A few weeks ago I travelled to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. where I happened upon a community fair by students of Antioch University Seattle. It was the final project of their class that is called The Great Turning, based on topics covered in a book by Joanna Macy called Coming Back to Life. I had heard of the fair only a week before, after talking to Michael Withey from Micro Community Concepts in Portland, Oregon. Eventhough I didn’t know it before, this place was right where I needed to be.
The building of Antioch University Seattle doesn’t look very special from the outside, but when I went in, I was in for a treat. It seems to be a gem for ecology and sustainable living that is well known to people in that region that think a little different than the rest of our consumerist western society. The fact that such a place exists, and all the people I spoke to and that held a talk at the community fair gave me new hope and motivation to continue what I’m doing and to take the next step – whatever it will be.
The idea of The Great Turning is, that all those challenges we (humankind) are faced with, all those changes, instabilities and crises are one of the greatest opportunities we’ve had in human history. I definitely like that viewpoint. Makes my view of the world not so bleak. To sum up the theory, it comprises three dimensions of change:
Actions to slow the damage to Earth and its beings
Analysis of structural causes and the creation of structural alternatives
Shift in Consciousness
More details can be found here: https://www.ecoliteracy.org/article/great-turning
The talks at the fair covered projects for all three dimensions. One of them would have been Michael Withey from Micro Community Concepts in Portland, Oregon. Since he got sick, I really want to mention his non-profit organization here. I met up with Michael Withey while I was in Portland and was really impressed and inspired by the idea. He wants to support people with low income that can’t afford the skyrocketing rents, by finding land to build small Tiny House communities, and even – with enough monetary support – buy appartement buildings to offer affordable living. The world needs people like him and his team that really try to change the world by supporting others and building more sustainable community living.
Another great organization I heard about at the fair is called Rite of Passage Journeys. They offer Rite of Passage events (one week or more) to teenagers on the verge of becoming adults, which is something that is sorely lacking in our society nowadays.
Thanks to all the amazing people I met at the community fair. You’re an inspiration to others! I’ll touch on some more information about what I learned on my trip about Tiny Houses in the U.S. compared to Europe in my next post.