, or the narrow minded ways of mainstream media. A true people's village, created by the people, for the people. We would still have hospitals, schools, market places, and all the other things that make up a civilized society. We wouldn’t be constricted to a single form of currency; we would encourage trading and bartering. In short, we would be combining the intellect and ingenuity of modern civilization with the shared communal values of tribal living. Supremely, one day the entire world would adopt this new way of living, everyone will have high respect for the sustainability of the world, making collective decisions about whether or not to continue a particular course of action based upon if it would have a negative effect on generations in the future.
Humans, plants and animals existed for several millennia without a difficult affect on the Earth’s ability to support life in general and humans in particular. The beings that existed during that time did not have an economy or financial institution. They did not have garbage and waste. In the short amount of time that modern humanity has been around we have managed to have seriously horrible effects on the ability of this planet to support healthy human life, and life in general. Economy and garbage are the ingredients that have caused modern humans to negatively affect the Earth’s ability to support a flourishing existence.
The modern world has a crippling system that maintains an atrocious and oppressive economy. We grow up learning that an economy is supposed to sustain the people. But it doesn’t succeed, it doesn’t sustain, and things are getting worse. The distance between socioeconomic classes grows larger every day. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. A greater world should have a system that provides for its people and nourishes its people. Nourishment means the condition of comfortable shelter, water, electricity, food and sanitation for every man, woman, and child on the planet. Existence should not be a monster that expels mountains of garbage all over the Earth. It should not be a monster that fights meaningless wars. Economy should be a trivial aspect of an independently healthy and secure human existence. Economy should be the result, not the means, of sustaining people.
It’s not too late to reclaim these ideals, to reclaim the benefits of tribal living. In these current times, communal type communities are often seen in a negative light. The prejudice of narrow minds will picture big groups of dirty hippies, too lazy to work, and using tribal living as an excuse to not be a functioning member of society. In a modern civilization, a tribe should be seen as a social organization that facilitates making a living. We would ideally live in conjunction with urban civilization for obvious reasons. Modern day societies have a plethora of resources that a member of a tribe would find necessary, i.e. specialized health care, formal education opportunities, and professional employment. Simple historical observation proves that the tribal way of living has worked for millions of years, in opposition to the hierarchal way, which has brought us face to face with destruction after a mere thousands years.
We could start right now on creating a greater world based on the needs of the people. We would transform and consume garbage. We will learn to sustain the people and we will transcend economy. Create a better life. The key to having a better life for all people is found in the nourishment for all people...not just some, but all of us.
It sounds crazy, right? Too good to be true? Well, with enough like minded people, enough resources and a common goal, this idea could be a reality. These are the changes I would like to see in the world, and I’m sure many others would agree. Here are just a few cool ideas for our new, amazing community:
Earthships: Earthships are radically sustainable buildings that are made out of recycled materials. Earthships can be built in any part of the world and still provide electricity, potable water, contained sewage treatment and sustainable food production. Please visit their site. www.earthship.com
Organic Beekeeping: Honeybees are one of the most efficient pollinators in the world. They are responsible for over one third of all the food we eat. They are also the only insect that makes food that humans can eat - honey. Bees are vanishing all over the United States and other parts of the world. Keeping healthy bees helps the planet and everyone in it. There are many websites where you can read more about beekeeping and even sites that will help you get started. Here is one that I found wonderfully informative: www.naturalbees.talkingstick.me/
Rainwater Harvesting Systems: Rainwater harvesting is the accumulation and storage of rainwater for reuse before it reaches the natural aquifer. Uses include water for garden, water for livestock, water for irrigation, etc. In many places the water collected is just redirected to a deep pit with percolation. The harvested water can be used for drinking water as well if the storage is a tank that can be accessed and cleaned when needed. Rainwater harvesting provides an independent water supply during regional water restrictions, and in developed countries is often used to supplement the main supply. For more information on reusing the rain, please visit this site. http://www.aguasolutions.com/fundamentals-en.html
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share your ideas about this vision of a true people's village. You can either post a comment to this post or contact me directly by clicking the "Contact" tab at the top of the page.
Go forth with love and light and conquer your reality.
Source for the blog entry include:
What is True Sustainabilty? by Matthew Stein
True Sustainability Solutions by Gail Tverberg
Tribal Life is a Lifestlye That Works