|Community & environmentalism||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Graham Meltzer (g.meltzerqut.edu.au)|
|Date: Wed, 17 May 95 16:43 CDT|
Dear friends, I need your help. I have a beleif that living in community leads to a greater environmental conciousness. And I suppose that one reason for my being attracted to cohousing is that I see it as a means to raising that conciousness and ultimately, as a force for improved neighbourhoods and cities in terms of environmental quality. I am doing post-grad research which is attempting to establish this link. The trouble is, that my supervisor doesn't agree. He is Bill Metcalf, a long time researcher of communities whom some of you might know. He points to examples such as the Bruderhof and Kibbutz where, over very ling periods people have not demonstrated any particular environmental bent. He looks for PROVABLE links between communal livng and environmental activity and says that what evidence there is, is anecdotal. I beleive there is a link ... almost BY DEFINITION. I don't want to get into semantics, but if you beleive that people live in intentional community for the interconnectedness and interdependence with others that it provides, then IMHO it's likely they will develop an awareness of the effect of their thoughts and actions upon those people. That awareness, if their attitudes are caring, translates into a conciousness of the quality of the shared environment ... a desire to keep things 'in order' for oneself AND ONES FELLOWS. The nature of that 'order' will vary of course, and whether those attitudes develope into a wider global conciousness is another matter. My understanding of a 'sense of community' is not as narrow as Scott Peck or Rob S who see it in terms of close, personal, mutually supportive relationships. The more closely communalism is defined in Peckian terms, the more likely you are to be able to make the above assertions I think. I suppose ultimately, if you take that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, you see living in community as much like being in love ... where you do everything possible to improve things for those you are in relationship with. Doesn't Scott Peck open Different Drum with a line about living in communtity being the salvation of the world? But definitions aside ... we've discussed that recently on this list ... I wonder whether anyone out there can help me with leads. I am certainly interested in opinions. That's primarily why I thought I'd post this sruff .... to get some general feedback on it. But I also need 'evidence' of a fairly hard kind. Does anyone know of sociological or phsych. research into the link between 'group identity' and environmental awareness? Are there any books people can recomend? There is a review in the latest Cohousing magazine of the book "Rebuilding Community in America: Housing for Ecological Living, Personal Environment and the New Extended Family". This certainly sounds promising and I will send for a copy. Are there others of a similar nature people are aware of? Looking forward to any response Graham Meltzer.
- Community & environmentalism Graham Meltzer, May 17 1995
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