Olympia Ecovillage gets a nod in the shower

The Seattle Times has an article today about the Phinney ecovillage and Sustainable Ballard that gives an essentially anonymous nod to the Olympia ecovillage, as well as the Port Townsend ecovillage:

About 28 groups from Bremerton to Mercer Island are developing along the lines of Sustainable Ballard, and the EcoVillage concept has spread to Port Townsend and Olympia.

That’s all the article says about Olympia and Port Townsend. They don’t even link to them in the online article. What’s up with that?

Anyhow, I linked to them, for what ever that might be worth.

I was intrigued by the mention of the Phinney pledge. It’s on the Phinney ecovillage site, downloadable in PDF format.

Seems to me that could be the basis for a large-scale community awareness campaign, to form a kind of virtual ecovillage within a city. What if some Olympia group used something like this flyer to get people in the community to pledge some slice of the ecovillage lifestyle and tracked that information, like many non-profits track their donations, and made that available as a community health indicator?

One of the items on this list is to install a low-flow shower head. However, I remember there was a buzz going around a few weeks ago for “navy showers” which save even more. A “navy shower” is simply to shut off the water while soaping up, instead of letting the water run the whole time. The Wikipedia entry on “navy shower” points out, along with step-by-step instructions for the perplexed, that the opposite, lavish kind of shower is called a “Hollywood shower” as a bit of interesting trivia.

So, what if there were first and second steps to each pledge item, like first low flow and second navy showers?

But, wait. Whatever happened to Uncle Bucky’s fog-gun shower device? [also, also, also]

Also, if one were to use something like a pledge to help develop community interest in and tracking of ecovilliage-like values, there should be pledge items about being in community and that encourage social connection and sharing. Then again, maybe there should be a pledge for each indicator of community health, so that there would be a climate change pledge and also a pedge about being in community? One could go through the process of developing one’s own set of indicators, or start with those developed by the Cascadia Scorecard project at Sightline and create a pledge for each indicator.

Morning power outage on the westside of Olympia

This morning, around 6 am, I noticed my power was out.

I called in to report it and there had been 79 reports with an estimated more than 2000 people without power. However, about 30 seconds after I hung up from reporting the outage, I heard the fridge turn on. Now, that’s what I call service.

All in all, it was a blissfully quiet morning.

Of course, thinking back to the storm outage that began on Dec 15th, I realize that I have done nothing to be better prepared. Not only have I failed to be better prepared, but I’ve even failed to re-stock the supplies that I used. So, in fact, I’m significantly less prepared than I was then. Although, I still had my old corded phone out, so I didn’t have to rummage around to find it again.

As I was dreamily sitting in the dark, I found myself wondering about several things.

I started to have such a strong memory of the cuckoo clock in my grandparent’s house. All those years, I found the hourly noise of it so annoying. Thinking back, I find that I have strong memories of the textures of the carving and the metal pinecone weights. I found myself wondering if my grandfather’s love of that clock had anything to do with a sense of security in having a clock that needed no electricity. So much of that generation’s attitude towards the world was based on the experience of scarcity during the great depression, that I wonder about a possible connection.

Thinking about the generation of my grandparents being so formed by scarcity, I think about the way that the culture of the US seems rooted in the idea of scarcity. This was one of the points made by Frances Moore Lappé, when she spoke at the Willi Unsoeld Seminar Series on 17 Apr 2007. The body blow of uncertainty and scarcity had life-long effect on my grandparents, and cannot have left my parents unaffected in turn.

When I think about the effect of scarcity on the following generation, I find myself thinking about the history of Europe as re-told by Barbara Tuchman in A Distant Mirror. There is a desperate exuberance for life and sensation in the generations to follow the calamity of the plague, maybe with a tiny echo heard in the desperate explosion of emotion and life experienced by my parents and their generation. Each followed by generations of selfishness and greed.

I find myself wondering about this pattern of contraction and expansion in terms of a possible Post-Oil culture in the US. I find myself wondering about this pattern of trauma and post-tramatic stress in terms of the culture of the Middle East, and the culture in the US that hopes to welcome home soldiers sent to foreign lands.

What, I wonder, would it take to avoid another generation of coke-addled greed monkeys several curves around the bending response to scarcity? Can an engaged eco-progressive movement do better than to turn on and tune out the future consequences delayed in time that eventually cause more harm than what healing occured to our selves and our world?

I hope so.