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Cultural & Ecological designing
ferrocement garage - front view ferrocement garage - rear quarter view

Integration - living well with ourselves, each other, and other living systems.

Providing ourselves and our future generations of fellow human beings with food, water, shelter and community is easiest and most fulfilling when we integrate those systems with each other, with our bioscapes, and with our lived human cultures. Each element of each system contributes in multiple ways to other elements and systems, and is supported in turn by the multiple contributions of other elements and systems.

As we observe healthy, resilient, dynamically stable systems, this we can see - many and complex interrelations, many and complex integrations. Forests can teach forest-dwellers what they need to know to live well in a forest; deserts can do the same for desert-dwellers. When we inhabit the places where our arbitrarily defined eco-systems merge and blend, we have even more opportunities to learn how to live there.

A few simple examples of integrating people, place and learning:

Mixing all ages together in community and/or dwelling arrangements, with privacy for each as needed or desired, enables children to take part in caring for elders, gaining wisdom from them and at the same time skills both tangible and intangible for the care of people - including themselves. Elders can also teach specific skills to the young through formal apprenticeships, workshops and so on as well as through everyday activities.

Paying attention to the amount of local resources necessary to meet a community's essential needs (food, water, shelter) can teach what the limits are to the size of that community, if it wishes to remain in healthy balance with its place. Paying attention to how those resources are created and used can teach the community ways to create and use them that will allow the community to grow, if it wishes, or to have more surplus to share and enjoy, if it wishes, or some combination of both, or some other possibilities not yet conceived of.

Mixing children of different ages, genders, ethnicities and abilities together in formal or informal learning contexts can teach inclusion, collaboration, mentoring and interpersonal skills. Adults providing instruction will be able to give individual attention and assistance while supporting children in doing the same for each other. Making the learning contexts part (or all) of daily work and play can become a way of life, an emerging collaborative culture different from what went before.

Wild and ecologically rich places can serve as a context and catalyst for people to work together on healing their personal wounds and traumas. They may even do this through working with each other in those places to perpetuate or regenerate them. At the same time they will be learning about the places, other people, and themselves. The same can be true for other types of places - wounded places that people can help heal, for example.

There are infinite possible examples. Please contact me with questions or requests for specific examples relevant to your situation.

Copyright © 2010 John Schinnerer
Site design and implementation by Eco-Living Technology Services
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