Finding an Ecovillage / Sacred Activism — Love, Grief, and Empowerment (148)

pm148_589Diana Leafe Christian, author of Finding Community: How to join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community, zeros in on how to find an ecovillage. Once you determine what you want, what are the criteria to explore whether an ecovillage is a good fit/match for you? []

Bob Banner, publisher of Hopedance magazine, shares insights from Andrew Harvey’s Sacred Activism workshop: “What breaks your heart, what you really love, is the thing that will sustain you. That’s what you ought to be doing.” For Bob, it’s using media to bring together the political with the spiritual; the environmental and business. []. Episode 148.

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  1. Hi Albert,
    When I was younger I would have liked to have fairies at the bottom of my garden to play with. Hoping and trying to believe as much as I could, they never eventuated. Just as for fairies at the bottom of the garden, no matter how much one has faith or belief, the existance of spirituality or deities has never been proved. It is just wishfull thinking. I have been to third world countries and seen both the positive and negative aspects of spirituality. The peace and love in the eyes of a Jain in India is a great thing to behold. They have the basic principle of “harm no living thing”, which from an ethical viewpoint is a pretty good start. I have been in South America and seen the hold that the catholic church has over the poorer people in the agricultural areas, the fear in their eyes, being caught between the older tribal myths and the more sophisticated christian myths.
    Education is the way to get above the inhibiting aspects of religion, faith and spirituality. Education also helps one to percieve and really appreciate the positive aspects. The religious art and music of all cultures are an incredibly wonderful thing and to deny any value in these would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
    Not believing in gods, spirits or fairies doesn’t stop one from being in awe of life, being charitable or capable of altruistic acts. Take a look at the study of ethics.
    As for science, I personally find something wonderful about astronomy. With my telescope I have seen and confirmed much of what I have read. There is more mid-blowing stuff going on up there than I could have ever imagined. Learning about the chemistry of stars happens to back up the semiconductor theory that I use every day and the little that I know about chemistry in general. Hark back to what happened to poor old Galileo. Working in my vegie patch and understanding soil structure and the processes in plant growth help me to have a bigger and better tasting harvest in a process that doesn’t degrade the garden but improves it. The more I learn, the more I find synchronicities between the sciences. This cannot be said for much of the metaphysical pursuits.
    Gazing into my compost heap and watching the teeming throng of living things is wonderful. The wonder makes me want to learn more about it. Putting this down to the work of a “god” belittles the awe and takes away from the desire to find out. It is a very “pat” answer which inhibits curiousity. The scope of things to learn and having resources to learn makes us richer than you could imagine. Compare this with the poor peasant being preached to from a book written in a language that he is not allowed or not able to know.
    Sure, conjecture about what is behind it all, but if you put a label on it and try to convince anyone else that your version of faith and spirituality is “the way” then you’ve lost me. That has been the cause of more strife and intolerance than anything else in history.

  2. I am so glad that Bob put it out there for us. I too am going through a period of spiritual education as I prepare for the challenges ahead. Going from high consumption to a low energy green environment/community and teaching others to do the same. While hopefully converting to a “green job”. I have my doubts as to whether I will be tough enough for the challenges ahead. I hope that Ed gets a chance to actually sit down and chat with someone in a third world country someday. To see the peace and love in their eyes and realize they are richer than a thousand Eds. One more thing Ed. Faith is not the belief in what cannot be proved but belief in all that is hoped for, unknown and unseen. Like about 99.999% of the universe.

  3. Hi Chris,
    What bothered me most was his reliance on faith and the spiritual nature of Bob’s comments. My understanding of “faith” is the belief in something that you cannot prove. Spirituality is an extension of faith. To base an argument on faith and spirituality means that it can in no way be proved and is a pointless exercise. As has been said, “an assertion without proof may be dismissed without proof.”
    You say that science doesn’t offer much guidance when it comes to deciding what is the best way to govern ourselves. You mention philosophy but leave out ethics.
    Although being “soft” sciences, Philosophy and Ethics could go a long way to guiding how we could govern ouselves. Religion and and faith have a rather checkered history with this. Look at Iran, the troubles in Bosnia. There are countless examples just in the last century. I don’t know how you’d set up an alternative based on science and reason, social sciences and social structure is not my area. The trouble is that the suits will always end up in control. As the saying goes, the bad stuff always floats to the top. But wouldn’t it be worth trying? As far as I know it’s never been done before, although America’s founding fathers Jefferson, Franklin, Paine etc came pretty close. What a pity they failed.
    You mention that “People turn to religion, philosophy and spirituality to figure out what to do with the knowledge that science brings.” This is true, but what a problem this can be. The Catholic church not allowing the pill in an over populated world or saying that condoms promote promiscuity so should not be used in Africa to combat AIDS. I could mention many other examples and you could mention countering examples such as Hiroshima.
    I have found that many people assume that morals and ethics are based on religion and with the no religion a society cannot be moral. However this is not the case. The golden rule that says “do unto others… etc” even though a quote from the bible has no spiritual basis, it stands on it’s own as a fundamentally true maxim from an ethical standpoint.
    As we move into a world of energy descent, it will be science that figures out how we can get more from less. For example, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren come from a science backgound, it was their studies and experimentation that kicked off Permaculture. The fundamental aspect of Permaculture is based on science, philosopy and ethics. (Sometimes Bill has spiritual flights of fancy but we indulge him with that as we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water). Compare this with another system that worries about which direction you stir a concoction and buries cow horns filled with stuff on a full moon. They come up with all sorts of fanciful explanations to explain it. Sure, they get results but really don’t have a clue about what’s going on down there. It’s only science that can tell us that.

  4. Ed, while I respect your sentiments, I think they are deeply flawed. It is a huge mistake to dismiss the ‘spiritual’ element from the discussion.
    You can have the most awesome technology that the world has ever seen, but if the spiritual groups do not accept it because it disrupts their faith, then adoption of that technology will be sporadic and problematic. This has been demonstrated countless times, and at the core of the problem lies a lack of humility or even respect when one group tries to work with another (the ‘enlightened’ trying to force their system onto others). The majority the earth’s population is made up of people that adhere to spiritual beliefs. Let us not forget that it is in fact spiritual groups that are deeply involved in the civil rights and peace movements of our nation. At its very core our responses towards peak oil are spiritual and philosophical. Science really doesn’t offer much guidance when it comes to deciding what is the best way to govern ourselves. Science is merely a tool to understand our world more, and offers technologies for implementing whatever moral strategies we adopt. People turn to religion, philosophy and spirituality to figure out what to do with the knowledge that science brings. We are deeply integrated beings, mind, soul/emotion and body. Science itself shows that you cannot separate these from each other, and all of these elements must be respected when you are seeking long lasting, positive change.

  5. Hi Ed,
    I appreciate your honest feedback — it’s great. We get likes and dislikes, agreement and disagreement, on most of our shows. Part of my objective is to have a wide range of perspectives, topics, people — because everyone is approaching the crises in different ways. And we’re all so multi-dimensional — thinking, feeling, doing; individual and community-oriented. So my hope is some of them will resonate with each listener, some less so, some not.

    So this one isn’t your cup of tea, but stay tuned. We’ll have more to your liking, I’ll betcha.

    Thanks, Janaia

  6. Hi Janaia,
    I am sorry, but I feel compelled to give some honest feedback. In this matter I am following on from Stuart M’s comment for the “Permaculture for Humanity” where he mentions that there were “a lot of words spoken, but very little actually said.”

    Diana’s conversation was good, giving good advice and brought to light aspects of communal living that many don’t consider. I have no problem there.

    There has .been a tendency to lean towards the “twee” in the last few conversations. This one with Bob was just too much. I have never seen a worse case of heart on sleeve, babbling religious/spiritual embedded psuedo science. Admittedly, there were one or points that were accurate. But was this necessary?
    I realise that a lot of effort goes into the production of these conversations with finding good subjects, people to interview and coming up with something new every other week. I commend you for your perseverance. It must be hard to decide not to show those that might fall short. Your problem with conversations such as this is that you’ll be alienating the type of people that are needed in the whole peak oil/sustainability area.

  7. Hi I am a Native Amairacin Indian and my Eco Village is denid for 500 years.
    Can I make you a Native Garden? I have high blood presur so I am making
    me a low blood presur Geodome garden.

    I am going to build my geodome garden out of 1/2″ steel pipe for a 52′ foot
    20′ High Dome.
    Thank you.
    Charles Gitchell Jr.
    Jenner Pomo Reasearch/Earth/Space/

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