Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reskilling and rebuilding community with Laura Smith

There are innumerable ways in which we can frame and slice and dice and address the issues of sustainability and the environment that face us. One of the most important things that must happen, along with the things like an increased personal responsibility and a more holistic moral imagination, is the building of community. It is very clear that while we are constantly "connected" to others through our technology, there is a dearth of close community. Many times, we spend hours and hours conversing with people far away, even when we do not know what our physical neighbours look like. A loss of community has led to a loss of resiliency, and we have continually lost control over our lives and our watersheds. We are now subject to the whims of people and institutions that have no vested stake in where we live.

There is a group of people that is trying to change this reality. They are trying to build community, while at the same time bringing power back into our hands through the teaching of low-energy skills and living--from canning to meditation to quilting to starting a garden.
"The concept of reskilling is about preparing for our low-energy future by acquiring new skills related to what we eat, wear, use and live in...Reskilling means providing for ourselves and our communities by growing, preserving, creating, building, and teaching." 
Last weekend, I walked with Mike to the Rudolph Steiner school to attend the Ann Arbor Reskilling Festival (where I met Madison Vorva). I wanted to find out what reskilling meant to those that attended, as well as to those that organised the festival. Here's what Laura, my good friend and conference organiser (and guest blogger) had to say. (Listen to it. It is only a few minutes.)

What Laura says powerful, particularly because such an ethic reaches people where they are. No matter what political inclinations you may have, no matter how old you are, each and every one of us can engage, learn, share, and work together constructively. As I will write about soon, reskilling is about feeling alive, and about being at peace with yourself and everything around you.

A hands-on gizmo builder sharing with Mike some thoughts on seasonal changes in solar radiation and solar energy generation
Hallway of Steiner school decorated with students' art

Sunlight in the school commons

Learning about vermicompost

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