Growing in Community

This is a repost from Casaubon’s Book, a blog I perennially return to for inspiration and deep analysis of the nitty gritty reality of living at Peak Civ. She offers an analysis of the hard corner our society has backed itself into  It encoI really like this post for its encouraging words of DIY, just Do It, there is support in your community, you must only find itur, using the right search light, of course.


Growing in Community

Sharon November 5th, 2009

I think the question of land access may end up being the central political issue of the coming century.  In both the rich world and the poor world, we’ve systematically deprived people of easy access to land.  We have driven up the price of land in the rich world by encouraging sprawl, and thus forced out agrarian populations that previous fed cities.  We have pushed people into cities in the name of globalization and industrialization, and claimed their land for speculation.  The system is no longer working very well – there are now a billion hungry people, and the bust cycle is upon us – but land access remains constrained.  The poor sent to cities who can find no jobs can’t go home again in many cases.  The moderate income people who need land most to sustain their families no longer have access to the credit necessary since prices were artificially raised.

As time goes on and energy and resources are more constrained, the anger of people who cannot access land against those who can is likely to be an issue – it always has been through human history.  We have pretended over the decades that land was no longer wealth, that there could be such a thing as an information economy, but we are still caught in the old material economy, where the earth and its resources are the root source of our wealth – and they are increasingly controlled by fewer and fewer people, who care little about the future.  This makes those without access angry indeed.

But as yet, most people at least in the rich world, do not see these issues as political – whether you can afford to buy a small house with enough dirt under it to feed your family regardless of the state of the economy is deemed to be a purely personal question.

So we are brought to the question – how do you grow food if you don’t own land, or don’t own enough land?  How do we get access to land if we are poor, or if prices are out of our range?  I meet people by the dozens and hundreds who want to own land, who are saving for a day that may or may not come – and it is good that they are. But not owning land is not, for most of us, the end of the story – but the beginning.  If you want to grow and don’t own, there are places to begin.

Whatever you do, remember that allies are the key to success – you can do many of these things alone, but you don’t have to.  Chances are that if you care about the beauty and food security of your neighborhood, at least a few other people do too.  If you’d like a garden, a few other people may never have thought about it, but would be glad to see one and would like to help.  If you are struggling with landlessness, look around you and see who else needs access to land – poor college students, immigrants, the working poor – all people who may well want to grow, even need to, but can’t do it by owning land.  Seek allies among the powerful – sometimes they don’t care, but surprisingly often, they get it – they care about food security, they just haven’t had someone pushing them to put it on the priority list. It may not be as hard as you think to change the zoning laws, to get that land reallocated, to resist development, to start an easement program, etc…  Civic engagement counts.

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Teaching the post-carbon youth, a curriculum

This is cross posted from the Energy Bulletin. Ive been talking with a few friends since we were about 15 about starting an intentional community some day that would also be a school to teach community, to teach the holistic world of knowledge, to teach liberation, self-sustainability, and to teach change.

My vision for such a thing is to be a whole-life learning center. K-12, and 18-70. The teachers would be students, the teachers would be community members, the teachers would be friends from far away who come to share a unique piece of knowledge when they can. The cirriculum would be history, anthropology, wind mill set up and how to cook a venison meal for 50, after you have learned to spiritually connect with, hunt, skin, tan and store the corporeal manifestation of a deer. Below is curriculum for “K-5” or the youngsters of a community. I think its a cool resource. What do you think?

A K-5 Curriculum for Students in the Post-Carbon Era

by Sarah Rios and Jaime Campos

From the authors:

Will education be important in the post-carbon era?
What will need to be taught?
What skills need to be acquired?
We hope to provide one alternative for educating students, after the fall of empire.

From the Introduction

…Though we base our curriculum off previously established standards, we organized this curriculum based on the ideas set forth by Howard Gardner’s concept of multiple intelligences. Subject areas such as math, reading, writing, music, physical education, and science had preexisting standards that we adapted to fit the ideals of a post-carbon era. These existing standards correlated well to Gardner’s multiple intelligences of mathematical/logical, linguistic, musical, and bodily-kinesthetic. Others, such as interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and visual/spatial had no preexisting standards that could be adapted and thus were created from scratch to suit the needs we felt important for that intelligence.

Based on the authors’ statement here, I have pulled out the curriculum for those chapters as I thought they would be the most informative for an EB audience. See below. KS

Gardner stated that these essential differences “challenge an educational system that assumes that everyone can learn the same materials in the same way and that a uniform, universal measure suffices to test student learning. Indeed, as currently constituted, our educational system is heavily biased toward linguistic modes of instruction and assessment and, to a somewhat lesser degree, toward logicalquantitative modes as well.” Gardner further argues that “a contrasting set of assumptions is more likely to be educationally effective. Students learn in ways that are identifiably distinctive. The broad spectrum of students – and perhaps the society as a whole – would be better served if disciplines could be presented in a numbers of ways and learning could be assessed through a variety of means.”

Howard Gardner’s ideas of intelligences emerged from cognitive research and “documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways,” according to Gardner2. According to this theory, “we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems or to make things, an understanding of other individuals, and an understanding of ourselves. Where individuals differ is in the strength of these intelligences – the so called profile of intelligences -and in the ways in which such intelligences are invoked and combined to carry out different tasks, solve diverse problems, and progress in various domains.”

For our purposes each learning style is mentioned in detail prior to each section, but a short description of them follows:

  • Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence deals with the physical experience
  • Interpersonal Intelligence deals with the social experience
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence deals with empathy and reflection of self
  • Linguistic Intelligence deals with the use of words and language
  • Mathematical/Logical Intelligence deals with numbers and logic
  • Musical Intelligence deals with music
  • Naturalist Intelligence which deals with an experience in the natural world
  • Spatial Intelligence which deals with the manipulation of objects in space

Interpersonal Intelligence

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