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Thursday, September 20, 2007

DO: "it's up to us"

Mark talks a lot around here about a growing sense of autonomy among Americans. The increased sentiment that “it’s up to me” and subsequent actions to protect “me and mine.” I grew up with a dad who staunchly believed in the right to bear arms, just in case the government went so askew that citizens needed to take up arms in correction. So I’ve had trouble reconciling my historical perception of autonomy with Mark’s more evolved version.

An article in Time magazine this week helped me bridge the gap. It profiled a new way of living, the EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI). Liz Walker, a co-founder, describes her vision for EVI as “trying to create an attractive, viable alternative to American life.” It sounds really great. Over 150 people live in the community, and they all work together to reap benefits of communal food, daycare, and laundry.

But it’s not a commune. These are people who are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint (and are very successful in doing so) by changing the way they live (not just planting 80 trees to make up for that vacay in Mexico).

And they’re not hippies. The community is very technologically advanced, adopting some bleeding-edge conservation concepts. Homes are “Norman Rockwell meets Al Gore,” and run up to $300k, yet there is a waiting list to join.

A second example of people getting together for change is happening in Philadelphia where crime has reached an unacceptable level. A group of concerned citizens, comprised of local executives and men who worked on the Million Man March, brought a proposal to the Police Commissioner: allow them to organize as volunteer peacekeepers. The plan is to gather up to 10,000 men to patrol the streets—unpaid and unarmed—to watch out for criminal activity. The thought is that a roving band of bystanders and witnesses will deter would-be criminals.

I guess now that I read this post, the examples aren't all that far from the essence of my dad's point of view: he was just protecting our right to take matters into our own hands and these people are taking action on that right.

via NPR


AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...

And I'll add the Zombie Squad ( people who are taking it into their own hands to be battle ready if and when the govt f**ks up and makes us turn into zombies. Don't be like them fools in the movies, gettin' bit and brained...Zombie Squad is my kinda plan (

salina said...

I'll tell my dad. He prob wants to sign up.

salina said...

here's an excerpt from an email that I got from Stephanie at Ecovillage.

"I'm pleased you were impressed by what we're doing so much so that you wrote us up in your blog. As you can imagine, we've had quite a response to the TIME magazine piece. It was nice to get the publicity, but we were a little disappointed about the emphasis of the article. Including mentioning the $300,000 figure for our houses when only one out of our 60 houses might sell for that. The average range is more like $180,000 - $220,000. With a couple below that and a few above that. AND the point is all the shared facilities that you get with your house as well as the green features, not to mention the social support system!

We are also very proud of our continually expanding education program, which is an integral part of our vision. Have a look at our website if you're interested:

Thanks again.