The majority of humanity will need to prepare for living a life of dignity, joy, meaning and fulfillment without “jobs” as we have known them. We have actually succeeded in achieving that 300-year goal of creating more “leisure”. Now we have to learn to live with it. – Quoting myself, Liza Loop
When I look around my local community, Guerneville, Sonoma County, California, I see serene rural beauty punctuated by lots of problems:
- impoverished, homeless people begging on the streets and sleeping in the bushes
- decaying built infrastructure
- underemployed job seekers struggling to maintain the lifestyles their parents were able to provide for them
- disillusioned citizens who question whether government can work in their interest
- concern over unsustainable agricultural practices and dwindling wild spaces
- growing fear of civil unrest fueled by local crime and global terrorism
- skepticism about whether our existing educational institutions can actually help prepare their children for an unknown future
In spite of these negatives, almost everyone here is an artist of some kind — painter, sculptor, photographer, actor, musician, writer, landscape gardener — even the homeless are following their bliss in a way. This makes the present bearable, often joyful. At the same time, there is an underlying sense that we are under siege, threatened by a global human society that is rapidly imploding. Our art helps us soothe the pain of our local troubles but few of us are turning our gaze outward and asking how our personal solutions might be used to address the depredations breaking out all over the planet.
One key solution is literally under our feet. Most householders in these parts have gardens and many businesses are very productive farms. This, combined with an ethical commitment to volunteering and sharing, means almost nobody starves here. And, since the climate is mild, you don’t die from the cold if you live unhoused. Even the wealthy have chosen this place because it offers an opportunity to live simply, without ostentation in an atmosphere of sharing and community. It isn’t Utopia but it is certainly a hopeful place to be.
What lessons can we offer the rest of the world from our little bit of success at living joyfully in this local “garden world”? How can we foster the emergence of similar positive communities in other places so that this one does not suffer “the tragedy of the commons”? This blog site is one place for me to offer my vision and for you to share yours. I’ll try to answer some of the questions I’ve posed today in upcoming posts but right now I’m going to go pull some weeds among the vegetables. Catch ya’ later…