Personal opinion: creating a bright centre of local Universe

(This weeks blog post has been sent in by Sasha our regular volunteer and art co-ordinator.)

We are getting about 1200 – 1600 hours of sunshine every year here in
Powys. It is better than in Northern Scotland or Iceland but worse that
in most of the Europe. Mediterranean region gets more than 2500. While
the gloomy skies will probably stay for generations to come, jobs and
income situation (not brilliant in Mid Wales either) is something people
could improve.  It is well known that sunlight not just gives us
vitamin D but makes our mood brighter. If we can’t get sun to shine more
on us, what could we do?

People need people. We are all social beings, and our mood improves
when we feel needed, appreciated and cared for. More than other “places
under the sun”, this area needs a strong supportive community.
Cultivate gardens and community spaces help; giving places where people
want to come again and again to feel better?

People working and earning money together form sort of communities.
But is your relationship with the closest friends and family has much to
do with money? I doubt so. And we won’t die defending a shopping
centre. Shop owners could possible do this but not the customers. So I
would say that building a strong, all-inclusive community can’t be
primarily based on a concept of spending and earning money.
Unfortunately majority of us have to do this but I think we ought to
create other ties between people as much as we can.

Down to Earth. There are already great “get together” lunches for
Cultivating folk at the Newtown community garden: free cooked lunch on
Tuesday and on Wednesday “bring your own food”. Great opportunities for
people to talk and to feel like a family. Anyone can come and garden
together, making friends and learning important skills in the process.
Learning what we love certainly cheers us up and there are courses and
groups around gardening, green living, arts and crafts, Spanish and
astronomy which are already doing that. Lots of events are affordable to
anybody. Could we do even more?

Growing food together for our needs would help. Allotments are fine,
but individual plot owners don’t really need each other. What I mean is
taking turns to work on the same plot, then sharing crops. Some people
are thinking about raising chickens in this way. We have seed swaps but
maybe we need swapping possessions and skills too? Not counting hour for
hour or potatoes for carrots but developing generosity towards each
other? It is difficult but could we at least try? If life is tough maybe
we could share the information about foraging opportunities or even
organize trips (and helping car free people too)? We could have more
barbeque, campfire and live music get together events. Anybody who
learned something interesting and useful for others could do an
affordable talk, demo or workshop on that subject. So we all can learn.
Again, most of us need money and maybe we need more donation-based
activities rather than fixed prices? This way people could give what
they can and what they feel good to give. It may turn out to be more
than that fixed price!

I think there are many opportunities to build a stronger community,
to brighten up people’s lives and to be a shinning centre to which
people would be attracted, even from far. To escape gloom, isolation,
pretense, standardisation and commercialisation, to replace the feeling
of scarcity with feeling of abundance.

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