Oct 312016
 

Sometimes I feel like I have to hold the world by hand, just as I did when my kids were little. I am an overprotective parent. But the world doesn’t need me dragging it. I wanted to build a unique place, an intentional community working to make human life better. But it is already getting better by means of us experimenting, living, evolving anyway. Even if I found 100 like minded people to help me, we only could do a drop in the ocean of human endeavour. Maybe it is the time to let the world go?…

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 October 31, 2016  Posted by at 17:42 Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Oct 162016
 

Building the Good New Town as a non-dogmatic community – Good New Town

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Oct 092016
 

We are humans. All our friends, mentors and family are. And we are here, dominating this planet. If we never developed, would other intelligent species took over the planet one day? Could dolphins, elephants, crows, chimps, dogs or perhaps rats give rise to a new civilization? Would they be “gentler” with the Nature and each other than we have been? We can not know at the moment.

For all our sins, we are the only force so far which could potentially save life from a global disaster like an asteroid strike.

Wishing for our civilization to disappear, I think, is an immature way of thinking happening sometime withing environmentally aware community. I too might have been like this – when I was ten.

In the book “Ecovillage at Ithaca” (a useful record of an ecovillage development and a part of my ever growinglist of potentially useful books for creating new ways of living)

Liz Walker starts with describing her young son’s attitude, his wish for humans to “just die of” because of species disappearing at an incredible rate. She herself, although shocked, could see his point, as “at the beginning of the 21st century, we face a world that is falling apart at the seams“…

Is it? Or we humans just intrinsically like tragedy, our media picks up on this and paint us a, alas, desirable picture of “our world … drenched in the blood of seemingly endless warfare” and “miserable living conditions for much of the world’s population“.

If we wont to build a real better future, we have to deal with facts, not the ever-changing media theater. Violence, disease and poverty are the enemies of our future. What has been happening to them?

First, I would recommend the well known Steven Pinker’s book

where he meticulously proves the diminishing of violence through the history and talks about the reasons for this.

Here you can find the data on the global decrease of poverty.

Historical data shows that global life expectancy has increased drastically over the last couple of centuries, with substantial long-run improvements in all countries around the world” – according to Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser. Is this data good? Let me know if you find otherwise.

Life is wonderful. One of its miracles is the ability to recover. There have been a series of devastating mass extinctions throughout the geologic history of our planet.  In some cases up to 60 percent of species were gone. Of course, it took Nature from 20 to 100 million years to recover the biodiversity (see


for more information). We may argue, that the life would never evolve to be so inventive and resilient if not for those extinction events, but we don’t need another one. According to WWF at the moment we might be loosing between 0.01 and 0.1 percent of all species per year which is 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. We took over the planet, this changed all the ecosystems… Bit since we realised what is happening we ought to change. It could be that the knowledge itself makes it impossible for humanity to avoid the coming change.

Living this change, this is the purpose of the Good New Town project. It has to have solid foundation: verifiable data. Doom and gloom might induce some people to act – for a while. Only complete honesty can sustain the movement.

So let’s question every piece of information coming to us, examine the evidence and try to accept the world as it is.

Originally posted at http://goodnewtown.uk/wishing-humans-dead/

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 October 9, 2016  Posted by at 08:18 Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Oct 042016
 

Here’s my contribution to the debate

Many small scale experiments for a more resilient future

Now that we have an opportunity to rethink the future of agriculture, land management and the life of rural communities in Wales, let people to experiment and to find out what will work. There is no need to play havoc with all of the rural economy at once but please allow innovation and initiative on a small scale, as long as there is no clear and obvious risk to people, animals and the environment. There must be people willing to experiment, creating all sorts of new businesses, eco-villages, homesteads and seasteads, various intentional communities. Give them a good fighting chance then take evidence-based decisions, not affected by fads or overrated opinions of the most vocal of lobbies. Even then, no government should ever place all eggs in the same basket (be this sheep farming or timber). Diversity in business models and lifestyles improves the resilience of any economy just like biodiversity helps ecosystems to survive changes and hard times.

Why the contribution is important

Presently there are lots of things going wrong with our lives. Our towns are surrounded by countryside but people may feel very distant from it. The farmland creates backdrop to their lives but is inaccessible due to lack of footpaths, public transport and human connection to the farming community, lack of internet – and lack of interest too. This is not a healthy relationship. The people are suffering, stuck to cities and towns with ridiculously small gardens and manicured parks. People need real nature and countryside for mental and physical health. People need fresh quality food, need connection to the land and to the community. So, we need our intelligence to develop a way of living in harmony with nature, surrounded by nature everywhere where we are. I am thinking in the direction of sustainable small scale farming, food forests, “garden cities”, decentralisation, edible landscapes, living roofs and walls, passive houses, forest farming, green burial sites, silvopasture, permaculture, aquaponics, real community gardens serving real communities, etc. – whatever works. I believe human activity and flourishing could be conducted within a healthy ecosystem made of us, our stuff, wide variety of plants and animals.

I am an artist and a geographer interested in creating a prototype semi-rural intentional community (an eco-village, an eco-block or an eco-neighborhood), an ongoing experiment for a better way of living, more sufficient and efficient, closer to Nature, working with the help from newest technology. An open lab of an honest, creative and compassionate life, strong friendly community, better health and well-being. Doing research into reintroducing wildlife, into more efficient food production and waste recycling systems, into automation, working on the new ways to get energy, new building methods, new educational systems, restoring useful agricultural and building practices from the past, and so on. People of various interests and abilities creating better lives for themselves, their friends, neighbours and families, ultimately, for the whole Earth. In the world obsessed with divisions this should be a place of honest enquiry, free of prejudices and any party rhetoric.

What we need is relaxing of planing permissions and other regulations for experimental / alternative communities, eco-villages, or self-built houses; we need land and we need grants. It is vitally important that public money won’t go to some smoke screen / green wash projects for clever bureaucrats but to real people building real future. There also should not be any exploitation of vulnerable and gullible “volunteers”, like in some modern social enterprises. People who will be living and working in those future communities are also the best candidates for building them.

The wast green spaces of Wales are treasures. We have a chance to make them also different to all other rural parts of the world in being a magnet for innovation and future-friendly experiment, brain-and skill- gain rather than drain, place for openness and cooperation, honest work for common good.

If you are interested in participating, please join the New Good Town project athttp://goodnewtown.uk/ and our Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/groups/goodnewtown/

by AlexandraCook on October 04, 2016 at 11:27AM

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Aug 272016
 

Could our cities be as full of non human life as our forests? Living walls, green roofs, reintroduced wildlife, food forests and orchards along the roads, pastures and meadows for the squares… I can imagine that.

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 August 27, 2016  Posted by at 11:45 Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »

Mar 072016
 

I see the world in very fluid, contradictory, emerging, interconnected terms, and with that kind of circuitry I just don’t feel the need to say what is going to happen or will not happen.

California Govenor Jerry Brown, San Francisco Examiner, Oct 12, 1980
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 Permalink  March 7, 2016  Posted by at 03:30 Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »

Dec 042015
 

Foragers delight. .. Imagine if all green spaces between houses were filled with edibles: fruits, nuts, berries, greens, roots. I don’t think that easy growing plants would be more difficult to maintain than present nonsense shrubs and trees and lawns. Local residents would care more for their surrounding if it fed them.

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Nov 142015
 

I do get upset and angry. But then I think the best way would be to do something positive, however small. I am trying to start an “ecovillage” or intentional community where I live – as an evolving template for future better living founded on intellectual and emotional honesty and compassion.  If the whole world is mostly built with globally-minded, happy, busy, freedom- and neighbor-loving interconnected communities, hatred-driven people will have no places to recruit.

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 November 14, 2015  Posted by at 09:01 Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Nov 142015
 

I do get upset and angry. But then I think the best way would be to do something positive, however small. I am trying to start an “ecovillage” or intentional community where I live – as an evolving template for future better living founded on intellectual and emotional honesty and compassion.  If the whole world is mostly built with globally-minded, happy, busy, freedom- and neighbor-loving interconnected communities, hatred-driven people will have no places to recruit.

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 November 14, 2015  Posted by at 09:01 Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Nov 032015
 

My reply to a question posted by the New Humanist magazine: “

What three things should the city of the future contain?”

1. It should be made of many intentional communities/“tribes” as building blocks.

2. It should have as much nature/wildlife incorporated as possible.

3. It should have education, recreation facilities and meaningful jobs for all the spectrum of people living in it.

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 November 3, 2015  Posted by at 10:04 Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Nov 032015
 

My reply to a question posted by the New Humanist magazine: “

What three things should the city of the future contain?”

1. It should be made of many intentional communities/“tribes” as building blocks.

2. It should have as much nature/wildlife incorporated as possible.

3. It should have education, recreation facilities and meaningful jobs for all the spectrum of people living in it.

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 November 3, 2015  Posted by at 10:04 Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »

Jul 232015
 

a hostility to modernity is shared by ideologies that have nothing else in common – a nostalgia for moral clarity, small-town intimacy, family values, primitive communism, ecological sustainability, communitarian solidarity, or harmonies with the rhythms of nature. Presumably none of the romantics would want to go back to dentistry-by-pliers or biting a stick for pain management during surgery, but they point to today’s wars and shootings to imply that we’re still worse off today. Showing that war and homicide are in fact in decline undermines even that indictment of modernity.

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 Permalink  July 23, 2015  Posted by at 02:30 Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 032015
 

Would
you like to live a creative life? Would you prefer rather to feel
inspiration in every little aspect of your life than to merely exist? To
feel like your life is an endless adventure even if you are just
staying at home today?

Are you a dreamer? Do you love fantasy but also have great respect
for science and reason, the great tools of our future survival? Do you
think that a common perception of a creative person as somebody talking
to mysterious spirits or given supernatural gifts is wrong? You would
rather think of yourself as somebody working hard and doing what you
love.

Are you curious and open-minded? Would you like to be unique, to be
free, to be true to yourself, to have your own style of living –
independent of common fashion?

Do you despise violence, injustice and cruelty? Do you love freedom
and honesty while hating traditional, ideological and political
pretence? Are you concerned about the fate of wild nature on this planet
and of the humankind deprived of natural resources?

My name is Alexandra Cook aka Linandara, I am an artist, a scientist,
a humanist, a wife and a mother who is trying to live creatively on a
shoestring. I am British, Russian, Ukrainian and a tiny bit Gypsy, an
INFj. I am often off my course, shy, worried, depressed, disorganized  
and I am definitively not a genius. I may contradict myself – life is a
complicated story. But still I am inviting you to join me on my perilous
journey (or on my mission if you would like) and to try to make all of
us better, happier and to help this world to do at least a tiny baby
step towards the brighter future.

It
is one of the most important questions for each of us: What kind of
life would I like to live? Let’s not talk about farfetched plans based
on winning a lottery or inheriting a large sum of money. No, it is
really about my (and maybe yours too) present day situation: not much
money, family, work. Could anything be changed to bring more beauty,
meaning, adventure, happiness to this ordinary life?

I am not one of the people who would give up on personal happiness
for the sake of all humanity. But I think if everybody on this planet
would strive to be happy in a   right sort of way  that
would be of greatest benefit to the humankind. For me (and, probably,
not just for me), the ideal living could be described through the
following key words.

Bohemian living. This broad term describes open minded,
unconventional, artistic lifestyle. Don’t keep up with Jones! Be
yourself, be a wanderer seeking wonders. You don’t necessary need to
travel to Chile to find inspiration and broaden your horizons, but
visiting different places certainly helps. It is often said that unlike
proper bohemianism, “bohemian style” is just a shallow imitation of some
celebrities. Well, there are lots of styles to choose from. I think
that the people who prefer boho clothes of interiors do this because
they dream to live proper bohemian lives, even if they don’t quite can
put this to words! Living our lives the way we want, finding and
creating beauty around us would bring happiness, the sense of
fulfilment. Content people don’t go to wars with each other! So, let’s
try to release an inner romantic nonconformist vagabond in our day to
day life.

Creativity  is the next essential element of my
dream future-friendly lifestyle. Our intelligence encourage us to create
new things, ideas, original ways of creating even more new stuff. Being
social creatures, we love giving something of value to fellow humans.
It gives great satisfaction to a giver, and benefits to a receiver of
gifts. The way our civilization grows allows us to have more and more
possibilities to be creative, to open up and blossom. Slavery is
disappearing in the mist of time. Machines learn to do boring jobs. If
we manage to keep peace and preserve the environment, the future
generations should be even more free to create according to their
talents and inclinations. Let’s help that future happen today. To many
little mundane tasks, let’s add our treasure trove of creativity and
ingenuity and let’s share the results with the world. Let’s generate new
ideas and, who knows, maybe future generations will be grateful for
this!

Eclecticism  is an approach when nothing is
rejected unnecessary. This planet is bursting with things discarded just
because the fashion changed. On a home level, if you are eclectic, you
don’t throw away a perfectly good table. You may repaint it or cover
with another tablecloth. You learn to cherish and appreciate. You also
learn to arrange things (and ideas) in your own unique and satisfying
way without giving much regards to popular trends (which are often plane
useless). Let’s pick and choose to our mind’s shopping cart the best in
everything. Nobody can force us to conform to somebody else’s style,
ideology or worldview.

Eco-friendly living   (also known as
environment-friendly, nature friendly, green, sustainable or simply eco)
is about making reduced, minimal harm upon the environment. These words
are over-used and often associated with the “green wash”. But it goes
without saying that we all doomed if we make our Earth uninhabitable. We
also all would lose enormous amount of inspiration if we destroy the
beauty of the natural word. We need stretches of wilderness to roam, we
need to watch big or tiny wonders of Nature to feel whole and happy.
Let’s care for our environment – starting with a little piece of land
around our homes. Let’s encourage wildlife and let’s not poison or harm
it in any other ways.

Ethical living  in our case implies doing right
things to fellow humans. The tricky thing is that there is no book or
wise man who would tell you what this exactly means. Moral standards
change and evolve all the time. You are free to do as you like as long
as you are not taking freedom from the others. Our civilization is glued
by empathy: it hurts to see (or even imagine) others suffering. When we
help and our help is appreciated we rejoice. Another important moment
is always to think about possible consequences of your actions. E.g.,
what is more important in this particular situation: to tell the truth
or to keep the relationship?  In the long run, would it feel better to
be honest? What action will bring more happiness to more lives? I think
to live ethically, you really need to “marry” the heart and the mind, to
be a compassionate thinker. This leads to proper kindness and let’s
bring as much of it as possible to this word.

Freethinking  means that opinions are formed on the
basis of logic, reason, and experience, rather than authority,
tradition, or any other dogmas. Dogma is dead. It leads nowhere, it
freezes minds and turns hearts to stone. It doesn’t care. If we want our
future to be better we should fight dogmatism everywhere we can. Let’s
live considered lives, thinking ahead and judging every step. It’s like
crossing the turbulent river of life stepping on slippery stones, it’s
not easy but we don’t want to be swept by the current!

Frugal living  is savvy, thrifty, economical in the
use of resources such as food, time or money. It means avoiding waste.
This is good for us and this is good for the environment. We have seen
the standards of living improving for the most of the world and
obviously we wish this to be true for everybody. But it might happen
that when all humans have a decent income, the price of the commodities
currently made by cheap labour will increase. Tea and clothes, for
example. It also may happen that our civilization will run out of the
resources before we figure out how to find some new ones. So it would be
a life saving skill to be frugal and to find original ways to use what
you already have. Apart from that, crazy consumerism is also bad for us.
It doesn’t teach anything useful. It only makes people more and more
greedy. Let’s be frugal in our demands and show bohemian extravaganza in
our creativity!

So this is the way of life I want to embrace and I am inviting
everybody to join the quest. It won’t be easy. But it should be very
rewarding on many levels and (if practiced by many) it should help all
the people on this planet to get a better future.

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 July 3, 2015  Posted by at 11:00 Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »