SECTOR 8:00 Communication & Planning
Communication & Planning
Communication and planning at sector eight is the axis counterpart to sector two, earth stewardship. It is through communication and planning that the cultural values of earth stewardship are maintained shared and brought into the world. In other words the the ideas and principles of Sustainable Culture specific to taking care of our world cannot come into being unless they are embedded in human communication, planning and related systems.
The individual is the specific and particular recipient of the cultural artifacts and processes relating to communication and planning. Thus, an individual isolated from others may experience culture because of communications media and technologies, the implications of land-use planning as they affect one person, and other consequences of cultural institutions as they relate to and impact a person. Conversely, one individual may reach out to the broader culture by influencing dialogue, cultural artifact, and community planning processes.
As a group of individuals, food is significant, because as a group, we can have considerably more control over many aspects of our diet. It is relatively easy for a group to organize cooperative cooking, so that a regular, wholesome and affordable meal schedule can be established, without one individual doing the bulk of the collecting, cooking or cleaning. Group purchases of bulk foods enables a more direct connection to food producers. In urban areas, and elsewhere, people set up food co-ops or buying clubs, buying in bulk from wholesale distributors, farmers' co-ops, or directly from CSA farms (Community Supported Agriculture). Communities, cooperative households, or groups of friends organize regular meal plans, with a rotation of responsibilities. In a typical CoHousing meal system, for example, a member might, with another, be responsible for cooking only one night a month, yet enjoy home cooked quality dinners six days a week for the rest of that month! The power of shared work in a group can be quite awesome. And fun!
A village is a group unit large enough to support a diversity of processes of exchange and sharing. Sometimes, meeting the spectrum of human needs requires more than just one family or group. In agricultural communities, historically and in the present day, entire villages help smaller groups with harvests and plantings, and everyone benefits. Traditional villages share what is abundant, and collectively meet challenges met by individual people or families. In a very real sense, the village is the basic unit for agriculture. As we plan to rebuild historical villages to a blueprint of a Culture of Sustainability, as we work to form new eco-villages, and as we craft villages from the dense urban substrate, it is the unit size of village that we will plan with. Who will grow beans, and who grains? How will we organize the collective sharing of farm tools? The village council can address collective issues such as water rights, bringing produce to market, maintaining roads, and representing the village in regional councils.
Throughout history worldwide, and in most of the world today, regional economies are tied to agricultural production. When colonial, capital- oriented social structures were imposed on evolved indigenous systems, which are for the most part regionally self sufficient, something very important was lost. The ideal regional social structure, as far as Sustainable Culture is concerned, is entirely, or almost entirely, self sufficient. This supports economic justice for those working the fields, and ensures a market for smaller farms. Large-scale corporate farming, on a cash crop basis, has a number of undesirable effects. Perhaps most importantly, it tends to impoverish those closest to the land, making them dependent on others for food, even as they produce from the land. Another problem is related to how cash-cropping puts entire regions at risk economically, from changing world markets, new crop-specific pests and diseases, or from economic embargoes imposed by nations wishing to control whole peoples or their governments. Finally, large corporations, or equivalent kinds of organization are subject to the economic winds of the global marketplace. While this is not inherently bad, it will tend to support a short-term perspective for land use decisions, often falling within the shareholder's vision for profits within a six month time. Good soil husbandry requires a time frame of lifetimes, and hence, as the "green revolution" takes hold of an entire planet, we see poisoned soils and waterways, unprecedented rates of topsoil erosion, depleted levels of nutrient in the soil, and the wholesale removal from a stewardship role those who have a historical relationship with land characterized by a sense of history and an expectation for that relationship to continue into the distant future. term future for the land.
1996 was a significant year for examining agriculture within a global context. According to Lester Brown and the Worldwatch Institute, it was in 1996 that the curves for grain production and demand for grain crossed each other. In other words, if we assume maintained demand for grain, per capita, then 1996 was the year when physical reality, not political will, became the determinant as to who gets enough to eat. Of course, First World food consumption, if grain fed beef is considered, is a pretty wasteful affair. There are still plenty of grain related calories to go around, if everyone can choose to be sensible about what demands they make of the world and of each other. A sustainable world agriculture system is as tied to economics and social justice as it is to a healthy enviroment or a sound agricultural production system. We all must learn to find our place within the whole. Every aspect is related to the others in some particular ways. Each of us has important decisions and make and contributions to bring. We each must start with the recognition of our unique role within something much larger than ourselves. For most of us, sustainability in agriculture starts with what we support. It starts with our own kitchens and our own bellies.