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The global living project : education for ecological sustainability Sutherland, Cindy Joy 1998

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THE GLOBAL LIVING PROJECT: EDUCATION FOR ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABDLITY by C I N D Y J O Y S U T H E R L A N D B . A . Simon Fraser University, 1989 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R OF A R T S in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this thesis as conforming to the required^standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A Apr i l 1998 © Cindy Joy Sutherland ^ 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of School o f Community and fikffanaJ Ffaw/ncj The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date O&uls Jft. 199% DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT In light of the global sustainability challenge there is a growing recognition that human societies which are not living within the means of the natural world wi l l need to undergo a transformation. In Western or Industrial societies this wi l l require a radical rethinking, reconfiguration and reorientation. In order to accomplish this, education wi l l play a crucial role, but while there have been many educational programs which focus on sustainability they have not been all that effective. One attempt which is breaking new ground is the Global Liv ing Project. It is a six week experiment in sustainable living which combines the hands-on practice of attempting to live equitably and sustainably within the means of nature with some theoretical grounding in why this is necessary, and how it may be possible. What does a program such as the Global Liv ing Project offer in terms of supporting and initiating social change? Seeking to answer this question this thesis documents and analyses the first Global Liv ing Project Summer Institute which was held in the Slocan Valley of British Columbia, Canada in 1996. Using a qualitative evaluation process based on my experience as a participant researcher, and supplemented by a review of significant literature, participant responses to two questionnaires and the journal I kept, I identified seven significant aspects of the Global L iv ing Project learning experience. They are: 1. The effect of seeing and experiencing alternative lifestyles. 2. The impact of mentoring or teaching by example. 3. The out-of-mainstream context of the project. 4. The spiritual, emotional and ritual components. 5. The exploration of the concept of community and the community building which occurred. 6. The acquisition of tools for action. 7. The curriculum and pedagogy employed. These seven aspects were instrumental in leading to four outcomes which are significant in terms of moving toward sustainability. These were: 1. That the G L P participants were led to a greater and deeper understanding of both the nature and complexity o f the ecological and socio-political global situation, and a more intense uncovering and questioning of the fundamental assumptions behind Western culture which are the driving force of the problems. 2. That a great deal of personal healing and/or growth took place for many of the G L P participants which resulted in a sense of renewed optimism and sense o f personal power. 3. That G L P participants were led to a deeper scrutiny and understanding of personal belief systems and feelings around issues of sustainability and to a greater awareness of their personal purpose and direction within the sustainability movement. 4. That G L P participants had an expanded recognition of possible paths for action and of the actuality of putting them in practice. I conclude that i f global ecological sustainability is to become a reality, then we need both to integrate these aspects into other environment education endeavours, especially at a community level, and also encourage and support more program such as the Global Living Project. TABLE OF CONTENTS A B S T R A C T i i T A B L E OF C O N T E N T S iv A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S v i i Journal Entry: April 23, 1996 1 C H A P T E R O N E : I N T R O D U C T I O N A N D B A C K G R O U N D 2 What Led M e to this Thesis 2 The Purpose of This Thesis 6 Summary of Methodology 7 Collecting The Data 7 Weaving the Voices 9 Research Techniques Used and Being a Participant Researcher 14 Organization of the Thesis 17 A Note on Language 18 Who is the "We" I am Talking About? 18 "What" am I Talking About? 21 Sustainability 21 C H A P T E R T W O : L I T E R A T U R E R E V I E W — T H E G A P B E T W E E N K N O W L E D G E A N D A C T I O N 23 The Mechanization of Existence 25 Cognitive Dissonance 27 Uncovering the Uncoverable 29 Moving Through the Gap: Knowledge and Action 31 What Needs to be Taught? 33 C H A P T E R T H R E E : T H E G L O B A L L I V I N G P R O J E C T 36 Participants—or People Involved with the Global L iv ing Project 37 A Note on the Organizers 40 Jim Merkel and the Dream of the Global L iv ing Project 41 The Proposed G L P Curriculum 43 Week One: Bioregional Exploration 44 Week Two: Our Ecological Footprint 45 Week Three: The Community Development Institute 46 Week Four: Sustainable Lifestyles 47 Week Five: Wilderness Adventure 47 Week Six: Working Together for a Change 48 Rhythm of the Days and Weeks 48 Setting of the Global L iv ing Project 50 iv C H A P T E R F O U R : E D U C A T I O N F O R A C T I O N - F I N D I N G S A N D A N A L Y S I S 53 Point One: Seeing and Experiencing Alternative Lifestyles 55 Phil's Solar House 56 Scott, Marie and Cypress's home and Jim Merkel's Cabin: Small is Beautiful 58 Mark and Danielle Breaten's Earthship Home and Intentional Community 60 The G L P Site and the Intentionally Conscious Community 63 Permaculture 66 Conclusion 69 Point Two: Mentoring or Teaching by Example 71 Point Three: Removal from Mainstream Society 74 The Positive Aspects of Removal From Mainstream Society 77 Conclusion 81 Point Four: Support for the Emotional Aspects of the Work and the Emphasis on the Spiritual and on Ritual 81 How Were They Encouraged and Facilitated? 83 Conclusions 89 Point Five: Community and Community Building 91 Why the Emphasis on Community? 91 What is Community? 94 How the G L P Asked and Began to Answered These Questions 97 Bioregionalism 99 Building Community with the natural or non-human world 102 To Hold Conversation With One's Heart 104 What We Learned at the G L P 107 What Participants Had to Say 109 Journal Entry July 111 Point Six: Tools For Action 112 Political Expertise- Grass roots organizing 113 Further Hands-on Experience 115 Conclusion 116 Point Seven: Pedagogy and Curriculum Employed 117 Books Chosen as Text 118 The Example of Kerala, India 119 Four Major Outcomes and Achievements 120 1. Obtaining Greater Insight 121 2. Renewed Optimism 123 3. Finding One's Personal Path 125 4. Changing Behaviour, Taking Action 126 Other Things to Address 131 1. The Use of Native Ritual: 131 2. Gender Analysis of the G L P 136 v 3. Involving Children and Others in Such Programs 139 Journal, September, 1997 145 C H A P T E R F I V E : I M P L I C A T I O N S A N D C O N C L U S I O N S 146 A n Analytical Framework for Education For Sustainability 146 Building More of Us: Individual Versus Structural Change 150 Conclusions 154 B I B L I O G R A P H Y 157 A P P E N D I X " A " — R E L E A S E W A I V E R 163 A P P E N D I X " B " — Q U E S T I O N N A I R E #2 164 A P P E N D I X " C ' - Q U E S T I O N N A I R E #1 166 A P P E N D I X " D " - P A R T I C I P A N T S 167 A P P E N D I X " E " - C O L L A T I O N OF Q U E S T I O N N A I R E R E S P O N S E S 175 LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Breakdown o f i n d i v i d u a l s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the G l o b a l L i v i n g P r o j e c t i n terras o f the na ture o f p a r t i c i p a t i o n and l e n g t h o f t ime i n v o l v e d . 39 vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The completion of this degree and thesis has been a long and sometimes arduous process. I would like to acknowledge the support and inspiration I received from many sources. To my partner in life, love and frustration, thank you Michael for your unfailing belief in my ability to pull this off. Thank you too, for many long and earnest conversations and for your patience. May we continue to grow together and dedicate ourselves to a magical future. To my many friends, old and new, thank you for your love, support, child care, food, beds, books, critical reviews, proof-reading... Especially Pam and Katy Rogers who provided my home away from home. To everyone at Pacific Spirit Family and Community Services, past and present. Thank you for your advice, support and flexibility. To Jim Merkel and those of the First Global L iv ing Project, Summer Institute, thank you for clarity, for honouring my heart, for sharing my pain and purpose, for showing me my strengths and weaknesses. To Peter Boothroyd and Pamela Courtenay-Hall, thank you for your feedback, encouragement, restructuring, and for the role you both played in giving knowledge and space for my voices to emerge. To my mother, father, sister and brother who taught me what it is to love and care. To the waters rhythmic edge, the forest's heart, the sun's shine, the breath of the sky and to the many birds that sang, insects that crawled or buzzed, flowers that bloomed, fruit and vegetables that grew and ripened, while I thought and wrote and struggled. Thank you for your life and inspiration and for the wisdom and solace I found with you. I also would like to acknowledge myself and the energy expended in juggling many things: commuting, motherhood, daughterhood, partnerhood, moving, seeking, working, cooking, gardening, gathering, cleaning, shopping, organizing, volunteering, studying, writing. Student life is perhaps not as straightforward as it used to be! Finally, I dedicate this thesis to my children, Jessica, Juleah and Daniel. May you grow and thrive with a world in which the air, water and land are clean, pure and life giving, in which human relationships are respectful and nurturing, in which the fire of life glows in every creature great and small, and in which the stones and sands, groves and forests are sacred. I love you. Journal Entry: April 23, 1996 It is a raw red world. The stories which pass through me leaving shards of sorrow and anger-are our stories. They tell the tales of lives... and deaths... and sufferings. They tell of our mistakes and blindness. The stories which pass through me -leaving shards of joy and wonder Are ours too. They tell the tales of our loves, our care, our compassion. These shards shine and scrape drawing wonder and blood... CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND What Led Me to this Thesis Upon reflection of his life as a human being in close contact with the earth, Aldo Leopold once wrote, "one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds" (1949, p. 197). In the spring o f 1996 I found the personal truth of Leopold's words. M y concern for the state of the living world around me stems back as far as I can remember. A s a very young child I communed with this world. Birds, trees, grasses, flowers, rocks, water and sky spoke to me via feeling and heart and I transformed what they evoked into song, dance, poem and story which I then told back to them. It was a world full of wonder and joy and excitement. A world and relationship which Opal Whiteley, an eleven year old writing at the turn of the century, captured in her personal journals: Very early in the morning of today, I did get out of bed and I did get dressed in a quick way. Then I climbed out the window of the house we live in. The sun was up, and the birds were singing. I went my way. As I did go, I did have hearing of many voices—they were the voices of the earth, glad for the spring. They did say what they had to say in the growing grass, and in the leaves growing out from the tips of branches. The birds did have knowing, and sang what the grasses and leaves did say of the gladness of living. I too did feel glad feels, from my toes to my curls. (1920/1991, p.7) Like Opal, I too felt the earth speak. Sometimes not everything was beautiful and joyful. Yes, there were the inevitable realities of natural interaction: flowers died, birds ate worms, owls ate cute little mice, wolves in packs tore entrails out of cariboo, tornados ripped trees 2 from the earth and flung them... But there was also something else, something jarring, something which seemed to go against the grain. When 1 walked on the shores of Lake Ontario there was a putrid smell. Hundreds of fish were washed up, rotting. Also the sky often held a dirty haze of brown, acres of forests and the animals that lived in them disappeared and boys pinned frogs to the ground and burned holes in them with magnifying glasses. A n uneasiness grew in me. Something was not right. I learned of pollution, of habitat destruction, of extinction. I learned that much of this life destroying action was perpetrated by at least certain elements of my species. Something is still not right. M y unease has grown. The unwise and unchecked human intervention in, and use of, the earth's life creating and life nurturing systems has continued unabated. There is increasing and ever more complex pollution of land, air and water caused by, among other things: the creation and use of chemicals, nuclear technology, and our predilection for the exorbitant use of oi l and gas based technologies. The destruction of the earth's biological and physical systems which have taken millenniums to establish, continues. Rain forests—the lungs of the earth and the natural habitat for a multitude of plants, creatures and indigenous human cultures are disappearing at the rate of "about an acre a second" (Orr, 1994, p.7). Arable lands and topsoils are continually being lost to dams, human mismanagement and increased population and urbanization. Wetlands and other crucial components of lifesystem integrity are in dire jeopardy. The destruction of other human cultures, social systems and knowledges, (which I found out about later in life), is also continuing, as is war, violence, starvation, poverty, injustice and the erosion of the capacity 3 for humans to build communities that care, both for other human beings and for the natural systems they are so very much a part of. These concerns led me to undertake a Master's Degree at the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University o f British Columbia. Beginning my studies in September 1993, I was looking, hopefully, for some answers—some way to begin to help create change and mitigate the damage I perceived and felt occurring in the world around me. While I did find some cause for hope—some theories, policies, processes and actual lived examples which may lead the human species to a state of living which does not jeopardize the life supporting systems of the earth~I was also further exposed to the magnitude of the global situation and the "hopeful" initiatives, such as they were, seemed like lonely petals in a sea of glass. In May of 1996 I was unsure of what to do with this newly refined knowledge.' I felt immobilized and wept throughout the day at the slightest provocation. Furthermore it was difficult to speak to others of these feelings of profound grief and despair. I sensed that many people—even people I was close to—did not or would not comprehend or share these emotions, or i f they did (perhaps because they did), they did not want to hear about them. A s a dear friend of mine bluntly said during a conversation when I was disclosing a newly found or arising piece of ecoturmoil: "I don't want to know." Leopold had continued, ". . . much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen" (p. 197) and even i f it is not invisible, as is now becoming more and more the case, there are no outlets or venues in our society for such thoughts and feelings, no social XI use the word "refined" here to acknowledge that 1 have for many years had some knowledge of these issues and situations. 4 protocol. Again, from my early years, I have felt and acknowledged a silence around these issues and feelings. They are for some reason unspeakable and thus, one is, at least in "mainstream" society, alone as people around you scurry to and fro, oblivious to, or in deep denial of the damage which goes on. So, I was looking for something. Looking for some way to synthesize my experience of profound grief and loss with positive and dedicated action: some way to locate and pluck out those delicate petals without shredding them or my skin and to then fashion those pieces together into a whole, cohesive form. It was during this time that I began to be attracted to posters and other literature promoting what was called "The Global Liv ing Project" (or G L P for short). Located in the Slocan Valley, British Columbia, the G L P was to be a six week "course" or "gathering" which, using a variety of educational tools and techniques, focused upon the question, "is it possible to live equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature?" (GLP Promotional Literature, Apr i l 1996.) This question and the fact that a whole "project" was being devoted to it enticed me as did the curriculum which pulled together, in a hands-on manner, many of the positive elements I had been exposed to at Planning School. M y wounded self was also attracted by the camp environment and wilderness location which, at least for me, held the promise of solace and possible healing. Being a student parent on a very limited income I did not see how it would be possible to attend the G L P but a chance meeting with Jim Merkel, the main organizer and visionary of the Project, dealt with those issues. So, family in tow, I made the journey to the Slocan Valley to attend the first Global Liv ing Project Summer Institute. 5 The Purpose of This Thesis This thesis wi l l assess the alternative environmental education experience offered by the Global Living Project's six week Summer Institute. The purpose is to address the question: What can a program such as the Global L iv ing Project offer in terms of supporting and initiating social change—change that may bring us closer to living in a meaningful way with the other human cultures, life forms and life nurturing systems of this planet? Through the reflection of personal experience, my own and others, I explore the impact that being part of the Global Liv ing Project had on participants. In particular I investigate whether participants were led to: a greater and deeper understanding of both the nature and the complexity of the ecological and socio-political global situation; a more intense and thorough uncovering and questioning of the fundamental assumptions in which the abovementioned situations could be rooted; a closer scrutiny and understanding of personal beliefs and values and of the impact of individual and collective actions; and an increased recognition of possible paths o f action. I look at what sort o f learning took place, and how this was achieved. I also investigate the implications such a learning experience holds for ecological planning and educating for sustainability. 6 Summary of Methodology Collecting The Data In her book Three Guineas Virginia Wool f tackles the question "How in your opinion are we to prevent war?" (1938, p. 3) posed to her by an educated, upper-class male correspondent. In part she says in her reply: The answer based on our [women's] experience and our psychology—Why fight?—is not an answer of any value. Obviously there is for you some glory, some necessity, some satisfaction in fighting which we have never felt or enjoyed. Complete understanding could only be achieved by blood transfusion and memory transfusion—a miracle still beyond the reach of science. But we who live now have a substitute for blood transfusion and memory transfusion, which must serve at a pinch. There is that marvellous, perpetually renewed, and as yet largely untapped aid to the understanding of human motives which is provided in our age by biography and autobiography. Also there is the daily paper, history in the raw. There is thus no longer any reason to be confined to the minute span of actual experience which is still, for us, so narrow, so circumscribed. We can supplement it by looking at the pictures of the lives of others . . ." (pp. 6-7) In Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, Adrienne Rich asserts that: It seemed to me impossible from the first to write a book of this kind without being often autobiographical, without often saying "I". . . . I believe increasingly that only the willingness to share private and sometimes painful experiences can enable women to create a collective description o f the world which wi l l be truly ours. (pp. 16-17) I use these quotes to provide support for my employment of personal stories and experience as a means by which to gain insight and understanding. The more I can understand the experiences of and impact upon the individual participants of the Global Liv ing Project, the better I can correlate the parts into a holistic assessment. Also, through 7 the sharing of experience we may find validation of our own experiences and begin to see that others also have questions about and concerns with the paradigm that is so dominant in our culture. Story and conversation mark the interface between individuals. They are a beginning point of knowledge or knowing and when merged and linked with others' internal "truths" become sources of power and new knowledge. For these reasons my analysis of the Global Liv ing Project is autobiographical, revolving around my own personal experience, and narrative, bringing in the experience of others (students, educators and organizers) participating in the program. Contrary to the conventions of regular research, the idea to use the Global Living Project as a point of study came to me after the project had begun (near the end of the first week). As I entered into the project I recognized that it was worthy of deeper study and would be an exciting and meaningful thesis topic. During the course of the six week Global Living Project many individual and group dialogues, debates and discussions took place which brought to light the participants' motivations for attending the G L P , their experience's of the G L P and the impact their experience was having on them. I was involved with most of these discussions and, where appropriate and possible, kept written records. I also kept a personal journal. Once I had established the possibility of using the Global Living Project as a study for my thesis, all who were involved with the project were informed of this and were asked to signed a consent form (Appendix " A " ) . A l l readily and voluntarily signed this form. The information gleaned from such discussions was further supplemented by an in-depth questionnaire (Appendix "B") which was created and distributed on site and/or sent, to 17 participants, mainly organizers and students. As the questionnaire stated, it was "designed to 8 assess the effectiveness of a course such as the G L P in taking the first few steps to educating people to 'live equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature'. . . and to assess what sort of learning transpired . . . and to what depth." It was also fashioned to explore the personal experience and motivation o f the G L P participants and to provide feedback to the Project organizers regarding possible ways to improve the program. Most of the questions were open-ended in nature, designed to "allow people to tell their own experiences in ways that are meaningful to them" (Walker, 1996). To date 13 have been completed and returned. Because the questionnaire was multipurpose (designed to further my understanding of G L P participants experience, to allow participants a chance for reflection and voice, and to provide feedback to the G L P organizers) it was quite lengthy, consisting of 39 questions. I also obtained, again with permission, copies of the application form filled out by each long term (i.e. potential six week) student and sent to the organizers prior to the onset of the G L P program. (Appendix "C".) These contained personal information about the participants and provide a snapshot of their feelings and knowledge about specific topics prior to coming to the Global Living Project. There were 11 of these. The opportunity was also present to have an alternative name used in the thesis but no one felt that this would be necessary. Quotes from the questionnaires, when used, wi l l be identified by the participants initials as identified in Appendix " D " unless the context allows for the use of the first or full name. Weaving the Voices On returning to my home in Roberts Creek after the Global L iv ing Project I began to read and reread the questionnaire responses, continue to peruse the literature and to think 9 more deeply about my own personal G L P experiences. I was following a process which I had been introduced to by Dr. Mari lyn Walker in her workshops "Telling M y Stories Helps Me Learn About Myself—Become M y s e l f : Using Narrative in Community-Based Research (1996/97). This is a process which, as Walker puts it, relies on "intuitive and creative processes [in which the researcher] tries to feel what the story is about." At first, the effort to merge all these voices and find strong common threads seemed monumental—like undertaking a large weaving with no frame. Eventually, however, as I continued to read and listen, patterns began to form. I found parallels with what Jim Merkel had set out to do with the Global Liv ing Project, the environmental education critic David Orr's principles for rethinking education (see Orr, 1992 & 1994), and my own ideas. A n excerpt from my journal may best describe this process and these parallels. / am feeling quite a bit of tension around providing an "analysis" of the Global Living Project. There are many ways in which I could "tackle" it. I could use an outline of what Jim, as the main organizer wanted to achieve and undertake an assessment, and while this is important, I am concerned about the loss or displacement of other voices, mine included. For me, and others this has been a personal journey and all of these personal journeys are vital to the integrity of the "whole". If part of the "problem" with our world is in fact our predilection for breaking things into parts and analyzing them in a distinct and separate context, then employing a method which does just that in the search for a holistic context seems counter productive. A nd yet for any good weaving, a strong and balanced tension is imperative: the warp provides the framework upon which the strands of colour and texture can fashion themselves into image and form, can create the cloth and the design. Perhaps I'd be better off procuring a loom and fashioning a wall hanging or a cushion cover to illustrate my "findings". But I am writing a thesis. For better or for worse, words upon paper are what are expected of me by the establishment that will bestow my degree, and that piece of paper and the words upon it are what will enable me, at least in part, to work, with and in the systems which require change. Furthermore, as Neil Evernden reminds us in his Epilogue to The Natural A lien it is words that are important. "Even though it is the demise of earthly forest that elicits our concern, we must bear in mind that as culture-10 dwellers we do not live so much in forests of trees as in forests of words. And the source of the blight that afflicts the earth's forests must be sought in the word-forests—that is, in the world we articulate, and which confirms us as agents of that earthly malaise" (p. 146). So it is with words I work. What words define the tension that I am trying to weave upon? Which provide the structure upon which the strands are wrapped? Which ones provide the colour and texture; create the cloth; give form and beauty? Three things are readily apparent for the tension. One, Jim Merkel's vision action and purpose—with out this there would be no Global Living Project. Two, my own perceptions, needs and purposes—without these there would be no thesis. And three, the suggestions of the likes of David Orr which, through years of scrutiny and thought have eked out some principles for rethinking education and could provide a basis for comparison and inquiry. While I don't want to set Orr to be the unquestionable expert on the subject, he is one of the few people who have deeply questioned Western conceptions about education and our educational structures in the context of ecological sustainability. Also many of his ideas and criticisms make sense to me. What do these three things look like when placed together? I have come up with five strands which can contain these voices and seem to have important emphasis for ecological education: 1. Jim Merkel wanted to create a place for "people already on a path of environmental awareness to increase their tools and understanding and become Ambassadors of Global Living. This merges with Orr's principal that the "goal of education is not mastery of subject matter, but mastery of one's person. Subject matter is simply the tool, one uses idea's to forge one's own personhood."* The aim then, is to use the tools offered by the Global Living Project to forge a new or different way of living one's life. Going out into the world with this "reconstituted self" supports my idea that "as individuals and groups we need to work out how to deal with mainstream society and existing structures and provide challenge and positive change. The power of example is strong and if one can maintain the integrity of a personhood that is in line with at least trying to live within the means of nature then this can challenge existing structures and provide a catalyst for change. 2. The motivation for the Global Living Project can be found in Jim's desire to do "everything [he] can to limit the fact that 'we' are heading for the wall." This echo's my feeling that Western society needs to come to the deep belief that there is a problem, that we are indeed heading toward the wall. Social denial needs to stop. We need to look at the implications for our lives. Embedded in this is Orr's idea that "all education is environmental education...[that] every aspect of education [and I would add, our lives] has to be embedded in environmental realities and contexts."* 11 3. The goal of the GLP as articulated by Jim was "to take the first few steps towards demonstrating and measuring a sustainable way of living that might enable the survival of future generations of human beings and other species. This can be paired with my feeling that gaining practical—real world-knowledge of alternative ways of living which are less or not harmful to the planet is very important. This reflect David Orr's suggestion that "the way learning takes place is as important as the content of particular courses. "* 4. Orr suggests that "knowledge carries with it the responsibility to see that it is well used in the world [and that] ...we cannot say we know something until we understand its effects on real people and their communities."* This fits with Jim's desire to "develop a global family of individuals dedicated to restoring nature." These are individuals who will work with themselves and others, trying new approaches or investigating and uncovering old, and report back to each other. Individuals who, as I see it connect with an ecological sense of self—that self that knows that we are part of the web of life: that we need kinship and integration. 5. This connecting is also a connecting with others of our culture and species. It entails finding areas of mutual concern, opening dialogue and providing support for change. It involves "the power of example over words...and the importance of minute particulars"* or, as Jim would put it, "to show by doing, providing an example for others to see and be inspired by." (*Summarized from Orr, 1994 pp. 12-14) Using these five points as a framework, I began to see i f I could weave the voices and stories o f the G L P participants around them. To do this I actually took a large sheet o f blank paper and coloured markers, made a top and bottom word frame which included: "the world," "life," "human culture," "actions," "destruction," "change." 1 then created a "warp" out of the abovementioned five points, and, drawing from my notes, memory and participant questionnaire responses, used other colours to add participant voices. Eventually, from this exercise—from listening to the stories, feeling what people had to say, grouping and regrouping the thoughts and words—I was able to recognize the emergence of seven prominent features which seemed to be key in enabling participants in the Global L iv ing 12 Project to move towards a greater understanding of the nature and challenge of sustainability. These were: 1. The effect of seeing and experiencing alternative lifestyles. 2. The impact of mentoring or teaching by example. 3. The out-of-mainstream context of the project. 4. The spiritual, emotional and ritual components. 5. The exploration of the concept of community and the community building which occurred. 6. The acquisition of tools for action. 7. The curriculum and pedagogy employed. These seven features combined with the abovementioned five stranded "warp" then began to create a more cohesive picture. This was a picture which, in light of my understanding as student, researcher and seeker o f ways to move myself and the culture I have been born into, into greater congruity with the natural systems of the Earth—to begin to bridge the gap between knowledge and action—made significant sense. 1 called the picture "The Four Outcomes of the G L P . " These outcomes were: 1. That the G L P participants were led to a greater and deeper understanding of both the nature and complexity of the ecological and socio-political global situation, and a more intense uncovering and questioning of the fundamental assumptions behind Western culture which are the driving force of the problems. 2. That a great deal of personal healing and/or growth took place for many of the G L P participants which resulted in a sense of renewed optimism. 3. That G L P participants were led to a deeper scrutiny and understanding of personal belief systems and feelings around issues of sustainability and to a greater awareness of their personal purpose and direction within the sustainability movement. 4. That G L P participants had an expanded recognition of possible paths for action and of the actuality of putting them to practice. 13 These aspects—the 7 features and the 4 significant outcomes—and how they were played out at the Global Liv ing Project wi l l be discussed in detail in Chapter Four: Educating for Action. In keeping with the above theme, quotes from the G L P participants w i l l be interwoven in the discussions. Also, so as to articulate a fuller range of voices, Appendix " E " wi l l provide further details regarding questionnaire responses to those questions which lend themselves to a more concise or condensed analysis. Research Techniques Used and Being a Participant Researcher There are inevitably some possible dilemma's in carrying out participatory research in a situation where you, as researcher, are also a part of the "thing" being looked at or studied. For example, being so intertwined in the dynamics of the situation can be potentially blinding. I often wonder how our G L P group must have seemed from the outside looking in. I became very involved with other G L P participants and got closer to some than others which could affect things such as my ability to hear the voices of all , and my assessment of personal dynamics. Also having fairly intimate knowledge of people can lead to perhaps embellishment or reinterpreting the data. (This is bound to happen in any case, but could be acerbated by deeper personal contact.) As well , being so intimately close to a project tends to accentuate the desire to have it be successful and to be seen to have succeeded. Thus negative aspects, or things that have not maybe been carried out as well as they could have been, may tend to be somewhat overlooked or down-played. I have been conscious of these possibilities throughout the thesis process and have tried to minimize them by constantly referring back to participants written questionnaires and undergoing a process of self imposed 14 self scrutiny wherein I ask myself for honest reflection and impose a "what about this" thinking on my recollection and interpretation. Since my husband and children were also G L P participants, I have, where possible and appropriate, asked for their reflections and interpretations. On the other hand, being involved in that which is being researched—being a participant researcher—has its positive aspects. One is privy to the nuances and subtle occurrences, being able to watch as people change and get a deeper understanding of the personal relations behind the scene of things. One can sense things—on an unconscious level. Most importantly, being part of a project can help erase or reduce the barriers which can arise between researcher and researched. The dichotomy in which the researcher is the objective observer of the subject or object of the research, which has been the nature of traditional research, is eroded and merged as the researcher is also the subject and part of the process under investigation. Ultimately it is the researcher or writer who makes the final decisions and creates the written interpretation, but during the actual data gathering, there is a certain amount of equality, or at least was in my case. M y role as participant—actually being, conversing and experiencing with other participants—helped me shape the research questions and directions and gave me an experiential knowledge of how the Global L iv ing Project effected me. I was also very much a part of the process, taking part in discussion, conversations, day-to-day functions and responding to the questionnaires. To be sure, depending on the nature of the research this participation can be problematic. Janet Finch points out in "It's great to have someone to talk to": The ethics and politics of interviewing women (1988) that "there is a real exploitative potential in the easily 15 established trust between women, which makes women especially vulnerable as subjects of research" (1984, p. 81). This is also true—perhaps even moreso—in situations where the researcher is participating in the research as was the case at the G L P . The familiarity and established rapport can disguise the fact that information gathering is occurring and can lead participants to forget that what they are saying and doing may become part of the final research. As I suggest in my paper Becoming Interviewer: A First Embrace "a certain caution should be maintained at all times, in all interviewing situations, and by all parties. This is not to say that trust and rapport should not or would not develop, but that there should be a constant awareness of what is said (and how that reflects back to the 'who' who says it) and how and what is to be done with the words and images once they are out there" (Sutherland, 1993, p. 6). I believe that in the case of this study this form of research worked quite well . In distributing the questionnaires, and in group and individual discussions, I would remind the participants that I was gathering information for my research. I also suggested that i f there was ever anything they said or did that they would like to ensure I did not include, they inform me of this. This did not happen. Originally I envisioned supplementing the questionnaires and G L P experience by holding private interviews as part of my data collection. But, when I was ready to embark on them, I realized that this did not feel right. M y previous sojourn as interviewer as described in the abovementioned paper had led me to heed the advice of Mohawk interviewer Theresa Tuccaro who said "before I interview I have to make myself feel good first" (as cited in Colorado, 1988, p.53). Private personal interviews did not feel good at the G L P . I could not 16 interview everyone (due to time constraints) and so I would have had to hand select (or use some other means) to decide who I would choose. This may have been problematic. Also becoming interviewer, I felt, would have set up a more apparent subject/object, interviewer/interviewee scenario and I was not that comfortable with this, nor did I feel it was necessary as the G L P process itself provided ample opportunity for the discussion and reflection of issues that were pertinent to the research. Organization of the Thesis In this chapter I outline how I came to this thesis, the real world problem that 1 want to address and the purpose of the thesis. I also describe the methodology that I have employed, the organization of the work and conclude with a note on language. In Chapter Two 1 examine the literature regarding the need for change and the role that planning and education can play in such change. I argue that although there is much knowledge regarding the need for change, there is a large gap between that knowledge and significant action. This problem wil l be theoretically explored. Chapter Three wi l l focus on the basics of the Global Living Project itself. It wi l l describe its birth and purpose, the participants, the setting and proposed curriculum. Chapter Four wi l l flesh out my, and other participants experience of the Global Living Project. From a weaving of personal experience, interaction in G L P processes, and the two questionnaires filled out by other project participants, the seven important aspects of the Global Living Project experience which emerged as discussed above, and their relevance to education and planning for sustainable living are analyzed. As well, Chapter 17 Four wi l l highlight four major outcomes and discuss certain particular and relevant elements. Chapter Five provides an assessment of the findings and implications that programs such as the Global Liv ing Project hold for environmental education and planning. A Note on Language ...fundamental change can occur only within the mind. If we seriously contemplate any meaningful reordering of our relations with our landscape, then we need—in addition to improved environmental protection laws and more recycling facilities—a better grasp of the ways in which language provides clues to the underlying motivations behind action; provides clues, if you will, to our deepest dreams and fantasies... (Annette Kolodny, 1975.) Even though it is the demise of earthly forests that elicits our concern, we must bear in mind that as culture-dwellers we do not live so much in forests of trees as in forests of words. And the source of the blight that afflicts the earth's forests must be sought in the word-forests—that is, in the world we articulate, and which confirms us as agents of that earthy malaise. (Neil Evernden, 1993.) Language is powerful. It is at the root of culture. If we are to transform and realign culture, then we need, among other things, to pay attention to language and its power. Many theses could be written on this alone and it is not the intent of this paper to delve too deeply into this matter. However, in the writing of this work, a couple of the more tenacious terms, concepts or ideas begged for elucidation. Who is the "We" I am Talking About? When I first began this thesis I found 1 had the tendency (as many people do, I have since noticed) to use the collective "we" when speaking o f the culture or socio/political economic structure that dominates our lives—the culture I was raised in. This, 1 came to realize is very homogenizing and grows out of an arrogance that allows such culture to set 18 itself up as "The" culture. The underlying assumption, is that all human beings belong or should belong (or wi l l belong by the time they are reading this thesis), to such a culture and that they adhere or should adhere to the same or at least very similar belief systems of that dominant culture. I recognize that this is not so, but the dilemma lay in the specification of that "we." What should the culture or socio-economic structure that has grown out of the Western European tradition—a culture which the historian Lynn White Jr., calls the arranged "...marriage between science and technology, a union of the theoretical and the empirical approaches to our natural environment" (1969, p. 343), be called? To add to the dilemma there is the awareness that any culture or society is neither static nor uniform but shape-shifts with time, place and other influences. What began, or came to flower (let us say), in Western Europe was exported, with colonialism, to North America and other regions and is even now being marketed and embraced in many transmuted ways in almost every crevice of the globe. The jist o f Western culture is that it involves a world view, paradigm or mindset which holds at its core certain and specific assumptions. In brief this could be boiled down to: the engendering of power; the belief in human (especially male) superiority; the need for domination and power over others, and for separation, universality, objectification, growth and control (subject/object creation); the dissociation of mind from body and of human from nature; the idea that there is one absolute truth; and the fixation with mechanics and technology. (See Chapter Two for a more detailed analysis.) This world view has formed the basic underpinnings of our Western consciousness and thus constitutes the bedrock upon which our societal structures (the family and politics and economic systems) are built. 19 In the literature there are many names which attempt to encapsulate this worldview— all defined, I might add, within that worldview. There is, the 'Developed', the 'First', the 'Western', the 'Industrial' or the 'Modern' World. Each term contains its own dilemmas. First, 'Developed' and 'Modern' seem to somehow construe the idea of progression or better than. 'Industrial' does capture the aspects of machine and technology so prevalent and integrated into the mindset, but with the move to computers and information technology there is the idea (however erroneous) that we have moved past or beyond that. After much consideration and deliberation I have chosen to use the term 'Western', attaching it to such nouns as world, society, philosophy or consciousness. 'Western' is illustrative of origin in Western Europe 2 and also, at least superficially, does not imply a hierarchy or progression, (albeit I am aware that the "west is best" or even "west is bad" connotations are lurking just below the surface). When I therefore refer to, "we" or "our culture" or some other similar thing, it is, unless otherwise specified, the "humans," the "race" and the "we" that have embraced or lived by this Western mindset as encapsulated above, that I am talking about. Two other points however, need also to be kept readily in mind: one, that other cultures and/or mindsets can/could also be Earth destructive; and two, that not everyone living in a culture that could be construed as Western share the same sentiments and belief systems. 2This is said while acknowledging historians such as Lynn White Jr. who maintain that Western science is "heir to all science of the past" (White, p.344), and that many of the origins of Western culture historically lie in the Middle East, especially Islam. 20 "What" am I Talking About? A further dilemma with language came when attempting the designation of terms to describe either or both the present state of existence and the arena in which that existence is played out. I have used phrases such as: "the state of the world," "the planet," "earth," "the means of nature," "the ecological crisis," "the life creating and life nurturing systems of the planet/world/earth." They all seem under-defined and simplistic, and yet there does not appear to be anything else in the english language which provides better illustration. It is as i f the big picture, which is in fact a compilation of smaller pictures, defies conceptualizing and naming. The same is true with things such as the concept of "the environmenf'or "nature" which, born of a dualist mindset, are problematic when one is trying to question or dissolve that duality. While 1 have come to think that the phrase "the life creating and life nurturing systems of the Earth" gets closest to what I am attempting to conceptualize or at least what I feel is under attack or at risk, this is a pretty unwieldy phrase and does not always sufficiently convey the appropriate meaning. Thus 1 have chosen to intermingle its use with other, more succinct terms such as "earth," "the environment," or "the ecological integrity." Hopefully my intention wi l l be clear from the context. Sustainability The concept of sustainable development first came to public attention in 1987 through the publication of the Bruntland Commission report entitled Our Common Future. Since then it has been shrouded in a controversy which debates its appropriate meaning. In an attempt to encapsulate this debate, John Currie in his Ph.D. dissertation Institutional Barriers to 21 Sustainability: A Case Study of Transportation Planning in Vancouver, British Columbia cites Pimentel (1994, p. 37) saying some use the concept to "advocate sustainable growth, which is simply an adaptation of neo-classical economics to include environmental protection, while others insist that humankind must develop new ways of interacting with nature because they believe that the natural carrying capacity of the planet earth has been surpassed (1995, p. 38.) It is in this second definition that the use of the term sustainability in this thesis is located. 22 CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW—THE GAP BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE AND ACTION To support the notion that a great portion of the human race needs to fundamentally change the ways in which it interacts with and relates to this Earth I could launch into a tirade of statistics. I could speak about the hole in the ozone layer; the daily loss of species, of forests, of soils; water, air and land pollution; violence, crime, mass starvation... I could name names: Chernobyl, Three Mi le Island, Prince Will iam Sound, Love Canal, Clayoquot Sound, the Amazon, Africa, the Grand Banks, North American West Coast Salmon, Tibet, Timor, Haiti... I could quote statistics, but this, as seen in countless books and articles and a multitude of multi-media venues, has been done before. These statistics and names have been flashed before our individual consciousness, causing, I assume, at least some pain and discomfort, but they have not led to any resolve. In relentless and increasing numbers the statistics continue. For me, as evidenced in my introduction, the question has always been why? Why do we allow this destruction to go on unabated? I used to think that it was due to lack of awareness, that people simple did not know what was going on. While this may have been true at one time, the evidence of books and media speaking to the issues and statistics such as those gleaned by the New Road Map Foundation show that this is not now the case. In the booklet All-Consuming Passion: Waking up from the American Dream, the New Road Map Foundation cites a nationwide 1991 survey which shows that the "percentage of Americans in 1990 who believed that a 23 'major national effort' was needed to improve the environment...[was] 78% [And the] percentage actively working toward solutions [was] 22%3 (Emphasis in the original.) What, we must ask, is the gap between knowing that something is wrong and taking action to change it? Or, perhaps the bigger, more pertinent question is, how indeed is change—on the scale and of the nature we are talking about to ensure ecological sustainability—going to occur? Much of the literature regarding moving to sustainability stresses the need for radical change. Ecological planner, Wil l iam Rees in his paper Achieving Sustainability: Reform or Transformation (1995) argues that "achieving sustainability wi l l thus require that global society becomes self-consciously engaged in its own reconstruction. This [Rees speculates] may well be an historic first—the first intentional paradigm shift in the entire history of our species" (p. 355). If this change is indeed an historic first, then it wi l l be difficult to locate a straightforward plan of action. Indeed it is difficult to locate a straightforward field of research in which to even locate a thesis such as this which deals, not only with the theoretical nature of change, but also with assessing what actually happens or occurs when such theories or ideas are put into practice as they were at the Global Liv ing Project. The G L P is an intensive environmental education experience which utilizes as part of its pedagogy a holistic and integrative approach and the power of direct experience—ie. participants directly experienced such things as living with vastly decreased consumption and being very conscious of integrating human needs with the needs of the non-human world. While there may be other endeavours which have tried or are trying to do similar things, 3Readers please note that these statistics represent the results of only one survey and questions such as what people perceive to be actively working towards solutions need to be taken into account when viewing the results. 24 these have not been well documented or at least not documented in a readily accessible manner. Likewise, assessments of such endeavours, i f they exist, are very difficult to locate. I leave this investigation for someone else, or some future time. Instead I wi l l provide a brief overview of where the dangerous assumptions which inform Western society may have come from and where we might begin to look for the impetus and agents of positive change. The Mechanization of Existence Many theorists4 ascertain that Western theoretical thought and the resulting real world reality sets humans apart from the rest of the natural world. A definitive world view which enunciates this separation can be traced back to the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions: to John Locke who linked individual labour with the right to own property; to Descartes with his "I think therefore I am" dualistic split between mind and body; to Isaac Newton with his near-mechanistic vision o f the Universe; to Adam Smith's "everyone acting on their own best interest" view of economics; and especially to the interlinking of all of the above. Writing in the mid 1900's the prolific Lewis Mumford began a critical study of the effects of Western technology—the physical progeny of the above world view—on human civilization and the rest of the world. He criticizes the so called publicly embraced technical "triumphs" and successes of the machine saying that on deeper scrutiny: We find that there are human values in machinery we did not suspect; we also find that there are wastes, losses, perversions of energy which the ordinary economist blandly concealed. The vast material displacements the machine has 4See, (Merchant, C. 1980; Evernden, N. 1985; Berman, M . 1984, 1989; Shepard, P. 1982; Griffin, S. 1989; King, Y . 1989; Starhawk, 1987; Shiva, V. 1989; Sale, K. 1991; Suzuki, D. 1989) among many others. 25 made in our physical environment are perhaps in the long run less important than its spiritual contributions to our culture." (1963/1934, p. ii.) As Mumford put it, we did not only create machines as other cultures had done, we developed "the machine." Western European culture carried "the physical sciences and the exact arts to a point no other culture had reached, and adapt[ed] the whole mode of life to the pace and the capacities of the machine . . . . [And, he continued] . . . Capitalism utilized the machine, not to further social welfare, but to increase private profit" (p. 27). Mumford saw that in this mechanistic view of the world and/or universe "nature existed to be explored, to be invaded, to be conquered, and finally to be understood" (p.31). This led to a desacralization of and even contempt for, all that was/is "natural" (and not profitable). This mechanistic belief system which professed that understanding was gained by the ruthless and merciless taking apart or dismantling of existence became the basis for scientific exploration and belief. The non-human world (and any humans who did not fit into the proper categories—i.e. white, wealthy, adult male) was there to do with as science saw fit. It was there to be pulled apart and manipulated. To do so, the human explorer had to remove "himself from that which was studied or examined: vivisectionists had to "cut the vocal chords" (Evernden, p. 16) of the animals they were operating on; groves, forests and other features of the natural world had to lose their sacredness. Consequently that which was studied became a "thing" an "object" whose sole purpose was to supply the observer—the subject—with data. What occurred with this form of "understanding" was what Morris Berman "describes as disenchantment, [or] nonparticipation . . ." (1981, p.2). Rather than envisioning a world 26 in which " . . . rocks, trees, rivers, and clouds were seen as wondrous, alive [a world where] human beings felt at home . . . [this disenchantment] insisted on rigid distinctions between observer and observed. . . . There was no ecstatic merger with nature, but rather total separation from it" (pp. 2-3). This limited way of understanding and knowing the world—the engendering of power; the belief in human (especially male) superiority; the need for domination and power over, and for separation, universality, objectification, growth and control; the dissociation of mind from body, of human from nature and of the unconscious from the conscious; the fixation with mechanics and technology—has formed the basic underpinnings of our Western consciousness and thus permeates every aspect o f our societal structures (family, politics, economics). 5 It was/is not without its advantages. Great strides were made in medicine, home comforts (e.g. electricity), communications . . . and yet the magnitude and narrow scope of these strides left many things crushed and floundering in their wake. The implications of these assumptions for the whole of existence was/is not deeply considered. What has occurred is that these assumptions have become so engrained in our psyche that they are unconscious and remain unquestioned and unquestionable. It is this belief system and the subversive nature o f it which may provide us with some clue regarding the gap between knowledge and action and the nature of the change that need to be affected. Cognitive Dissonance Our Western societal, economic and political systems are built upon belief structures that have little to do with caring for each other and for the life supporting systems of this 5See also Taylor, J. 1983; White, L. Jr. 1969; King, Y . 1989. 27 planet. For example, our economic system is predicated on the notion that growth—more houses, roads, shopping malls, restaurants etcetera—is good and even necessary. (Necessary in the sense that growth is tied to jobs and to tax bases which support existing economic and political structures.) But this flies straight in the face of the indisputable knowledge that we live on a finite planet and hence, a certain, what could be termed cognitive dissonance, ensues wherein our individual and collective knowledge, concerns and actions do not mesh. Because of this disjunction or incongruity we have few ways of dealing effectively with these life threatening issues. Following the lead of Western medicine we believe that what is needed is some form of treatment for the symptoms rather than a diligent investigation and understanding of the root cause and the whole situation. We look at the symptoms, the incidents, the statistics, and think about them and frame them "in terms of problems and solutions" (Evenden, p. xi). But, as John Livingston suggests in his book Arctic Oil: ...issues are analogous to the tips o f icebergs: they are simply the visible portion of a much larger entity, most of which lies beneath the surface, beyond our daily inspection. The submerged mass constitutes the fundamental 'problem,' that domain of unspoken assumptions which legitimates, indeed even demands, the behaviour which precipitates the state of affairs we have designated as 'the environmental crisis'". (Livingston in Evenden p. xi ,xi i) . The dilemma is complicated by the fact that not only are the assumptions which may be at the root of the crisis so deeply engrained that most of us do not recognize them as such, but also that, i f there is recognition and questioning, it is taboo to speak of it. As psychologist R .D. Laing succinctly put it, "we would know much more of what is going on i f we were not forbidden to do so, and forbidden to realize that we are forbidden to do so" (1969, p. 10). This is echoed by Paulo Freire in his essay on Humanistic Education. As he 28 states, "our committed, but non-neutral attitude toward the reality we are trying to know must first render knowledge as a process involving an action and reflection of man in the world" (1985, p. 112). In other words "education as a liberating and humanistic task views consciousness as 'intention' toward the world" (Freire, p. 114). Yet this conscious intention is thwarted by what he calls the status quo mystification: The mythical element . . . does not actually forbid people to think; rather it makes the critical application of their thinking difficult by affording people the illusion that they think correctly. Propaganda establishes itself, then, as an efficient instrument for legitimizing this illusion, and through it the dominant classes not only proclaim the "excellent" quality of the social order but also impugn any expression of indignation toward the social order as "subversive and dangerous to the common welfare." Thus, mystification leads to the "sacredness" of the social order, untouchable, undiscussible. Any who question the social order must be punished one way or another, and they are labelled by similar means of propaganda. (Freire, p. 116) Uncovering the Uncoverable The uncovering, articulation and acceptance of voice and conviction which counteracts and/or disputes these deeply engrained paradigms, is not an easy task and it is one that few are wil l ing to take. Its articulation can cause confusion, or more strongly, can be crazy-making, for, in a very real sense, (see above), it can lead to social ostracism and alienation. In her book Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age, Joanna Macy (1983) asserts that we have conscious and unconscious knowledge that something is profoundly wrong in our world. Yet, this knowledge that something is wrong is openly disputed in our society even while it is simultaneously being supported. For example: we know that we are polluting our air with our automobiles and yet, the automobile industry and all o f the affiliated things (gas stations, oil and gas exploration—corporate power, highways, goods and services transport, our social interactions, entertainment, land use patterns) bring in billions of dollars and millions of jobs into our "economy" and allow us certain freedoms and pleasures. Because we have unspoken and suppressed emotions of grief, anger, despair and powerlessness based upon a profound knowing that something is terribly wrong, and because this does not match what is being acknowledged in the outer world, we have set up, as Macy explains it, "patterns of avoidance and psychic numbing" (1983, p. 13). As she states in her introduction: The present condition and future prospects of our world engender natural, normal and widespread feelings of distress. Yet, because of fear of pain, social taboos against expressions of despair, and other reasons...these feelings are largely repressed. This repression tends to paralyze; it builds a sense of isolation and powerlessness. Furthermore, it fosters resistance to painful, but essential information." (1983, p. xv) These fears and feelings of powerlessness and despair, and the assumptions we hold around them, led us to a state of suppression and social denial. We need to begin to act. To, as Macy would explain it, move from denial and despair to personal and collective power and action. We need to begin to question and rethink the subversive assumptions of our culture and to align ourselves with processes, structures, belief systems, technologies and ethics which wi l l alter the course of our actions. This despair, its repression, and the confusion created by engrained social assumptions and belief systems which have divorced us from the ecological realities o f our existence and lead us to unsustainable ways o f l iving all have a part to play in blocking or stifling the move from knowledge to action . 30 Moving Through the Gap: Knowledge and Action Moving toward the creation of a truly sustainable human society is a monumental task and Will iam Rees contends that none of this wi l l happen " i f people are uninformed or deliberately misinformed on the issues, unconvinced of the need to change, or too parochial to appreciate their role in the global play" (p. 356). He further points out that: Not far below the surface in any discussion of global sustainability is a collective fear and loathing of the implications and potential consequences of taking 'our common future' and the ecological crisis seriously. [And that] Planners therefore have an unprecedented opportunity to practice their procedural skills as educators, as facilitators, and as mediators between politicians and citizens in shaping the sustainability agenda, (p. 356) Others also point to the roles that knowledge and education play. The paper the Georgia Basin Initiative: Creating a Sustainable Future prepared for the British Columbia Round Table on the Environment and the Economy May, 1993 expresses the belief that: A major focus and priority of the Georgia Basin Initiative must be a broad-based public awareness and education program . . . . Without such a program sustainability in the basin wi l l not be achieved. The public must be actively involved and have input into creating the vision of the future of the Georgia Basin. The public must also be made aware of the environmental, economic, and social issues that are threatening the quality of life and sustainability of the basin, and be convinced o f the urgent need to act. Through knowledge, residents must be empowered to begin the transformation in attitudes and behaviours that wi l l be required to achieve sustainability. (p. 44) As environmental educator Pamela Courtenay-Hall points out: education is crucial to reforms that would involve changes in the rates, methods, patterns and assumptions involved in extraction, production, distribution, consumption, disposal and storage for two reasons . . . . First, these reforms require life changes that are profound for many people in industrialized societies, and counter to the goals instilled in us by that other vast educational system, television and advertising. Second, these reforms require structural changes that take energy, know-how, and political wi l l to 31 effect. In sum they involve altered expectations, altered daily life practices, altered infrastructures, altered understandings of responsibilities and rights, greater citizen involvement in decision-making and implementation, and even altered taxation systems. Such changes don't come easily, and in societies based on respect for the individual and respect for majority w i l l , they cannot be imposed on people. So, i f the view that radical reform is needed is correct, then education is the primary way to help make it happen. (1997, p. 21) David Orr also reaches a similar conclusion in his introduction to Earth in Mind suggesting that "ultimately . . . the ecological crisis concerns how we think and the institutions that purport to shape and refine the capacity to think" (1994, p. 2). The fact that radical reform is needed and that education and the human capacity to think and change are crucial to that reform is widely accepted. But many questions remain. Education is a very broad term and as David Orr points out "it is worth noting that this [planetary destruction] is not the work of ignorant people. Rather it is largely the result of work by people with B A s , BSs, L L B s , M B A s , and PhDs" (1994, p. 7). He makes the further point that "education is no guarantee of decency, prudence, or wisdom [and that] more of the same kind of education wi l l only compound our problems" (1994, p. 8). Indeed our existing educational systems and institutions have been built upon and serve to perpetrate many of the assumptions which form the submerged portion of the abovementioned iceberg. So, in the interest of a widespread collective movement toward sustainability, we must ask: What kind of education is needed? Taught by whom, how? And furthermore, who wi l l make these decisions and by what processes? 32 What Needs to be Taught? There is an emerging body of literature which theoretically constructs the elements which must be contained in "educating people to become contributors to sustainability" (B .C . Round Table, p. 45). (See also Orr, D . 1992, 1994; Roseland, M . 1992, 1997; Aberley, D. Ed. 1994.) In his Foreword to Rediscovery: Ancient Pathways—New Directions, the environmentalist David Suzuki outlines two crucial changes we must make: we have to undergo a profound change in attitude and perception. We have to first identify ourselves, again, as animals. Like all other animals, we require clean air, water, and earth. We are members of an ecosystem in which stability and continuity are possible only when we stay in balance with other living creatures; and . . . we also need a renewed sense o f earth as home; belonging to the land, connected to all other living things. (Suzuki, 1989. pp. 13-14) Morris Berman attests, in his book of the same name, that what is needed is a "reenchantment of the world" (1981). He sees that one of the crucial dilemma of the scientific paradigm was that scientific practice and the society it was based upon did not link the questions, "What can 1 know?" and "How shall I live?" (1981, p. 255). What is needed is to link the knowledge and intellectual analysis of our heads with what we know in our hearts and Berman's heart knows that: . . . in some relational sense, everything is alive; that non-cognitive knowing, whether from reams, art, the body, or outright insanity, is indeed knowing; that societies, like human beings are organic, and the attempt to engineer either is destructive; and finally, that we are living on a dying planet, and that without some radical shift in our politics and consciousness, our children's generation is probably going to witness the planet's last days. (1981, p. 271) In the province of British Columbia, one of the few government supported agencies which is mandated to look at issues of sustainability is the British Columbia Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. The document Towards Sustainability: Learning for 33 Change (1994, p. 53) provides one comprehensive overview of what a broad-based, public eduction strategy should contain. It is as follows: Sustainability is a complex idea. Understanding sustainability requires some knowledge of environmental, economic, and social issues, and how these issues are interrelated. Learning to put sustainability principles into practice every day is a profound, life-changing process that must take place in gradual stages to become a permanent, life-long commitment. The steps each person wi l l need to take to become a contributor to sustainability are: Become aware of sustainability as a new idea that may provide solutions to chronic environmental, economic and social problems. Become convinced that sustainability is an important and achievable goal, on a personal, community, provincial and global level. Gain an understanding of sustainability and how the elements of the environment, the economy and our social systems are interconnected. Make appropriate lifestyle changes that contribute to sustainability, such as practicing the "Three R's" (reduce, reuse, recycle) at home and in the workplace, changing transportation and consumption habits, minimizing the use o f toxic substances, using non-renewable resources conservatively, and pursuing life-long learning. Develop skills in critical analysis and learn to participate in consensus-based decision-making in the community, schools, workplace, and other settings. Take the initiative to broaden work skills needed to fully participate in a sustainable economy. Learn to see issues from a global, long-term perspective, rather than only a narrow, self-interested perspective, and become an active agent for change by influencing others to do the same. 34 Bioregionalists such as Peter Berg and Raymond Dasmann stress the need for reinhabitation which means: . . . learning to live-in-place in an area that has been disrupted and injured through past exploitation. It involves becoming native to a particular place through becoming aware of the particular ecological relationships that operate within and around it. It means understanding activities and evolving social behaviour that w i l l enrich the life of that place, restore its life-supporting systems, and establish an ecologically and socially sustainable patter of existence within it. Simply stated it involves becoming fully alive in and with a place. It involves applying for membership in a biotic community and ceasing to be its exploiter, (p. 35) Such genuine experience, Berg, Dasmann and other bioregionalists contend, is instrumental in transforming the human to non-human world relationship and can provide the ground, so to speak, for a new paradigm or belief system to emerge and grow. While we could (and should) re-evaluate, assess and quibble with the contents of strategies such as these the point I want to make is that while there are at least emerging ideas in place which elicit what could be done—what educating for sustainability might look like—there seems to be a dearth of effective strategies and programs for carrying these awareness and knowledge raising theories out. More work needs to be done at the action stage. We need to know more about how to provide an environmental education experience that wi l l lead to people changing their attitudes and behaviours. This is what attracted me to the Global Liv ing Project for it is one innovative and ground-breaking approach that is attempting to provide and provoke learning for sustainability and, as such, it is worthy of documentation and analysis. 35 CHAPTER THREE: THE GLOBAL LIVING PROJECT I write about the Global Liv ing Project because it provides at least the beginnings of an important model for an approach to use education to bring about positive cultural and social change. At least in the context o f British Columbia, it is a unique endeavour. While there are many retreat type of ventures which emphasis learning about the self through nature I have never heard of a course where the primary raison d' etre was to come together, actually live with less and focus on the planetary situation. As the main organizer, Jim Merkel said in discussion during the 1996 G L P , "the G L P fills a void. I have not seen much being offered which brings issues such as Deep Ecology, right livelihood, North/South equity and species equity into discussion." In many ways the Global L iv ing Project is an attempt at putting many of the aforementioned principles for education for sustainability into practice. The Global Living Project was an experience that made an impact on my life. It led me to find further knowledge and support, deepen my convictions and to solidify my direction and purpose, so I also write this to clarify for myself and others, why and how this was possible and to investigate why a project such as this is important in a social or global sense or context. In the larger global context, this is a case study of a grassroots, collective effort at coming to grips with some of the major issues facing the planet and of what, i f anything can we do to make a difference. 36 Participants—or People Involved with the Global Living Project Given the interactive, interdisciplinary and inter-relational nature of the program it is impossible to qualitatively categorize those involved with the G L P into traditional roles. However, for the sake of providing a flavour of the interactions involved and to pinpoint more exactly in what capacity people responded in discussions and to the questionnaire I have created a three category classification. The categories are as follows: 1. Organizer/leader depicts those who had or helped with the vision of the G L P and were integral to its organization and workings. For the most part these people were volunteers. 2. Student/researcher refers to those who, in some form or another, paid tuition and came to learn and grapple with the proposed research question "Can we live equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature?" 3. Educator/facilitator describes those who were invited by the organizers to come and share their knowledge and/or expertise. For the most part these people received little or no remuneration for their work. With a "living" program such as the G L P , however, the traditional lines of distinction are extremely blurry and cannot be adequately expressed in the conventional language of education. In most cases each person, to varying degrees, filled a multitude of roles. Organizers/leaders were also students/researchers and educators/facilitators and many educator/facilitators, for varying lengths of time, were part of the G L P community and thus were also students/researchers and organizers/leaders. Students also filled all roles. There was too the added dimension of time as the program was set up in such a way that people could come for all or specific parts of it. 37 The "lines" were, on the part of the organizers, consciously and intentionally blurry. In the emerging ethos of "living sustainably" we all have much to learn from and to teach each other, and still more to collectively investigate and explore. Furthermore, since any serious movement toward change must question and challenge existing structures and process, one concrete and effective way to do so is actually to "try on" new structures and processes. Perhaps a better approach would be to call everyone involved a "participant", but in many ways that is too generic a term. Although the lines were blurry, there were still some distinctions. "Experts" and elders did come to talk with others about the planetary situation and to pass on what they have learned; "students" did come to learn; and organizers worked long and hard before, during and after the six week program. Table number 1, below depicts the number of participants in terms of the nature of their participation and the length of time, in the six week period, they were involved with the project. In total 53 people—25 adult student/researchers, 5 children, 5 organizers/leaders, and 18 educator/facilitators had direct involvement with the program. The ages ranged from 2 to 72. Aside from these participants there were also members of the existing intentional community and their friends and relations and people from the wider community who had some interaction with the project. Excluding a panel discussion held during the first week of the project which approximately 50 members of the surrounding community attended, another 7 adults and 1 child from the immediate community also had quite extensive and ongoing interaction with the Global L iv ing Project. These numbers give an overview but they leave out the stories and personalities behind the individuals and the interpersonal interaction. More wi l l be related within the body 38 of the thesis and also Appendix " D " provides a brief synopsis of each individual. Perhaps two things to readily note about the numbers are: one—that 11 student/researchers stayed for the bulk o f the program (from 4 to 6 weeks) and two—that a significant number o f educators became part of the G L P community. Six stayed for two weeks and five for one to two days, participating in meals and "rituals" and more "casual" interaction. Duration of Interaction Number of Students/ Researchers Number of Children Number of Organizers/ Leaders Number of Educators/ Facilitators 6 weeks 7 2 4 5 weeks 2 4 weeks 2 1 3 weeks 2 weeks 2 -> 6 1 week J 1 - 2 days 2 5 less than 1 day 7 7 T O T A L S 25 5 5 18 Table 1: Breakdown of individuals participation in the Global Living Project in terms of the nature of participation and length of time involved. (See Appendix "D" for a detailed list of those involved.) 39 A Note on the Organizers Another thing to note is that no one involved in organizing and/or running The Global Liv ing Project received any financial remuneration for their efforts. Instead it was a labour of love and spirit for Jim Merkel, Patty Kelley, Gabi Sittig, Mir iam Mason, Stephan Martineau, Jan Inglis and Janette Mcintosh. Jim and Patty organized and undertook a rigorous West Coast promotional tour. Jim and Mir iam planned the schedule and arranged speakers, site visits, the Panel discussion, and other educators. Gabi ordered all of the food, slashing items off the list in order to retain congruency with the dwindling budget (which decreased as a result of the economic situation of the participants). She also arranged to lease the necessary land for a garden and planted, weeded, and drove to and fro keeping us in fresh veggies and other necessary items. Patty and Gabi organized meals and did the bulk of meal preparation (at least for the first 3 weeks) aided always by one or two other participants. Mir iam, Stephan M . , Jan and Janette shared the visioning—Janette working at the University of British Columbia end of things, and Stephan M . oversaw the building of the Straw Bale community hall. And everyone, including many local friends and neighbours, and some students (in particular Tom and Genie), worked long and hard on the community hall and site preparation. It goes without saying, but I wi l l say it anyway, this could not have happened if it were not for the time, dedication and heartfelt will and determination of these people. It was much hard work, made even more difficult by the fact that while the organizing was underway, personal tragedies (see Chapter Four: support for the emotional aspects of the work) and the political struggles to protect the Slocan lands and watersheds from logging 40 demanded necessary attention. Also , given the financial situation of many of the participants, and the unwillingness of the organizers to turn anyone away for financial reasons, i f these people had been paid, this would have impacted quite significantly on who was able to participate. Jim Merkel and the Dream of the Global Living Project The seeds for the Global Living Project began their lives in the heart of Jim Merkel. Many years ago, Jim did not have such ecologically concerned sentiments. A self confessed "recovering" engineer, Jim "spent 12 years working for the United States military, as an engineer and designing and selling munitions before seeing the urgency of the earth's problems. For the past 6 years he has volunteered his energy towards global sustainability, deep ecology and world peace"(GLP Promotional Literature, 1996). Financially independent (due to his unfailing adherence to the "Your Money or Your Life" program set out by the New Road Map foundation)6 and living on an investment income o f approximately $5,000 U.S. per year, Jim now devotes his time to, in his own words, "doing everything I can to limit the fact that "we" [humanity and the planet] are heading for the wal l ." 7 The Global L iv ing Project is one vision in which Jim sees the possibility o f mitigating future planetary destruction. While undertaking research in Kerala, India he began "to ask 6See Pedagogy and Curriculum section for more information about this Foundation and the Your Money or Your Life program. 7This, and the following quotes by Jim Merkel were from a group discussion held at the Global Living Project site during the 1996 GLP. 41 what a truly sustainable human lifestyle would look and feel like, and to envision the creation of a community that would explore this question, work at creating a model, and invite others to experience and learn from them." As he says, "most people think of living sustainably as what they are wil l ing to do. Often this has no real relationship to or reflection of what the world actually needs." While Jim's full vision entails the creation of a year round living community, he began in 1996 with the establishment of a 6 week summer program or institute. Aside from hoping to connect with individuals interested in coming together to "create an example of a bioregional community that values all life equally" ( G L P promotional literature, 1996), Jim hoped the G L P experience would be a forum for those involved to "really look at consumption without guilt or blame. A chance to be honest with oneself regarding your impact." He also hoped it would be a situation where we would each "blow wind in each others sails," providing support, encouragement and fuel for action. According to Jim, "the heart of the Global L iv ing Project is to learn whether it is possible for a community to live equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature—to take the first few steps towards demonstrating and measuring a sustainable way of living that might enable survival of future generations of human beings and other species" ( G L P promotional literature, 1996). The G L P is predicated on Jim's conviction that "the human is an incredibly creative and caring species capable of managing its own affairs in such a way that the earth wi l l restore i t se l f and on the belief that "the amazing power and magic of only one person dedicated to restoring nature is immeasurable." 42 In a world or situation where it is becoming obviously clear that collective and interactive action is desperately needed, this emphasis on the individual may seem misguided. The history of change, however, is full of significant individuals whose actions have inspired others and brought issues to world attention: Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and Rachel Carson, to name but a few. To my mind there are many levels for action and inspiration, and the actions of dedicated individuals is but one cog in the process of regaining and maintaining the ecological integrity of the Earth. For Jim, the vision of the Global Liv ing Project is to "develop a global family of such individuals." He sees several possibilities for creating this. One way would be having people from various parts of the globe come to the G L P site in the Slocan Valley—as both teacher and student—and return to their home countries and begin (or enhance) community change work there. Another way would be to have a group or individuals connected to the British Columbia G L P site (or sites is this ever becomes the case) go to other countries and cultures to investigate and learn from their ways of knowing and being. At the 1996 G L P the possibility of having a group go to Kerala, India to carry out further research was discussed. (See Chapter Four—Curriculum and Pedagogy for more information about Kerela.) The Proposed GLP Curriculum To make his dream a reality, Jim gathered together a host of people and techniques he had personal contact and experience with and set up, with help from close friends and other 43 individuals, a 6 week curriculum. The proposed essence of each week was as follows: (Sections in quotation marks denote excerpts taken from G L P promotional literature, 1996.) Week One: Bioregional Exploration Week one was entitled "Bioregional Exploration" and was to include: "Mapping of soils, vegetation, water, animal habitat, edible plants, medicinal herbs, sacred places, human interactions and our surrounding watersheds. Students were to discuss, debate and learn about land ethics, ecosystem-based planning, wilderness preservation and eco-psychology with an emphasis on learning directly from the wild." With such work it was hoped that a number of things would take place: 1. Participants would form a deeper understanding of the ecology of place, gaining a little more insight about how things "work" at an ecological level. 2. A more intimate knowledge of, and connection with, what is actually contained in a forest ecosystem (and by inference in other ecosystems) would be created. For instance participants would learn about the abundance of wild fauna which can sustain and heal us that we usually virtually ignore or know nothing about. 3. Those involved would obtain a deeper understanding of our role (both individually and collectively) in these systems, making the more concrete connection between our lifestyles and the destruction or preservation of these "natural" systems. 4. The "enchanted" emotional and spiritual connection we have with the other "beings" we share our lives with would be re/created or brought back to life. Part o f this week was to learn or be exposed to the hands-on application o f Bioregional Mapping in the hopes of beginning a Morning Star Ridge Bioregional Atlas. This is a grassroots, community based method which gives communities/groups and even individuals 44 the means with which to articulate their knowledge of the place in which they live in many creative ways 8. The reasons for this were threefold: 1. So that the G L P students would gain this tool for use in community action; 2. So that they could create, or begin to create, a series of maps of the local environs to help locals in their fight against logging in their watersheds; and 3. To help give creative expression to the emerging, individual and collective connection with the land. Week Two: Our Ecological Footprint Week Two was entitled "Ecological Footprint" and involved: "Developing systems for monitoring of consumption, spending and waste drawing on techniques from The New Road Map Foundation's book, Your Money or Your Life and Will iam Rees and Mathis Wackernagel's Our Ecological Footprint. Students were to "develop interactive Ecological Footprint lesson plans for school and research techniques for reducing footprints and to explore the psychological aspects of consumption and paradigm shifts." This week was designed to have students begin to take a look at their own consumption patterns, their own A Bioregional Atlas is a compilation of "maps" which show certain and specific features of a given area. The idea was designed to give people back the "experience of place" (Aberley, 1993). Working from a base map of a given area—a map which outlines the area and shows important natural features such as streams and mountains—individuals and/or groups create their own maps. These can show such things as: flora and fauna in the area; sacred or spiritual site; human development—buildings, roads, powerlines; historical records; areas of high sunlight or wind; places where certain sounds occur. The list is endless and the creative forms in which the maps can take are many. Maps have been made as quilts, detailed drawings, songs and at the GLP an idea was formed to make a sound recording. This atlas is intended to be added to, disputed and changed over time. It is a tool through which the creators gain a greater awareness of the land around them and pass that awareness on to others. Bioregional mapping has also been used for specific political purposes. Some First Nations groups, for example, have mapped the traditional knowledge of their territory, marking such things as sacred places and gravesites which gives them more clout in staving off development interests. A map made by a group in the Eastside of Vancouver marked the many places where women had been killed. See also Aberley, D. (Ed.). (1993). 45 and Western culture and society's belief systems, and to be introduced to the concepts of ecological economics which underlie the Ecological Footprint model. It was hoped that as individuals, students would over time, begin to reduce their "footprints", thus being a model for others, and a point of feedback for the G . L . P . and to look at the concept from a broader, how can we change the big picture, perspective. It was also hoped that the students could begin hands-on use of this method and streamline it for use by others. Week Three: The Community Development Institute Week Three involved taking part in the Community Development Institute (CDI) put on by the Social Research and Planning Council of British Columbia ( S P A R C ) and the City o f Nelson. Since such a broad-based, Province-wide series of workshops were being offered so close to the G L P site, the organizers decided that it would be a good opportunity to take part. Participants would glean knowledge, create stronger networks with others working on sustainable community development, and profile and make more visible the work of the G L P . It also would allow participants to experience and support another alternative education effort which focused on building sustainable communities. This entailed moving the group to a new location in Nelson, B . C . for a week. In Nelson we camped on Jan Inglis's property, using her cabin for cooking and shelter. Tuition and fees were covered by CDI bursaries in exchange for volunteer hours (each G L P participant was to do 2 volunteer hours per every hour of workshop time). Children attended either the CDI Eco-camp or went to on-site childcare facilities (depending on their ages). This expense was also covered by CDI bursaries. 46 Week Four: Sustainable Lifestyles Week Four took place back on Morning Star Ridge. It was based upon looking at "Sustainable Lifestyles" and focused upon at least elements of sustainable living attempted by local people and communities. Its purpose was to "build global, artful living skills including permaculture, shelter and energy system design, wildcrafting and healthy diet." We were to visit local homes and intentional communities and, through those who had been there (Wi l l , Anna, Jim), to study the implications of cultures such as that found in Kerala, India. We were also to become mindful of others by exploring shared values and visions, nurturing new relationships, and joining in celebrations. Week Four was also to give the participants the opportunity to explore the concepts of restorative economics, meaningful livelihoods, global equity, world food politics, corporate downsizing, globalization, free trade and international development issues. This segment was included to show practical, actual ways by which people are attempting to live within the means of nature, to model possibilities and to introduce students to methods and technologies they may not have been familiar with and to have them see them in action. It was also included to provide a model of how grass-roots action can counteract larger destructive forces. For instance Jim told us about his work in San Luis Obispo and how a fairly small group managed to get an at first unwilling council to devote a large budget to the creation of a bicycling network. Week Five: Wilderness Adventure Week Five was entitled "Wilderness Adventure" and was "a backpack adventure into surrounding threatened and protected wilderness areas." There were many reasons for this 47 including: seeing the difference between a protected site and its neighbouring clearcut; experiencing the non-human world as far away from our human built environments as possible; connecting with what is at stake and with the healing powers of this connection; challenging the self and gaining strength in that challenge, and; having a break from the intellectual intensity o f the program and some time to ponder, read, write and be alone i f desired. Week Six: Working Together for a Change Week Six entitled "Working together for a change" focuses upon "designing creative ways to inspire social change including art, dance, poetry and popular theatre. It was to be a chance to build strategies to influence mainstream politics, school, corporations and media. To learn how to conduct speaking tours, write articles and produce pamphlets on your research and experience." This is somewhat self explanatory and was designed to give students the tools to take action once they leave the G L P program: tools with and by which to spread the word and hopefully begin to create positive change in their own communities. Rhythm of the Days and Weeks The background upon which this curriculum took place was the G L P camp itself and the structure or rhythm of the days and weeks. Initially days were scheduled to start early—at 6:30 a.m. with an outside (weather permitting) morning meditation and group check-in circle in which those who were inspired gave readings, said prayers, or sang songs. After this 48 participants briefly talked about how they were feeling or elucidated any significant experiences they had, and the schedule for daily chores (outhouse cleaning, hall sweeping, cooking, dishes, firewood replenishment and fire tending) was collectively organized. After the circle, a simple breakfast of oatmeal, fruit, coffee and tea (which had been prepared earlier by a couple of participants) would be eaten. Dishes would be done. Then, at approximately 9 a.m. we would gather, usually outside around the fire circle or inside the strawbale hall (again this depended upon the weather and the need for wall space or technology). Sometimes the strawbale seating would be arranged in a circle formation and sometimes there would be the more formal arrangement of speaker or lecturer at the front and audience facing them. The "classes" would begin and at approximately 12 noon there would be a 2 hour lunch break. From 2 to 4 would be more class time or group work, with a tea break at 4 with goodies (tea—gathered from local plants—fresh bread, cinnamon buns or muffins—usually baked by Patty) over which discussion continued. Dinner was set to begin at around 6 or 6:30 and consisted usually of fresh garden salad, bread, rice, millet or couscous and some sort of bean or legume soup or casserole (all organically grown), and fresh water. A n evening lecture or discussion was often scheduled. Before each evening meal (and often at lunch) we gave a communal prayer. Joining hands in a circle we meditated in silence or sometimes with someone's inspirational words, giving thanks to the earth and the cooks for providing our food, honouring those who were there and those who were not, sending healing thoughts outwards and inwards and asking for strength and energy (among many other things) and any other personal prayers. This grew to be a very powerful time, the silence punctuated by children's giggles and yawns and sometimes by laughter, tears or gurgling stomachs. 49 Every Wednesday evening we would gather for a "Sacred Circle." This was meant to be a sharing of what was in our hearts: a time to voice, in safety and without judgement, any concerns or problems we were having with ourselves and/or others, to search for and let out emotion, to clear the air in regards to personal interactions, and to speak to issues we needed to speak to. (See Chapter Four—Emphasis on the Emotional, Spiritual and Ritual Aspects for more about this circle.) Setting of the Global Living Project The Global Liv ing Project Summer Institute was held on 160 acres of traditional Sinixt Nation territory and now privately owned land called "Morning Star Ridge." Morning Star Ridge rises above the highway approximately 10 miles north east of Winlaw B . C . The North border is an old logging road and just beyond this border is Lemon Creek which was a site for the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. A n old camp area with remanents o f buildings can actually be found on the land. A t the end o f the 1800's, in order to better facilitate gold mining fever, much of the area was burned. After that, during the time of internment, it was logged, mainly by the Japanese "residents" in an effort to sustain some income. It is now an area of mostly third growth, cedar, pine, whispering aspen (etcetera) with numerous berry and plant species taking shelter beneath the trees. It is also home or wandering grounds to black bears, cougars, white-tailed deer and to a multitude of smaller mammals, birds and insects.9 9The brief history summarized from Stephan Martineau's telling of the History of Morning Star Ridge. 50 The Global L iv ing Project shares the land with members of the "Intentionally Conscious Community." 1 0 The following excerpt from a promotional flyer generated by the community provides a description of the community and its purpose and goals: Since 1992, the Morning Star Centre has been co-creating a conscious village, a place where people can experience what it is to live together in trust and respect, where we honour the uniqueness of each and the oneness of all . We feel that this world is in urgent need of community. We offer this land, to those who wish to experience community, to those who wish to discover and further a relationship with this earth, with themselves and with God. (Morning Star Centre poster, March 1997.) The Intentionally Conscious Community is organized by Stephan Martineau and Mir iam Mason. Jim Merkel met Stephan and Mir iam at a talk he gave on his experience of Kerala, India and the need to reduce consumption. He had been looking for a location in which to situate the Global Liv ing Project and, after further investigation and the development of a friendship, arranged with Stephan and Miriam to buy a portion of Morning Star Ridge for such a purpose. While the two "communities" are in many ways separate entities, there was much merger between the two. For instance Stephan and Mir iam and other members of the Intentionally Conscious Community would join us for the Sacred Circle and for the occasional meal. In this chapter I have introduced the Global Liv ing Project giving some background regarding: the setting, the rhythm of the days and weeks, and the people involved-those who came as student/researchers, educator/facilitators, and those who organized and created the project. Jim Merkel's vision for the Project was particularly highlighted as was the This name was changed in 1997 to "Morning Star Centre." 51 curriculum and the reasons and purposes behind the given curriculum choices. The next chapter wi l l focus on the findings and analysis which emerged from my weaving of voices and personal experience. As I describe the outcomes and the significant aspects of the Global Liv ing Project which led to such outcomes, a fuller picture of the Project wi l l emerge. 52 CHAPTER FOUR: EDUCATION FOR ACTION-FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS M y analysis of the Global Living Project included all o f these sources: my personal experience, observation and participation in G L P group discussions; the literature regarding the conundrum of sustainability and what might be important and significant in terms of bridging the gap between knowing that we are living recklessly, and doing something about it; and the integration of participant responses to the questionnaires. As discussed in Chapter One—Methodology, from my listening to the voices and stories and the weaving together of: the literature regarding education for sustainability; Jim Merkel's vision for the G L P ; my personal experiences and; the voices of other G L P participants, there emerged 4 outcomes achieved at the Global Living Project which are important in terms of moving toward sustainability and bridging the gap between knowledge and action and 7 significant ways in which the Global Liv ing Project made them happen. The outcomes were: 1. That the G L P participants were led to a greater and deeper understanding of both the nature and complexity of the ecological and socio-political global situation, and a more intense uncovering and questioning of the fundamental assumptions behind Western culture which are the driving force of the problems. 2. That a great deal of personal healing and/or growth took place for many of the G L P participants which resulted in a sense of renewed optimism and sense of personal power. 3. That G L P participants were led to a deeper scrutiny and understanding of personal belief systems and feelings around issues of sustainability and to a greater awareness of their personal purpose and direction within the sustainability movement. 4. That G L P participants had an expanded recognition of possible paths for action and of the actuality of putting them to practice. 53 The ways in which the Global Liv ing Project led to such outcomes are as follows: 1. That participants were given the chance to see and experience Alternative Lifestyles. 2. That there was a strong and present Mentoring, or teaching by example, occurring. 3. That the educational setting was Removed from Mainstream Society. 4. That there was open discussion of and support for the Emotional Aspects of the work, with a strong Emphasis on the Spiritual (the realm of the spirit) and on the use of Ritual. 5. That the G L P allowed for the Building of Community and for participants to become part of community and to struggle with what that means/meant. 6. That students were given some concrete Tools for Action which, i f they chose, they could put into use or practice when they returned to their homes or wider community. 7. That the nature of the Curriculum and Pedagogy Employed had an overarching effect. Each of these points wi l l be explored in greater detail below and Appendix " E " wi l l provide a further summary of those questions on the questionnaires which lend themselves to a more concise analysis. I wi l l begin with a discussion of each of the 7 significant components of the Global Liv ing Project and then discuss the 4 outcomes. Personal comments of G L P participants, myself included, drawn from completed questionnaires and as captured in my journal and memory, wi l l punctuate the discussion. Participant voices wi l l be acknowledged by their initials (see Appendix "D") unless the context deems that a different signification is more appropriate. 54 Point One: Seeing and Experiencing Alternative Lifestyles The Slocan Valley is, at least in recent history," a hot bed o f alternative communities. From the settlements of the Dukhobors in the 1800's to the "hippie" communes of the 1960's, people have come to this lowly populated and remote region of B . C . to make physical their dreams of different ways of being, living, and doing. While in many ways this can be construed as "escapist" this is not to say that nothing can be learned from these alternative settlements. (See Removal From Mainstream Society below for a fuller discussion on this.) While the modern world has been burgeoning around them, many people in the Slocan Valley have been experimenting with alternative building techniques, alternative decision making and community structures, and living "off the grid" (meaning not being hooked up to government or corporate owned hydro, water and sewage treatment systems.)1 2 Admittedly it has been possible, especially in contemporary times, for the residents of the Slocan Valley to carry out these alternative explorations due to their rather remote proximity to governments and agencies that would enforce more stringent building and zoning codes. But even so, because in mainstream society this sort o f experimentation is either not allowed or made exceedingly difficult to carry out, it is places such as this, which can remain somewhat hidden, that provide the incubators or seed beds for experimentation and discovery. The following explores some examples o f the alternative techniques and systems that the G L P participants were exposed to and some of their reflections on the impact of such exposure. By recent I mean the time since European contact, or approximately the past 150 years. 1 2This is not to suggest that the Slocan Valley is the only place where this has and is occurring. 55 Phil's Solar House Phil Larstone, a Slocan Valley resident since 1990 gave us an extensive tour of the home he inhabits with his partner and 3 children. The house was fairly large, approximately 2,000 square feet, and it was what I would call "fully functioning" meaning that this family ran, 5 major appliances (fridge, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher), a complete system of lights, a stereo, a television, a computer, and a fax machine. This was achieved without being connected to the provincial power system. Instead Phil and his family relied on energy efficient appliances 1 3 and an active solar power system (meaning "solar electricity is produced from photovoltaic cells on site" (Pearson, 1989. p. 79) to create electricity. Phil literally walked us through the workings of his solar electricity system—from the solar panels on the south facing wall/roof, to the "command centre" in his basement where the storage batteries and circuits were housed, through to the actual electrical activity in the house. He was candid about the difficulties he had encountered setting up and living with this system and also some of the things that have been problematic for he and his family. For instance the initial set up for active solar power is quite expensive, approximately $10,000.00 for Phil and his family. When building his home Phil could rationalize the initial outlay because the alternative option—connecting to the provincial hydro-electrical system which was a distance from his home site—was also expensive. Once installed the solar panels were somewhat vulnerable to the strong winds which at times moved them. This meant/means that they had to be physically moved back into place (they were not damaged). Phil and his family also had to be conscious of the weather and sometimes wait to do laundry or other activities that could Some appliances may have been powered by gas. 56 drain the battery supply. Also, the battery system needed to be monitored regularly. But despite these difficulties Phil and his family have lived quite comfortably in terms of electrical appliances, with and in a solar powered dwelling for some 5 1/2 years. Aside from active solar power which transforms the sun's energy into electrical impulses, there is also what is known as passive solar energy. Passive solar is used mainly for lighting and heat. It, as Richard Manning describes it in his book A Good House: Building a Life on the Land: is guided by the understanding that the sun heats all houses and that our job is to make the most of this. We do this by orienting the long side of our houses to the south, and by providing large areas of properly tilted glass for the sun to fall through. Inside we provide large volumes of thermal mass—a substance such as concrete—that absorbs the heat, preventing the house from overheating and retaining heat for release at night when the sun disappears. Finally the walls and the ceiling need to be super-insulated, to retain as much of the heat as possible and to compensate for the poor insulating value of the necessary windows. (1993, p. 184) Phil pointed out how he had applied such passive solar techniques for maximizing solar heat and light. For example: the placement of the house on the lot; size and location of windows; and the dense, heat storing materials—such as wood, brick, stone and concrete used. Phil's use of the above passive solar techniques provided adequate natural day time light throughout much of the house. It also provided a good heat source with wood burning used for extra and backup heat. Active solar systems, for heat, "rel[y] more on mechanical components such as solar panels, which absorb the sun's heat and store it in water tanks, rock beds or the like. Pipes and ducts are required to distribute the heat with the aid of fans, pumps and valves" (Pearson, p. 79). (Phil did not employ any of these active solar heating techniques.) 57 Phil also spoke to us about the ethics of being "off-the-grid"~for example about not participating in the damage cause by damning rivers—and about the effects that human built electrical systems have on the human body and also on the earth's electrical fields,14 and about the fact that even solar power is not environmentally benign. Phil's house showed that there are other, non-traditional ways to meet a household's energy needs. A s one participant stated in her questionnaire: "Phil exemplified how you can continue a business with computers, fax machines, etc. etc. even when living off of the grid: He provided an example of hope for the future" (KW) . This is important when trying to counteract the widely held notion that living sustainably or with alternative technology means having to do without or make major sacrifices. Examples such as Phil's solar house prove that one can choose alternative, less consumptive and earth destructive lifestyles without loss. 1 5 Scott, Marie and Cypress's home and Jim Merkel's Cabin: Small is Beautiful Close neighbours of the G L P camp, Scott and Marie let us tour their small but cosy, built-to-code and well insulated house which cost them approximately $5,000.00 to construct. The hydro-electrically connected house is 400 square feet and is equipped with a fridge, stove, washing machine and bathtub. There is an out-of-doors pit toilet. They live here with 1 4 For more information see the book The Natural House by David Pearson, 1989 and the 1987 based report from the New York State Power Lines Project Biological Effects of Power Line Fields and Dr. Cyril Smith Electro-Magnetic Man, 1989, 1 5There are many arguments made about whether maintaining an "you can have your cake and eat it" stance is appropriate or desirable in dealing with issues of sustainability, but since the fear of change and loss is great in our culture, it may be necessary as a bridging and transition measure. 58 their toddler daughter Cypress, providing an example of how small can be both comfortable and utilitarian. Jim Merkel's cabin too, was an example of living with enough and how small you can go and still be comfortable and have what is necessary. His cabin is also approximately 400 square feet and has a fridge, stove, computer, lighting and a hot water heater. Like Scott and Marie's home it is serviced by the Provincial hydro-electrical system. Jim is extremely conscious about his energy consumption and does what he can to reduce it. For instance, besides being careful about electrical usage, he usually turns off the main breaker during the night and when he wi l l be gone for any length of time. He is in the process of investigating alternative energy sources such as solar and small hydro 1 6 power and of an alternative to his refrigerator. Jim's cabin is serviced by two outhouses but grey water from baths, showers and cooking is directed to provide irrigation for the surrounding greenery. Due to the close proximity of the lands water systems, it is extremely necessary to monitor what is put into the household water, ie. biodegradable soaps, etcetera, must be used. The transportation conundrum The major dilemma for Scott and Marie was that they both worked part-time (in order to pay off student loans, have a cash income and save for future financial independence). Their work took them out of the area and this necessitated that they drive a fair bit. Compounding this automobile energy use was the fact that the road leading up to their 1 6 By small hydro 1 mean setting up a turbine system to tap into the power generated by the flow of water in the streams which run close to his cabin. In particular, Jim is trying to find a method to recycle parts from the many old cars which litter the forest into a turbine/energy storage system. 59 property (and the G L P and Intentionally Conscious Community and many of the other local households) was a wicked one and extremely hard on vehicles. Indeed carcasses of old cars and trucks littered this land, and by other's accounts, was prevalent in many of the surrounding areas. This dependence on the automobile for transportation when one chooses to live in rural or remote areas poses a major dilemma for those who are attempting to live a rural and less consumptive lifestyle. Jim has basically solved the car/transportation dilemma by choosing to ride his bicycle whenever and wherever possible. While this works for him as a single, fit and strong individual, (there are some pretty difficult roads to negotiate here!) there may be greater hurdles to this for others; for example, those with children, more time commitments, greater distances to travel and more physical handicaps. Others people, such as the members of the Intentionally Conscious community, decreased their individual reliance on the automobile by, biking, walking, car pooling and restricting driving to certain days, or ensuring that when the car was used, a combination of many errands etcetera was carried out. Mark and Danielle Breaten's Earthship Home and Intentional Community Mark and Danielle Breaten were founding members of another intentional community, situated on an old, 200 acre Dukhobor farm, approximately 22 kilometres north-west o f Morning Star Ridge. This community exposed us further to examples of living lightly and fairly self-sufficiently. Solar fences were used to contain animals such as horses and cows. These were small and light and could easily be relocated as new pastures were needed. A small, but beautifully crafted dwelling was nestled, with great care (i.e. on raised stilts) into 60 the forest and its musician, video artist occupants ran their extensive electronic systems via a small turbine generator plunged into a nearby creek. Another family lived year round (with a toddler and a newborn!) in a large tee pee. Marc, Danielle and their two children aged 4 and 2 live in an "earth ship" dwelling made almost entirely from sand, tires and aluminum cans. It was an exquisite, very comfortable structure with passive solar and wood heat and a beautiful, permaculture garden in which they grew enough produce to last them year round (supplemented by organic bulk grains and beans ordered through a communal buying system). The roof of the dwelling was also a green area and they were debating whether they should raise goats or grow strawberries there. This structure cost them approximately $20,000.00 to build—$10,000.00 of which was devoted to the sturdy roofing tiles ( if less expensive tiles were used, the cost could be reduced). Beside the earth ship, they had a large sleeping tent and an outdoor, no-walled-kitchen which was their residence while they were building the earthship and is now where they choose to live out the wanner summer months because, as they said, "they loved living outside, hearing the rain and the wind and the birds." 1 7 Like Phil and his family they were completely off the grid, using passive solar and wood for heat, wood for cooking—with a propane stove as a back-up, and candles and kerosene, when needed, for light. The wood they used was from trees which they selectively logged from the property. Marc, walked us through the building of the earthship. First a big hole was dug into the ground, then the body of the house was formed from used tires (of uniform size) which were densely filled with sand and carefully placed—with sand filled aluminum cans put 1 7From notes recorded during a conversation with Marc and Danielle. 61 between the layers for stability—into the conical shape of the house. Plastic sheeting was then installed on the inside and the outside o f the tires to act as a vapour barrier. Beams and a very sturdy tile roof which contained two skylights was worked over the top of the structure. The floor and the walls were finished with adobe, meaning a mixture of earth, clay and water and plastered, by hand, over the inside and the outside of the dwelling. The inside of the house was profoundly and simply beautiful. I personally was surprised at how taken with it I was. The soft curve and smooth texture of the roof and walls lent it a cave or womb like feeling while the wall of south facing windows let in a vibrant but muted natural light—the skylights doing the same for the back, bedroom area. Above all , the earth covering created a stillness in which the simple furnishings and the imagined day to day rituals of living were imbued with a sense of the sacred. This may sound a bit exaggerated but I have seldom been in dwellings which have had the same effect—which felt so right. It was as i f the "Pattern Language" that Christopher Alexander 1 8 so eloquently described by dancing around was set, like Flaubert's Madame Bovary, in perfect cadence. Marc admitted that in some ways this particular dwelling was an experiment. Earthship dwellings have been built successfully for years in dryer parts of North America and have lasted for 20 to 30 years, but in the wetter, colder climate of the British Columbia Interior, it is unknown how long they wi l l last. I worried about the possible deterioration (and release o f toxic fumes) of the rubber tires. A vapour had been installed on both sides o f the tire walls and this would probably help protect the tires from deterioration and protect the See Alexander C. (1977.) A Pattern Language. New York: Oxford University Press and (1979.) The Timeless Way of Building. New York: Oxford University Press. 62 occupants from outgassing from the rubber. Sti l l , it might be useful to perform periodic air quality tests to ensure that all was well . If the outgassing does not pose a problem, and i f the structure holds, the earthship form of construction could provide wonderful opportunities for human dwellings and for the reusing of at least some of the mountains of used tires our auto-oriented culture has created. The G L P Site and the Intentionally Conscious Community The Straw bale Meeting Hall The G L P site and the Intentionally Conscious community which it was connect to also utilized many alternative systems and structures. Our community meeting hall, where we cooked and met for "lectures" and group discussion was constructed from straw bales—an ancient technique which is gaining contemporary popularity. Straw is the "residue remaining after cereals are thrashed to remove the grains" (Concise, p. 1121) which, can be oats, wheat, rye and others. Being a grain producer, Canada has a wealth of straw. Some of it is used for animal bedding, but unfortunately, a great deal of it is presently disposed of by burning. "In California, for example, almost a mil l ion tons of rice straw are burned each fall. . . . Annual straw burning in California produces more carbon monoxide and particulate matter than all o f the electrical-power-generating plants in the state combined." (Steen, 1994, p. 27). Straw bale's properties as a building material include: fire retardness, high insulating capacity, durability, (straw buildings over 100 years old can be found in Eastern North America), fast growing capacity, flexibility and strength, affordability, and ease of assembly (extracted from Steen, 1994, pp. 27-39). Once properly sealed (often with an adobe mixture of mud and 63 clay), the building is highly resistant to moisture. A n owner built straw home can be built at a fraction of the cost of a traditional house and the insulating factor can reduce energy consumption for heating drastically, thus saving, in the long-term both energy and money. 1 9 In terms of sustainable development, straw bale building has great potential. Not only does it decrease the pressure on already overtaxed and depleted forests by providing a viable alternative to wood construction, but by diverting straw from the burning cycle which now exists, air pollution is decreased and the utility o f that valuable plant energy is maximized. Indeed farmers who grow these grains could see increased profits which, theoretically, could result in reduced costs for these grains. In order to promote this building technique on a wide scale further investigation should be carried out regarding: 1. The ecological costs of transporting this straw (compared with harvest and transportation costs of traditional timber). 2. How the straw is grown. For example the chemicals and technology used in production and the resulting pollution and ecological footprint, are factors which need to be taken into account (bearing in mind that much of it is already being grown and burnt and that this process, w i l l , in all likelihood, continue). Growing and harvesting improvement, however, could be made. 3. The amount of straw grown as compared to what would be needed to build in this manner on a large scale basis. Ie. would more land have to be put into straw production? If so at what environmental costs? 4. What it would take to train the existing building constructors and others in straw bale building techniques. 2 0 1 9See Steen, A.S. Steen, B. Bainbridge, D. (1994). The Straw Bale House, for more detailed information. 2 0 Much or at least some of this research has probably already been carried out. It was just beyond the scope of this paper to investigate this more fully. 64 Solar Showers and Cold Storage—Simple, non-energy consumptive systems. The showers at the G L P were heated by passive solar power. The technique is amazingly simple. A large amount of black rubber hose is stretched and coiled in sunny areas. The sun then heats the water in the hose and it (theoretically) comes out nice and toasty. This system needed further development at the G L P for it worked for the first few showers, but became cold after that. What was needed (and planned) to rectify this was merely the installation of more black hose, and perhaps a better schedule having some take advantage of the morning sun and shower at midday. Plans too were to have the kitchen hooked up to such a system. Because this was not yet in place, we needed to heat water on the outside fire or the wood stove which was an unnecessary consumption of wood. As the sun can be used for heating, the earth can be used for temperature regulation. While we did have a refrigerator at the G . L . P . site, it was not large enough to hold all our perishable goods. For this reason, and for experimentation purposes, a cold storage—a small room dug into the ground under the straw bale structure—was built by G L P participants. It was further insulated with straw bales, and served as refrigeration which kept our produce cool and staved off perishability. Living Happily with Less Perhaps one o f the greatest Alternative L iv ing approach lessons learned at the G L P was that of the possibility of simpler living. Jim wanted participants to "believe that Global Living can be fun, healthy, fulfilling and rewarding by actually attempting to live it [for he believed that] behaviour changes can change our paradigms" ( G L P questionnaire #2— Appendix "B") . O f the 13 people who responded to Questionnaire #2, only one did not feel 65 that their personal consumption went down quite significantly during the 6 weeks of the G L P . This was mainly due to the fact that prior to the G L P they had a very low consumption lifestyle, l iving in their van and eating mainly uncooked foods. The twelve that did believe that their consumption decreased felt that this was mainly due to different ways of eating and obtaining food, limited automobile use, limited access to places to purchase things, and different entertainments and uses of time. At least in the material realm most of us learned that we can live with less and do so while feeling that we were living a very high quality of life. ( A l l participants said in response of question #29 on questionnaire 2, that they felt their quality of life had increased during the six weeks of the G L P . ) Indeed, in our crude calculation of our ecological footprint, we were surprised at how much ecological impact even this simpler lifestyle yielded. Permaculture Gregoire Lamoureux, a Slocanian and founder of the Kootenay Permaculture Institute located in Nelson, British Columbia, spent four days with us and introduced us to the science and art of permaculture or "Permanent Agriculture." This is a system for growing food, an "interdisciplinary earth science" which was developed by the Australian, B i l l Moll ison. As Moll ison describes it, Permaculture: . . . is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystem which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration o f landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. (1988. pp.12) In his paper, "Achieving Sustainability: Reform or Transformation", Wil l iam Rees, ecological planner and co-author of Our Ecological Footprint, describes Mollison's book Permaculture 66 as "the most comprehensive guide to the ecological restructuring of society" (p. 356). M y experience with Permaculture, at the Global L iv ing Project and in subsequent investigation, has convinced me of the validity of such an assertion. The development of the Permaculture potential (or other ecosystem sensitive food producing systems) is of great importance for any sustainable human settlement.21 If one needs further convincing of the need to take back the responsibility of feeding ourselves in a way that is gracious to and enhancing of the earth's ecosystems, the reading o f Kenny Ausubel's Seeds of Change: The Living Treasure (1994) should remove all doubt. Ausubel exposes, not only the catastrophic legacy of modern agricultural practices on soils, forests and water systems, but also the effect that the corporatizing of agriculture has had on the biotic gene pool. The statistics and practices are frightening: O f the cornucopia of reliable cultivated food plants available to our grandparents in 1900, today 97 percent are gone. Since the arrival of Columbus, 75 percent of native food plants have disappeared in the Americas (p. 64). In 1991, 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides were applied in the United States and sales that year of conventional pesticides alone, which comprise just half the total, equalled $7.78 billion (U . S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1992. in Ausubel p. 72 ) The creation of "non-open-pollinating hybrids" (p. 67)—plants that do not produce seeds which wi l l reproduce—and the patenting and control of these seeds by a few multi-national corporations as reached endemic proportions. These practices have eroded genetic diversity, have stripped the control of food growing out of individual farmers hands, and are Many indigenous cultures (past and present) obtain their food and building materials using what would now be coined permaculture "techniques" and "ethics". Indeed Mollison himself did much research in the area of Indigenous agriculture and food obtaining methods and philosophies in the development of Permaculture. I do not exclude these cultures and practices when I speak about Permaculture potential. 67 extremely chemical and irrigation dependant. The fact that only a small number of these new hybrid, corporate owned species grow the bulk of the worlds food is a disaster waiting to happen. Variety is not only the spice of life, but the very staff of life. Diversity is nature's fail-safe mechanism against extinction. It provides the vast genetic pool of accumulated experiences and characteristics from which change can originate. Any banker recommends a diversified portfolio in case one stock fails. The most unpredictable future in history may be upon us, and by diminishing diversity, we are shrinking the genetic pool that is the very source of our biological options for survival, (p. 22) A s seed specialists Fowler and Mooney suggest: "The loss of genetic diversity in agriculture--silent, rapid, inexorable—is leading us to a rendezvous with extinction, to the doorstep of hunger on a scale we refuse to imagine" (p.63). Gregoire's teaching method Gregoire's integrative method of teaching worked very well. On the first day he came to the G L P site and presented the theoretical grounding of Permaculture which was supplemented by slides. The next day we went to his home to see, an established permaculture "garden". This visit allowed us to experience a physical manifestation of the theory we had been introduced to and instilled in many of us an increased belief in the fact that so called "alternative ways" can both nurture and even heal the soils and earth systems and increase the quality of human life. Gregoire's site was both a place of beauty and utility. Herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruits grew in profusion with an underlying pattern of order. A multitude of insects zoomed around (permaculture deals effectively with plant destructive insects by also attracting plant beneficial insects). Although, to this point this garden has taken a great amount o f Gregoire's energy to build, as a permaculture site gets established the 68 maintenance necessary is much less than traditional gardening methods2 2 thus making it possible for a small number of people to grow a significant amount of food. Gregoire presently gets almost all of his fruit and vegetable needs met by his garden and has a surplus which he trades for other items, such as grains and beans. Permaculture does not always depend on a completely vegetarian diet. Animal , including human manure—which, incidentally Greg composts—aids greatly in soil fertilization and so animals are usually incorporated in Permaculture design. For the next two days, Gregoire came back to the G L P site where we toured the area (with new eyes) to envision how Permaculture might be established there thus creating an annual human food supply. Due to the forest location of the Global Living Project there were some concerns that needed to be addressed. For example, the planting o f fruit trees and the keeping of livestock would in all likelihood attract bears, cougars and raccoons and other animals. Also the need for more space and sunlight could mean the need to remove some trees. While Jim and Gregoire's initial idea was that we would create a plan and begin to implement it, it was recognized that this was too ambitious for the available time frame. Participants did however, prepare an extension to Jim's existing garden learning a cardboard with soil overlay technique. Conclusion So what did all this mean? Could these techniques for trying to live more lightly on the planet and reduce energy consumption and materials used be transposed to other 2 2 For example, the soil is not dug and the plants not moved or rotated. Plants are also strategically placed around animal sites so that the system takes care of feeding, i.e. hazel nuts are grown over a pig enclosement. As the nuts fall down, the pigs eat the nuts.... For more examples, see Mollison's books. 69 situations? Do they have any role to play in living more sustainably? As previously mentioned, some o f these alternative situations have been aided by the fact that they occur or exist in places with relaxed or unenforced building or zoning regulations. Some things, i.e. outhouses, grey water, use of non-traditional building structures and materials would be difficult to get away—and indeed could become more problematic—within more highly populated and regulated areas.23 However, all o f these techniques, as they are or with modification, can and do work and can, furthermore, be adapted to other areas, even urban sites, keeping in mind that the use of different or alternative technologies is very site or area specific. The main benefit of seeing them in action is just that: seeing them in action. Seeing first hand that people actually use these technologies and hearing about their experiences of using them is much more powerful than just attending a lecture or reading about them in some planning or architectural journal, albeit combining this knowledge is also powerful. Seeing things on the ground and in action leads one to begin to investigate them more fully, get a feeling for their "lived in" possibilities. It also allows you to draw a more complete picture (informed also by the experiences of those who are living with them) of what you might personally experience in living this way. What, for example, you may find difficult to deal with (i.e. not always having hot water in your passive solar shower). When advocating alternative techniques and technologies, it is good to be aware o f their limitations either so improvements can be made, or potential system users can be fully advised of the implications. For example, I was not aware of the amount of money necessary for the initial purchase of an active solar system with batteries, panels etcetera. I now recognize that as one 23 For example there may be possible health and environmental hazards associated with the use of grey water or sewage disposal. Or too many small hydro generators could adversely affect stream flow is not monitored properly or if too many people were using this method of power generation. 70 of the hurdles to having active solar power more readily accepted as a mode of energy in our society and also that part of the work that would have to be done around increasing its use would be to focus creatively on the financial situation, possible subsidies etc. But, it can be done! One participant sums it up by saying "It was most useful to see (i.e. solar panels, micro-hydro units and permaculture) in practice instead of just being introduced to theoretical knowledge. It made an impact on my understanding of how to incorporate new technologies into one's lifestyle—and how feasible it really is." (Emphasis in the original.) Point Two: Mentoring or Teaching by Example One of the most powerful influences on those attending the G L P was the very evident commitment and concern for the planet voiced and shown by organizers, educators and fellow "students." While, (to use the environmental movement lingo), talking the talk is important, walking the talk—or imprinting what you say you believe in into the very essence of your everyday life sends an even more powerful message. While mentoring can of course occur in many situations, this modelling was a conscious part of the G L P and the Intentionally Conscious community. Seeing the lived "truth" of someone's convictions is a very powerful thing for a number of reasons: 1. It links words with action: theory with practice. One can see first hand at least one physical manifestations of the theory or belief—or the struggle to make it so. It is a graphic display of the connection between mind, spirit and body and thus increases the understanding that these things are connected, and how they are. You can have all the ecological sustainability theory in the world, but i f it is not at some point linked to action and doing, it is totally irrelevant. 71 2. It increases the impact and credibility of the words or ideas. Often we hear people speak to us (i.e. teachers, politicians, planners) but we have no idea i f they have been able to integrate what they are saying into their own lives. Seeing and experiencing someone actually integrating what they espouse with how they live reduces the prevalent schism between talk and action and the usually unspoken belief that it is "normal" to say one thing and do another. This could thus open the way to begin to question and investigate our own schisms. 3. Seeing someone else living what they believe in may make others believe that they too can do so. The fact that others' actions have an impact on their thinking can help them come to the realization that their actions can have an impact on others—they also can set examples. They can build confidence and inspire hope that change is possible. 4. In terms of those who are serving as mentors, having others respond favourably to your actions can increase your belief in your convictions and in the educative power of them. A s Jim Merkel expressed in his questionnaire #2. "on seeing others respond so positively to the work I am doing I learned to believe more in myself and not doubt my path so much and my highest purpose. Other's willingness to change and help motivates me . . ." 5. Some times part of seeing someone living their convictions, is seeing people in conflict or struggle. This can serve to elucidate the hurdles which must be faced when merging theory and practice and in the creation of change. Seeing people struggle with a manifestation of action in their life can increase the realization that it can be done even though it is not always simple. On the other hand sometimes we actually can see that those who speak theory do not necessarily follow it. This can give a mixed or a different message, i.e. that they don't really believe in it; that it is not really possible; that saying it is all that is necessary. Others we see, may consciously choose to take action contrary to what they espouse. The process of change is never straightforward. For example, one may ask the question why does the person who espouses living in place, keep flitting around the world talking to people about the importance of living in place? It may be that their role in the education process is one of dissemination of information and that others may provide the physical manifestations of such a belief. Or, they may recognize that getting the word out (the seeds planted) is more important at this juncture then to quietly live in place and have no one know about it. St i l l , there need to be lived examples to point to and the more congruency or valid explanation one has regarding the connection or disconnection between personal theory and personal action, the more powerful the expression of the theory may be. This also gives one a small understanding of the degree of struggle and change that would be necessary on a larger scale. 72 Mentoring was a very important component of the Global Liv ing Project as it is in any movement that hopes to inspire change. Jim spoke often of "the power of one"and indeed his dedication and lifestyle proved to have a significant positive and inspirational effect on many of the Global Living Participants without everyone thinking they had to do what he did. In their responses to Questionnaire #2, participants emphasised the impact of seeing the example of others. The following quotes reflect their feelings and personal responses. "I was motivated by the youth of the participants and the enthusiasm of the staff. . . . There are lots of young people out there who are deeply concerned" (MG). "I was inspired by the people who we met at the GLP. To me Jim Merkel is a holy man. The only person I know who truly lives his heart" (MD). "I have been challenged by Jim, just by being exposed to his deep ecological thinking and his strong views has made me take a strong standpoint on what I really believe in" (KW). "Being among people, especially the organizers—Jim, Patty, Gobi, Stephan and Miriam—people who have dedicated their lives to help heal the planet—helped immensely in renewing my determination to do the same. I feel that their example has given me strength to let go of my socialization (i.e. my underlying belief that I need the job, the house etc. to have made something of myself—in the economic sense)" (CS). "My awareness has increased an immense amount. I think that it is a result of the education paired with the positive outlook/energy of the educator/facilitators. The positive outlook is very important to me as it gives me a place to channel the burst of energy I receive from learning new information" (GeS). " The time spent with Bill Rees and Robert Francis are proving to be the most influential aspects of the project for me. I have been reading authors and materials that were recommended by those two since I returned home, and I continue to contemplate the wisdom and perspectives that these two presenters led me to" (TS). 73 Point Three: Removal from Mainstream Society One point of criticism of the G L P brought up by four individuals in their questionnaires, and explored collectively by G L P participants in the final group assessment, was that of the location of the project. It was argued or felt that the removal of the G L P from mainstream society (of building a separate community instead o f working with an existing one), and its focus on rural lifestyles was problematic. In the words of one participant: "I guess that's one drawback of the G L P format—that it is quite removed from the way that most people are going to have to deal with adjusting their lifestyles toward sustainability. Perhaps next year's G L P should be held in a city somewhere, where the reality of getting by each day is continually present."(MD.) Or as another expressed: "I have missed...the knowledge of what is going on in the rest of the world even i f it is good and bad. If we are a "global" living project we need to be exposed to the reality of our world/global state." While I too had such sentiments and firmly believe that the G L P needs to expand to deal with more typically urban issues, I also have come to realize that there is much merit in having the G L P site be away from mainstream society. (Others—probably 5-6 of us, especially those that attended for a greater amount of time, expressed both of these sentiments too—that an emphasis on urban issues is needed, and that there is merit in having an out-of-mainstream context for such a project.) I truly believe that those of us unhappy with our communities and neighbourhoods, governments etcetera, can no longer just move away seeking a new "promised land." This migration has been occurring on this planet for hundreds of years but it is increasingly becoming less of an option. There are at least three reasons for this: 74 1. There are precious few places left in the world to move to. Even those that seem removed wi l l be (if they are not already) affected by the extent, interconnectedness and magnitude of global problems, (ie. climate wi l l change, pollution wi l l affect land, air and water.) 2. Bringing more human influence and/or impact on lands with little or no present human habitation is problematic, especially for those who believe that the human sphere of influence is far too wide and abusive already. This is especially true i f one is trying to model change or a system of living for it would not be possible or even desirable for everyone or even a large percentage of people to follow your example. Argument can be made for the notion that i f done by a small percentage of the population in a careful way human impact can be quite low and also for the idea that it is better to have those that wish to steward or take care of the land own it than those with other more destructive sentiments. (But perhaps this is less a question of ownership than of ethics and/or outlook.) 3. Again, i f one is concerned with planetary health or survival, turning one's back on the problems wi l l not serve to bring out any positive change. (This is further discussed in the section on Community Building below. Robert Francis has a counter argument to this.) On the other hand, i f a deep part of the problem is, as I have outlined and argued above, the pervasive and underlying assumptions of mainstream Western culture and the taboos set around investigating and speaking critically of such assumptions, then perhaps a removal from the influences of such culture is not only valuable, but distinctly necessary. For instance, even the notion that moving away from so called "mainstream" (or perhaps a better label would be "urban" society) is moving away from existing community may need to be challenged. What indeed is an "existing community?" Are we again still thinking in purely human terms? Does a community only exist in cities or other fairly humanly populated areas? Perhaps the fact that the world has become increasingly urban is due to the underlying assumption in Western culture that it should become so? Could it not then follow that this 75 assumption would then serve to facilitate the necessary structures (economic, educational, political e tc . . ) which would then begin moulding the reality? Even i f the above objections prove to be valid, I do not see the G L P as being, in traditional terms an isolated or closed door (exclusive) community. It is embedded within the structure and social networks o f the Intentionally Conscious Community which in turn is very actively involved in the Winlaw/Slocan Valley even Kootenay Region Communities. (For example they have taken part for years in the fight to keep watersheds free from logging, and recently helped organize a local community market.) Members of the Intentionally Conscious Community and the G L P have come together with a specific purpose in mind (and heart) and part of that purpose or intention is interaction with and outreach to other communities and peoples. Jim has been greatly influenced by the New Road Map Foundation, an intentional community whose home for years was a large motorhome which moved to areas where members felt they could be of service. This community, founded by Joe Dominguez and V i c k i Robin is "an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that promotes a humane, sustainable future for our world" (1992, p. ix), now has a permanent location in a house in Seattle, Washington. The method that the New Road Map Foundation employs is quite simple: walk your talk, and talk about it. In 1992 they published the book "Your Money or Your Life: Transforming your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence." This was based on their own personal experience of getting off of the economic treadmill, debunking the myths of economic gain that they were living by and finding a new way to relate to money in which they found a higher quality of life and a lifestyle with much less impact on the earth. In certain ways, the Global L iv ing Project is modelled after the New Road Map Foundation. Jim's vision is to set up a working model of a community in which a 76 high quality of life is achieved at a very low rate of monetary and ecological consumption. People would come and experience the model and also outreach would be done in the form of printed literature and speaking engagements. It would also be a centre for further exploration of the means by which we can "live equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature" and the hurdles and barriers that exist. The Positive Aspects of Removal From Mainstream Society Although most G L P participants agreed that urban issues needed to be focused on and that eventually an urban component would be beneficial, many were attracted to the G L P in part at least due to the "wilderness" setting. To quote some of the participants answers to the question, "what attracted you to the Global L iv ing Project?": "I wanted to experience The Kootenays" (JF) "I was attracted by the wilderness setting and the promise of healing and solace that it might bring." (CS) "The . . . wilderness setting attracted me to the project. "(MG) If one takes seriously Berman's premise as outlined in Chapter Two—that we need to reconnect with the natural world and seek reenchantment, or Aldo Leopold's plea that we need to reestablish ourselves as a member of the biotic community, then a wilderness setting for an alternative education program makes sense. While we may be all too well aware of the tensions and problems of the city environment, and although we may sympathize and feel concerned about the destruction of forests and wilderness areas, few of us really get an opportunity to experience this non-urban world on an ongoing day to day basis. This was 77 certainly true for me. Although I have done a fair amount of camping and hiking in my life, this was the first time 1 actually made my home—however temporary—in the forest. I, and we in the G L P Summer Institute, attempted to become part of, not just a visitor to, the forest community (see Building Community below for further discussion about this process). It was a different experience, one which, for me began in cautious shyness—Could I venture out there (into the forest) on my own? What about bears and other dangers?—and ended in tears of thanks when, near the end of our stay, I entered the forest for a long while and as I lay on the top o f a small h i l l , watching the clouds float by, I realized that I was not afraid and, moreover, that the fear I had felt before, and that I usually feel when, at home, I walk in the woods by myself, was not of bears or of wild animals (as I had been conditioned to believe), but o f the males o f my own species. 1 realized in that instant, both the depth and source o f my fear, and of how that fear has been one of the things that has kept me from experiencing a deeper connection with the natural world I belong to, loved so dearly as a child and profoundly yearn for. This is not to say that I naively think there are no dangers in the forest, but that I learned that there is also much, much more than danger and when properly and respectfully approached, the dangers can be mitigated: in a sense, they are knowable. This moment and realization was a gift which I do not believe I would have experienced but for removing myself from the mainstream world. 1, and 1 believe many other women in my society, live in some level of fear, valid or not, o f possible attacks by men. Most of us are probably unaware o f the depth o f that fear. Furthermore, most non-forest dwellers, have perhaps an unfounded fear of the non-human world which serves to acerbate separation. 78 The removal from mainstream society is also a very valid experience for the contrast that is provided when one returns to that society. After my and my families 6 week sojourn at the G L P our re-entry into the world we had left was a painful and enlightening experience. The following entry from my Journal, written shortly after leaving the Slocan Valley and the Global Living Project provides illustration: It feels strange to be back in the "world" again—if this really is the world. . . . What a shock it is seeing how degraded everything is—the air, the culture, the physical health of people. Sardis is such a travesty, and a contrast. Mega strip malls and subdivisions where farms and birds used to quietly thrive, and before that a forest or an estuary. . . . Hundreds of automobiles and people hurrying from here to there, trying to "get stuff done!" Signs screaming everywhere for you to "Buy" and "Try." Toxic smells—plastic, rubber, oil, exhaust . . . materials that feel abrasive and unhealthy. The bank of life cashed in for ugly and useless trinkets, sold and bought. People are unhealthy and look like zombies. A vacuous destructive life and yet totally taken for granted. Everyone asleep. My friend, now happily buying and selling "real estate"—8 year old Juleah asking "what is it anyway? And how could you put land in a bag . . . like in that song 'I've got some real estate here in my bag?". . . I don't know. My optimism is fading, but I must keep telling myself that there are other places, communities, people that aren't quite as bad, and even within ones like this there are pockets of change and much discontent. What, I wonder, is the connection between religion and consumption, at least in this fortress of Protestant Christianity? While I never have felt very good about going to the malls in Sardis (or anywhere for that matter), the sojourn away and the experience of living a simple, low consumptive lifestyle while consciously gaining knowledge about what is going on in the world and the links between personal action and destruction, provided a profound jolt to my system. I felt the difference on a physical, visceral level (instead of intellectually or even emotionally— although I definitely felt it on a deeper emotional or heart level too). This effect probably would not have been so profound i f the G L P had existed in a mainstream or urban setting. 79 Sometimes we need to shut our eyes for a while to get a clearer view. Maybe what occurred with such removal was not only the gaining of some knowledge about how to live more simply, but also a cultivation of mindset or spirit and body of what simple living feels like. This feeling can then be transferred to other settings and when it has been imprinted in the body, the contrast can be more keenly felt and acknowledged. 2 4 A s previously mentioned, a couple of the questionnaire respondents and other participants in conversation, at least in the early days of the G L P , were somewhat frustrated or concerned about the lack of contact or information about the wider world. I too was initially disturbed by this: we are so used to receiving a wide array of information from all parts of the globe. But then I had to ask myself, what purpose would it have served? Indeed, there is precious little we could have done about the floods in Quebec or the threat of nuclear attack at the Olympics. While we may have been cut off from the specific moments and events, what we did attempt to do was to grapple with the bigger picture: what could possibly be causing such extreme flooding and human, material loss? Why are humans so surprised when they find that they are not invincible? What role does violence play in our world? How are sports connected to violence? What about North/South inequity? So in some ways, being freed for a time from dealing with the issue/solution, crisis/reaction mode meant that there was more room for pondering the bigger picture. This is not to say that I think we should continually close ourselves off from the news of the world, but that doing so, at least in temporary measures, can give room and pause for thought. 2 4 This is akin to a yogic exercise called (in english)"The Sponge" where in the body is tensed as firmly as possible and then released fully so that one can gain the embodied awareness of what tension feels like when being held in various areas of the body and can recognize it more readily and relax it more fully when it occurs. 80 Conclusion While it was generally conceded that the removal from so called "mainstream" society was a necessary and beneficial aspect o f the Global L iv ing Project, most participants, myself included, firmly believed that one way to strengthen the G L P would be to embrace and focus upon urban issues and to explore more fully how the knowledge gained in "wilderness" G L P experience can be integrated into the lives o f the vast majority who do not, and indeed cannot (for the reasons mentioned above and many others, like economics, lack of knowledge, personal choice etcetera) live in such settings. In our group assessment during the final week, it was recommended that this focus be included in the G L P curriculum. Some ideas for doing so included: 1. Beginning the G L P in a city and then moving to a more rural/wilderness location (or vice versa); 2. Setting up more permanent experiments in sustainable living/think tank sites in urban centres; and 3. Including urban activism in the curriculum. Point Four Support for the Emotional Aspects of the Work and the Emphasis on the Spiritual and on Ritual Life Life, from a cell to a universe, resonates with the pulsating fluid expression of energy, from the unbounded ancient origins of existence. I close my eyes and listen I hear the voices of billions of years of creation I feel the Earth I feel my soul A nd then I cry. —excerpt from Bruce Catron's personal journal, added to his questionnaire 81 A s I wrote in the introduction, part of my interest in the Global Liv ing Project, stemmed from the feelings of profound grief and loss 1 was experiencing and the oppressive silence I felt I needed to maintain around such emotions. The G L P seemed to offer the possibility of time and space in which to explore these emotions on a deeper level and in a collective fashion and to speak openly about them: I came with the desire to do so. Other participants came with similar emotions and desires. Some spoke of their fears: . . . / fear the inertia of society and its inability to change. I worry that we don't have enough time to convince people of the unecologicalness of our present attitude towards the Earth. (BC) I'm involved . . . with my friends who represent the scared youth of today...(TR) Some spoke o f feelings of constraint and helplessness: / quite often feel constrained and helpless in our present life situation . . . Usually I am overwhelmed and defeated by world news and the apathetic, dispassionate attitude for our future. (MG) Some of confusion and lack of direction: I've been sort of floating around the past few years in a state of concerned confusion. I've been concerned about what is happening to our planet by us—by me—but I have felt (ignorantly) there was not much I could do about it. (GeS) And aU spoke at some point about their deep love for the planet, the world. As one young woman wrote: For the last 2 winters I've spent my time in Glacier Washington; a very small town situated deep in the forest with mountains surrounding. Living amongst all that beauty you fall in love with it and you realize how ridiculous the city can be, and how precious the Earth really is. (SD) 82 This feeling of love and the recognition of the preciousness of life was for all a strong motivating factor: My motivation for attending the Global Living Project stems from my love for the planet and those living creatures inhabiting it.(SD) For myself and I believe for most, i f not all , other participants, the ability to speak of and share these feelings in a very open way, was excruciatingly refreshing. The fact that these discussions were encouraged and facilitated and that the emotions were deeply honoured and accepted as a source of wisdom and knowing was almost unbelievable being, as it was, so different from the usual experiences of life. How Were They Encouraged and Facilitated? There were a number of ways in which the sharing of emotions and feelings were encouraged and facilitated. To begin with, Yel low Bear, an elder and ex-minister of European descent who for many years has been studying with respected elders o f the Sinixt Nation, 2 5 performed an opening ceremony. On his advice, prior to the commencement of the G L P a Medicine Wheel had been laid out at the camp. The centre was the fire pit and from this four paths went out in the four directions, North, South, East and West. On the first night the opening ceremony was performed within which were introduced the teachings implicit in this medicine wheel. During the ceremony Yel low Bear spoke of the need for wholeness and of how Western culture has placed an unequal emphasis on the intellect as a source of knowing. He stressed the need for connecting with the heart, for tuning into that The Indigenous nation who has claim to the land on which Morning Star Ridge exists. 83 knowledge and for merging it with the intellect and using it as a guide for wisdom and action. He used prayer, chanting, singing and drumming to evoke the spirit of the land and to help us connect with that spirit and with our own. That first night we also joined hands in a circle before our evening meal. This was (judging by the awkwardness and the tight bodies) strange for most of us, as was the silence, but I for one could feel a connection beginning in that circle; a connection that would continue to grow and change shape with each subsequent circle. A few evenings after this ritual (from Sunday to Wednesday) we held our first "sacred circle." This was a ritual which Jim Merkel had become familiar with during his stay with the Navajo Nation of Arizona. As Jim explained it, the ritual's purpose was to connect us with what is in our hearts and allow us to share what we found there with each other in a respectful, safe and non-judgemental situation. We all sat in a circle on the floor and Jim brought out an eagle feather, abalone shell, a bundle of sweet grass and some matches. These were representative of the four elements: A i r , Water, Earth and Fire. He opened the ritual by placing the sweet grass in the shell and lighting it. He then invited us to "smudge" ourselves with the smoke. This meant that the shell was passed around the circle and using either the eagle feather which was used to fan the grass, or our hands, we were to symbolically "wash" ourselves with the smoke, cleansing away emotional energy so that we would be more open to the ritual and to keep the old energy out o f the circle. Once this was done the feather was passed around the circle where we each had a turn to express what we were feeling. It was not necessary to speak i f one did not feel so inclined. There were to be no time limits or constraints, and others were asked to refrain from responding to what someone was saying 84 unless, during their turn, they felt the need to do so, or felt their comments would be relevant. The feather was passed around and around the circle until everyone felt that they had said what they wanted or needed to say. We practiced this every week during the six weeks of the Global Liv ing Project. Many people used the time to speak of their feelings for the earth, and for their own personal sorrows and fears and about difficulties they had been experiencing with others in the G L P Community. Tears were shed: sometimes silence reigned. For the most part the children began the evening as part of the circle, listening intently and sometimes speaking. When they became tired they curled up on the floor with blankets and pillows and fell asleep. Being still and listening was difficult for them at first, but they seemed to accept it as time went on. M y children were always offered a choice— they could stay in the tent and play or be put to bed, or come and join the circle. They always chose to join the circle. Janette's child, Keilen who was not quite two was usually put to bed prior to the circle commencing. 2 6 The first circle, held on the Wednesday of the first week, brought to light many of the themes which would remain undercurrents and overcurrents throughout the six weeks and beyond. Grief and healing; the individual and the collective and the congruities and tensions between the two; learning to connect with self and other (including the non-human world.) and; what can be done, and how can it be done? Jim began the circle, talking about his amazement and joy in having us all there: in having the G L P become a reality. He then gently told us that he and Patty were recuperating from three deaths: that of Jim's younger 2 6See section "Including Children" for more full examination of the role children played at the GLP and what worked and what could be improved. 85 brother to Aids; of his grandmother; and, perhaps most painfully, that of their premature infant son Ansel Paul, a few months previously. They told us that they had almost cancelled the G L P but had persevered in memory of those souls. Their intense personal and intimate grief mingled and lent power to the sense of global grief we were all feeling at some level and in some way. The mother in me cried for them and these tears flowed into my own grief for the world which was already welling up. I was struck by the renewed recognition that things pass, inevitably and perhaps by no one's fault, and that many other things are deliberately destroyed. The loss of this tender little being (their baby Ansel) and the pain left behind, made me realize more fully that I was privileged and honoured to be among these dedicated people who had given so much of themselves to make the G L P happen. Love and Grief The other side of grief is a powerful and immense love. 2 7 It is difficult or indeed impossible to grieve that which we do not love or care about. This was made evident and manifest in an honouring and releasing ceremony in which Axel's ashes were spread in the forest: Journal Entry Patty's grief has been growing to a point where she has decided that she must leave Morning Star Ridge and return "home" to Maine—to her family of friends and loved ones. To the place where Ansel was lost. She is leaving tomorrow, and tonight we say goodbye to her and to Ansel whom I have never known.... 2 7 I am not really sue that it is the "other side", or a different facet of, or the same thing, or what exactly is the connection between love and grief. I just believe they are connected and this term "other side" was one way to express it. 86 ...Jim and Patty led us, barefoot and silent deep into the forest.... In a small, mossy clearing, we formed a circle. It was still. The quiet stirred only by the calls of distant birds, the background drone of insects, and the whispers of wind in boughs, feet on ground and sobs in Patty's throat. We were bathed in green and golden light and one by one we approached Patty and Jim and, taking their hands, offered words, song or silence as a testimony to their grief, and our sorrow for a loss we could not begin to know. Anne-Marie sang a wordless wail, translating emotion to a sound which went far beyond the capacity of words to convey. It was an offering to the grief of all women who have lost a child and it pierced me to a personal core of loss and unrelinquished grief, making it spring up like a fountain through my being... ... Juleah and Daniel never cease to amaze me with their capacity to learn and to empathize. They each found the courage to approach Jim and Patty, join hands with them, and say a few words in respect and honour. Juleah instinctively (no one else had done this), moved Jim's hand on top of Patty's and placed them both upon the vessel containing Ansel's ashes, holding her own, in an embrace on top of theirs...what an old and marvellous soul... Ansel's ashes were planted with a small young tree, with our blessing that they would nourish the earth and bring new life...We joined hands and sang Anne Marie's song once again... emanating care, and love and honour. When we made our way back to Jim's cabin, dinner was waiting outside, prepared by Tom and Gabi. We ate, and afterwards I went inside to view the shrine that Patty had created in Ansel Paul's memory. For the second time tonight I was overwhelmed, in a physical way, with grief and with the capacity for love. The picture of Patty cradling an unnaturally black and dead child in her arms with a look of overwhelming loss and "lostness," literally brought me to my knees. The grief was palpable. This was not a child that would run and skip through these woods, feeding laughter to the air and to his parents... Love and Grief. These things were the threads which in a sense had led us all here. To the G L P . To be together. This was the first time in my life that I had been with a group of people, almost all of whom were strangers to me, who had come together because of their love, fear and grief for this planet we call Earth, our home. There were other emotions too, anger and frustration, a sense that something must be done, but perhaps because this intense "other" grief and love and loss was layered in it served to heighten these emotions and also to 87 illustrated the importance of collective support and even ceremony. Perhaps it was my own keen feelings that are bringing these thoughts to a collective surface. For me, the G L P supported my sense that here I did not have to watch my words, I did not have to feel foolish crying because of grief or of voicing my love and fear. Others felt the same: "the spiritual sacred circle and other evening circles were key times to feel comfortable to release internal emotions. (KW) " It was wonderful to be part of a community of people who care deeply for the Earth and could provide feedback and support." (BC) "I feel I now have a new, close group of friends in the world—that is good-very good." (MG) What this meant is that, at least for me and other G L P participants, the silence had been broken. For many years now women's groups, native peoples and others interested in facilitating healing have learned the power of speaking and naming—of giving voice to silenced experience. While environmentalists have also, in the face o f the status quo, been naming things for years, the fact that they are labelled "environmentalist" and that that label has been belittled and ridiculed in our society has led to little honouring of their experience. Many in this movement have recently felt the power of such naming. As Judith Plant writes in Home: A Bioregional Reader, "this naming of something that is already going on is the power of bioregionalism. It has given our community common ground with people in urban and rural areas all over Turtle Island (the native image of North America)" (Plant, 1990, p. x). At the G L P , this giving voice strengthened the belief that what we were feeling was "right" and important. This honouring has a twofold effect (at least). One, the validation stops or at 88 least reduces the crazy making that goes on inside when what you feel in your inner being does not match what is outside of that being, and two, conviction is strengthened to continue to talk and act, and to encourage others to do so. Furthermore the emphasis on speaking from your heart using phrases such as / have a hard time with . . . and to speak, even when angry, from a point or source of love, served, perhaps to help people find a new and different way of relating to others. It also, I believe increased the comfort level of people for the exposure of emotions. In many ways we are very afraid of so called negative emotions in our society. When people cry many of us want to try and make it all better for them, or we turn away, not knowing how to deal with the tears. The sacred circles helped us learn a little bit more about allowing emotions to be present. Conclusions Built into the G L P curriculum were the time and means to explore and share the emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves. To link our heads with our hearts, our body mind and spirit, and find honour and power in doing so. Making or enhancing these connections is important for a number of reasons (some of which I have already vaguely outlined.): 1. A s mentioned in Chapter Three, Joanna Macy's and others work in ecopsychology outline the need to come to terms with our deepest emotions about the world we inhabit (cohabit) and the threats to it so that it does not become manifest in denial and/or frenzied action which serves to diminish personal power and block action and change. Many indigenous and other traditions hold that ethics and values come from the linking of the knowledge and wisdom of "feeling heart centre" with the thinking (or rational) mind. There are many who argue that since we have the knowledge and the means to 89 change, then what must be lacking is the wi l l or desire to change and that this lacking may be due to our collective ability to deny and suppress our feelings. 2. A fuller understanding of this emotional, spiritual side of self, leads to a fuller understanding of self in all its complexities. Exploration and acknowledgement and acceptance of these aspects, especially when this exploration and acknowledgement is suppressed or denied in the wider societal context, can validate them, thus bringing greater congruity between the inner and outer worlds of self. 3. It brings to light the discomfort and/or lack of practice we have with this part of ourselves. Phyllis Windle, a professional environmentalist and a hospital chaplain trained in grief counselling points out that "as ethicists and others explore the underpinnings necessary for our care-filled treatment of the Earth, they often return to this same idea: the importance of the nature and depth of our relationship to other organisms and to the Earth itself. . . . For an environmental ethic to succeed, nature would need to be meaningful to us on a variety of levels, including the emotional. . . . [Windle asks,] what might we need to model this process? [and answers] 'Fortitude, . . . when the temptation to turn and walk away is almost overpowering.' Also we shall need passion, commitment, creativity, energy and concentration. We shall have none of these i f we fail to grieve (alone and with each other) for the magnificent trees, the lovely animals, and the beautiful places we are losing" (1995, p. 145.) 90 Point Five: Community and Community Building Why the Emphasis on Community? Throughout much of the literature regarding moving toward sustainability, there is an emphasis on the need for stronger communities or more participation, direction and control at the local or community level. Efforts such as "The Healthy Communities Initiative" 2 8, "Community Health Care" and the U . B . C . Task Force on Healthy and Sustainable Communities have, in the past few years, sprung up in many levels of Canadian society. One often used (and I believe misdirected) argument which stresses the need for such initiatives is that, in these economically stressed times, we cannot continue to keep up the range and extent of government services which we have been accustomed to receiving. The trickle down approach, (if it ever did work), seems to have a reached a bottleneck. We need, the argument goes, to rely on local initiatives and people to develop our collective capacities for caring for and taking care of, one another. The document Healthy Communities: The Process created by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry Responsible for Seniors (1989/1994) points to another, perhaps more valid reason. It asserts that: "Communities make a difference. Most of us already have the knowledge to enhance our own health. But knowing does not always translate into doing. Enhancing our health may require lifestyle changes, habit changes, and that is difficult. It is easier to do the things that make us feel good i f we are supported by those around us—our community." (p. 2) 28 This initiative was introduced by the British Columbian government in 1993 and was taken on by many community and health councils across the province who each have created their own reports. First published in 1989, the Ministry of Health & Ministry Responsible for Seniors republished in 1994 the booklet, Healthy Communities: The Process to help facilitate the Healthy Communities Initiatives talking place in various provincial communities. Also, in 1991, the British Columbia Round Table on the Environment and the Economy published a booklet entitled, Sustainable Communities. 91 While this document is speaking of health in the traditional sense, it is not hard to make the make the link in the sense of total, ecological health. In her book No Place Like Home: Building Sustainable Communities, Marcia Nozick argues that "to restore social and ecological balance to the world, we must shift our economic, cultural and political orientations away from global competition to a concern with local needs. . . . [Nozick believes that] community engendered and controlled development contributes towards a sustainable future for all" (pp. 14-15.) If we are therefore to achieve the scale and type of change that wi l l be necessary to bring human culture into greater congruity with the systems of the planet, then much action and change wi l l have to come at the community level, for it is at this level that the day to day play of people's lives take place and i f changes are to be effective and long lasting individuals need to reach an understanding, in a communal sense, of what is important and necessary to move towards a sustainable society. They wi l l also need much support.2 9 Many believe that what we are really dealing with in these times is what Garret Hardin called "The Tragedy of the Commons" (1977). 3 0 While much of what Hardin argues is flawed and disputable, his argument that "the individual benefits as an individual from his [sic] ability to deny the truth even though society as a whole, of which he is part, suffers" (p. 20.) In other words we have a scenario where each individual acting on or for their own self interest with disregard for the collective implications, has lead or is leading to dire collective 2 9See also, Roseland, M . 1992, 1997, Sale, K. 1991, Aberley, D. 1994. 301 would like to point out that there are many valid criticism of Hardin's article, i.e. his narrow emphasis on population growth and his historical inaccuracies in terms of the use of Commons. Rees, 1995, argues in note 4, that in terms of present day realities, "The Tragedy of the Commons" might better have been called "The Tragedy of Open Access." 92 consequences. Furthermore, where and when individual do act for the collective good, there is no reward and indeed their actions are ineffectual. For example, since automobile traffic is becoming more and more congested and the consequences of air pollution more readily felt, I may decide that as an individual 1 w i l l not drive my car but w i l l find alternative transportation arrangements—public transit, or my bicycle, let's say. I may even be told by governing agencies and others that this is a good thing to do. This is done at some personal hardship to myself (it takes more time, I am concerned about my safety, I get wet in the rain) and yet what is accomplished, because other people are still acting in their own best interest, is only that I have now opened up a space on the road so, in the long run, (perhaps not so long these days) someone else moves into that space.31 Hardin argues that: everyman then is caught in what Bateson has called a "double bind". . . . whereby sooner or later, consciously or subconsciously, he senses that he has received two communications, and that they are contradictory: 1. (intended communication) "If you don't do as we ask, we wi l l openly condemn you for not action like a responsible citizen"; 2. (the unintended communication) "If you do behave as we ask, we wi l l secretly condemn you for a simpleton who can be shamed into standing aside while the rest of us exploit the commons." (p. 25) What is evidently needed when dealing with resource consumption is some common agreement for action. Hardin calls this "mutual coercion mutually agreed upon" (p.29). This is the need for what social activist and eco-feminist Starhawk calls "power-with" (Starhawk, 1987, p.9) instead of the traditional "power over" that characterizes so much of Western Society. If our collective dilemma's are brought upon by our collective adherence to a certain mindset and the resulting practices—a mindset which has at its root the erosion of I want to acknowledge here that I do not believe it is a win/lose scenario. I benefit from walking/riding my bike/taking transit in many ways too. It is the benefits we need to explore in more detail. 93 informed collective power, then it is necessary to regain the ability to recognize the needs of the whole and to work and live "with" others—including, or perhaps in the present circumstances, especially the non-human world. This does not at all have to mean that individual needs are subsumed or ignored, but it calls into question the fundamental assumption in our culture: namely that increased individual freedom is good. A s Vince Taylor, in his paper, "Subjectivity and Science: A Correspondence about B e l i e f admits, when he questioned this basic belief he came to the perception that ". . . less freedom might make people happier by giving them a greater sense of security, more of a sense of identity with the world around them, or a closer relationship with other people." (Taylor, 1980. p. 232.) What is Community? But all of this raises the question, "What exactly is community?" On the surface, and at first glance community is frequently defined by place or political boundary as in, for example, "the Sunshine Coast Community" or the phrase "I live in the community o f Roberts Creek." Other communities are defined, not by place but by interest, as in "the gay and lesbian community" or "the environmental activist community." These definitions find support and validation in many english language dictionaries. For example, the Concise English Dictionary (Omega, 1984) defines community as: " A body of people having common rights or interests; an organized body, municipal, national, social or political; society at large, the public. A body of individuals living in a common home" (p. 228). For others community 94 is a segment or building block of society—a sort of transition zone. Community and cooperative theorist George Melnyk writes in his book The Search for Community : community is the intermediate stage between individuals and families on the one hand and society on the other. It is community that mediates between the personal closeness of the family and the obligations of society. (1985, p. 135.) While "the question of what constitutes community is a wide-ranging philosophical and sociological issue" (Melnyk, p. 135) it seems intuitively evident that community is something more than just a collection of people in place, or with particular interests, or a societal transition zone. There needs to be some definition of community that revolves around something more intangible and ethereal. What, to continue the questioning, is someone referring to who asks, "does Roberts Creek have a strong sense of community?" or someone who speaks of "community spirit?" What is it that people are looking for, as many are these days, when they search for "community." What is behind the longing? The ecofeminist writer Starhawk captures at least part of the essence: We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been—a place, half remembered, and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle o f hands wi l l open to receive us, eyes wi l l light up as we enter, voices wi l l celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle o f healing. A circle o f friends. Some place where we can be free. (Starhawk, as quoted by Plant, 1990, p.ix) For Helen Forsey, this longing stems from the fact that many o f us, especially from activist backgrounds: At some basic level . . . feel the sickness in mainstream society ki l l ing us, draining our spirit and nullifying our work. We feel a need for hope, for 95 possibilities in the midst of despair, for integrity and wholeness in the struggle against alienation; for nurturing and closeness based on equality and respect, not on obligation and exploitation . . . When we put our insights together, our visions can evolve into holistic realities that may just be capable of resisting fragmentation, may just survive well enough to evolve further, into a continuing future for life on Earth." (1990, p. 230) Delving deeper we find that the concept of community is indeed much more nebulous and complicated than first appears. Community cannot be defined merely as a body of human individuals, or i f it is, then that represents only a portion of the definition. While I am by no means trying to come up with the definitive notion of community 1 do feel that it is an important component to the task of moving toward sustaining life and healing the planet and thus, needs some grappling with. To continue our etymological excursion, the word community is a derivative of "common" from the latin communis (munis) meaning bound—to tie or fasten together. Unity comes from the latin, unus, or one. Thus, in a nut shell, we have been bound together as one or, fastened together as one. Perhaps the questions which should be asked when defining community are who/what is fastened together as one, and by what means are they bound? The American philosopher Baker Brownell claims "that it is within community that values are created which dignify living and that commitment to community is necessary for a healthy society. Community creates the context in which certain individual values and family practices are encouraged and validated" (as quoted in Melnyk p. 135). If this is so and i f we are going to move closer to living equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature, then what kind(s) of values should communities be encouraging and how might they be encouraged? These are questions we need to ask. 96 How the G L P Asked and Began to Answer These Questions In many ways, participants in the Global L iv ing Project grappled, both theoretically and in a very real lived sense, with the concept(s) of community. At least three speakers, Mark Breaten, Stephan Martineau and Robert Francis spoke about community, in particular about the forming of intentional communities. Mark focused his talk on his own individual experience, and study of a still developing community. He spoke of the need for "common purpose" and for the establishment of precision of such purpose at the outset of community forming. That the purpose be attainable is an important factor but, he offered, there can also be a nesting hierarchy of purposes where simpler ones are focuses upon first, or whereby the purpose can change or evolve. A s Mark understood it, from the Purpose flows a three fold network of Laws, Axioms and Standards which serve to govern the behaviour of the community. Laws consist o f the idea o f "who agrees with what", Axioms support how we are going to agree and Standards relate to how laws and axioms wi l l be applied. His view was that the best means for shaping and constituting these things was some form of mutual cooperation. 3 2 Stephan spoke about his experience with the process of setting up an intentional community and o f the problems which may arise. He suggested that the circumstances and mechanisms by which people can come and go should be clearly established at the outset. Ownership and financial considerations need to be dealt with in a comprehensive "no-blinders" manner. As Stephan said, "forming community is difficult, especially for our culture which emphasises individuality, but there are many important reasons to do so." 32 From a group conversation with Mark at his home. Some of these include: sharing space, technology, and work—thus creating a lighter footprint; building a network of mutual support; and increasing our capacity to understand and be understood. A s Forsey writes, " . . . those o f us from the industrialized world who are experimenting with radical community alternatives are all attempting to break through the barriers of those rigid patriarchal assumptions to imagine and create ways of living that correspond to our deepest needs" (Forsey, p. 230). Robert Francis, a father of 8 who, with his wife, homeschool his children, spoke about the importance of family and the need to raise healthy individuals with the capacity for critical thinking and the experience of alternative lifestyles and belief systems. A paraphrase of his position could be, "why stay there[in society] and go down with a sinking ship, o allowing yourself to be corrupted . It is better to go to where you can make and keep yourself happy and healthy, and where, when the crunch comes, you wi l l have the necessary, alternative systems and methods which can be put into use and practice." 3 3 While these speakers by no means represent the definitive range of ideas or theory on community, they did provide food for thought and discussion. During our collective G L P analysis in the projects final days, it was agreed that it may be beneficial to take time at the outset of the program to form an agreement or social contract, whereby the collective purpose is clearly established and schedules, routines, processes, codes of conduct, means of resolving difficulties were discussed and formally agreed to. While some of this was carried out within the context of the project, it was felt that having it a significant and formal undertaking would be beneficial to the building of the G L P community. We also continued and suggested that 33 From notes from the discussion held at the GLP site, with Robert Francis. 98 future GLP ' s continue the discussion that Robert Francis's ideas evoked of the importance and impact of being in or out of mainstream society. Bioregionalism The organizers of the G L P , did have ideas regarding what type o f community they were trying to build, or at least some of the values they hoped would find root here. The promotional literature touched on purposeful aspects. Many of these ideas were predicated on the concepts or visions of Bioregionalism and Deep Ecology. In the book Home! A Bioregional Reader, Bioregionalism is described as "a set of ideas . . . and a movement" (1990, p. 2) which is gaining momentum in the substrata of society. It is sort of an umbrella structure which encompasses and lends shape to a multitude of various and diverse movements. A t its core are " . . . three elements. . . : a decentralized, self-determined mode o f social organization; a culture predicated upon biological integrities and acting in respectful accord; and a society which honers and abets the spiritual development of its members" (p. 10). It is also a practice. A practice which, as Jim Dodge puts it: "can take as many forms as the imagination and nerves, but for the purpose of example I've hacked it into two broad categories, resistance and renewal . . . the way we chose to live is the deepest expression o f who we truly are. If we consistently choose against the richest possibilities of life, against kindness, against beauty, against love and sweet regard, then we aren't much. Our only claim to dignity is trying our best to do what we think is right, to put some heart in it, some soul, flower and root... However the primary focus of resistance is not the homogeneous American supraculture—that can be resisted for the most part simply by refusing to participate, while at the same time trying to live our lives the way we think we should (knowing we'll get no encouragement whatsoever from the colonial overstructure). Rather the focus of resistance is against the continuing destruction of natural systems. We can survive the ruthless homogeneity of national culture because there are many holes we can slip through, but we cannot survive i f the natural systems which 99 sustain us are destroyed . . . the most critical point of resistance is choosing not to [destroy ourselves and the planet.]" (1990, pp. 10-11) Bioregionalism then "is a proposal to ground human cultures within natural systems, to get to know one's place intimately in order to fit human communities to the Earth, not distort the Earth to our demands" (Andruss, V . , p. 2). It is also a practice which has at its core living that is not earth destructive and resistance to living that is earth destructive. In essence that is what we came together at the G L P to explore. We came to form a community interested in researching what it would take to live sustainably. We came to explore the human-nature connection, to live in place and to gain further intimate knowledge o f that place. To give a tangible example of this learning, let us focus on water. Seemingly simple, water provided, in its complexity, the connection between the laws of nature and their resilience and fragility, and personal action and political action. When we came to the G L P site it became readily apparent that we needed to treat water and our use of water quite differently than we who flush toilets and let the sewer systems carry things away, were used to. The water we drank, cooked, laundered and showered with came fresh and clear—filtered by healthy old and second growth forest further upland—from the 4 streams that criss-crossed Morning Star Ridge. In order to ensure the continuance of this hydrological health and the same integrity for those other creatures who needed the water including, down stream from us, many more people, there were some practices we had to adhere to: 1. Body care products used (soaps, toothpastes, shampoos etc.) needed to be biodegradable. 100 2. Y o u needed to be at least 100 meters away and not uphill from a stream or source of water to urinate outside. 3. Around the camp only designated "pee" spots or the outhouses should be used for urination. 4. Outhouses should be used for defecation. If you are away from the camp, a hole must be dug and feces covered completely. 5. Streams should not be swum or bathed in, and the edges should be disturbed as little as possible. 3 4 What transpired was a greater awareness of "water" and an increased consciousness about how our actions can effect water systems. I f something went wrong with that water, we, or someone/something else could become sick. Through water we were connected with the land, the seasonal cycles, our fellow beings—including other people who, i f they became angered about our use of the water could actually cause us and the organizers trouble—and also with the greater political systems and larger Slocan community. The fact that this pure water still existed was due to the decade of efforts by the Slocan Valley Watershed Alliance and their efforts to keep logging away from the valley's watersheds.35 Through the words of the organizers we also became aware o f how privileged we were to be able to drink pure and healthy water directly from a stream for it is a practice that few places in the world can still 3 4These procedures were compiled and agreed to by the members of the Intentionally Conscious Community based upon their knowledge of the land and the functioning of the waterways. Al l those staying on Morning Star Ridge were expected to adopt this code of conduct. (Albeit there were no water police on site!) 3 5 This struggle came to another head this past summer (1997) when, logging in the area was approved and the machines rolled in. A Peace camp was set up and in July 1997 The Attorney General went to Court to get an injunction, which he received. During the course of the summer peaceable protests continued and many people were arrested. The December 1997/January 1998 issue of the magazine "Common Ground" reported that the injunction was overturned claiming (with seemingly solid evidence) that "the news of the injunction having been overturned was largely ignored by mainstream media.) It is amazing how these struggles are kept hidden from us. See Common Ground issue 79, pp. 7&8. 101 attest to (and a knowledge that is not widely known). A s I write this I am reminded of an excursion, many years ago, to Southern California. A t one point we camped beside a "stream" about 70 miles east of Los Angeles. I put "stream" in quotation marks because although I am sure it had once been a beautiful, pure running, life giving body of water, it was now reduced to an ooze of browning green sludge. Not only was it undrinkable, signs all along its banks warned us not even to touch it. From purity to poison. From life giving source to destruction. But I digress... Water is life, and while at the G L P site we had an abundance of good water and therefore did not really have to deal experientially with rationing it to the degree that we may have had to in many other parts of the globe, the connection between life, health and water did become a much more conscious thing for us, as did the connection between politics, society and individual and collective actions and impacts. Building Community with the natural or non-human world The term community is also used in the science of ecology. In such science, "all biotic life is divided into communities, differing in size, complexity, development, and stability, but existing everywhere, throughout every econiche. If one were to look at the single basic building block of the ecological world, it would be the community" (Sale, p.62). But, there seems to be a large gap or disjuncture for, conversely, when we in Western society speak of community, we are more than likely referring only to the humans involved. Yet human society and non-human society are vastly interrelated. A l l things both create, impact on, and share planetary space and depend upon the life generating and supporting systems of 102 the earth. Just as human actions influence the health of other beings and systems, so other species and ecological systems are integral to our physical health, and profoundly inform our psyches. However, this non-human world is an aspect of community that is more often than not, overlooked in any discussion or definition of community. At the Global Liv ing Project, the emphasis on water also led us to a greater connection with the non-human community or with, as Aldo Leopold would say, "the biotic community" (Leopold, p. 191). Through taking a deeper look at water we learned about forest and through forests, we began to take the first faltering steps (some were more faltering than others depending upon prior knowledge) to understanding the language of the land. Other things also contributed to this understanding. For many of us Shannon Bennett opened up a whole new world. Standing in various locations in the middle of the forest, bubbling with the energy of a child on Christmas morning, she introduced us to the tiny beings that, being so much a part of the backdrop, were virtually unnoticed. Oregon grape, wild ginger, sasparilla, plantain, daisy, elderflower, and the likes, became part of me as she reverently and tenderly pointed out each one and told of its medicinal and food properties. This knowledge, and the way in which it was related, transformed my/our relationship with the forest. As Bruce had said, "the forest is like a book, i f we could only learn the language." Shannon's very obvious love and passion for the plant world around her was contagious and my love deepened. 1 felt so excited about actually knowing something of the plants—not so much because I could name them, but that I "knew" a little (just a little) more of their qualities. A s I touched and looked and smelled and tasted, the depth o f my own ignorance surfaced...How little I/we know about such beings. Each little thing at my feet had a life, a purpose, a role 103 to play in the bigger scheme of things. M y sense of intimacy with the life of the forest grew as did my sense of what is destroyed when a forest is logged. Not only do the trees and animals disappear, these tender little beings died too. The whole forest structure was lost or altered. I was impressed at their resilience, at how they keep trying and keep pushing up against all odds sometimes. I definitely want to learn more. Stephan Martineau and Miriam Mason led us on a different forest experience. After hiking through trails on the land, learning about forest growth and health, they led us off the path, and bade us take off our shoes, blindfold ourselves and continue walking. When called back we were to, without words, mimic a sound and without sound, share a feeling. Again this was an intense and different experience which made us interact with "nature" let us say, with senses other than the predominate one of sight. Initially most of us were pretty reticent to bare our tender tootsies to the world: I thought it would hurt. But it did not. For me, it was a forgotten experience, forgotten because as a child, I used to do this every summer. It is one that 1 now wi l l continue—at least in moments. This emphasis on a concept of community which includes the non-human world is one that the G . L . P . intended to strongly convey. It is one that needs to be brought to light and more fully articulated wherever and whenever notions of healthy communities are pondered and discussed. To Hold Conversation With One's Heart I am realizing as I am writing this that I have more questions than answers about the concept of community, about what community really means. About what really means. 104 Certainly when I think deeply and quietly about, it does something to my heart. There is a tugging there. One definition of the word "commune" is, "to hold conversation with one's heart" (Concise, p. 228). This I did at the Global L iv ing Project, albeit, it was a conversation which began long ago. 1 was surrounded by people who were also in, or trying to be in, conversation with their hearts too. Some times our hearts spoke together. Even so, one of the biggest challenges the G L P group had to face was that of merging or blending individuals needs and desires with collective needs and desires and merging both of these with what it might really mean to live sustainably. This, we found out, is—even in a relatively small group—is difficult. This emphasis on unity is a contested one. In her essay, The Ideal of Community and the Politics of Difference, Iris Marion Young argues: that the ideal o f community . . . privileges unity over difference, immediacy over mediation, sympathy over recognition of the limits of one's understanding or others from their point of view . . . The dream [of community, she contends,] is understandable, but politically problematic . . . because those motivated by it wi l l tend to suppress differences among themselves or implicitly to exclude from their political groups persons with whom they do not identify. . . . Despite our critical attention to much of the male tradition of political theory, [Young argues] many of us have retained, uncritically an anarchist, participatory democratic communitarianism to express our vision of the ideal society. (1990, p. 303) I agree with many of Young's arguments. 1 do believe that alienation and silencing or suppressing of difference can and does occur in identifiable groups of people. I also agree that large cities are not going to go away and that the nature of community and governance within cities needs to be addressed. I also agree with her assessment that there are many positive things about cities—that diversity brings greater acceptance; that cities are places where artistic, cultural and intellectual life can flourish (although, in Orr's vein we could ask "what are cities for?" and attribute many o f our present dilemma's to this part o f human 105 existence too.) But I think that many people who live in the places (as Young defines cities), "where strangers are thrown together" (p. 316) would admit that, although they do continually interact with strangers, and that they do enjoy this, they also have, (or would like to have~I may be assuming too much here) a group of "not strangers"who are extremely important to them. These are people in their life they can be intimate, and have face-to-face contact with, people with whom they interact on a sustained basis, with whom they open their hearts. There are also places, animals, vegetation, sounds, smells sights with which they have connection~(this is something Young does not touch upon). I am also not sure I understand the gap that Young creates between valuing face-to-face relationships or mutual friendships and dismissing them, or something like them, in anything that might be an "organizing principle of a whole society" (p. 316). It seems to me that something so important in our personal and everyday life could also have validity in the organization of society. The dichotomizing and tension which occurs between the individual and the community which Young points out seems to provide a basis for much community theory and practice, is also of concern to me. Yet calling it something else, or ignoring it wi l l not make it go away. I think it exists (at least for now...just as cities do). In a culture that has made a cult o f the individual, it is hard to imagine that it would be otherwise. But, nevertheless, we somehow need to come to a collective consciousness. Perhaps it is as Young suggests, that her idea of a Politics of Difference (p. 317) is a new term for community which relieves it of its historical shackles. Her questions are also mine (see p. 320). I also believe that we must "develop discourse and institutions for bringing differently identified groups together without 106 suppressing or subsuming the differences" (p. 320). But I believe the unity, the intimacy and the care is important too. Helen Forsey gives this insight: Community is not a simple solution to the world's problems. We know by now that simple solutions don't exist in any case; they are another of the patriarchy's lies. What community may be, however, is humanity's next evolutionary step, giving more and more people the opportunity to live in ways consistent with our deepest needs. If we can understand those needs, and practice what it takes to meet them, we can find strength to grow, and perhaps also to bring about the kind of change that must be made i f the planet is to survive (p. 234). What We Learned at the G L P Our community at the Global Liv ing Project did come face to face with the difficulties inherent in blending a number of individual wills and desires into a purposeful, working group. Even something as seemingly simple as when we should start in the morning, was problematic as we were all used to different schedules. Rather than imposing a certain schedule on everyone, we had long, collective discussion about what would work and made adjustments accordingly. We further agreed, by a process of consensus, that we would make collective decisions through a process of consensus and were given background in the theory behind, and the nature of such process in a workshop led by Jim. This process of consensus decision making was frustrating, time consuming and difficult at times, but seemed to get easier as the weeks went on. The weekly sacred circles helped to clear the air and get individual concern out in the open, albeit I was left with the feeling that a couple of participants did not voice all o f their concerns and frustrations. This is just a feeling and as they did not return their questionnaire #2, I do not want to delve too deeply into the matter. If there was such suppression, perhaps it was a case o f not feeling comfortable enough to 107 share all that was in their heart rather than there being no situation or process available in which to do so. I believe, on the whole, our group or community worked well at giving individuals the emotional space for differences of opinion and for accommodating differing and sometimes divergent needs. Perhaps in a few cases, we could have done better, but there was no, think or behave like this or else you are out, attitude. (At least not consciously.) We further learned that process in community is very important. The consequences o f poor process in community can be significant as Wendy Sarkissian reports in her unpublished draft paper The Intuitive Approach(l): A Case Study Approach to One Community's Practice of an Ethic of Caring for Nature (1996). While undertaking research at an intentional community in Northern Australia, Sarkissian observed poor community process skills which eventually led to a serious crisis where-in a number of long time members left the community. As she says, "village members became bogged down in acrimonious debates and ineffectual decision-making processes because they did not attend to their social literacy to the degree that they attended to their ecological literacy" (p. 19). Sarkissian felt that the "lack of attention to community-building, to developing processes which work successfully in other community decision-making situation led, in [her] view to the social crisis of 1992" (p. 17). There were many problems which, in her view, seemed from rigid, outdated methods o f decision making (Robert's Rule of Order were used), and from the power that a few individuals (males) had in wielding them. "Slavish devotion to formal meeting procedures and reluctance to explore other decision-making models often meant a lot of talk and not very much action" (p. 20). Also "repeated evidence of inability to deal with dissenting voices because it would be too difficult, too embarrassing or just plain painful led [Sarkissian] to 108 conclude that many Villagers operated in codependent relationships with some of their more 'deviant' neighbours" (p. 18). At the G L P , however imperfect it might have been, we did pay particular attention to community decision making processes. We were wil l ing to self-criticize and try new approaches. There was a further awareness that, i f we are to move to living in a sustainable manner, making some sense of these difficult processes and finding out what works and what does not is extremely important. For the most part, judging by the responses to questionnaires which were returned, the experience of community and community building at the Global L ing Project, were positive ones. Individual responses, as quoted below, attest to this. What Participants Had to Say "The knowledge and experience of living in community benefitted me. I am encouraged by the spirit and love displayed here. Communal living requires careful forethought, care and attention. Through all this, people felt cared for and not bulldozed. Empowered, not silenced or left feeling manipulated. "(MG) I think that being part of a dynamic group but also feeling confident that my individual needs would be met and thoughts expressed solidified to me that we are all connected (or can be). I think we as humans have tried to separate ourselves from that interconnectedness to become stronger individuals, but really are worse off for it. As we work as a group I think we become stronger individuals which in turn feeds back to the group. For me, learning about consensus decision making and community living helped me form a stronger relationship with the human and therefore the natural world. (GeS) By the end of the six weeks the GLP had become my home. We cared about each other, were concerned how everyone was feeling and provided support/advice in time of need. (KW) 109 / learned how much more effective learning is as an individual within a collective. (BC) Unexpected learnings?—That community can happen by a group of strangers, any group perhaps, and if somehow we could collect energies, so much is possible! We could shake this earth in a positive way. (JM) My relationship with the "human-world" is that of hope—these people close to me during the time here, warms my heart and rekindles faith in humankind. I realize my bubble will waiver a bit when I leave here as the majority of the folks are seemingly apathetic to the world's causes, but my time here and the community I have come to know, will sustain me. (MG) Journal Entry July At one point tonight, Jim talked about ghost dancing and of how some Native people saw the end of their culture and time coming. They began to dance into the spirit world, to smooth the way for crossing over. Jim isn't ready for this yet, none of us are. And yet sometimes the impulse is strong, the presence of that edge so near. Where are the points of no return? Have we crossed them or are they still of come? In a place like this, with these people, there is hope. Moments ago I walked out of the tent and into the night to pee. There, not 20 feet away from me were two deer, quietly grazing on the grounds greens. They saw me, but did not run. Instead, taking one more bite, they slowly moved a discrete distance away. I too carried on, squatting down, silently sending them love, feeling joy at their presence and their acceptance. The moon peeked between the boughs of the trees, and wind songs and other scuttling sounds floated on the silvery air. In the distance the little creeks burbled and tinkled, and further away still, the muffled roar of the rage of Lemon Creek gave a backdrop to the night song. The air was cool and I shivered. The sweet sounds of my children and husband drew me back into the warmth of this blessed sleeping space. Goodnight my deer friends. I am honoured to share your home. I will keep dancing. Not a ghost dance, but a dance of life; a dance of the beauty of you. A dance of hope. Journal Entry A ugust Tonight the deers do not come. I lie in my sleeping bag weeping, clutching my also weeping children close to me. It is midnight. They are logging. We can hear the screeching of the chain saws and the agonizing cracks and cracklings of tall lithe bodies toppling down, smashing into others limbs in the quick descent. A forest, like the one we have rested in being torn down. Destroyed. The wonderful tall trees reduced to logs on the back of a truck. The ferns, cinqfoil, rosehip, huckle berry, Oregon grape, wild ginger...all our new friends, crushed and exposed. It is ironic that here we are—a group of dedicated environmentalists and we can do nothing. The valley is such that we do not know where these sounds are coming from. It always begins about 11 p.m. and, search as we may, we cannot locate the source. It could be up, or it could be down or even across the river, on the other side. It is probably occurring on private land so there is precious little we could do to halt this—although if we could find out where, we would somehow try. We would at least speak and say how we were feeling, how it grieves us. We can do nothing. And I have nothing to give my children but my tears and embrace. I l l Point Six: Tools For Action A large part of the impetus for Jim in creating the Global L iv ing Project was "to create a place for people already on a path of environmental awareness to increase their tools and understanding and become Ambassadors of Global Liv ing ." He desires to build a network of concerned people who are inspired to go back out, away from the G L P site to their home and other communities, peoples and/or groups and talk and work with people to inspire change at the personal and political level. (This could also take the form of joining the G L P intentional community and within that context undertake education, action and outreach.) I believe this emphasis was very important. Many environmental organizers, writers and/or speakers report that they have been overwhelmed with feedback from people who say, (to paraphrase) "that they believe the message, they are frightened, but they do not know what to do about it ." 3 6 Although it may be blatantly obvious what "simple" things can be done—consume less, recycle, drive less, be frugal and reuse things, write letters, buy local and organic foods, share things with neighbours, send money or volunteer time to organizations that are doing work in these areas—there are many people who have not seen the obvious or who do not know how to institute such changes in their often hectic lives. Furthermore, it is more than likely imperative to go beyond mere personal change and minute efforts to something larger and so, learning to take further interpersonal, community and political action is very important. It can also be intimidating and frightening, especially when you know that you wi l l probably receive some pretty stiff and possibly nasty opposition. 3 6See, Cameron, A. 1989; Macy, J. 1983; Suzuki, D. 1989; Quinn, D. 1995. 112 o The Global Liv ing Project provided the opportunity to gain some expertise in political organizing. J im and many of the other speakers (and "student" participants) have extensive backgrounds in such work and hearing from them of their experiences and the varied methods they have incorporated in their efforts (drama, encouraging supportive and effective people to run for political office, presenting good and concrete plans to city councils, lobbying, speaking in public, creating institutes) furthered the participants knowledge about what is possible. During the G L P itself there was opportunity to "try on" some of these methods. Political Expertise- Grass roots organizing Talks on personal experience with political and grass roots organizing and action were given by a number of G L P participants. Stephan Martineau spoke to us of his involvement in the local work being done in regards to the Slocan Valley watershed protection. This work had been going for a number of years, and at that date, had been effective in preventing much logging action in the Slocan Valley. It involved forming a group, doing outreach in the broader community, gaining information, and using local expertise. Part o f the result o f this has been the creation by eco-foresters Herb and Susie Hammond of the Silva Forest Foundation (themselves residents of the Slocan Valley), o f an eco-forestry plan for the Slocan Valley which offers a well thought out and researched alternative to the government/forest companies logging proposals (Silva, 1994). Herb and Susie ran workshops at the Community Development Institute and Susie Hammond also came to the G L P site to speak about their work and their strategies. 113 Jim Merkel spoke about the work he and others in San Luis Obpispo, California undertook which resulted in the creation o f an extensive network o f bikepaths and alternative transportation ways. From being initially pretty much laughed out of council chambers, this dedicated group managed to mobilize a great number of citizen and eventually get that same council to approve a $5 mill ion dollar budget over a period o f 5 years for this undertaking! Again this involved collecting interested people together as a group, doing outreach within the community, increasing the visibility of bikes and working to keep the issue in the public consciousness and gain a critical mass o f interest. It also involved creating a feasible plan to present to the S L O council, one that dealt with the economic realities and also showed the benefits of implementing the alternative action, and getting people who were in favour of such a change in positions of power (i.e. getting them elected). Jan Inglis used a different means or strategy for community action and education: popular theatre. She had just returned from the Philippines with "Footprints," the theatre group she was instrumental in forming, and told us o f how theatre was used to increase peoples' understanding of what was going on within their communities (in particular they were looking at the issues around the impact that large, multi-national fisheries, had upon small, local fishing villages). Jan underscored the difficult nature of undertaking such work as the strength of the political systems in such places, and the voracity of action against anyone seen as dissidents, is very severe and dangerous. People could be imprisoned and even tortured and killed for their part in any political dissention or even for distributing information and/or meeting with others to discuss what was going on. Theatre, carefully 114 done, can, Jan continued, provide a means to explore and inform, without seeming to do so: a means of subversive action. In a less volatile political climate, such as that in British Columbia, popular or community theatre can also as a means to educate, inform and involve community in important questions. Jan's workshop provided G L P participants with the opportunity to experience the power of theatre and the capacity it has for reaching people of different cultures and ages. We played some theatre games and also broke into two groups to create a dramatic piece that we performed for members of the greater community. Further Hands-on Experience Further hands on experience was gained when we went to the Community Development Institute in Nelson. Jim was hoping to use the Institute as a venue to showcase the G L P and provide some education regarding the Ecological Footprint, consumption and North/South and Intraspecies issues. While, due to time and energy constraints, we could not carry out all that he envisioned—for example he wanted to somehow lay out a physical representation of the land area that would be representative of hectares needed to support certain lifestyle habits, i.e. driving 5 km every day to work—we did manage to pull together an Ecological Footprint display which effectively attracted attention and got people at the conference interested in both the G L P and the Ecological Footprint concept and tool. It was envisioned at the outset of the Global Living Project 1996 Summer Institute that participants would undertake and complete two projects. One was to be the creation o f a Bioregional Atlas of Morning Star Ridge, (see footnote #9) the other was a comprehensive 115 recording and accounting of the individual's and group's "Ecological Footprint." (Wackernagel & Rees, 1995). Again due to time constraints, these two projects were never finished, but the exposure to the means and methods of undertaking them provided further examples of how action could be taken and what could be used to work with and inspire others. We also learned about consensus decision making and put it into practice on a daily basis thus becoming intimately aware of how it works and possible difficulties. As well , we agreed that we would take turns being the group facilitators and organizers, taking care of waking people up and organizing time and any group gatherings and leading and facilitating such gatherings. Conclusion More could have been done as far as given participants hands-on experience and indeed more was planned but time and energy constraints did not allow for it to happen. Aside from the abovementioned uncompleted projects, it had been envisioned that members of the G L P would be present at the weekly community market in Winlaw and that members would also be more actively involved with any Watershed Alliance action. (The later was not done because it was a relatively quiet summer. The summer of 1997 was, however, a different story, and 1997 G L P Summer Institute participants were very much involved in the political action that was taking place). In order to allow more time for such actions and projects, the schedule of speakers, field trips and group gatherings and/or the amount of time participants were involved with housekeeping, cooking and maintenance would have to be pared down. How to utilize time and what to include are hard decisions. While 116 recommendations could be made, perhaps such things are best decided by each new Summer Institute. Much learning about tools for action did take place though and it was learned that it was important to retain a balance between reactive and proactive action. Reacting and having to constantly fight what are often losing battles, can burn people out and evoke cynicism. Jim offered "the tools of activism" piece of the G L P curriculum with the belief or hope that "the participants wi l l have a greater probability of following their heart and living a life of service." See "Outcomes" below, for further elucidation of the effect of learning tools for action and the whole G L P experience had on participants. Point Seven: Pedagogy and Curriculum Employed Throughout many of the above sections, pieces of the G L P curriculum and the means by and through which participants learned, have been brought to light and discussed. It almost seems redundant then to have a section which has such things as its prime focus. However, I feel that a wrapping up is needed and that a few salient points were missed. The curriculum, as 1 said in my introduction pulled together, in a hands-on manner, many of the positive elements 1 had been exposed to at Planning School. What was different was how these ideas and theories were combined and integrated into a "living situation". Our lives and learnings, as it were, were embedded (for at least a brief while) in one common set of environmental realities and contexts. Through location, experiential learning and listening to the experiences and feelings of others, participants gained insight into the ecological 117 consequences of the manifestation of their lives. Trying something on for size, in this case experimenting in living sustainably (in one particular place at one particular time) is a good way to see where it fits and where adjustments are necessary. The Curriculum gave participants at least a real taste of what an alternative lifestyle that was at least attempting to live within the means of nature would be like, and an idea of what still needs to be learned, disputed, argued (for example how best to integrate difference and different points o f view into community life, barriers to change, knowledge about self and others, the ecology of forest and streams). A wide array of teaching methods were employed, from more traditional lectures to hands-on projects—bioregional mapping, ecological footprinting—to experiences, like Miriam and Stephan's barefoot forest walk, stream following or Jan Inglis popular theatre which led participants into new realms of bodily perceptions and knowledge—new ways of being with and in the world. Books Chosen as Text Two books were chosen by Jim as overarching guides or texts. I have briefly mentioned them in previous sections. They were Your Money or Your Life (1992) by Joe Dominguez and V i c k i Robin of The New Road Map Foundation and Our Ecological Footprint (1996). They complimented each other. The premise o f Your Money or Your Life was that we trade our life energy for the things we have: our patterns of high consumption, and that of Our Ecological Footprint, that we are trading the ecological integrity of our planet for the 118 same thing. Without preaching or criticizing both of these works open up new possibilities. A new road map to living within ecological means. The tone of these works—that you/we do have a choice,that there are other ways to live and be, other things to believe, that change can be positive, that doing with less can really translate to a higher quality of life for yourself and for other beings, that you are not alone—permeated (for the most part) the G L P . Even through the grief and the fear, optimism and a "Yes Let's" 3 7 attitude prevailed. The Example of Kerala, India In the context of life energy and consumption, the province of Kerala India was given a detailed look. This was facilitated by Wil l iam Alexander (Wil l ) , his wife Anna, and Jim. W i l l and Anna had spent a number of years living and doing research in Kerela. Kerela is a densely populated province in the southwest corner of India with a per capita G N P of $365 U.S. . While logically it should be plagued by much of the problems facing other nations with a low GNP—Infant mortally should be high, life expectancy low and literacy, especially among women, also low. But as Dr. Alexander found out, this is not the case. Although 29 million people live in an area about the size of Vancouver Island, infant mortality is low (17 deaths per thousand live births, compared with 8 in Canada and the U S A and 91 in India), 3 7 This was a theatre game played with Jan Inglis wherein individual players would come up with crazy things to do, like quack like a duck, and the rest of the players would enthusiastically say "Yes Lets!" and proceed to collectively quack like a duck. The rules were that you couldn't ask people to do anything demeaning or vulgar. It was designed to show the power of positive thinking and response, and to release inhibitions. What also could have been addressed, but wasn't was the power it also had to lead a mass of people who had no time or space in which to reach their own conclusions regarding the appropriateness of the undertaking. There is a fine line here between encouragement and manipulation. 119 Life expectancy for both males and females is high (70 years for men and 74 years for women compared with 72 years males, 79 years females in Canada and the U S A , and 58 and 59 years respectively in India, and literacy is also high (94% for males, 86% for females compared to 99% in both Canada and the U S A and 64% and 39% respectively in India). 3 8 When W i l l investigated he and his fellow researchers found a culture of low consumption and low fertility. Efficiency was not based on, or calculated in terms of time and money, but on doing the most with the least resource extraction, and where the flow of information was not restricted. In other words, their collective "ecological footprint" was small and their "social caring capacity" was large. W i l l told us that in his mind, the answer to the GLP ' s overriding question: "Is it possible to live equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature?", was--"If our objective is to have happiness instead of things, then this [the state of the planet] is a solvable problem." The participants' own experience of living with a very low level of consumption and finding a very high quality of life, reinforced the idea that this may be true. Four Major Outcomes and Achievements As previously mentioned, the above seven or aspects were significant or instrumental in leading the G L P participants, especially student/researchers, to 4 outcomes which are important in terms of moving toward ecological sustainability; towards helping to move "us"-38 Statistics from Dr. Alexander's lecture at the Global Living Project, July 1996. 120 -Western Culture—the world—to living more equitably and sustainably within the means of nature? These are: 1. That the G L P participants were led to a greater and deeper understanding of both the nature and complexity of the ecological and socio-political global situation, and a more intense uncovering and questioning of the fundamental assumptions behind Western culture which are the driving force of the problems. 2. That a great deal of personal healing and/or growth took place for many of the G L P participants which resulted in a sense of renewed optimism and sense of personal power. 3. That G L P participants were led to a deeper scrutiny and understanding of personal belief systems and feelings around issues of sustainability and to a greater awareness of their personal purpose and direction within the sustainability movement. 4. That G L P participants had an expanded recognition of possible paths for action and of the actuality of putting them to practice. Although many aspects of these outcomes or achievements have been embedded and discussed in the context of the abovementioned seven aspects of the G L P experience, there are other or further elements which need to be highlighted. In separate sections below I wi l l discuss each of these four outcomes. 1. Obtaining Greater Insight If, as I and many others have argued, it is the assumptions and practices of Western culture which are at the root of the ecological dilemma, at least in Western society, then part of any movement toward sustainability or understanding the concept of sustainability needs to entail a questioning of such cultural assumptions. In a number of theoretical and lived ways, G L P participants gained a deeper and more thorough understanding of the nature of the global 121 ecological situation, the possible root causes, and the links between individual (including their own) and collective human actions and belief systems. They also became clearer regarding the barriers to change. This learning was gained (as my analysis of my experience and participant questionnaires points to) from a number of sources. The variety and calibre of lectures and workshops with educator/facilitators were very important in achieving this, as were more informal group discussions. A s well , the surrounding forest, both the healthy functioning ones and those which had been clearcut (and therefore were technically not forests) and especially the contrast between the two were great visceral teachers. The knowledge that many participants held regarding how difficult it was and would be to keep up the lower consumption of the G L P in their home environment and for a sustained period due to existing systems and mindsets also drove home the depth of the assumptions and the power of structures which govern our lives. But the participants gained, or at least believed that they gained a greater and/or deeper insight into the nature of the sustainability conundrum. I wi l l let them speak for themselves: / was challenged to question myself and the culture I am a part of and the relationship with the ecosphere. (B.C.) I got a clearer understanding of the power and influence of cultural paradigms. (JF) I hoped to raise my level of understanding of the problems our generation faces and to be exposed to some new ideas for how to deal with the problems....I did learn that the problems are perhaps even more urgent than I had realized. I did learn a great deal about how other people believe we can solve them. (MD) My belief that the wall [collapse of the earth] is real was reinforced. (MD) My awareness has increased an immense amount, I think that it is a result of the education paired with the positive outlook/energy of the educator/facilitators. (GeS) 122 Your Money or Your Life and eco-footprinting has made me more aware of the connections in my culture between political and economic systems and the destruction not only of the earth, but of our own lives. (MG) The GLP...has given me time to reflect upon myself and my previous interactions with the human world—of how I lived in that context and how I intend to change it. (KW) The GLP made me realize that everything I had before doesn't ensure happiness or a better quality of life. (KW) We are on the brink of global disaster caused entirely by the human race. My concern over our global condition continues to grow, and the increase in general knowledge I gained during the GLP has contributed to my current outlook. (TS) 2. Emotional Healing and Renewed Optimism In Point Four above, I outline the power that making room for tuning into and speaking of emotions and feelings brought to the G L P . Taking a long hard look at the planetary situation and recognizing the extent to which elements of the belief system of our culture have been and continue to be responsible for the dire situation, can be disturbing. I agree with Macy and her assessment that for healing to occur we need to move through grief and despair to the individual and collective power and hope, beyond. It should be noted that every individual is at different points on this journey, or holds differing perspectives. There were varying degrees and types of emotions expressed at the G L P but from the questionnaire, discussions and personal perception the indications are that many of the G L P participants found the G L P emotionally healing. I know for me it certainly was. Finding respect and "public" space for emotions gave me the space I needed to "let them out." While the heightened knowledge o f the seriousness o f the ecological situation which was gained may 123 bring with it increased feelings of grief or despair (and indeed it did for some) it was coupled with an acknowledgement, understanding and acceptance that grief and despair have a place in the process of change. Knowing that others also struggle with these feelings and hearing and seeing how they deal with them was healing. This and the fact that others felt similar things, helped me make sense of them. A s I said, above, it made me see that I was not crazy. Through verbal stories and actual lived examples I began to see what action could be taken and how emotions were very powerful catalysts for action. At least 11 of the participants felt energized and reported, either in discussion on in their questionnaires, that they felt a renewed sense of optimism. Perhaps Geni best sums it up when she says: I think as a "being" we are weak, ill, in need of a lot of care. But I also think that many healers are coming from the earth and are coming together in a "healing dance". More and more healers are born everyday in people and I think that coincides with education and awareness. I feel optimistic, for us as a being. Maybe we are too late to reverse certain physical earth damages, but I think as beings, we are starting to be healed. As Macy and other ecopsychologists would concur, for positive change to take place we need to acknowledge, accept and understand our grief and move through it to a sense of hope and to an optimistic belief in the power of our actions. As another participant stated: "The GLP has taught me to focus on the positive and work toward possible solutions that will help the state we are facing." The support for and sharing of feelings of grief, loss and despair created and given at the G L P was important as was Yves Bajard message that "we cannot afford despair and the stifling inaction it creates" (Panel discussion G L P First week). This helped move participants to the knowledge that optimism and action we what was needed. 124 This increase in optimism was not however, felt by everyone. Two young men from the participant group (Bruce and Trevor), reported back, after the G L P that they were feeling more intense feelings of fear, grief and sadness. A t the G L P their understanding of the severity of the situation increased and the shock of coming back to the "real" world proved quite difficult. (It was difficult for others, including myself, but I did not become as consumed with grief and despair as I had been prior to the G L P . ) Bruce dealt with his feelings by maintaining contact with other G L P participants and re-evaluating and making changes in his life. He chose not to go back to finish his degree in Engineering and joined Jim Merkel, Gabi Siting and others for a G L P working holiday in Mexico and has moved to the Slocan to become part of the year round G L P Community. 3. Finding One's Personal Path Given the magnitude and complexity of global problems, it is not unusual to be bewildered about what direction one should focus their energies. Many of the G L P participants stated either in one or both of their questionnaires or in private or group conversation, that part of the reason they were drawn to the G L P was that they wanted to find, clarify or gain support for the direction of their life: to come closer to finding their personal, paths, purpose and/or direction in the movement towards healing the earth. M y sense on reviewing the data is that this indeed did happen. Seven people spoke directly of this in their response to questionnaire #2 and at least 2 others spoke of this in group discussions. The following quotes show the nature of the renewed hope and gaining of personal healing and direction: 125 My goal was to find strength, refine my vision and develop a direction as to future efforts within the environmental movement. These things were accomplished at the GLP. (MG) I feel motivated because of the GLP; I feel like I saw a light to start going towards, a positive vision. (GeS) My goals were to . . . clarify ideas . . . to help focus my direction of life and to see what it takes for individuals to make an attempt to live sustainably. . . . I feel more confident but have more questions and ideas for where I will be afterwards (KW) I learned to believe more in myself and not doubt my path so much and my highest purpose. Others' willingness to change and help, motivates me. (JM) I learned more clearly how I want to live personally. (JF) I learned . . . that the earth needs me in what every way and what ever level I can give. (CS) Getting it straight for yourself and finding support for what you feel you want to do, is a very important step in doing it. B y providing the time and the forum for those already on a path towards social change to get stronger and clearer, increases the chance that they wi l l become a catalyst for action. I know for myself that my G L P experience increase my resolve to work for positive global change in a very significant way. That I am not absolutely sure what form/s, permeations and types of work I wi l l do is, at this point, irrelevant. I have lots of ideas and renewed energy. 4. Finding Paths for Action and Taking Them Moving towards sustainability, in the final reckoning, entails changing behaviours and taking action. Therefore it is important to ask whether the G L P helped support or initiate behavioral change which led to more sustainable living and action on the part of the 126 participants? Did it create ambassadors of Global Living? Perhaps we need to reiterate what these things might look like. If, as I have tried to do, we equate l iving more sustainably with challenging, in action, the Western cultural assumptions of infinite growth or progress, human rights to take from nature, and indeed the belief that humans are separate from and superior to the non-human world, and i f Global L iv ing involves, reducing consumption, supporting practices that are not earth destructive (bicycling, walking, organic gardening, alternative energy) and continuing to search for ways to reconnect with the non-human world, to find out what type of living is really needed and to take personal action to put it into practice, then we need to ask whether G L P participants moved closer to this. If by being an ambassador of Global L iv ing we mean, living as an example to others, communicating the need for global living, facilitating others to begin to rethink their ways of being, then we need to look at whether G L P participants moved towards this. M y research suggests that there was definitely an increased desire for participants to move towards the abovementioned actions and the desire to change behaviour and to influence others to do the same. The following quotes give support to this: The GLP has changed my thoughts on consumption and I feel motivated to make changes in my lifestyle. (KW) I think I will always remember the beauty of the simplicity of our daily life during the project. I have been inspired to further simplify my life. (TS) My goal was to find strength, refine my vision and develop a direction as to future efforts within the environmental movement. These things were accomplished at the GLP....I will link what I learned with my hope to try to enlighten and communicate with others. I will use my experience at the GLP as the purpose to initiate those talks. (MG) I learned that there is a great need for a lot of practical skills learning and that I can be of service there. (GS) 127 The information gathered, friends made and understanding achieved at the GLP are embodied in my psycho-physical being. Through community involvement, presentations, and low consumption living I will influence my community.(BC) The GLP has given me new tools and hope to return to my chosen family with—and given me more understanding of the web of life on this land where I live. (JM) Yes [my GLP experience] will influence others as I am now more positive about solutions and creating an example. (CS) The GLP has given me alot of tools to be a better educator or lobbyer. I learned more clearly how I want to live personally. (JF) I will continue to talk about my GLP experiences and therefore influence others. (GS) I feel much more resolve to keep working for change and living my life as an example. Walking as lightly as I can. Public education and writing have become clear focuses for my energy. (CS) A ction When we left the G L P we all had long lists of things we wanted to do in the coming year to begin to make change in our own lifestyle in our communities. These list were created during a visioning session with Dave Biggs which focused on the positive aspects of change. Dave suggested that it was also important to become aware of how we feel after we accomplish these things maintaining that we need to do things which increase and sustain our positive energy and do not deplete us. One of Dave's future plans was to set up a network of people and stories which are hopeful. While it is beyond the scope of this thesis to do further extensive research regarding the actions o f every G L P participants after leaving Morning Star Ridge, I wi l l outline some that I have knowledge of, beginning with a intensive look at myself and my family. 128 On reviewing my list I see that there are many things I was not able to fulfil. In hind-sight I realize that it was far too ambitious for a working student mother o f three. Prior to our participation in the G L P my family was very conscious of our consumption and had taken measures to reduce it. However, being involved with the Global Living Project, and participating in an even lower consumptive lifestyle, confirmed for myself and my family that we wanted to, and could, continue to strive towards reducing, even further, our ecological footprint. It further confirmed for both my husband and 1, the desire to be more "political", to get out there and speak with others and share our G L P experience, our concerns and our ideas about how we can begin the collective journey toward significant lifestyle changes. We also wanted to speak out more against developments and processes which we feel are incongruous with the ideals of ecological sustainability. To these ends, upon returning home from the Global Liv ing Project we have done the following things: * We have made a significant effort to reduce our automobile use—riding bikes, walking, taking public transportation and/or combining errands. * We are trying to eat lower on the food chain. While we pretty much ate a vegetarian diet prior to the G L P we, especially Juleah and Daniel, are now more dedicated. I am still researching and thinking about the implications o f this. For example permaculture usually includes the raising of animals for protein as well as nutrient rich manure. * We are supporting organic agriculture and as much as possible, and are trying to grow some o f our own food. To this end we have organized a bulk grain and bean buying club and have built, with two other families, a large greenhouse which provides a large quantity of our fresh vegetable needs almost year round. * We have agreed, as a family, to continue and increase our efforts to conserve water and energy and to refuse, reuse, recycle and compost the things that do flow through our household. Also we have committed to use biodegradable cleaning products and to search for non-toxic alternatives in regards to home maintenance etcetera. 129 * Michael and I have taken part in the organization of the 1997 Community Development Institute which was held in Sechlet last summer. We spoke out to try to ensure that the process and the conference itself was as environmentally conscious as possible, accessible to everyone and that the non-human world be more fully integrated into the concept of community. We also have prepared workshops and seminars on the ecological footprinting and Your Money or Your Life concepts, and on permaculture which Michael, in his capacity of teacher-on-call, has brought to various local highschool classes and Career and Personal Planning seminars. * We also have taken part in community forums and debates and protests regarding ecologically dangerous developments. Also , since our income has increase somewhat, we have been able to devote more money to organizations we feel are doing important work. * We continue to educate ourselves (children included) about the issues and processes of change, and to speak to others in what we hope is a non-challenging or threatening way about the concerns we have for the health of this planet, and how we feel that it is important to question what we think and how we live. We continue to seek new ways in which to promote community awareness of environmental issues and the links to our lifestyles. Some up-and-coming ideas, are community eco-drama and in-home speakers, workshops and discuss circles. While many of these things were integrated (or in the process of being integrated) into our lives prior to the G L P , we believe that the further knowledge and support we found at the G L P increase our belief that these actions were important and necessary ones. We did not feel so alone or social "strange". Our participation in the G L P helped significantly reduce our feelings of doubt, embarrassment and even shame (these feelings were there) about undertaking and speaking about our actions and stances. Our convictions and our voices have been strengthened, as has our resolve to keep working for significant collective change. Other members of the G L P have also made significant changes and/or, like us have found that post-GLP they feel greater support for their action and greater strength of voice and conviction. Bruce made a decision to halt or postpone his Engineering degree, choosing instead to join Jim, Gabi and others in organizing and promoting the 1997 G L P Summer 130 Institute. Tom sold his car, was in the process of selling his house (when I last had contact) and is planning to move to Washington D . C . to work on population reduction issues. Genie also stayed and helped organize the 1997 G L P as did Gabi. It would be interesting, especially after a number of Global Liv ing Project Summer Institutes have been held, to investigate the long term effects of project participation. Other Things to Address In any qualitative research there are things that do not necessarily fit neatly into the extrapolated categories but are, none-the-less significant. Although there are probably many things that I could focus on here, I have chosen three which stand out prominently for me and which I feel are important to the field o f environmental education and community and ecological planning. These are: 1. The use of Native Ritual; 2. Gender Analysis of the project; and 3. Involving children and others in such project or programs. I wi l l look at each of these things in separate sections below. 1. The Use of Native Ritual: Many environmental philosophers and philosophies, touch at some point, on the need for ritual in our lives and our "environmental practices." Dolores LaChapelle, Director of the Way of the Mountain Centre has written extensively on "ritual as a way to tune us into alternative realities." Through ritual we can experience the world in other perhaps non-intellectual ways. We can connect our lives with the life of the earth, the seasons, the 131 animals. Deep Ecology writer B i l l Devall writes, "How we can heal our relations with the community of other living beings, not just other human beings is a question of community therapy... Ecologically oriented community rituals try to open people to new dimensions of ecological self." Unfortunately we in Western societies have not retained many rituals which would serve to link us with or expand our knowledge of the non-human world. Those of us interested in community and ecological healing have thus looked elsewhere for such rituals, becoming attracted to different facets of a variety of Eastern philosophies, Celtic and Earth based religions, and those practiced by indigenous cultures. This can be problematic. Most rituals are deeply steeped in the culture and place they are part of. They have been passed on from generation to generation and often require a certain cultural status and/or awareness in order that they be performed properly and respectfully. In North America and other places, charges of cultural appropriation have been lodged against many non-native peoples who, for one reason or another use the myths, symbolism and rituals of the first inhabitants of the land. The use of certain elements of North American First Nations ritual at the Global Liv ing Project, as outlined in Point Three above, opened up a number of questions or concerns for me. While Yel low Bear's opening ceremony and the weekly sacred circle were powerful learning experiences, words by Mari lyn James, Sinixt Nation spokesperson, at the G L P Panel discussion filled me with caution. James spoke of the white appropriation of native culture and of the deep and complex history and tradition behind most rituals. She was especially concerned for situations in which sacred rituals and/or ritual objects were bought and sold. She left before I had the opportunity to discuss this with her and I was/am left wondering where the lines are drawn and how we begin to even see them 132 I feel an apprehensive confusion. I yearn for such rituals and I believe that we need to learn—and learn fast—how to uncover our connections with each other and with the biotic community, but I do not want to do the wrong thing. I am, from my outside vantage point, aware of the brutal history and present realities that Native people all over the globe have and are continuing to suffered. I do not want to deepen the insult by inappropriately taking more. And yet, I believe that, at their roots indigenous cultures have much to teach the Western World about living as part of the natural world and altering the prevalent anthropocentric belief systems. But then again, who are we—am I—to say "Come on, we screwed up the world and we are depending upon you and your heritage to help us find a way to fix it up?" And yet, I believe that we need to learn and learn fast, how to uncover our connection with the biotic community, (something that historically and in many present native cultures, was very firmly in place). I also believe that culture is intrinsically linked to land and place. The land can speak and that when one chooses to listen then they may come to practice some of these rituals. What about the idea that the land speaks? In a woman's studies class I attended, entitled Women's Natural History Writing, there was great and vehement discussion regarding the artist Emily Carr and her painting of Native building and totem poles etcetera. Some women argued that she had used a culture that her own culture was in the process of decimating, for her own ends. For many reasons this saddened me. Even since experiencing her art and her writing, I had been greatly moved by Emily Carr. To me she had somehow tapped into the spirit of the land of the West Coast meaning also, since there was no real distinction, the peoples who live on and with it and who were, due to influences and 133 circumstances beyond their control, in the processes of changing. She recognized the waning of something powerful and wonderful and, being an artist instead of say, a social activist, she tried to render this essence through her work. Since she died in poverty, the argument that she had used native culture for her own gain seemed pretty weak. While, being an outsider, she certainly was not privy to all that West Coast native culture held but I believe she did understand that there was something emensely worthwhile within it, and something powerful and sacred in the land of this culture, the land around her. Some women in the abovementioned Women's Studies class suggested that we should be looking to our own cuture for rituals and inspiration i f we want them. While this may be so, and has served to uncover or revive many wonderful rituals—I am thinking of Celtic solstice rituals, celebrations of faery's and driad~I am unsure that this action should perclude the investigation and use of rituals that are tied to place. But is this smogasboard approach to culture good enough? Simply put, I don't know. I am wanting to say that as at least one person on this planet, I feel like I am a smorgasboard of culture. I have Germanic, Russian, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and oriental ancestry. I have lived most of my life on the North American continent, with brief times in Europe, Central America and Asia . Throughout my life I have struggled and searched, often unconsciously, for meaning that has been beyond at least the spoken frames of reference of the Industrial society I was born into. The schizm with and abuse of the natural world I have seen around me, does not fit with what I feel inside. The abuse and exploitation of people's, animals and land profoundly disturbs me. M y , what 1 would call, inner most soul has led me to look elsewhere ...to eastern philosophy and mysticism, to minority and/or alternative facets of 134 Western philosophy and culture including feminism and environmentalism, to Earth based religions and rituals and and to the complex and fascinating realm of a multitude of Indigenous belief systems and practices. Perhaps it is time to break through the defining barriers of race, class, culture and/or place while somehow remaining sensitive to the fact that this diversity, like ecological diversity, is important and extremely valuable. To somehow share without watering down or destroying. May the smorgasboard is a good analogy. Not a stirring or melting pot where everything mixes and simmers together, but a table where, with respect and honor (key words and sentiments!) we can come and sample and be nourished by that which has been prepared with loving hearts and hands through centuries of passed on knowledge. Where behind the scenes the quest for identity—recipe perfection—remains strong and keeps growing. And yet, I do want to build my connection with place and with my fellow human beings and I find that I have little in my hereditary mishmash of cultural backgrounds to draw from. I therefore have turned to other cultures, philosophies and customs to find relevant practices. I raise this because I think in the desire to find significant rituals with which to try to connect our lives with the life of the earth, the seasons, the animals, those seeking them need to recognize that many rituals have a legacy attached to them. A n intense awareness regarding origin and use should be established. Correct protocol should be followed. Much more research should be carried out regarding what is appropriate and what is not and when, how and by whom certain rituals should be enacted. One good rule of conduct to follow, as explained and carried out by Jim Merkel and echoed by Jackie Lynne, First Nations counsellor at Pacific Spirit Family and Community Services and Allanah Young from the 135 U B C First Nations House of Learning, is to go to the elders. Seek out the peoples whose land the ritual wi l l take place on and/or who hold the process of the ritual or knowledge, and ask the elders of such peoples for the correct protocol to follow. If permission is not forthcoming, accept that and act accordingly. Since more and more environmental, spiritual and other groups have taken an interest in ritual, this research is timely and very important. 2. Gender Analysis of the G L P Because I am a feminist and interested in analyzing things from a gendered perspective I have undertaken a brief gender analysis of the G L P . Perhaps to begin with I should explain what 1 mean by gender. The term gender has come to be used in planning and other disciplines to denote the attributes and roles that a given culture assigns to women and men, male and female. The distinction is made because these culturally assigned attributes may have little or nothing to do with what a given person might otherwise have felt, needed or desired, but can have a large impact on perceptions of self and others and on life experience. The real dilemma comes when one gender construct is privileged over the other. Let us take for example, Western Industrial society. A s Leonie Sandercock and Ann Forsyth point out in their paper, A Gender Agenda: New Directions for Planning Theory "contemporary Western feminism emerged from a particular urban form—the mid-twentieth-century capitalist city, 'which expressed and reinforced differentiated gender roles' (Mackenzie 1989, 100)" (1992, p. 50). This society was significantly divided intellectually and spatially into private and public domains. The gendered role of women in Western industrial society put them in charge of the private or domestic domain. The gendered role of men in the same 136 society revolved around the public domain—the domains of politics, business, economics and education. The public domain was very much privileged and honoured over and above the private and hence an acute power imbalance ensued. Not only were women relegated to the unpaid and unesteemed tasks of child rearing and domestic duties but the needs of women within these assigned roles were virtually overlooked and disregarded. The cultural expectations and spatial realities of growing suburbia isolated women from the decision making centres of society, sources of culture and knowledge and from the support of extended families and other women. The legacy of this (which is a legacy of centuries of oppression and occurs in different permutations in many other cultures) has filled volumes of feminist literature. The effects of this literature and thought are slowly being pushed into many segments of society. For a long time however, even in the environmental movement, which was supposedly challenging the status quo and concerned actions which were more often than not initiated by women, the personalities and voices which were at the fore, were those of men. The Global Living Project paid particular attention to honouring and esteeming what are traditionally considered women's roles. Voluntarism, food gathering (in all of its guises), food preparation, the care and nurturing o f children, and care-taking in general were talked about and carried out with respect and the space and the expectation was created for everyone to be part of these activities. Furthermore the daily and weekly talking circles seemed to level, what is often a gendered and uneven playing field, in terms o f getting the necessary space in which to give voice to feelings and thoughts. 137 However, when one takes a gendered look at the speakers and educators who attended the G L P , it can be noted that the number of male speakers/educators significantly outweighed the number of females. The ratio was approximately 15:6. (Student ratio was 6-8 males to 7-8 females depending upon whom you count and not including children.) It is hard to know exactly why this was. Unfortunately I did not include this as one of my areas of investigation. Perhaps Jim has more connections with male educators, perhaps they were the ones who were available. Another thing to note is that of the six couples who were at the G L P in the capacity of organizers and/or educators, only one of the women (Miriam) was slated to help give a talk or workshop. I do not believe that there was a conscious exclusion of women as educators here, but something is going on. M y perception is that, especially in the case of the couples, the women were uncomfortable with the thought of being in the limelight. I did ask Anna and Sally about this, why they were not participating as much as their husbands. Their answers were similar and went something like, they—the husbands—are the experts and that they didn't really want to speak. Mir iam, in one sacred circle voiced too, that she was working on finding her voice and the feeling that she has something of significance to offer. I too felt (and feel) this. 1 also believe that all of these women had something of significance that they could have shared with us. We could ask them: What is it like being the wife of a dedicated environmental educator? What is it like to grow and prepare food and raise children in an alternative situation? How do you make such delicious meals from grains and bean? Teach me how to bake bread (this did happen!) What is it like to home-school 8 children? Anna, for example was privy in Kerala to information that her husband W i l l could not have been. 138 Being a woman she was invited into the kitchen and into other women only spaces. We spoke a bit about this when we did the dishes together. Her information would have been as interesting to hear as Will 's . Maybe women, or some women, need to have a different venue in which to share their information. Their shyness about the significance of what they know could stem (as perhaps mine does) from being immersed in a social culture that tells them, in a myriad of ways, that what they know and do, is not as important as what others know and do. Perhaps in some cases more encouragement is needed. (This could be very true for males also.) Perhaps they need to be asked what they would need in order to share their voices more publicly, or, perhaps—as did happen at the GLP—more informal and unscheduled situations are what is needed? More questions pointing the way to areas for further investigation. This information would not only be useful for situations like the G L P , but also for any forum which is trying to make space for different and perhaps suppressed voices. Community or public meetings for example. 3. Involving Children and Others in Such Programs "Kids wi l l grow like weeds on a fence, they wil l look for the light and try to make sense, they come up through the cracks like grass on the tracks..." (Suzane Vega, 1987) Mean's Journal Entry. GLP 2nd day: Vm looking forward to seeing all sorts of things Pve never seen before Like: bears, flowers, plants, berry's, cogers and more. After the long hike up the mountin I've finally learned that there is lots of wonders in the forest, and I wonder if I will see those wonders that lie, waiting for me to come. I have 139 seen some of these wonders, But there is more waiting for me to Discover, these Discoverys aren't any ordanary discovers, they are magic, and, did you know, these Discovereys should'nt be killed or Distroyed, they should be left in peace and joy. But now that I'm here I've finally discovered that there are other animals living in the forest, that Dosen't want us, even to come to this camp and live here for six weeks and theres one I've Discovered so far and those are the mosquitoes, (reprinted as written.) As recorded in the section on participants, five children attended the G L P and one lived in very close proximity to the camp. Keilen, the youngest at just under two was there with her mom Jeanette for the first two and a half weeks of the G L P . Kerry (9) and Marcus (7) DiMaggio came with their family midway between the first week for 8 days. Juleah and Daniel, my children aged 8 and 5 respectively at the time of the 1996 G L P , were the only children who attended for the full 6 weeks. Cypress, the GLP ' s little 14 month old neighbour, came to visit off and on during this time. It would have been a different G L P without the children. Their presence added a playfulness and in some ways gave us a mutual point o f concern. (I.e. we collectively watched for their well being, eating schedules were perhaps more strictly adhered to, etc.) Children, individually and as a whole, are unique creatures.39 They lend valuable perspective, clarity and wisdom. They can bring the insight of laughter or boredom to intense and/or heavy discussions and they serve as a physical reminder of who wi l l inherit the earth. Many of the G L P participants, especially those who attended for most or all of the 6 weeks had no children of their own and had limited interaction with children. It was 3 9 I do not use this word in any negative sense, but rather in the sense of "that which is created; a living being..." (Concise English Dictionary, p. 264.) 140 interesting and touching to watch the initially tentative child-adult relationships grow into strong and mutually nurturing friendships. There was a sense that we were a fuller community due to, not only the presence of the children, but also during the first 2 weeks, the elders, Anna and W i l l . Prior to attending the G L P , when in the process of putting in our letter of interest, 1 had some concerns about bringing my children. I was concerned for their safety: what about bears and cougars, getting lost in the woods? I was concerned that they would be bored i f no other children were present, or that the other children that did come may be incompatible with mine. It was, after all their summer vacation too and I wanted to be sure that they would not be miserable. I was also concerned that they would interfere with my experience and learning and that of others and that the adults who attended may be highly critical and unaccepting of them and/or their behaviour. Jim and other organizers took some time responding to my request to bring children (it was something that they had not thought about prior to this) and I wondered i f somehow this was a no children community or some other such thing. I must say that I was a bit disgruntled and bewildered until I recognized that part of the dilemma was due to Jim and Patty's recent loss, and of organizers concerns for children's safety and issues of liability. The camp was still in the middle of construction and there were a number of possible physical hazards. For the most part, my fears were not realized, and the experience was a very positive one for my children, myself and other participants. While they were, at times bored and especially initially were frowned upon for some of their behaviour (such as not sitting still during sacred circle), most of this was adapted to. They ate very well—organic whole grains, 141 beans, fresh vegetables and fruit (very little junk food and sweets!), they got tons of fresh air and exercise, lived with out T . V . and had many exciting adventures. They also formed strong friendships with each other, many of the adults and with the other children, and they were exposed to and gained an understanding of earth/ecological issues, concepts, concerns, discussions, methods for learning and the wisdom of others—filtered, of course through a child's sensibilities. A n illustration of this came when, standing by a small pond in Nelson, B . C . looking at the highly trampled mud on its shores, Daniel said to Juleah, "my, look at all those ecological footprints!" They were especially keen on learning about the forest and were entranced by the number of edible plants there were and began to point many of them out as time went on. They sucked on wild ginger and munched the soft white petals of daisies. Watching them discover and learn in this new environment was fascinating and a number of adults paid them special attention. (To name but a few incidents), Mir iam, Lucas and Lucas taught them songs (which they still sing) and dances, Bruce and Trevor played soccer and other games, Jim took them berry picking and Kathy shared her tent with Juleah during the week in the Valhalla range. 1 believe that they also benefited from watching their parents interact in this newly forming community: hearing them speak during circle times, listening to the conversation and discussions they had with others, and in general just seeing them so intently focused. The also learned from interacting themselves and I believe gained strength as they slowly were able to give voice too during the circles. They knew that what they thought and had to say mattered to us, that they were part of the community. 142 What astounded me, (although I am not quite sure why I was so astounded) and frightened me even, was their ability to adapt and take on the rules/structures/norms of their new community. From my perspective they learned positive things: to be careful where you walk in the forest, that the earth is sacred, how to interact well with others, but I wondered i f they could not just have easily learned what 1 would consider negative ones given a different situation: to shoot the deer instead of gazing at them in wonder and respect40, to decimate the forest, to accept and give abuse. Could they have taken on these things so easily? or would there be some sort of innate sense of disjuncture, some unease which would signify that these actions may not be "good?" O f course the answer is yes, children (ourselves included for we were once all children) can, with strong communal input and pressure, be moulded to almost anything. It happens everywhere, all the time. Adults too, given time and proper manipulation, can be altered. When looking at issues of global sustainability and environmental education, this is both frightening and encouraging. The power of the collective is strong and must be used wisely (what ever that means). For some reason, perhaps because I am a creature of the earth, I hold the belief that hidden deeply in all of us there is a reverence for life, which, i f we can connect (or reconnect) with and use as a guide, wi l l direct us in the appropriate directions. Maybe this is naive. I do know that the lessons my children learned at the G L P continue to remain part of their psyche even though they have come back (entered in) to the world of high consumption. They have made the connection between consumption and destruction, and while they sometimes feel a bit upset This idea of hunting or tree cutting may, of course, not necessarily be negative learning. I am trying to point out the possibility of learning wanton and unnecessary destruction and irreverence for life. 143 about doing without—"Why can't we go to Disneyland for Christmas too?"—they do understand the reasoning. Recommendations for future GLP's While on the whole, the G L P was a very positive experience for my and the other children, I, as a parent have some recommendations for improvement. Some of these issues were discussed by the group during the final week G L P assessment. 1. The schedule for activities was a far too ambitious one, especially for parents. More time should be allotted for taking care of housekeeping and familial needs. While it is true that people could pick and choose the sessions they wanted to attend there was the desire and some expectation to attend all things and not to miss too much. Kids needed more down time too. 2. If children are to participate more fully in community life, more of the curriculum needs to be focused on action oriented, expressive learning. I found the children responded particularly well to the times when music, drama, games, adventures were used as methods of learning. They liked to have F U N ! ! ! 3. In tandem with the above, during the less child appropriate segments of the curriculum, childcare, by a non-participant, should sometimes be available. While this was initially there at the G L P in the form of Jenny, whom the children loved, the fact that her services were available for an hourly wage (deservedly so!) and that parents were expected to pay this, made it inaccessible. I believe that in the type of community we were trying to emulate, childcare should be a collective responsibility. If someone need be hired, then that expense should be incorporated into the collective budget. This should be true of any special needs. 4. There could also be a childcare sharing arrangement incorporated into the community. This is somewhat problematic in that it takes time for both the children and other adults to become connected and comfortable. This definitely did occur during the latter 3 weeks of the G L P . Again, with a less rigorous schedule, it may spontaneously occur more often, or it could be more easily factored in. 144 Journal, September, 1997 I have been away from the GLP for over a year now and as I write and get lost in the words and the process, the expectations surrounding the whole thesis thing, I can feel myself losing the impetus, the grounding, and I realize that that is why I am writing about this, because in Universities, buildings, society, we do lose the impetus, we do lose ground, or the grounding and impetus become something very different which is not always connected back to our hearts, to this fragile natural world, to the slight and tender connections we make with ourselves and with each other. When I'm back here it all becomes about fights and confrontations, about deadlines and limitations on time and energy. It is about politics and power over, about getting out there and doing something. I think the GLP and programs like it, help one ground oneself in their impetus, the deep heartfelt reasons for action, the deep unwavering knowledge that stands at the central root of what gives our lives meaning. We can easily get wrapped up with, the it is us against them, cars against bikes, loggers against environmentalists, etc... We can get pulled into the systems and the traditional ways of doing things even while we are challenging them and rallying against them. To keep that centre, to retain that dedication and even optimism, we need endeavours like the Global Living Project. CHAPTER FIVE: IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS An Analytical Framework for Education For Sustainability The implications that programs such as the Global Liv ing Project hold for other environmental education endeavours are many. If a critical part of moving toward living within the means of nature is, as documents such as those generated by the British Columbia Round Table on the Environment and the Economy suggest, the need to educate the public about sustainability, then finding the ways and means to do so is important. A s an aside I would suggest that the term "the public" is a misleading one. It implies that those who "serve the public"~government officials, policy makers, educators—are well on their way to understanding what sustainability is all about and integrating these new concepts, ideas and mindsets into their day-to-day existence. I do not believe that this is yet the case. Everyone, at all levels of our society needs to begin or to continue to learn about and integrate such changes in their lives: to take a long hard look at the structures that have been created and by which we are swayed and governed; to get well-versed (or as well-versed as possible) in the functioning of the earth's life support systems and; to critically compare the two. Creating a way of life that supports and enhances life in all o f its manifestations and for the very long term wi l l require much more than tinkering with the present system. It wi l l require fundamental change on a scale that few of us have even imagined, let alone tried to live with. This can be scary and intimidating stuff. Any education endeavour that has a move toward sustainability as its purpose wi l l need to address such things, not only from a theoretical 146 perspective, but in a way in which such theory becomes a living reality. The Global Liv ing Project is an alternative education, experiment in sustainable l iving which provides an example of how this can be done. The seven significant features of the G L P which I have extrapolated from my case study, form an analytical framework which can, with adjustments and permeations, be applied to other education for sustainability programs. If we are to know that there are other more ecologically sound ways in which to live. Seeing them in Action as vibrant functioning realities complete with their struggles and imperfections is extremely important. It is important too to feel the force of those convinced of the validity of a new mindset and learn from those Mentors who are putting the beliefs they have gained into concrete life action. We need their examples and their conviction. A s the musician Nei l Young once said, "Don't let it bring you down, it's only castles burning/Just find someone who's turning, and you wi l l come around" (Young, 19 ). We need also to somehow get away from those burning castles—the forces which shape our lives, to be Removed from Mainstream Society, so that we can encounter ourselves and the world—and ourselves in the world—in new and different ways. More work can be done around finding methods in which to shift this perspective in a shorter time frame and within, or closer to, urban settings to make it more accessible to everyone, albeit connecting with the magic of a healthy and functioning ecosystem, is extremely powerful. Connecting with our Emotional and Spiritual Selves—with our hearts and souls—with how we really feel about what is happening to the world, and with what is deeply and indisputably important to us, is also very necessary. These connections need more honour and support than our society with its emphasis on the intellectual and the rational, 147 have given them. (Educators, however, need to be aware that this is difficult and even frightening work for many. Not only because taking a good hard look at what is happening to the earth is frightening, but also because the whole realm o f the emotional is pretty new territory for many.) Ritual is one powerful way in which to connect. And , since we are all in this together—and need to be i f our actions are going to have any force—it is also important to learn or relearn how to connect with each other in meaningful and respectful ways, To Build Community and to struggle with and accept difference while reaching collective decisions that afford the protection of what is necessary to live and grow. We need to give and receive support and to understand that the animals, plants, water, air and soils are an integral part of this community. Because this undertaking is so unprecedented and great "requiring a reorientation of previous goals and values and a radical reconfiguration of the way people relate to the earth" (Rees, 1995, p. 344)~a great deal of learning must also take place. It is important to listen to and learn from each other, finding out and testing what works and what does not and fashioning this knowledge into appropriate Tools for Action. We must also learn how to successfully and properly wield them. And , finally, it is important to have an integrated Curriculum which combines all o f the above into living breathing action, with a Pedagogy—a way of teaching—which encourages participation, respects individuals knowledge and does not alienate, denigrate or blame, but inspires hope and optimism. If we are to move from theoretical knowledge to action it is important that any education attempt be a physical embodiment of such knowledge. The above framework serves as a guideline and there are, of course, many renditions and refinements of these seven 148 points which could lead to the same effects, but I believe they are important ones to keep in mind. By creating the space in which individuals can get a better grasp of what is at issue and of how they see and feel themselves in relation to what is at issue, and to have individuals experience both an alternative lifestyle and an ecological "think tank" increases, I argue, the capacity for those individuals to deepen their convictions and commitment and take a more active role in environmental protection. The message that the Global Liv ing Project conveys—that we must change, we can change and that in changing we can actually have a very high quality of life—is an important one, as was the fact that there was opportunity and encouragement for participants to question and assess the G L P process and to provide critical feedback. The way the G L P learning was/is imparted, in an optimistic manner, without (or trying to be without) judgement, was also important, as was the fact that there was opportunity and encouragement for participants to provide critical feedback and reflection on the G L P program. For planner and/or educators concerned about increasing the human capacity for living in an ecologically sustainable fashion developing their own and others capacity to investigate, take action, and keep a critical eye on that action, is necessary. Jim Merkel and other Global L iv ing Project organizers have already received much feedback regarding ways to improve the G L P . I wi l l emphasize a couple of the more prominent points here. While each Global Liv ing Project or other similar environmental education endeavour wi l l be different, these suggestions for improvement may be useful to keep in mind. One emphasis that came out in group discussions and in the responses to Questionnaire #2 (see Appendix "E") was that the G L P program was too heavily scheduled. Finding the balance between enough and too much is always difficult and problematic in that 149 some people are more keen and energetic than others. We are used to alot of action in our lives but, perhaps the do, do, do means learn, learn, learn assumptions need some challenging. Blending or merging the tasks of building a new community, taking care of physical and emotional needs, adjusting to a new and, for some, a strange environment and going to workshops and seminars is much work and can be tiring. Although the intensity of the Global Liv ing Project made it exciting, it may need to be scaled back a bit leaving enough time for personal growth and care, working on select projects, informal group discussions and fun and celebration. A number of other people suggested in discussions and in questionnaire responses, the possibility of taking time at the beginning of the project to come together as a group and discuss individual and common purposes and to build (or refine) the program and schedule for the duration of the project and to devise a social contract (deciding on waking times, chore distribution, etc. and what to do about non-compliance). This had been planned for the Global Living Project, but due to the schedules of the speakers—some could only come during the first week—there was not time enough to allow for this. Building More of Us: Individual Versus Structural Change At the recent Ph.D. thesis defence of U . B . C . Planning student Priscilla Boucher 4 1, a question raised in the context of her research on women's environmental activism in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia was discussed. This question was "why aren't there more 4 1 This took place at the University of British Columbia on December 2, 1997. 150 of us?" (meaning more environmental activists). In the context of the deepening environmental crisis, this is indeed an urgent question. While there are a multitude of reasons, many of which I have discussed in the contents of this thesis, I believe that another, related implication which comes out of an assessment of a program such as the GLP is that it has the potential, on a grass-roots level, to begin to empower people to strive for ecologically sound change-to create "more of us." But, is creating more of us-more individuals who are trying to reduce their consumption, to learn about sustainability-enough? My family, for instance diligently conserves water, turning off taps while brushing teeth, sharing baths, and then using the grey water for plants, gardening and cleaning. Meanwhile down the road a few miles, the Port Melon pulp mill uses and discards thousands of gallons of water a day. In light of this, our small efforts seem insignificant and even laughable. Yet, as I mentioned before, I believe that change will take place at a multitude of levels in a multitude of ways. In order for wide-reaching structural change to take place, especially in a society which prides itself on the protection of individual rights and freedoms, there need to be a critical mass of individuals who will support such change. If people are already moving to such change in their own lives, then they will more readily provide that support. For example, people who are already trying to integrate non-automobile transport into their lives will more readily embrace policy which creates better transit and/or bicycling networks. Indeed, especially if there are mechanisms by which like minded people can come together, they may even begin to lobby for such change. Also, at an individual level, people must begin to realize the extent to which the structures which govern their lives are responsible for ecological and social destruction. 151 It is important however, to recognize the limits of individual action. In many ways, although certain individuals have led movements to significant change—i.e. the Ghandi's of the world—individuals by and of themselves can often be quite powerless. A story told to a group of us last weekend by a participant in the 2nd Global Liv ing Project Summer Institute, illustrates this point. This young man (I do not have permission to use his name) told us how he was hugging a tree in an effort to stop it from being chainsawed down. The logger proceeded to keep cutting and would have cut into his stomach i f the young man had not let go at the eleventh moment. He moved to another tree and embraced it sobbing, while the man with the chainsaw proceeded to cut down every other tree around him leaving him and this single tree standing crying alone in the aftermath. The young man spent the rest of the day and night in the now non-forest he had failed to save, overcome by grief and a sense powerlessness... A n d yet, at Clayoquot Sound, the actions of many individuals standing together did begin to effect change. Their actions got the attention o f the world and were instrumental in causing the formation of "The Forest Practices Code," policy designed at the practice of more ecologically sensitive logging, and in the formation of the Clayoquot Sound Scientific Panel who concluded that forests practices should ensure that a healthy functioning forest ecosystem be retained. Small steps perhaps, especially in light of the recent pressure to lighten-up on the Forest Practices Code and the advisory only nature of the Scientific Panel, but steps none-the-less. There is power in numbers. Creating lobbyers for change and building a larger critical mass of individuals who are well versed in issues of sustainability both in a theoretical and real world sense is also what educational programs such as the Global Living Project are 152 attempting to do. Many of the speakers at the Global L iv ing Project—Rick K o o l , Yves Bajard, Janette Mcintosh, B i l l Rees, W i l l Alexander—provide examples of how to work for change within our educational, social and economic structures. Gabi, Mir iam, J im, Jan and Stephan M . provided examples of individual and collective activism regarding challenging existing structures and (at least sometimes) winning. This is a little different than what I have stated in regards to the analytical framework above for it involves not only educating the populace, but taking those already on the path of change and turning them into facilitators o f change who wi l l work at many varied and varying levels of society. The knowledge, technologies and methods to live sustainably—or at least a great deal more sustainably—are out there. Alternative transportation, energy, waste disposal, economic, social, communication and governance systems, are all waiting for the desire o f human society to put them into action. Part of this means counteracting the strong forces that oppose putting them into action and part of such action is getting the word out about alternatives and encouraging people to begin to consider them as viable options. Encouraging those who are already ready and wil l ing to, as Jim puts it, become ambassadors of Global L iv ing , wi l l perhaps facilitate the rate at which positive change may take place. The more voices talking, the more people acting, the greater the impact. The more people who choose not to support the existing destructive structure, the more alternative structure and ways which exist for those who want an alternative, the more those structures wi l l be pressured to change. To translate this into planning and educating for sustainability, one strategy which may be adopted is to locate those people within society who are aware and 153 knowledgeable about this emerging paradigm and give them the tools, support and encouragement necessary for them to take action and facilitate change in others. Rather than seeing or situation program such as the Global L iv ing Project as some sort of "out there" alternative educational experience, there needs to be more energy placed in devising, implementing, assessing and documenting such pioneering endeavours. Conclusions In the final pages of Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf, seeking an answer to the question posed to her "how, in your opinion, are we to prevent war?" (p. 3), presents an image of a photograph: "It is the figure of a man; some say, others deny, that he is M a n himself, the quintessence of virility, the perfect type of which all the others are imperfect adumbrations. His body, which is braced in an unnatural position, is tightly cased in a uniform. Upon the breast of that uniform are sewn several medals and other mystic symbols. . . . And behind him lie ruined houses and dead bodies—men, women and children, (p. 142) I would like to present another image. Let us say it is a snapshot of the present reality of the town o f my adolescent (although it could be, in greater or lesser degree, just about anywhere in the contemporary urban world). In the forefront are acres of strip mall development, a conglomeration of concrete and glass, block buildings, signs and neon which denote the structures' purposes. This is the new market place where goods from all over the world are stored and traded. If we compare with last month's photograph, we see that there has been a change. Something has been added: a new store, housing complex or fast food restaurant. It is mid-day—although it could be any moment between sun up or sun down—and virtual rivers 154 of automobiles are caught streaming in and out. Although a photograph is silent, the noise is palpable and the slightly blurry edge is not a photographic flaw but rather the residue of the traffic which is threatening and worrying a young woman who, on the left-hand side—just off centre—is daring, with her stroller, to try to navigate the enormous span of roadway. At the very front—to the right, is a large sign that reads: "Chill iwack is open for Business." Behind this, in the background, is a denuded landscape: forests have disappeared and stumps are smoldering; rivers have been damned; strip mines have been carved from hillside, destabilizing the land and releasing minerals at toxic rates and in toxic amounts; factories belch dark clouds and their locked doors ensure a full-days work from the women and children inside. Woolf continued: . . . we have not laid that picture before you in order to excite once more the sterile emotion of hate. On the contrary it is in order to release other emotions such as the humans figure, even thus crudely in a coloured photograph, arouses in us who are human beings. For it suggests a connection and for us a very important connection. It suggests that we cannot dissociate ourselves from that figure but are ourselves that figure. It suggests that we are not passive spectators doomed to unresisting obedience but by our thoughts and actions can ourselves change the figure. A common interest unites us; it is one world, one life. How essential it is that we should realize that unity the dead bodies, the ruined houses prove. For such wi l l be our ruin i f you in the immensity of your public abstractions forget the private figure, or i f we in the intensity of our private emotions forget the public world. Both houses wi l l be ruined, the public and the private, the material and the spiritual, for they are inseparably connected. In relation to my image, I too want to say something like this. In my image the human figure does not have such prominence. There are only those small, tentative ones trying to move through the hostile landscape and the others, hidden, encased in concrete and metal: small and 155 furtive too. But we cannot dissociate ourselves from these figures either. We also cannot dissociate ourselves from those buildings, that traffic, the devastation—although perhaps we still need to learn to recognize it as ruin, as life destroying, as evil . Perhaps we still need to learn to look past the baubles and trinkets to the devastation beyond. We are not passive spectators: by our thought and actions we can ourselves change the future. Or, we can destroy it. On all of the Global Liv ing Project brochures lie the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world—that is the myth o f the 'atomic age'~as in being able to remake ourselves." Undertakings like the Global Living Project can begin to unravel and reveal the old myths and, through the process of remaking ourselves, cultivate new ones. B y removing ourselves from the clang and clatter and roar of the city, from the voices which say produce, produce; buy, buy; achieve, achieve (the "bark of the guns and the bray of the gramophones" (p. 143, in Wool f s struggle) we are afforded a stillness—a void even in which to ". . . listen to the voices of the poets, answering each other, assuring us of a unity that rubs out divisions as i f they were chalk marks only; to discuss with you the capacity of the human spirit to overflow boundaries and make unity out of multiplicity. . . . to dream . . . " (Woolf, p. 143). 156 BIBLIOGRAPHY Aberley, D . (Ed.). (1993). Boundaries of Home: Mapping for Local Empowerment. Gabriola Island, B . C . : New Society Publishers. Aberley, D. (Ed.). (1994). Futures by Design: The Practice of Ecological Planning. Gabriola Island, B . 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Nicholson (Ed.), Feminism/Postmodernism (pp. 300-323). London: Routledge. Young, N . (1971). Don't let it bring you down. On 4 Way Street [record]. New York: Atlantic. (1970) 162 APPENDIX "B "-QUESTIONNAIRE #2 Global Living Project- Questionnaire Hi The purpose of this research is to assess the effectiveness of a course such as the Global Living Project (GLP) in taking the first few steps towards educating people to "live equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature." This questionnaire is designed to assess what sort of learning has transpired in the program and to what depth. It is also designed to explore your personal experience as a participant in the GLP and to elicit comments on the strengths and weakness of the program and constructive ideas for future programs. Please note that this questionnaire is strictly voluntary. You have every right to refuse to participate in this study, to refuse to answer any questions and even to revoke information once given. To the extent possible, your answers will be held in confidence and anonymity will be respected. Please be as indepth as possible and number your answers clearly. 1. Why did you choose to participate in the GLP? Ie. What attracted you to it? 2. What did you hope to achieve by participating in the GLP? Ie. What was/were your goai(8) and purpose(s)? 3. Were your goals and purposes realized? Which ones were? Winch ones were not? Explain. 4. What activities, structures, experiences, lectures, workshops, unexpected events, etcetera helped you achieve your goals and purposes? (State goal and/or purpose and list those things that helped you reach it) 5. What activities, experiences, structures, lectures, workshops, unexpected events, etcetera hindered your achievement of your goals and purposes? (State goal and/or purpose and list those things that interfered with your achievement of them.) 6. How, do you imagine, the achievement of your goals could be better facilitated? Ie. What types of activities, introduced knowledge and experiences would have aided your attainment of your goals and purposes? 7. How did you hope to personally contribute to the GLP? Did you manage to do this? What helped or hindered this? 8. Self Evaluation: Please rate yourself assuming 1 as weaker and 10 as stronger. Openness Patience Adapting to change Coinmunication skills Tolerance Team Player Listener Creativity 9. How did you benefit from the GLP? How do you feel you were challenged, changed and motivated by your participation in the GLP? 10 What were the three most important things you learned at the GLP? (You are welcome to put more.) 11. What were the three things you liked best about the GLP? (More if you desire.) 12. What were the three things you liked least about the GLP? (More if you desire.) 13 What would you change about the GLP (structure, content, etcetera) to improve it in the future? 14. Describe your relationship with and/or beliefs about 1. the "natural world" 2. the "human world." 15. In what ways (if any) has your participation in the GLP altered or helped form this/these relationship(s)? 16. Describe your feelings or beliefs about the "state of the world." 17 Ln what ways (if any) has your participation in the GLP altered, heightened, or supported these feelings or U'liefs? 18. In what ways do you feel or hope that your GLP expenence will be incorporated into your life and your life's work? 164 APPENDIX '^"--QUESTIONNAIRE #1 (global l_ iviK \c | TPro'yeid S u m m e r OKvs+i+u+e Is rr possibk TO UVE EQuirAblymd HARMONbusly wrrhiN rf/E MEANS of NATURE? Welcome to the first step in your potential involvement in the Global Living Project. Our aim is to learn from each other, grow through sharing and ultimately discover an ecologically sound harmony with the living Earth. Your invitation to join us arises from our understanding that humanity has a role to play in restoring planetary health and seeks fulfilment in harmonious relationships with all life. We welcome your energy and extend greetings and joy from the place that resides in all of us. Name: X Last Middle First Address: Number Street City/Town Province/State Postal Code/tip Home Phone Business Phone Errs PERSONAL INFORMATION Birth Date (D.M.Y.) Do you have any health concerns that may interfere with strenuous outdoor activity? Do you have arty allergies or special food concerns? Education: please specify degrees, areas of specialization, certification or diploma, current studies etc. Do you have First Aid certification? Please specify. Income Bracket (For sliding ccaJe consideration; please circulate appropriate income/per person Canadian dollars.) Q-$7,000 $7,000-$15,000 $15,000-$25,000 $25,000-$30,000 Tuition: $700 $700-$1,500 $1,500-$2,500 $2,500-$3,000 Note: An average tuition of $2,200 would result in this years project breaking even. Tuition includes all meals, lodging, books and materials and instruction. Self Evaluation: Please rate yourself assuming 1 s^ weaker and 10 as stronger Openness Patience Adopting to change Communication Skills Tolerance _Team Player Listener Creativity Give a brief outline of your experience in the following areas: Bioregionalism: Botany-: 166 APPENDIX "D"—PARTICIPANTS Names and personal information of those involved in the Global Living Project Summer Institute, 1996 (Small character sketches, from my perspective) ORGANIZERS Jim Merkel (JM) - Jim is the main organizer and the driving force behind the Global Liv ing Project. Because he and his vision is so central to the G L P , an indepth "description" and "character sketch" is contained in the body o f the thesis and thus wi l l not be presented here. (See pages, 37-38.) Patty Kelley - Patty hails from Maine on the East Coast of the United States. She is an artist and a community and environmental activist and has dedicated much o f her life to volunteer work. She met Jim at one of his talks and became involved with him and the dream of the Global Liv ing Project embarking with him on the West Coast promotional tour in the spring of 1996. For the first four weeks of the G L P program, Patty was the "head cook" before succumbing to deep and overwhelming grief stemming from the premature birth and death of her and Jim's infant son and returning "home" to Maine. See Chapter Four for more about this grief and its effect on the G L P Community. Gabi Sittig - Gabi, although one of the "elders" of the group (55 at the time of the project) was the one who maintained the "let's do it, and let's have some fun" attitude. Her concrete role was to slash the food budget to fall in line with the money available and to order the food, shop and plant and maintain the G L P garden which was located away from the G L P site in the Slocan Valley. Gabi, originally from Germany, made her way to Canada in her early 20's. She is the mother of a son and a daughter (Geni Sittig—see below) both now in their early 20's and has devoted much of her life to gardening, cooking and weaving. Recently she has been a major player in the Slocan Valley Watershed Alliance struggle to protect the watershed of the Slocan Valley. She was also provided major opposition to the logging of what became known as "the singing forest" a stand of old growth located close to the town o f Nelson, British Columbia. Miriam Mason - Mir iam is originally from Switzerland. She and her partner Stephan (see below) are members of the "Intentional Conscious Village Community." This community is separate but interconnected with the Global Living Project in that Jim Merkel purchased land from Stephan and Mir iam to set up the G L P and is also a member of the " I C V C . " Mir iam worked intently with Jim setting the schedule for the G L P . While maintaining the running of the "B ig House"—the focal point o f the I C V C , Mir iam and Stephan came to the G L P site on a regular basis, especially for the weekly "Sacred Circles" and to led various talks and workshops. Mir iam in particular led a woman's singing circle and a "forest experience." Her 167 wonderful voice was always a welcome blessing for both adults and children. M y children are still happily singing the songs that she taught them. Stephan Martineau - Originally from Quebec, Stephan is the visionary and founder of the Intentional Conscious Village Community the idea of which came to him while travelling in India. He was involved in many aspects of preparation and organization of the G L P . In particular he was the master builder of the G L P camp site and the strawbale community hall which was the focal point for the 1996 program. Stephan is also very involved in the Slocan Valley Watershed Alliance, working to save the Slocan valley forests and still pristine watersheds from the ravages of clearcut logging. STUDENTS Brace Carron - Bruce came to the G L P driving a pretty sturdy V W van with Trevor, Kathy, Shannon and Jeremy onboard. Originally from South Africa, Bruce moved to British Columbia during his childhood. At the age o f 21 he was in his third year o f electrical engineering at the University of Victoria, prior to the 1996 G L P . He is deeply concerned about the planet and is interested in what role alternative technology can play in a sustainable future. He dreams of forming an alternative technology centre in Victoria that -is linked to one, formed by his friend Lucas, (see below), in Argentina. Geni Sittig - Geni is in her early 20's. Before attending the G L P she had finished a course of study in photography and a time working in a film processing business. Geni was engaged in a personal journey in her van when, visiting her mom, Gabi (above) she learned of the Global Living Project and decided to get involved. Cindy Sutherland - A sketch of my personality wi l l probably emerge throughout this work. At the time of the Global Living Project, I was 35 years of age, married with 3 children aged 16, 8 and 5. M y undergraduate work was in English and Geography and I had just finished my course work for an M A in Planning at the University o f British Columbia. M y love and concern for the world stems back as far as I can remember and increases with time. I, much to my surprise was one of the older student participants and as such found myself in a new role, as a provider of information and an example of a parent and partner. Michael Gabriel - Michael, aged 42, was also one of the older student participants. He has an "old soul" and a varied background which has culminated in his working as a teacher and counsellor with "troubled" youths. His interest in environmental issues has been increased through his association with his life partner, Cindy. He hopes to find ways to bring together the two elements o f troubled young people and troubled world in a way which can extend healing to both. Michael provided the group with deep and honest emotion and often some "shaking up" and constructive confrontation. 168 Jeremy Forst - Jeremy is also in his early 20's and near the end of his undergraduate studies in Geography at the University of British Columbia. He grew up on the Sunshine Coast and has for many years, been concerned with environmental issues. He was drawn to the G L P because of his belief that "a strong sense of community is vital in fostering an environmental consciousness" and he wanted to learn more about and experience a strong community especially with other environmentally active and concerned people. Jeremy is a wonderful guitar player and singer and provided many songs and much music for the group. He also had a wonderful sense o f calm and an optimistic attitude. Kathy Wardle - Kathy,aged 21 seemed in some ways older than her years. Originally from Vancouver she has been undertaking a Double Major in International and Environmental Studies in Eugene at the University of Oregon. She again, is deeply concerned about the future o f this planet and is especially interested in education and community development. She is a meticulous note-taker and kept the best journal of the group and provided a role model for personal dedication. She also turned out to be a wonderful facilitator and contributor to group discussions and decision making. She is also an avid and dedicated bicyclist. Stephane Founder - In his late 20's Stephane's major interest, or I should say passion, is alternative, especially Chinese medicine. He is a healer and was the official camp doctor and first aid person. He also helped imbue the group with the sense that spirit and the spiritual is extremely important in any healing work. At the time of the G L P he was very interested in learning more about Native traditions such as the Medicine Wheel and the uses of indigenous plants in healing. Christina Lowy - Aged 23 Christina is studying Soil Science at "Cal Poly" Technical school in San Luis Obispo, California with one year to go before graduation. Christina's stay at the G L P was shadowed by the fact that just before coming she found that she was pregnant. This somewhat slowed her down physically, (she greeted the early morning of the first day in the outhouse, poor thing!) Patty and Gabi helped her with hugs, information and herb teas. The fact that a new live (in fact two new lives, as Christina is having twins,) was/were forming in our midst was felt in various wonderful ways. Trevor Ross - A t 19 years of age Trevor was the youngest of the adult "student" participants. Physically strong and able he (and Michael) dug out and built a cold storage room for the straw bale hall. Trevor was quite silent so it was hard to know quite how the experience was affecting him. Tom Speidel - Tom turned 46 on the first day of the G L P . Before finding his life's calling "in the area of population and environmental issues..."Tom achieved a BS in Psychology, owned and ran restaurants in Seattle for many years. He had just completed an M A in Social Work Administration as the G L P commenced. Tom is a cook, an organizer and a thinker -trying to keep us on task; whipping up scrumptious ( if somewhat high footprint) goodies and desserts; and stealing away to read and contemplate. He was also our dedicated morning 169 person, ensuring our porridge, coffee, tea, fruit and trimmings were ready and waiting for us. Tom came to the G L P site early to help with setting up the camp. Among other things he fashioned one of the outhouses and the outdoor shower. Shannon Davis - Shannon heard about the G L P through her friend Geni. Her "plans are to learn as much as [she] can about what my impact on the ecosystem is and how I can live as in-tune with the earth as possible, with as little waste as possible." Shannon was initially very much involved with the group and the activities. She left at the beginning of the 4th week feeling a strong pull to be with her family. Shannon is quiet, gentle and lovely. Carol Smythe - Carol attended the G L P program for the 4th week only - Permaculture and Alternative Technologies - bringing new energy and an outsider's perspective. She was quite "impressed" by the community we had formed and our indepth interaction and decision making processes as this was new to her. She was in her mid-thirties and lived in Langley where she has a business doing house renovations. She was questioning her life and found the context o f the G L P a good one for such scrutiny and for finding new information. Lucas De Borbon - Lucas, in my heart, was "the young musician from Argentina" with an alternative and refreshing experience of community and life. A friend of Bruce's, he joined the G L P "community" at what I felt was a low point for the group, during the third week at the CDI conference in Nelson. Although a new presence can be disruptive, I felt the presence of Lucas's open heart, cultural innocence (i.e. innocence of our culture) and use of non-verbal expressions (his flute and guitar music) provided a lesson for the group and a path into greater strength. He left during the 5th week for Victoria to continue his journey. Miranda Terlingen - Miranda attended the G L P for the first week and provided incredible energy and enthusiasm. A teacher, most recently working with T im Turner at the Sea To Sky Outdoors school of Keats island, B . C . Miranda was ever ready to invigorate the group with some game playing or other activity. The kids loved this, and everyone else seemed to also. Steve & John- Steve and John (last names unknown) were local residents who attended the G L P for a couple of days during the first week and two or three other times throughout the 6 weeks for particular lectures or events. While they were not around enough to get to know them very well, their presence was unobtrusive and did not seem to interfere with the "workings" of the group thus enhancing, in my opinion, the model/possibility of inclusion of those, who for various reasons, could not or did not want to attend for the full 6 weeks. Sally DiMaggio - A long time friend o f Jim Merkel's Sally, in her mid-thirties, attended the G L P with partner Mark and children Kerry and Marcus. They arrived partway during the first week and left at the end of the second week, this stop over being part of a longer trans-america journey they were undertaking. Sally did not really plan to be a "student" participant and for this reason and due to the fact that she had children and dogs to attend to, did not participate in many of the G L P "working" activities (ie. lectures and workshops), but was there for food sharing and evening activities. 170 EDUCATORS/FACILITATORS Janette Mcintosh (also a student participant) - Prior to the summer of 1996, Janette had been working as coordinator of UBC ' s Task Force for Healthy and Sustainable Communities, in particular, the development o f the Ecological Footprint model. She came to the G L P as a voluntary educator, to, along with Yoshi Wada, teach participants the theory behind the Ecological Footprint and some of its "practical applications." Although Canadian, Janette was raised in Japan and thus Japanese was her first language and is the language that her two year old daughter Keilen spoke. Janette had quite a job juggling caring for an active toddler in an unchildproofed, newly constructed camping site, and trying to be both a student, an educator and integrating both of them into the structure of community life. Yoshi Wada (also a student participant) - Yoshi , is a Japanese international student studying at the School of Community and Regional Planning at U B C . He completed an M A at S C A R P writing his thesis on a comparison of the Ecological Footprint o f tomatoes grown in a greenhouse operation and field grown tomatoes. He is currently working on his PhD. which wil l work with the Footprint for aspects of his native Japan, in particular the marine aspects of "footprinting". Yoshi was our resident measurer and weigher for the calculation of our Ecological Footprint. He was also the one who we turned to for help in doing calculations and answering our "tricky" questions. Yoshi also proved to be a "star" actor in our little eco-theatre sketches and lots of fun. Mike Carr (also a student participant) - Mike is also working on his Ph.D. at the U B C School of Community and Regional Planning, on the Bioregionalism movement, a movement he has been involved with on a personal and practical level for some years. Mike gave us an overview of the history of and theory behind the Bioregional Movement and led us in Bioregional Mapping. Anna Alexander - Anna has most recently been working on a "Help Increase the Peace (H.I.P.) in California — A program on nonviolent conflict resolution and trust building in schools and community settings. She has carried out research with her partner W i l l in Kerala, India, in particular those involving women and women's issues. Anna also took an active part in all aspects of G L P Community life. Anna's own knowledge and experience could have been brought out a little more at the G L P (see Gender Analysis for a more discussion o f this.) Will Alexander - is a professor of "Food Politics" at Cal Poly Tech in San Luis Obispo, California. He and his wife Anna (above) have spent the past number of years living in and studying the densely populated province o f Kerala in the southwest corner o f India. (See Chapter 4 for more about Kerala.) W i l l is a story teller and a wonderful teacher. A t 72 years of age, he and his wife Anna were the oldest G L P participants. Mark DiMaggio - is a long time friend o f Jim Merkel. Jim calls him an "educator extraordinaire". He teaches high school in the small town of Cambria in California and is constantly trying to impress upon his students and community the need for environmental 171 concern and care. When he attended the G L P , with his wife Sally and their two children, he was in the midst o f a year long sabbatical, granted so that he could develop an extensive curriculum for teaching and using the "Ecological Footprint" concept in a high school setting. He had also been developing a computer model for the Ecological Footprint which he shared with the G L P group. Mark has an abundance of energy and ideas. He led a few lectures and discussions about possible ways in which the EF could be used and led a powerful brainstorming session regarding barriers to change. Rick Kool - Rick and Yves (see below) came to the G L P after attending an environmental educator's conference in Kelowna, B . C . They stayed on-site for approximately 3 days and both were part o f the panel discussion held during the first week. Rick is an Education/Interpretation Program Office with the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and led a workshop which focused on the use of statistics in environmental education and the environmental movement in general, getting us to question what we think and know, how the statistical information is obtained and how it can be used. He stressed that statistics can be powerful information and create quite an impact but that we need to be careful that we do not fall into a correct or exact statistics struggle. There are many things that we cannot know, for example, the exact number o f species which have gone extinct, but this does not mean that we should not try to stop others from going the same route. For me his talk reinforced the urgency of the global environmental situation. His positive and exuberant energy gave me hope and encouragement. Yves Bajard - A t great personal and financial costs, Yves along with a few others, founded the National Centre for Sustainability located in Victoria, B . C . He did so because he believes that we need to quickly wake up and take action. As he says "everyone is speaking of sustainability—but what is it really? What does it look like?" Yves message to us was that we really need to look at the underlying structures which shape and govern our lives, scrutinizing them closely beside a vision of real, long term planetary sustainability. Do our universities, for example, really provide an education that wi l l lead to us living harmoniously within the means of nature? What about our political and economic structures? To my mind, Yves and Rick added greatly to the G L P . I personally would have like to have heard more from them. Dr. William (Bill) Rees - is the Director of the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia and the co-author/creator (along with Mathis Wackernagel) o f the "Our Ecological Footprint" book and concept. He is a powerful presenter who challenges the Western mechanistic, anthropocentric world view and stresses the need for a paradigm shift, especially in the world of mainstream economics which takes no account of the natural capital and resource depletion and pollution and the finite nature of the earth. Jan Inglis - Jan was involved with some of the preliminary planning of the G L P . She also graciously allowed the bunch of us to camp on her land and use her cabin during our stay in Nelson when we attended the Community Development Institute. Jan came up the G L P site 172 to run a workshop on the use of theatre and drama as means both to understand issues, structures and positions, and as a tool for community and environmental activism. She is a major organizer o f the theatre group "Footprints" which recently had been in the Philippines using theatre as a tool to help empower the Philippine people to fight ecological and community destructive forces. Dave Biggs - is a Master's student at the School of Community and Regional Planning, U B C . He co-founded U B C ' s Sustainable Development Institute and has most recently been working on a computer modelling game called Quest. He came to the G L P during the final week for a 2 day session and worked with us on visioning a future and personal and collective goal setting. Dave chooses to focus on the positive, looking at areas we have made progress in believing that you need to talk with everyone, especially your so-called "enemies". If you can begin to change their thoughts and views, what a great way to create further and more extensive change. Dave invigorated the group's sense of the possible and left us with optimism and hope. Shannon Bennett - Shannon was wonderful (in all senses)! I believe that, for many o f us, she opened up a whole new world. She led us on two forests walks and introduced us to many of the plants and their edible and medicinal qualities. Robert and Josh Francis - Robert Francis and his son Josh (18) came to the G L P site one evening to speak to us about what Robert calls, in permaculture terms, Zone 0. This zone deals with the household or the family. (See permaculture literature for an explanation of zones). Robert, the father of 8 children whom he homeschools with his wife. His view is (to paraphrase) why live in and with a system that is rotten, attempting to change it from the inside. It is not going to happen. Better to remove yourself as much as you can from the system and found and work with new systems that, when the crunch comes, or when enough others have decided that they have had it too, may then be able to emerge and be put into practice. Robert's 18 year old son, introduced (I believe that for most of us this was our first foray into this realm) to the notion of "free energy" and this led to a discussion about conspiracy theory what may be going on, unbeknown to us, in this world — especially in the world of the military. David Orcut - David Orcut is an elder of the Slocan area who came to Canada to escape the Vietnam draft. Through personal stories David gave us a sense of the recent (1960's on) history of the Slocan area. He also introduced us to his lifetime work on the creation of a universal language. Mark & Danielle Breaten - Mark, Danielle and their two children joined us on the plant walks with Shannon and hosted our field trip to their community and earthship home. Mark also spoke, during our visit, on his ideas of community and of what is needed to create an intentional community and some of the pitfalls to watch out for. 173 Phil Larstone - Phil came to the G L P site one evening to see our skits and to play the didgeridoo--a traditional instrument of the Australian aboriginals—for us, telling us a bit about its healing powers and actually performing what he calls a "didge healing" on one member of our group. He also hosted our tour to his solar house and spoke to us about solar technology. Marilyn James - Mari lyn is the designated spokesperson for the Stynx Nation—the First Nations group who have historical claim to the land upon which the G L P was situated. She came to the G L P as a member of the Panel on the night of the Panel Discussion. She has a powerful presence and speaks from the heart on issues—such as her people, the destruction of the natural environment, the extinction of species—which are dear to her. The thing I remember most about her were the words: "don't keep being pulled off in all directions, find the thing that wrings your heart like a dishcloth, and keep with it." Yellow Bear - Yel low Bear is an ex-minister and elder of European descent. He has spent a number of years studying with First Nations elders. Yel low Bear performed the opening ceremony at the Global L iv ing Project in which he introduced us to the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. He also hold a weekly drumming circle in the Slocan Valley which we attended during the sixth week. OTHER MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY Scott, Marie & Cypress - This family lived right next to the site where the G L P participants camped and as such often came to visit. 1 1/2 year old Cypress especially enjoyed pattering over to check things out, especially when the other children were around. There house also provided an example for us o f low consumption building and living (See Chapter Four: Alternative lifestyles in Action.) Anne Marie - Anne Marie was a potential member of the Intentionally Conscious Community. Potential meaning that she was staying there to see how it felt for everyone. (The way the community is set up, there is a trial period before commitment.) Anne Marie was young, in her early 20's and lived in a small cabin close to the main house. She was a tree planter and had a wonderful voice and gift for creating songs. We often sang one o f her songs that she wrote as a celebration of the earth. Ricardo - Ricardo or Richard was also a potential member of the ICC. While he didn't have a lot of interaction with the G L P bunch, he did come to some dinners and ceremonies. He was a very active member of the broader Slocan Valley community, taking part in organizing and going to protests to protect the watersheds from logging, organizing and setting up a local weekend market. He worked at the famous Hungry W o l f cafe, a local restaurant that in many ways was a hub of community life in Winlaw and the Slocan Valley. 174 APPENDIX "E" Collation of Responses to Questionnaire's #1 and #2 Questionnaire #1 Questionnaire #1--See Appendix "C"—was created by the G L P organizers as an application form for those interested in attending the Global Living Project, Summer Institute, 1996. With participants permission, I had access to the 11 of these filled out by students who were attended the 1996 G L P . These represent the first 11 people under the Students category in Appendix " D " . The following is a compilation of personal information and an overview of the 250 words each participant was asked to write regarding their desire to contribute to the Global L iv ing Project. Females: 5 Males: 6 Ages: 19-24 - 8 30-45 - 3 Education: No Degree: 1 Diploma: 1 One Post-Secondary Degree: 6 More than One Post-Secondary Degree: 3 Income: (per individual per year) $0.00 - $7,000 - 5 $7,000 - $15,000 - 6 Why did they want to come to the GLP A program like the G L P gets at the root causes of our environmental and social problems—a human society of overconsumption. I feel it is important for me to live in a sustainable way for any large scale social shift has happened is through example and education. I can be of value because of my passion and enthusiasm for issued of global survival and sustainability. I want to share ideas, learn from each other, and focus on possibilities rather than problems. I need to learn for myself and educate others about the environmental issues facing our society. I wanted to learn more about population and environmental issues. Solutions to the state of the planet wi l l be found through interdisciplinary, collaborative thinking and processes that include a rich diversity of peoples and perspectives. I want to associate with others who are concerned and knowledgable. 175 I want to be... a teacher of the soul and to show by example. I am young, but open and hungry for knowledge. There have been so many little coincidences...! need to be part of your group this summer. M y plans are to learn as much as I can about what my impact on the eco-system is and how I can live as in-tune with the earth as possible, with as little waste as possible. I want to join the G L P group because I know that our planet is in extreme need for people with a greater awareness and willingness to make positive change.... I personally believe that 20 people gathered together this summer for the G L P can unify our knowledge, strength, dreams and love. I feel like I have alot to learn about treading less heavily on the earth and would like some solutions or at least ideas to follow on how we can work together on making a smaller impact and still live happily. I also feel strongly that the way to create change is to raise awareness and some solid information Connecting with others with knowledge and similar beliefs would, I believe, increase my capacity to keep on going (not that I'd stop, but...) I feel it may help "gel" my convictions and beliefs and reinforce the knowledge I already have 176 Questionnaire #2: Questionnaire #2--See Appendix "B"—consisted of 39 questions. These were designed not only to compliment my research as a Global L iv ing Project participant, but also to provide feedback to the Global Living Project organizers so that they may assess what learning took place and gain information regarding possible ways to improve the G L P program. Many of the questions were open-ended ones, designed to allow participants to more fully articulate their experience of the G L P both for themselves and for the purpose of the research for this thesis. 13 of the 17 questionnaires distributed on site or sent to G L P participants were returned. Many of these provided lengthy and in-depth answers to some of the questions. (3 were very short and concise consisting of 1-2 pages which answered only select questions, while the other 10 ranged from 4 - 1 3 pages, with the average being 6.8 pages.) The major themes which emerged from such answers and the other aspects of the research have been discussed in Chapter Four. This Appendix is designed to analyze in more quantitative terms some of the more closed or concisely answered questions. In this Appendix I wi l l extrapolate the data from questions 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 20, 28, 29, 36 and 37 of questionnaire #2. # 1. Why did you choose to participate in the GLP? Ie. What attracted you to it? Reason cited Number of people A . The Project question: "is it possible to live equitably and harmoniously within the means of nature 3 B . Proposed Curriculum 7 C. To experience community living 5 D . Being with others who share concerns 4 E. The project setting 3 F. The hands-on nature of the project 2 G . To see what Jim's latest venture was about 1 #2. What did you hope to achieve by participating in the GLP? Ie. What was/were your goal(s) and purpose(s)? Reason cited Number of people A . To further knowledge & understanding of problems and solutions 6 B . To learn how to live more sustainably 3 C. To gain connection with others who are also concerned 4 177 D. To gain inspiration and clarity regarding personal direction 8 E. To be exposed to others perspectives and reduce pessimism 2 F. To learn how to help spread the message, educate 2 #3. Were your goals and purposes realized? (9 of 13 answered this) Yes Partially N o 4 5 0 #6. How do you imagine, the achievement of your goals could be better facilitated? Ie. what types of activities, introduced knowledge and experiences would have aided your attainment of your goals and purposes? Things cited Number o f People A . Better balance of time/project 9 B . Define group and individual purposes at the beginning. Form a social contract 6 C. Larger/stronger group o f organizers/leaders 4 D. More hands-on/ fun learning experiences 3 E. More scheduled exercise/meditation time 1 F. Less transience of people 2 G. Better child-care set up 2 H . More experimentation 1 I. More emphasis on equitable sustainability 1 #9. How did you benefit from the GLP? Thing cited Number of People A . Inspired to believe in self/continue work 5 B . Helped make lifestyle changes 3 C. Gained new ideas and energy 2 D. Enhanced communication skills 1 #9. How were you challenged by the GLP? Thing cited Number of People A . The group dynamics 5 178 #10. What were the three most important things you learned at the GLP? (You are welcome to put more.) Thing cited Number of people A . The need to focus on the positive 2 B . Elements of how to live more sustainably/lower consumption 8 C. I can personally make a difference in some way 2 D. Aspects of community living 7 E. To question myself and my culture and the relationship with the ecosphere 1 F. To listen more 1 G. The importance of family 1 H . That the treat o f ecological problems is greater than I realized 1 I. That there are lots of young people who are deeply concerned 1 J. The sacredness of all life 1 #11. What were the three things you liked best about the GLP? (More if you desire) Thing cited Number of People A . The speakers and the calibre o f speakers 5 B . The people 5 C. The location/setting 8 D. The spiritual aspects 4 E. The community experience 6 F. The topics discussed 4 G . The food 1 H . The holistic nature of the program 1 I. Escaping from commitments and concerns #12. What were the three things you liked least about the GLP? (More if you desire.) Thing cited Number of People A . Not enough free time/too heavily scheduled 10 B . Not enough informal time to share 3 C. Not enough time to finalize projects 1 D. Lack of motivation of the participants to self direct their activities 1 E. Not enough people venturing into the woods 1 179 F. The transience of people, people coming and going 1 G. Nothing I intensely disliked 1 H . Wanted more celebration 1 I. The interpersonal politicking and conflicts 1 #20. Do you think it would be beneficial for others to attend a program such as the GLP? Yes Maybe No 10 0 0 #28. A . Do you feel that your consumption was lower at the GLP than it had previously been? Very much so Somewhat No 8 3 1 #28. B. What accounted for this? Main reason cited Number of People A . Limited car driving 6 B . Change in diet 5 C. Providing our own entertainment 2 D. The opportunity not to spend 2 E. Reduced use of electricity/water 1 F. The living accommodations 1 #28. C . What, if anything, did you miss the most or find the hardest to do without? Thing missed Number of People A . Baths 2 B . Sweets or goodies 1 C. A comfortable couch or chair 2 D. A retreat from mosquitos 1 E. M y other community/family 2 #29. Describe your "quality of life" before and during the GLP. 180 Higher before G L P The same or similar 1 2 Higher during G L P 7 #36. Do you think the "community" worked well during the Global Living Project? Yes Sort o f N o Comments 10 1 Coming and going of people was a problem 6 weeks is too short to judge Always room for improvement #37. Do you think/feel that your home "community(ies)" are healthy and functioning well? Yes Sort of N o Comments 2 1 5 N o open communication or common purpose 1 don't have a home community Pretty scary 181 


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