Folks are talking about the environment in a new way. Global warming, greenhouses gasses, Co2 emissions, and our dependency on a depleting oil supply, dependency on mass produced and imported foods. While there aren’t many people out there who think how we treat the world we live in is acceptable, there are very few willing to do anything meaningful about it. Buying carbon credits to offset your usage may be the world’s dumbest idea. So, if you’ve decided to abandon your cubicle and you are looking for a meaningful way to escape from society for a while, why not consider a year in a commune? America has many independent, organic and otherwise less harmful communities where you can exchange your labor for food and lodging. Simply put, you get to escape the cubicle but also society as you know it, and decrease your damage to the planet in a drastic way.
For starters, check out Natural Communities Magazine, where you’ll find articles on natural living, health and general well being as well as environmental protection and appreciation. “As more and more people are seeking natural health, Natural Communities will be an indispensable personal resource for people on the path to a healthy, natural lifestyle, bringing positive solutions to life’s challenges.” Based in the Mid-west, this magazine is a good place to start thinking about joining a commune or at least living a healthier lifestyle.
GrowFood is an organization that connects farmers with people who want to learn about organic and sustainable farming. Their mission is to “help grow a community of 50 million new small-scale organic farmers. That’s how many it will take to break America’s dependency on factory food.” Dependency on mass produced and imported foods has caused sicknesses to increase because people are not utilizing the foods and medicines grown naturally in their area. Meanwhile, mass produced stuff is never of high quality. GrowFood can teach you all about the problems in this area and even offers the hands on chance to learn a better way.
The WWOOF, which is the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a group dedicated to offering people around the world the opportunity to learn. “In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.” This is great because the average person probably can’t identify some of the plants, herbs and vegetables they eat on a daily basis in their natural habitat. If an emergency ever occurred, would you be able to find food, grow food, or raise your own meat? Less dramatically, a self sufficient farm is a great way to ensure you always have food available, and reconnect with nature.
The Fellowship of Intentional Community, although somewhat of a cult-like name, is simply “an inclusive term for ecovillages, co-housing communities, residential land trusts, communes student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives, intentional living, alternative communities, cooperative living, and other projects where people strive together with a common vision.” You’ll find information on whats available out there in terms of places to escape from society and reconnect with community and nature. An organized directory offers the exact information you need to get started.
Should you abandon the cube, abandon society and move to a commune? I can’t answer that for you, but I do think spending some time learning about natural living, or a healthier way to look at the world is useful. Even a day trip to a commune to see another concept of community and environmentalism would be an eye-opener. While Al Gore cries about global warming, he lives in a mansion and drives a car, uses air-con, flushes toilet paper and so on. Why not try a method of actually returning to nature rather than buying your way out of a guilty conscience?