Friday, December 11, 2009

"it's impossible"

Andy, Sara and i left East Wind this afternoon to drive the thousand miles back east. Last night we had our last Villages in Sky meeting and got the survey initial survey results. 15 out of 16 as Winders felt good about the project, including a number of long time members and heavy hitters. i'm happy.

In the car today we finished the Phantom Tollbooth and again dramatically with poetic demons on his heals the ordinary kid Milo manages to rescue the banished princesses Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason (depicted above). Sara was bemused by my flood of tears as i read the last couple dozen pages in Shana's Subaru flying across Indiana.

The central msg is that the quest was impossible, but they succeeded anyway and i have a bit this feeling with everything from festival organizing to the negotiations in Copenhagen. We might pull it off, but if you were a betting person, you would not be putting money on us. Fortunately, that is not the crowd i seem to be hanging with these days.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Newspapers unite on Copenhagen significance

This is a fairly strong statement on climate change agreed to by 56 newspapers from 40 countries around the world in 20 languages. Many of these papers, including the Guardian fromt he UK (which drafted the piece) printed this editorial on the front page. Check it out

a couple of the better paragraphs

The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance — and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing.

Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

East Wind Versus Twin Oaks

Part of the Villages in the Sky organizing team (Sara, Paxus and Bean) have traveled off to East Wind which will be hosting the event for a week of site inspection, meetings and negotiations. The community has been very welcoming, despite some quite difficult times they are going thru. One young member has just found that he has inoperable brain cancer which is growing very fast - he is only 25. The FDA is requiring a whole host of safety improvements and additional paperwork for their nut butters business (this is part of a trend across the food industry and Twin Oaks Tofu business will likely have to make similar expensive upgrades as a function of the soon to be passed Food Safety Act which is designed by the huge food processing corporations like Kraft).


There have been lots of interesting late night
conversations since we have been here and of course one of the things which comes up often is the differences between Twin Oaks and East Wind. Last night Les (who was a member at both Acorn and Twin Oaks before moving out to East Wind) put it well. "Twin Oaks is more of a socialist/communist orientation and East Wind is more anarchist. TO is burdened with the bureaucracy of these political systems, but pretty reliably stuff gets done. East Wind offers its members significant freedoms and often that comes at the cost of unfinished projects and important work going undone."

The more i thought about what Les said the more i realized how big these differences were. East Wind has no labor budgets. There is Industrial Quota (which is income generating work, which means mostly Nut Butters, tho it could be Utopia Sandals) but this is just a handful of hours each week. Members at both communities are responsible for making quota (which i think is 40 at East Wind and 42 at Twin Oaks now).

At Twin Oaks we agonize over labor budgets. Keyvah has recently worked with the Planners on the Trade Off Game and spent dozens of hours pouring over managers requests for labor, previous years actual labor use, cutting budget requests to make it all balance in a tight economy. East Wind does none of this. [Both communities budget money by area fairly carefully.]

At Twin Oaks we have a very complete and complex labor scheduling system (which i love) - another function of our highly organized bureaucracy. At East Wind many members walk up in the morning unsure exactly what they will do that day to make quota. Both communities have survived for decades, both have survived hard times and difficult members (tho i do think East Wind has more tricky personalities than Twin Oaks does).

It is my hope that Villages in the Sky will bring these two communities a bit closer together. We are like sisters who have more in common than different yet we focus (like this entry) on what is different about us.

If you are interested in more information about the Villages in the Sky project you should check out the website and blog.