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Community Will Help Us Survive Peak Oil

Posted on May 6, 2008 by

An interesting article on how communication and community are essential in surviving in a post collapse post peak oil world is being posted on various blogs titled “We Can Survive, But Can We Communicate?”

While I don’t personally go in for survivalism, the article is a great piece on how creating a sense of community and building trust with those around us is a key to mutually-dependent survival.

Let’s first identify what we are talking about when we talk about community. In this context community does not refer only to individuals or families who own land together or who happen to live in proximity to one another, although proximity will more and more be the rule as fuel becomes scarce and travel is limited. We define community, in this context, to be a congregation of people who have, by the commitment and skills they possess, learned to establish relationships characterized by trust, understanding, mutual respect, and bonding that transcends personality and allows and even embraces differences of background or ideology. Such a group is able to think together effectively and to tap into deep wisdom about challenging issues. They can do this because they trust each other enough to question and suspend the assumptions and core beliefs that limit their insights as individuals. Such a group does not come together, as a therapy group does, for the purpose of healing per se, although insight and healing of isolation, unresolved past conflict, fears, and insecurities often occurs. The purpose of the kind of community we are speaking of is to come together to glean wisdom from listening and speaking with one another and to offer connection, support, comfort, and mutual respect. Such a group of people learns together to find better solutions, wiser actions and more joy together than is possible for them to do as isolated individuals, couples or families.

My question is, “Why wait for collapse?” Let’s do it now. It doesn’t seem like we should need the motivation of surviving collapse to see the benefits of connection, support, and mutual respect. The article goes on to address one of the most challenging aspects of creating community:

Conflict is inevitable. A community must develop skills to effectively resolve conflict so that people feel cared-for and respected. Its apparent absence is a red flag signaling the likelihood of dysfunction, of unspoken feelings and truths that need to be told, or of a strict authoritarian hierarchy that keeps conflict as well as individual creativity submerged. Indigenous cultures at their high points skillfully navigated conflict, and in fact probably welcomed it. They evolved creative skills for addressing it compassionately and assertively, with elders, both men and women, who carried those skills and wisdom down through generations. Those of us reared in the hierarchies of empire are not so lucky. Most people don’t feel fully adult much less secure enough to be considered real elders. We are having to glean the best we can from older cultures and learn from the most innovative practices that have come from psychology and organizational development to find our way in to creative, cooperative relationship.

So whether you think the collapse is near or just want more community in your life, there is no time like the present to start creating or finding community in whatever form it may take for you.

Read the We Can Survive, But Can We Communicate article

Community resources for Peak Oil

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