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Communities Magazine #165 (Winter 2014) – Technology – Friend or Foe?

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Technology – Friend or Foe?

In this issue of Communities authors examine the impacts of modern technology on their experience of community. Has the digital age brought us closer together, or moved us apart? How has it impacted our relationship with the rest of the living world? What does “appropriate use of technology” look like, and what is “appropriate technology”? We explore the full range of sentiment from technological optimism to technological skepticism.

Articles in “Technology – Friend or Foe?”

  • Publisher’s Note: Questioning Technology by Laird Schaub
  • Notes from the Editor: Technology, Nature, and Community by Chris Roth
  • “Appropriate” Technology and Community on the Path to Resiliency by Janel Healy
    At Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, efforts to foster a renaissance in land-based living go hand in hand with judicious use of modern design and communication technologies.
  • Technology: Our External Thumb by Christopher Kindig
    Instead of asking whether technology is a “friend or foe,” perhaps we should be asking how to better help friends and reduce foes through the use of technology.
  • Back to Life: Returning from the Virtual to the Real by Ethan Hughes
    To shake our addiction to modern technology, we must understand its true costs. Stillwaters Sanctuary works to create a culture of greater connection, where it is easier to live without industrial society.
  • Grand Theft Utopia: What Can Video Games Teach Us about Community? by David Leach
    To build better communities in the 21st century, we need to build better video games—inspired by the rich subculture of alternative games with a social conscience that already exist.
  • Using the Internet, Questioning the Internet: Multigenerational Perspectives on Community, Authenticity, and Cyberspace by Susan Jennings
    Staff of Community Solutions engage fully with the worldwide web, yet continue to question its ubiquity and whether its use by others for power and control outweighs its benefits.
  • Technological Musings of an Apocaloptimist by Paul Brooks
    As the Main Street, information revolution replaces the Wall Street, industrial revolution, the technology train has arrived and we all need to help steer it.
  • Technology and the Art of Discrimination by Michelle Wheeler
    The seemingly endless supply of toys in the world can’t replace the simple pleasures of being able to look into people’s eyes, hear the timbre of their voices, interpret their gestures and expressions.
  • Black Oak Down: On Chainsaws and Mortality, Denial and Acceptance by Shepherd Bliss
    Speed, expedience, efficiency, and utilitarianism can supplant approaches to life that connect us more deeply with each other, ourselves, and the natural world.
  • Technology on the Path to Reality: Snapshots from the Pre-Post-Digital Age by Chris Roth
    Misadventures with a cell phone help the author dial into more enduring, meaningful adventures and relationships not dependent on an electronic-communications hamster wheel.
  • Loving Earth Sanctuary: Two Women’s Quest for a Low-Tech Life by Gloria Wilson
    A forming community in the hills of California’s Central Coast encounters both challenges and blessings in the pursuit of radical simplicity.
  • Kindista: Technology for Living More Freely by Benjamin Crandall
    Born of collaboration, an innovative technology helps build community by encouraging trust, appreciation, and giving from the heart.
  • Social Media or Social Isolation? Or is there a third way? by Devon Bonady
    Avoiding computers can mean losing out on connecting with others when one is desperate for connection, yet a rich, computer-free, community-based social life is also possible.
  • The Virtues of Off-Line Communication by Sam Katz
    An experiment reveals the many advantages of in-person contact, confirming the author’s suspicions that technology is an imperfect social mirror, and is ultimately dangerous.
  • Technology in Service of Community by Lindsay Hagamen and Walt Patrick
    Windward develops appropriate technology with the goal of creating a localized village-scale energy system that can be replicated by rural communities around the world.
  • Life with the Solar Kitchen by Frederick Weihe
    The Tamera Solar Village combines solar thermal and biogas technologies to create a kitchen that not only promotes responsible relationships to the earth and sky, but also builds human community.
  • Tiny Houses as Appropriate Technology by Mary Murphy
    Tiny houses are simple, homemade solutions that solve housing problems, increase our sustainability, and add a little more beauty and fun to the world. • My Favorite Tiny House Resources • Who Can Live in a Tiny House?
  • Why No Tyranny of the Minority in Sociocracy: How Sociocracy Can Help Communities, Part IV by Diana Leafe Christian
    • Six Legitimate Reasons to Object to a Proposal • Nine Ways to Resolve Objections • The Proposal-Forming Process
  • Creating Cooperative Culture–Reflections on Sociocracy by Laird Schaub