Friday, August 1, 2014

Worldwide [R]evolution

Charles Reich's The Greening of America was published in 1970.  Marilyn Ferguson's The Aquarian Conspiracy came out in 1980.  Paul Hawken's Blessed Unrest was published in 2007. In my post in 2009 on The Great Turning (11/15/09), I critiqued all of them.  It's easy to see mass social movements--but what becomes of them?

Not quite a year later, I said something that I didn't see connected all of this at the time.  I ended my post entitled From the Ground Up (9/20/10), talking about how various social movements were "pointing us toward something. Something new and radical, something that guides us in an alternative direction, toward a different kind of world. A blueprint, if you will, for building a new way of living. From the ground up." 

For my Quote of the Day, I chose lines from Chellis Glendinning, including:  "This urge to wholeness is with us still; ... Many of the social and cultural movements of the twentieth century are expressions of it: Gandhian nonviolence, the worker's movement of the 1930's, the kibbutz, Martin Luther King, Jr., the anti-war efforts, the hippies and yippies, the women's movement, the human potential movement, back-to-the-land, natural foods, Earth Day, permaculture, bioregionalism, the men's movement, voluntary simplicity. So too is the vast arising of passion for spiritual pursuits: Tibetan Buddhism, drumming circles, wilderness quests. And then there are today's social and psychological uprisings: the call for democracy and environmental justice, ... the rising of indigenous identity and self-empowerment." 

Another way of looking at this is to see Reich's, and Ferguson's, and Hawken's work as ongoing documentation of what Chellis Glendinning is calling that 'urge to wholeness'.  There is something going on outside the mainstream press, with many failures, but continuing on.  I've been documenting some of it in my posts on communities. 

Recently, I've read a bunch of books that look at permaculture related things, some in the form of communities and some as farms or other projects.  My next few posts will review some of these books focusing on attempts to create permaculture stuff around the world.  I want to begin with a book that focuses on these projects all over the globe.  The book is called Sustainable [R]evolution by Juliana Birnbaum and Louis Fox.

It's subtitle is 'Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide'.  The most notable thing for me about this book, which covers sixty projects, is how many amazing communities and projects that I know of that it doesn't cover.  None of the projects covered in the next three books that I plan to post on are covered in this book.  Neither is any of the communities in the Federation of Egalitarian Communities  (see my posts on Egalitarian Communities, 10/22/08, and Communities of Communities, 6/9/12) listed.  Nor are what I think of as two of the top eco-villages in the US, Dancing Rabbit (also see my posts on First Week at Dancing Rabbit, 5/28/13, and Thoughts as I Leave Dancing Rabbit, 6/14/13) and Earthaven. And one of the most amazing places outside of the US as far as I'm concerned, Gaviotas  is also not mentioned, although another place in Columbia (the Atlantida Ecovillage) has a listing.    At first I was disgruntled about all that they didn't include, but on second thought, I'm excited.  They have sixty projects and don't even include all the ones I just mentioned.  Maybe there is a ground up, worldwide [r]evolution happening.

There are a bunch of projects that I know of listed, although I wouldn't think of some of them as top tier.  Some of the better known include The Farm (in Tennessee), the Lama Foundation (in New Mexico), the LA Ecovillage (in California), the Ecovillage at Ithaca, New York, Growing Power (in Wisconsin), Findhorn (in Scotland), Tamera (Portugal), Damanhur (Italy), the Dead Sea Valley Permaculture Project (Jordan), Auroville (India), the Ladakh Project (India), and Melliodora (Australia), which is the farm run by David Holmgren, one of the founders of Permaculture.  I had also heard of most of the other North American projects, which included OUR Ecovillage (in British Columbia), the Bullock Homestead (in Washington state), City Repair (in Oregon), the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (in California), and the Greater World Earthship Community (in New Mexico).  (Actually, I'd heard of the Earthships more than the community on that one.)  However, the entry that really surprised me was for The People's Grocery in California.    I've been there and blogged about it (see my post entitled Update 4: Eco-Oakland, Riveting Richmond, and Groovy SF, 10/18/12).  It's a great place and doing really important work, but I didn't think of it as being well known at all.

The book also includes a useful introductory section that goes into basic permaculture concepts and some points about how the book is organized.  I got it out of the library, but if you want to get a taste of what seems to be a growing worldwide movement, this is a good book to get.

Quote of the Day:  "At the time of this writing, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have completed permaculture design courses, and the network continues to expand on the original ideas through thousands of related trainings, publications, garden projects, and internet forums.  There are projects in at least seventy-five countries in the world, and during the period we were doing the research for and writing this book, the number of these projects grew exponentially.  The approach is being used to design new sites, both urban and rural.  It is being applied by individuals and communities in existing towns and cities on every scale.  Permaculture design initiatives have achieved inspiring results, restoring degraded landscapes, reversing desertification, and creating self-sustaining food systems.  It includes hundreds of strategies that together begin to mitigate climate change, some directly drawing carbon out of the atmosphere through healthy soil-building cycles, no-plow farming methods, and tree planting." - Juliana Birnbaum

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