This post is from an email conversation from my friend Mark commenting on the blog. It provoked some good thoughts and clarifications, so I thought I’d share here.
I have not yet had the opportunity to visit a kibbutz, but I think the experience would be interesting as a way to clarify my current ideas and see something in practice similar to what I’m looking to create. I think one of the most fundamental differences is that the village will not be based on a particular faith, making it more conducive to people of all (or no) faiths. Also, from what I understand about kibbutz-es is that they vary greatly. Some are very strict while others are more relaxed. I think that any detailed comparison would have to be on the basis of a specific kibbutz. I think I would be more impressed with the kibbutz concept in general if it became a basis for healing the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
I think that Eco-Tourists are a complex issue, arising from the fact that such travelers still seem to be rooted in capitalism, despite good intentions ecologically. So my feeling is that most Eco-Tourists would probably expect money to exempt them from at least some work, so I think I prefer the “you work and we’ll feed and shelter you” stance in general, at least for short term guests. Perhaps if there were longer term guests, say more than 2 weeks, maybe money would be more an issue and they could pay to learn even more skills or something.
I think it is vital for people to have space to be alone. In the blog recently, I was writing about satellite housing. Perhaps I didn’t elaborate on that part enough, but if people can have a common house for cooking, etc, most people could have their own “mini” house for sleeping and privacy… kind of a bedroom-house. I know that it drives most people, including me, to be around lots of people all the time… even a couple of people can be too much if it’s non-stop. Also, people will be working outside a lot, so there will be some space provided that way too.
I’m very interested in all forms of alternative energy. Ideally, I would like for the village to either be off-grid or producing enough power to sell it back to national energy sources. In fact, that would make a good source of revenue for the village. I have heard a bit about systems which integrate multiple types of alternative energy, several of which can feed into each other, creating more reliable energy sourcing. I don’t know a lot about cow manure power, and really I I’ve heard more practical-sounding things about chickens. But either produces Methane gas, which certainly can be used as an alternative power source. I’d be interested in the name of that VT dairy farm. Perhaps when I get a car I could visit it. Generators are definitely something I will look into. This rest-area sounds awesome…. a couple of years ago when I was doing some research online I found an article about how in Sweden they were planting willows to do a similar thing to process liquid and solid waste. Apparently willows do particularly well with that sort of thing, and could be utilized in turn for firewood and other uses.