Aug26

4. Give priority to locality

In our view ecologizing our lifestyle is to admit that we have bodies and that bodies are rooted in space and time. One of the major human needs is to live somewhere, to have a habitat and to care about the environment. We need to reappreciate the sense of locality.

Where do you feel at home and how do you treat your home?

There are two notions that helps to restore our relationship with the local environment and local community: ownership and resilience. We will also elaborate on the question in what sense the workplace can be seen as a local community.

To take care about the environment is related with the experience of ownership. A lot of people don't feel they participate in the ownership of their neighbourhood. They experience the street, the park, and the company as not theirs. Ownership has not to be understood as possession, but as belongingness and identification. If one experience something in the so called outside as a projection of self, then you well start to care about it.

Ecologizing is giving priority to strengthen local resilience. Because lived connections are based on senses and bodily experience, locality is the first place to be committed to. In a community people can take care for their own food, they can care for each other; they can share work and celebrate living. For humans a community can be a small group of 20 people or a neighbourhood of 200 people. But a community can never be a city of 200000 million people. The community is a social economic and ecological system that can survive on its own. The idea is to stop the extreme independence of basic needs on external suppliers. We are of course not against connecting through Internet, but rebuilding relatively independent communities is an essential step in the restoration of the ecological balance. We follow the idea of the Unesco that local resilience is essential in next decades to be able to recover after shocks (natural disaster, economic disasters, etc.). It is not as an individual that we will survive and live good lives, it will be as community.

We argue that professionals should play a catalysing role in their community. In comparison with valuable masons, plumbers or electrician, as much as people who can lead the community into singing, dancing and praying, the role of professionals is to add services to the community, like management, teaching, communication, health, etc. In the last century citizens, companies but also professionals have the tendency to become delocalised. They don't define their identity in relationship to a community. They define their identity in term of market value and service. They often use the metaphor of a shop and having clients.

Quite a lot of professionals are working in big institutions or companies. In our view the workplace is also a candidate to become a habitat, a place to dwell. Work and life should not be separated. Professionals can help building community in these larger institutions by connecting with the direct environment and by creating bounds with other people. Besides being colleagues people at work can start to share their lives or can celebrate the work-habitat through rituals and activities. An individual can't change a large organisation, but a small group of people can start to become a viable centre in the midst of bureaucracy. These smaller centres can counter the alienation tendency of big systems. To allow smaller groups to create vitality, the culture must allow relatively independency and self-organisation. The idea of a guild or a tribe can help to understand what we have to do in next decades.