As we prepare for the Great Unleashing and think about the beginning steps for developing an Energy Descent Plan for Whatcom County, it's time to envision the future we want to see for Whatcom County.
Borrowed from an original article by Jan Spencer and Samantha Chirillo, edited for Whatcom County by Kate Clark. (Please join us March 5th at RE Sources Sustainable Living Center for Jan Spencer's presentation on Global Trends - Local Choices. )
What might a letter from the future look like like if it were sent in, say, 2030, after developing Transition Whatcom and after numerous smaller communities and neighborhoods started their own Initiatives, encouraging local leaders to make forward-looking, sustainable decisions? A visioning experiment might yield the following results:
“Dear Citizens of Whatcom County 2010,
Here are the best words and encouragement from the future we have to offer. By mid-2010, we admitted that the economic disarray confronting the nation and Whatcom County was not a recession. It was the end of a period of history — economic growth as we knew it was ending. Combined with a changing climate, erratic energy supplies and the natural environment in steep decline, we admitted it was time to redefine our cultural and economic needs.
“Public health has improved in many ways. Exercise is a normal part of life. Junk food is a memory; our food is fresh. We focus on disease prevention, not repair, and every neighborhood has a community clinic.
I am currently in Vancouver B.C. area and recently posted this on craigslist about ''community'' before finding out about TW - thought you might find it interesting.
I found the mp3 attachment interesting. It is interesting how more and more people are rediscovering some gems including music genres that have been outcast to the fringes of our society by the profit imperatives of the decaying economic system. I suggest that a revival in ''traditional'' folk music is long overdue. This is music and dance performed by acoustic instruments by authentic often village / small town folk in group setting with themes based on often rural cooperative and agricultural or nature-based motives, often no identifiable ''composer'' or individual taking credit - i.e., no commercial motive. I hope TW members incorporate this into their lives as by its very social and international nature traditional folk music would be what I consider a perfect cultural reflection as well as reinforcement of the ideals expressed by the international movement.
I am certainly not old-fashioned but I believe we should revive what we find of value. And then modify it in an organic way (with an eye on the sustainability of the values our modifications represent) locally to represent our spice variety of little corner of the globe. This approach would work not only for our local economy (mindful of our local labor and resources) but in all other interrelated branches (including culture / arts and music).
In the 60's traditional folk dance music groups gained much ground but gradually faded away. However, there are still small groups getting together regularly for this purpose including here in Vancouver (I also know of some in Seattle, not sure about Bellingham).
In a search for a healthier sustainable society I believe we should look for a move away from the current ''division of labor'' which has left most of us as often helpless and clueless spectators in various aspects of a healthy life with ''integrity'' (i.e., integral, holistic). In the realm of culture that means we should all practice art, music, dance, etc. (but only after we adapt a more integrated holisitic economy that allows and encourages us such practice), and also adopt practical forms that would fit and enhance such lifestyle. I believe the ''traditional folk dance and music" would be a great step in this more sustainable path.
David MacLeod said:
Very nice Angela, I like your addition!
This reminds me of when Julian Darley (former director of the Post Carbon Institute) was speaking about Relocalized Music and Dance. He reminded us that the word "community" comes from the latin word that means "sharing with." See mp3 attachment below (less than 2 minute clip).
Also, Richard Heinberg has written an article on Post Carbon Aesthetics (http://www.energybulletin.net/21466.html) and Nalla Walla has a great essay on "what role Art will play in the New Communities many of us are working so hard to design and implement": http://sustainablebellingham.org/wiki/wikka.php?wakka=ReclaimingThe...
More articles I've collected on Culture and Community can be found here: