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Monday, 15 October 2012

The Power of We - Blog Action Day 2012

This is the third time I am participating in Blog Action Day, an international event where a load of bloggers write a piece around a certain theme.  The last couple of years we talked about water and food (roots in my particular case).  This year, chosen by popular vote, the theme is "The Power of We". 

I must admit it wasn't my choice of theme and I'm struggling to get an angle on this, but I kind of committed to write something along with the 15,000+ other bloggers all over the world.  If the theme was "The Power of Wee", I'd give you a nice piece on how to use your urine on your land as a free fertilizer... hey maybe next time.  Like this I find the theme a little too general and obvious.  Of course we are stronger as a community than as individuals, does one need to add anything to it?

This year, 2012, has been a particularly poignant year for me as far as feeling the strength in numbers is concerned.  I have joined a new community of like-minded people and have gained a whole bunch of new friends with a common interest.  I'm talking about the permaculture community.

As already much talked about I went on a Permaculture Design Course back in May in Scagnello, Piemonte.  There I met some of the most inspiring people in my life.  The interesting thing was that most turned up as individuals, disillusioned at the current state of the world and feeling very much on their own, and we left, having found we were not alone and there are positive changes each of us can make as individuals and collectively as a group.

This group has since May been in constant contact, friendships which will last a lifetime have been formed and action is being taken.  The latest project is to form a non-profit publishing company, translating permaculture books into Italian to further spread the word.  I and a few others from our course have in the meantime been to more courses where we now help with the teaching and organising of them, meeting more like-minded people.  And so the community grows and flourishes.

As a group of course we are geographically quite widely spread throughout Italy as well as around the globe, but advice is always available with a quick e-mail, word about any action is quickly spread and some of us have been around helping others within the community with their projects.  Down near Rome some people gathered to help one of our friends build a combined chicken shed / greenhouse, which was one of the designs from our course, digging a pond and doing a baking course.  Some participants from the PDC course in July gathered around my place to help dig a pond and design an erosion slowing bed.  I know there will be many more occasions like this where we all will get together and learn from each other.  And we've come to rely on each other as this little trust game at the end of the most recent PDC course at the end of September demonstrates (no this is not kind of group lap dance...) (photo courtesy of Andrea Raparo)

The other aspect of The Power of We that comes to mind is our continued desire to join an intentional community, an eco-village, whatever you want to call it.  Many within the permaculture community have similar ideas, so maybe some of us will even end up sharing this particular dream.  It's not that where we live isn't a reasonably good community.  Our village consists of some 250 inhabitants and most are very friendly.  Help is available when help is needed, whether it be with a problem with the computer or needing some fresh eggs.  Everyone is happy to talk to you and we are accepted as the slightly eccentric foreigners in the village.

However what we are looking for is a community of like-minded people sharing labour, skill, knowledge and above all love freely.  We are not the youngest any more (I'll be 50 next month (!)) and the regular grind of cycling or walking to our land (which is 10km from our house) is becoming too much.  It looks like 2013 is going to see us making some real progress in that direction.  It may still mean the end of our time in Italy, but who knows what is around the corner.  I will keep you posted on this.

On a slightly different note, I'm proud to have had my first book review by a fellow blogger who writes a really nice blog about wild flowers and Jazz music (yes a strange combination, but I like it!).  Check it out over at an Entangled Bank.  Thank you Lo Jardinier!!!


wildcraft diva said...

I think you summed up "we" very well. I'm rather glad it wasn't "wee"! I have just ordered your book, so I'll be interested to see what Entangled Bank has to say...

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Great post Heiko, and I think you've hit on a very important aspect of Permaculture too. The pulling together of disillusioned individuals into a focussed group. There are so many people who are just beginning to wake up to the unsustainable nature of modern living. Coming together gives both the individual and the group more strength.

Good luck with your publishing project and with spreading the Permaculture word around Italy :)

Lo Jardinier said...

Thanks for the mention - the power of your we-ing on my blog fertilised it with some new visitors. I think you hit on an important issue when you show how the confidence that comes from sharing and bonding helps bring about change. All my best wishes for your future plans.