Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nowtopia: Building the new world in the shell of the old

Even though I'm a fairly traditional middle class guy with a mortgage and two cars (we rarely use them both at the same time), I harbor a deep, abiding respect for all sorts of alternative communities and involve myself in them to the extent that my comfort level allows. My comfort level allows more and more all the time.
Instead of traditional political forms like unions or parties, people are coming together in practical projects, from urban gardening in vacant lots to the suddenly ubiquitous do-it-yourself bike shops.
Networks have grown, thanks to the spread of the Internet and other telecommunications technologies, and new kinds of "families" based on shared values, alternative living arrangements, and non-economic relationships are growing within the old society.
They aren't waiting for an institutional change from on high but are building the new world in the shell of the old.
Acting locally in the face of unfolding global catastrophes, friends and neighbors are redesigning many of the crucial technological foundations of modern life, like food and transportation. These redesigns are worked out through garage and backyard research-and-development programs among friends using the detritus of modern life.
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