I was really ready for Day 7: to walk the actual land of the proposed site, and for it all to finish. I needed a break- to do loads of washing, reply to a bunch of boring emails, re-connect with the status of ’17’s homework, and sit quietly by myself, not speaking or listening for several hours at a time ASAP.
We met beneath a giant fig tree, grateful for the shade on a hot summer’s day. I know a bit about trees, and assumed this was an ancient one 150+ years old who’d somehow survived Australia’s love affair with mass tree-clearing, but turns out to be only about 70! Unbelievable- that’s how rich the volcanic soil is- both basalt red, and peaty black. Bodes well for the proposed Permaculture gardens…
We walked some of the land, which was an old dairy farm, so full of grass paddocks and weedy Camphor Laurel trees; a re-forestation plan would be paramount. But from one vantage point on the North side, you could see the ocean, and thus amazing sunrises/moonrises.
Unfortunately, you could also hear the freeway noise, which gets louder/softer depending on the wind direction. Thick tree planting could help, but it’s also the price you pay for being close to the coast (the favourite holiday destination of most Australians). Something to think about though…
The whole site has been mapped by a ‘Geomancer‘, to gain an understanding of laylines and energy patterns, including the use of several Radionics Towers/Earth Pipes (I’d never heard of either of these things, as I’m not an avid alternative gardener- have you? Quite fascinating.)
We looked at experimental mud bricks and poured earth walls, which our homes could be built from, some of which came from the land we were standing on. ‘Hempcrete‘ is also a proposed building material, and as I stood there in the hot sun, I realised with certainty that I have zero interest in making mud bricks or building my own home. If I was 30 years younger, yes, maybe. But all I really want to do is read and write all day, so it was good to find this clarity. I guess the idea is that as a community, we all do what we’re good at, so I could prepare delicious meals to feed the young healthy folk who were building my house…
The South side of the land was softer somehow, and I felt much more drawn to living on that side of the hill; it also has a spring, and a remnant of original rainforest vegetation, albeit surrounded by more weedy cow paddocks.
But the enormity of the transformative task facing us did daunt me, so it was a good thing we broke for lunch and I could re-fuel myself.
Then we did Speed Dating. Yes, you read that correctly. Previous participants of the first Eco Village intensive arrived, who’d committed to the next level of community building by meeting once a fortnight to learn and practise Dynamic Governance/Sociocracy and Conflict Resolution/NVC, so we spent 9 minutes clustered in trios to learn about each other. Many of those previous participants were over 65, so nodded their heads in agreement when I articulated that I’d realised I didn’t want to actually build a house; there are SO many questions/issues/challenges to be dealt with as this Eco Village proposal unfolds, and equivalent contributions of labour is just one of them.
We closed the Intensive with a Visioning exercise: standing in a big circle, we all took one tiny step forwards as we imagined it was a step one year into the future. Then another step, for another year- were the first roads being excavated, and garden beds dug? Five years with the next step- were clusters of houses already built, with the Community Hall and Kitchens already servicing us? Twenty years with the next step: how tall were the new generation of fig trees we’d planted? How many new babies had been born? Had we buried some of our elders? Final step: 100 years. We would all almost certainly have passed on, but what legacy had we left behind, for healthy living with the Earth?
It’s been a fascinating experience, and thank you for sharing it with me, dearest Readers. As my disclaimer, all these observations, opinions, and reportings are my own, and I have excluded activities for confidentiality or brevity. I have no idea if I’m ever going to live on the Eco Village, but I’ve certainly done a good investigation. I drove away feeling both exhausted and exhilarated, as well as curious about the next instalment; I am considering joining the ‘Future residents working group’, meeting fortnightly, to see how I keep engaging…
Any observations or suggestions from the outside?
In gratitude for my blessed life in Australia, where community living can be just one of many positive options available to an ageing woman, G xO
PS: Day One (Eco Village Design & values), Day Two (Non-Violent Communication/NVC), Day Three (Dynamic Governance/Sociocracy), Day Four (Permaculture/Deep Ecology), Day Five (alternative Economics), and Day Six (Conflict Resolution/Deep Ecology) conveniently linked here for you xx