An industrialized world such as the one we live in has its advantages. Cool computer technology that allows us to communicate instantly with people around the globe; high-speed transport that has the ability to take us to a foreign land within hours, not days; medical advances that give sick or injured people better chances of surviving or thriving. But it seems in our fast progression to this industrialized society, some important aspects of life were left behind.
We’ve lost the skills that allow us to be self-reliant and at the same time we’ve lost our ability to depend on our neighbors. We’ve lost our sense of community.
Yet there’s a growing movement to re-establsh what we’ve lost while regaining a newfound abundance in the world around us. Entire towns are being transformed and villages established that meet the permaculture principles of “care for people, care for the earth, and share the abundance.” One such village, considered an “eco-village” since the 1980s, is Findhorn, Scotland.
The Turning Point: A Return to Community features Findhorn, its community, and the community’s dwindling dependence on fossil fuels. I was lucky to be part of one of its first North American screenings.
The Turning Point shows us that it’s possible to have a rich, fulfilling life during energy descent without sacrificing comfort and security. If a community is comprised of people with diverse skills and strengths, and has a strong ecological infrastructure, it can be a resilient and successful one. Some of the features the village of Findhorn boasts include:
- Community-owned wind energy production
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
- Living Machine for wastewater treatment
- Local egg and cheese production
- Local organic and artisan bakery
- Car share clubs
- Local currency
The home above was made from recycled whisky barrels.
Like the Transition Town movement started in Ireland and the UK, Findhorn ecovillage demonstrates what life can be like in a post-peak-oil world. It isn’t a return to a rag-and-bone agrarian existence. It isn’t all doom and gloom. As long as we start the changes now, we can thrive in a world with little reliance on fossil fuels. The Turning Point film is a peek into a future we can all look forward to.
A living machine, like the one in Findhorn, at Oberlin College
If you’d like to see The Turning Point: A Return to Community, visit the film’s website.
For more information on Ecovillages and Transition Towns:
- Ecovillage Directory (Fellowship for Intentional Communities)
- Transition Towns (wiki)
- Transition Culture
For more about Findhorn:
Images source: Wikipedia