Your grandchildren will hate you

Eugene is pleasant in the spring.  Flat enough to be excellent to bike almost everywhere, with little car traffic which is mostly well behaved.  The university brings new faces every year and clever talk. There is an impressive array of restaurants and natural food stores to serve locals and visitors alike.  Well maintained parks and nature preserves surround Eugene, with accessible hiking and biking.

bike trail eugene

The politics of the town are mostly liberal to progressive with some colorful radicals thrown in for spice.  It is also where some of my favorite people in the world live, including Tree and Abigail.  Abigail invited me to present at her work with SWAT (Sexual Wellness and Advocacy Team).  She wanted to do group trust building, so i did an introduction to transparency tools which was quite well received.

When i got there, some students expressed interest in the communes so i did a rapid introduction of them.  Which ended with the lines:

We keep track of our energy and materials use within the income sharing communities and what we find is that our per person carbon footprint is about 20% of that of our mainstream US counterparts.   This 80% reduction in carbon emissions corresponds with where the UN’s IPCC thinks all industrial countries should be by 2050.  The problem is that almost no one else knows how to get here.

The communes are not brilliant in our use of renewables.  Nor do we carefully conserve every kilowatt hour of electricity.  The thing we are really good at is sharing resources.  In my view, this is the only way to save the world while maintaining a lifestyle which is vaguely similar to what people in rich countries are already experiencing.  If your grandchildren don’t hate you, it will be because as a nation we figured out how to share resources well.

Switching to Renewables is just not enough

Switching to Renewables is just not enough

Frankly, i think i went over the head of some of these otherwise clever students.  It is not a message one hears very often and people are generally dismissive about the significance of sharing.  And for me there is no escaping the importance of it.  It is at the center of the Point A project and much of the outreach work we do.

If Willow has kids, i want them to like me.

commune kids

Willow and the commune kids – circa 2015

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

4 responses to “Your grandchildren will hate you”

  1. David de Ugarte says :

    The problem I guess is not we don’t save so much energy. Indeed, as far as I know we -egalitarian productive communities- have an excellent energy ratio. The problem is we don’t produce it by ourselves and according to our values. Because of it we are studying a lot now a renewable energy cooperative which produces and distributes clean electricity. Imagine to buy only clean energy (wind and solar) being the co-owners of what is needed to produce it (your investment in the coop equals to the approximate amounts of panels and windfalls your community will need to produce your consumption)

    • paxus says :

      Dearest David:

      Renewable energy is absolutely the way forward and i am appreciative of your efforts to control the means of its production

  2. St.Anthony says :

    I was under the impression that these communes required an oath of poverty of some sorts. How can communards afford to travel as freely as it seems you do?

    • paxus says :

      Dearest St Anthony:

      So the communes have a 501 D tax status, which requires that the people who live their pool their resources and meet their needs collectively. This status was developed originally for the Shakers and before the egalitarian communities movement started all of the organizations which had this status also had vows of poverty.

      Not long after Twin Oaks was started the IRS came in and looked around and said “This does not look like poverty to us” In fact we were living with a per person taxable income well below the poverty line, but because we are so effective at sharing things (now ever more than then) it did not look like conventional poverty. There were cars and musical instruments and nice public spaces and much more. The IRS tried to strip us of this tax status, in part because we did not seem poor to them.

      The judge who decided in our favor said in essence, “you need not have a vow of poverty to have this advantageous status, you simply need to be pooling resources and meeting the needs of the group collectively from it”

      Technically we are poor. Yet because of our choices, many people do not experience this in any of the ways that poverty hits most of this country. There is job security, medical insurance, hospitable work environments, great food and more.

      AND i am not a normal member. Inside of the community systems i do a bunch of work which requires travel. This included public presentations about the community (i organize these, they are often paid gigs where the community gets the money and i do the travel). I do craft fairs for the hammocks business, where again the community gets the money and i travel and do the work. I have done numerous trade shows to develop our customer base. And now i am promoting intentional communities in the major east coast cities, travel that is paid for in part by Acorn and part by the Federation of Egalitarian Communities,

      On top of this, my family gives me money to visit them (which i would not be able to afford on my monthly stipend from the community) and i am clever about figuring out ways to travel cheaply. I also am blessed with romantic intimates who dont live in the communities who can pay for me to visit them.

      On top of this i design my trips so that i can do other things cheaply en route and i am very public about what i do, giving presentations and workshops almost everywhere i go.

      So my traveling experience is not at all typical of commune members. In part because i choose commune work which requires or enables travel and in part because i have family and friends who sponsor me beyond this.

      Almost no one travels as much as i do and lives in the Virginia egalitarian communities. It is possible to do, but it has to be a priority, you have to work at it and in my case people outside the community have to be willing to support you in doing it.

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