Sunday, 27 September 2015

(4) Size does matter!

Computer games about world forming, starting and managing societies are populair. Starting with a bare land, and building the first house, well… house… lets say it´s a hut for the settlers to live in.
Although I played this kind of games a lot, I still don´t know how something like this starts in real live. 
When the boats from Europe arrived in the America´s it was clear that groups stuck together. People from the same country of origin, or that had the same religion.
When we go back to prehistory these groups were just like a big family, a natural bonding. And for sure they were not a complicated bunch. Everybody thought more or less alike, and could get along with all the others just fine. And if you could not adapt and dared to speak up you became an outcast. So the choice was easy, the outside world was pretty scary, and other clans we not the most welcoming people, so keep your mouth shut. 

Indigenous people have a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory. A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established permanent residence there, often to colonize the area. (WIKI)

The first settlement
With answering this question we come so far back in time that the question of the first man on earth becomes an issue. Oh silly me… I almost forgot that we come from the apes and they came from whatever was before that…
But then an ape-man would have gotten the idea to settle down and build a hut in stead of a nest of sorts. I am not sure the scientists agree upon the how and when that happened.
Normally I don´t go into this subject that much, but because of this article I think I understand why the first man are said to come from Asia and Afrika… its probably because both countries have apes… right? And what was this business with Atlantis? Did we hear something new about that recently? And if that was the real origin, what was before that? Maybe something for another blog entry. :)     

The Term Village
When we look into the subject ´village´ we see a few interesting things:
It is small in size, with a population of a few hundred or thousand.
And the function was not only social but also for defense. 
I read that in Great Britain you earned the name village when you would build a church… 

In the Netherlands a town could get city rights just by asking for it (and probably paying a large sum to the states treasure chest)
For example: The Hague is by all means a city, but it did not get city rights, while the small town called ´s-Gravenzande, where I was born, has these right!
So it is not easy to precisely say what the right name of a place of settlement is.  

For good measure an overview of society size, which may vary per country:
Hamlet - population less than 100
Village - up to a few thousand
Town - smaller than a city… (under 10.000?)
City - bigger than a town… (over 10.000?)
Province - pieces of the homeland that a government cut up as they saw fit. Size: may vary! 
Country - a state with borders which can be either sovereign or non-sovereign. For example: we see England as a country but it is not sovereign because it is a part of the UK.  How big is a country? Or how small can it be to be called a country?! Unknown!

Planet - You can argue about this being a society and how big can it be population wise, or better said when the population surplus is thinking about separating them from the rest. A lot of science fiction films are about finding a new home, and that is normally after we destroyed our own planet. But I am sure the settlement of other planets will happen one day. Just like the Europeans invaded the America´s they will invade other planets. It´s a matter of time.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer


Sunday, 20 September 2015

(3) E-cars

And then there was this article I read on internet about electric cars… (Sorry it´s in Norwegian, but I´m sure you can find something else that states the same)
In ecovillage´s there is a trent to promote electric cars in stead for petrol or diesel cars.
In the mentioned article I read some facts that the car salesmen probably don´t say… or does he?

The E-car does not produce Co2, but the power plant that delivers the electricity does, and that is in the worst case a power plant that is running on coal. I am not going into the details, thats not what this blog is about. The meaning of this blog is to ask questions, and promote to think things thru! If you state something you should be able to motivate your answer. To find your truth your heart and mind must be able to say ´yes´ to the idea.
If you ask a E-car owner about the emission of the car, about how much beter it is than a petrol car? What will their answer be? The story the car manufacture told them? The answer they found out by doing some critical research? Or will they say that it is just cool to have an E-car? Suffice to say some look pretty cool indeed!

The mentioned article states that it is not true when people think, that because we live in Norway, we load our 
E-car with electricity that was generated by use of water or wind power. Norway is connected to an European electricity network, and that precious kilowatt we get out of the socket in Norway might be generated in Poland by burning coal or even worst brown coal… 
And if we think that we should not export green energy, the result will be that that infamous power plant has to produce more dirty energy to compensate the marked in the EU… that was before the boycot getting green energy from Norway.

SO how clean is an E-car then? Is it worst than a petrol car if you take everything into account? The report states that with an E-car we go from bad (petrol car) to less bad (E-car). If the result is enough to think you are making a change in the world, is for you to decide. Do your research! There is so much info to be found on the internet!

I remember a time when we as gardeners in the Netherlands were asked to become a part of the powerplant grid. All in the name of efficiency. There was some scepsis because how a small turbine driven on gas could be more efficient than a big turbine? We were told that a powerplant generates heat that can´t be used so it is wasted. In the greenhouse we could use that heat! The powerplant generates Co2 which comes out of the pipe as a wast product. In the greenhouse we can use Co2 to let the plants grow better and faster. Ergo, better efficiency! 

In that time we pumped the exhaust gasses from the central gas driven heaters directly into the greenhouse creating a 2-3 times higher level of Co2 in the air. Normal air contains 400 ppm Co2.   
´Plants require carbon dioxide to conduct photosynthesis. The atmospheres of greenhouses may (if of large size, must) be enriched with additional CO2 to sustain and increase the rate of plant growth. Plants can grow as much as 50 percent faster in concentrations of 1000 ppm CO2 when compared with ambient conditions´ (WIKI)
What nobody is talking about is that since the extreem use of fossil fuel, all the plants in the world grow faster than they did 100 years ago! How about that?! The same happens with the algae in the sea, that for a fact store the carbon faster than they did in the past: the world is adapting to a new situation and always works to restore the balans.

Conclusion: E-cars is a good idea, but we should be modest about the direct effect. E-cars will be a winner when we reduce the fossil fuel powerplants in a big way. 

Co2 is a thing we should worry about but we should not panic since mother earth survived thru many and worse climate changes! The fact on the other hand is that the human race might not survive these changes. How much can we endure? 

The climate change is not about the survival of the planet, it´s about the survival of the human race! We should always be aware of our actions, never stop changing things we know are wrong. Create a world so the future generations have air to breath. Lets not forget that!

"See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see." 

Dr. Wayne Dyer


Sunday, 13 September 2015

(2) Old wine... new bags!

I wonder if the people that want to live in an ecovillage realize that they will not sign up for some kind of Utopia. As I understand it, villages like ours are mainly places of healing. If not of the body then of the psyche and the soul. I dare say it is a combination of them all. A place of intense healing! A place of intense living! When we say ´yes´ to places like this we will be tested. Our ego will get the space it needs to let itself known. If we live in such a place, dealing with the ego is our task, if we want it or not.
Nothing is ever easy! And living in an ecovillage is serious work if your not willing to let go of the personality  thinking.

The question many ask us is what an ecovillage really is. Well it is like I said a place of healing, but on the surface it is a place from the past. We try to turn back the clock to a time where big cities did not exist yet. Back then we had villages with maybe a few hundred people living in it, and every thing was eco! The world was pure and there was knowledge about how to grow food in a good way. There was enough work for the locals, unemployment was not yet invented. A simple life with just a few butchers, some bakers, farmers, carpenters, milkmen, etc. People that had some talent would start doing that as a profession and others would offer their services for goods. We had no money, all was exchange of goods and services. Houses were made from material that was locally available. If they had a forest, the houses would be build out of wood. Near a river they would make it out of bricks. 

(Historic village in Lithuania)

To look back as I often do, I wonder how that small world exactly worked. 
Was everybody happy? Was everything evenly shared? I seriously have to look in to it, because I wonder if that system was ideal. What did they do to manage conflict? How did they manage to keep the group together?

If these villages were small like I said, then all of these villages were places of healing! Social drama, living together with people you did not like so much. 
There was a time when the townsfolk just accepted and dealt with the situation as best they could. And then the world became smaller and people moved out in search for a new future. Not realizing that your problems are always in your backpack, wherever you go…
… on the run from life! 
Sooner or later the big cities will loose the interest of their citizens. There will be a driving force in people to leave the city and settle into smaller villages again. Ecovillage’s are invented for this purpose: you might say it is a plus-village. It has an ideal behind it, a thought that was behind all villages of the past. 
Back then you bought your bread from the town baker, the milk came from the cows that walked the local fields, the vegetables came from the fields around the corner of the road. For these people it didn´t make sense to go to another town to buy things: they had everything they needed! Well… thats not totally true, yeah up to a certain point they had enough, but what with the things they did not have? Like that special grain the local farmers did not have, or the materials to build or make clothes, animals for farming, seeds for the crops, exotic herbs?
In this way the towns started cooperating, and on a bigger scale; states and countries. Everything became complex and manual labour became a secondary job. Paperwork, banks, insurances, transport… you name it, all created by the new world that was willing to expand borders.    

Eventually there became the need for money: proof that the exchange system did not work? Or was it to complicated? 
By the time we started using money it all went downhill from there. So what is the solution? Some say we should have some way to register the exchange, ´virtual money´? What is the difference between this and ´money´? Isn´t money already virtual? Interesting!

(All of this was once in the hands of a person who thought to just through it in the ditch near the road... crazy right?!)

Not according to the rules I collected a bit more garbage than usual this week… you can´t imagine how additive this gathering stuff really is!  

“Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.”

Bill Meyer


Sunday, 6 September 2015

(1) International


´Life in an Ecovillage´
From now on this blog will be about the ecovillage experience.
What is an ecovillage?
How is it to live in it?
What does it mean?
What happens to the people that live in it?
The future and past…
And most of all it will be about changing thoughts!

I will write this blog in English because to me that is the universal language of the future. I will not press myself in a corner by writing only about one subject, it will be an organic proces. But it´s fair to say most articles will be about the phenomenon ´ecovillage´.

So… to break the ice I make a sidestep to what I said about English as being so important to the world and its future.
I am convinced that one day all the different languages will disappear and only one will be left. The language of the world! In the world of today we are not in need for our own national words, the world is getting smaller and smaller because of our technology. Already on the internet it is very common to use English, and this will develop naturally into our daily live.
In our ecovillage we welcome every year lots of international visitors. The language is of course English! It´s something that binds us. Although not everyone is able to speak it as good as they would like, we can still communicate. Even if we use our hands to explain ourselves, or use some words from the mother language to try if it may ring a bell in the others. 
Some countries are not very willing to introduce English at school though, or do a poor job in stimulating it. Why is that? Is it fear of losing their nationality? Why is that so fearsome? Are we not children of the world? We belong together, we are one species, the human species!!! Fear is never a good advisor, so hopefully we realize one day that we should try to get closer to our neighbors, to forget about the past and focus on a bright future.

(International? Around this lunch table we have 8 nationalities!)

To speak the same language is in a way to think alike. Where people think alike, groups form. This is commonly called friendship, or cooperation.
In an ecovillage the driving force is how people think about the future of the planet. To make a change by doing something differently than we did before. We made a mess of our world and now we have to stand up and fix it. We must act!

Going with the flow is what mainstream means, but where does this stream go? Does this stream need our support or is it better to unsupport it? Mainstream brought us the world as we see it today. A nightmare we can´t seem to wake up from. Not everybody is discontent with how it goes though. It´s a free world so let them!
For the people that want to wake up, there are many possibilities, but non of them is passive. If we want a change, we have to act! And it seems that the world needs us to act NOW!

`What to do then?´ Seek and you will find is the golden rule.
But ´Sustainable living´ is the main instruction that we can start with today and in every thing you do.
We must be aware of what we do and say ´yes´ to. 
Is there a rule book for sustainable living? No there is not, for everybody it will be different.
`We should become vegan` is what one will say, while the other calls us to stop cutting trees, or spoil the oceans. 
Do what feels right to YOU! 
Stop waisting tapwater is such a small thing we can start with.
For people that became aware it´s impossible to let a tap running while brushing our teeth. I don´t know if people still do that, but it´s a clear example. Or flushing the toilet with all the water the container holds in stead of just the right amount. Doesn´t the toilet have this possibility installed: try to fix it yourself or buy a container that does. I hear people put a simple stone in the container to save some water every time it is used.
Will this save the world? 
Yeah… you know… maybe it does! Because after this small thing you will find something else that could be better and you´ll change that. And so we get involved in the proces of becoming aware of what we do.

(thanks to Jacek to take this picture in our village last week!)

Another example that has the potential to have enormous effect is picking up at least three items of trash when you have a walk. Imagine if everybody would do this! Get over your feeling of being too proud to do it, or embarrassed. You should be proud to be a part of the change, forget about the people that see you being a trash men for them and maybe laugh at you (openly or inside). Maybe, just maybe they will come home later and start to think about what they saw and change their mind about what is right and wrong.
…. how about that?!    

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”
Mike Murdock