I HAVE BEEN TO THE FUTURE – AND LIFE IS GOOD!
(words and woodcuts by Sandra Ure Griffin)
I have been living in the future. This future is not one filled with obedient robots or Jetsonian jetpacks – it’s not at all the future I imagined as a tv-fed child.
I am living in a post-carbon world, in the same future where all our descendants may eventually reside. I’m living in a solar-and-wind-powered village where 60 people share three biodiesel vehicles, where most of the hand-built strawbale and cob houses are attached to both rain-barrels and solar panels. These same people share one washing machine and two shower stalls, and take turns emptying buckets of “humanure” into compost bins.
Recycling is scrupulous here, as is the composting of food leftovers (in a system separate from the humanure). Grocery shopping requires coordinated car-sharing, or bike-riding down a couple of miles of gravel roads to the general store run by our Mennonite neighbors. But increasingly more food is being grown right here at Dancing Rabbit and at the other intentional communities nearby. That growing list of communities here in Northeast Missouri includes (the long-established) Sandhill Farm and (the newer) Red Earth Farm and Possibility Alliance.
So I buy Dancing Rabbit-grown lettuce and spinach and carrots, and I do so with Elms (our local currency) instead of dollars. I’ve found that I don’t need many dollars to live here: since my current living space measures only 8′ x 16′ I’ve learned how unnecessary most possessions are. Most folks here earn, on average, about $6000 per year, and they do so in a variety of creative ways: midwifery, innkeeping, tutoring, breadbaking, cheesemaking, housebuilding, and much more.
Everyone here has reduced their carbon footprint to a fraction of that of most Westerners. And they seemed to have discovered, as I have, that scaling back our use of fossil fuels does NOT require scaling back things that are important to us, things such as family, friends, potlucks, music, dance, singing, art, exercise, yoga, meditation, and gardening.
The real ingredients for community, I’ve found, have very little to do with consumerism, and MUCH more to do with creativity, communication, and connection.