[imported from livejournal and backdated]
Perth Natural Learning Network Dwellingup Camp
Once upon a time when Josh and I only had two kids, we slowly amassed a collection of camping gear including a three room mini-house, sleeping bags rated to -5C, and a pile of crockery from BCF and various army surplus stores. All this was foiled when I got pregnant for the third and last time.
Over the weekend just gone we added a fold-up accordionesque queen sized bed with blow up mattress and a bunk camp bed to our arsenal and sallied forth to Lane-Poole Reserve in Dwellingup with a wonderful group of people, our partners in thoughtcrime, fellow "unschoolers" from the newly named (but not newly formed, been going for at least two years) Perth Natural Learning Network.
We were intending on going on Friday and returning Sunday, but got sidetracked by AFL. So we went on Saturday with the intention of coming back Monday morning, with Tao hurrying us along all the way because he was impatient to see his friends.
It is currently bordering on winter up here in Australia-land, but even in the stubbornly thickly overcast gloom Lane-Poole Reserve's Baden Powell campsite was a nice location. I have no idea what was going on that weekend but the place ended up being packed out and not by us, apparently "everyone" had figured that "everyone else" would not go camping due to the coldness and the weather, and everyone and thus gone camping. Maybe the place was completely abandoned when it was lovely because everyone thought everyone else was going, I have no idea. The fire had already been lit when we got there, and the first thing the kids did was race off with their friends down a nearby steep embankment, at the bottom of which was a blackberry bush which had no idea what hit it as it was furiously raided by blackberry loving children.
Today was pretty much the same, the kids played non-stop with trips to whatever table had the snacks that were laid out to grab and go. A couple of families had arrived on the Friday night and planned on leaving today, but we all ended up clearing out as it rained in t he early hours of the morning, and continued to spit which didn't bode well for us, so we all opted to pack it in. The kids got good and muddy with the almost instant return to hardcore playing from the moment they woke up enough to get out of bed and thus announce to the other kids that they were awake.
We have thrown plans around for future camping trips in the beautiful weather provided by spring and autumn, but closer to summer than winter next time round.
Again once upon a time back in the day when we were little more than starving students, Josh, myself and a few friends discussed the idea of an intentional community. Basically what it boiled down to was that we all liked the idea of setting up our own eco-village but none of us had the resources, so it was all pipe dream.
Fast forward a few years, Josh and I now own our house, have three children and are part of a somewhat scattered but still awesome community. And, strangely enough, quite a few of them had also had thoughts along the same lines. We are tentatively discussing setting up an intentional community. I think ideally this would involve pretty much buying out a neighbourhood somewhere and knocking those stupid fences down, though there comes the problem of finding a) a neighbourhood everyone can afford to buy/rent into and b) houses conveniently next door for purchase. So we're mostly focusing on the idea of buying a block of land not too far out of Perth (for purposes of work commute) that is big enough for a large communal garden and a bunch of houses.
I see a hell of a lot of time and money involved in this and am quite happy to take it really slow and see how it pans out, if it's even feasible at all.
I do have a few issues with the intentional community thing. While there is a part going "DO IT! DO IT!", I've kind of grown attached to this house, and the outlaws have just moved down to Perth, and us moving further out will make it trickier to visit my parents when they come over to visit, as they tend not to like driving out long ways, not being that familiar with the area and all, not to mention make it "interesting" for us when we do want to go to Christmas Island. So I think I will have to wait and see how I pan out.
Which leads me onto...
Community gardens. I read in an article something along the lines of the world would easily support five times or so the current population if everyone would just switch to a raw vegan diet.
Can't see that happening.
I like the idea of anarchist eco-villages cooperating in bioregions.
Can't see that happening in the immediately forseeable future either.
Last idea, best developed because it's currently happening both in my animation and in real life, community gardens. Currently in the name of civilisation a comparatively small batch of farmers are operating on ridiculous scales producing prodigious amounts of food just because the majority of people in cities may or may not want to and "shouldn't have to". This insane scale and method of food production, while convenient for people who want it to be convenient, causes a lot of the environmental issues that have people up in arms about climate change and biodiversity.
Things like solar panels and rainwater tanks and decent insulation and sensible climate-appropriate house design are awesome and should be mandatory, but until the government (don't care which, currently they're both equally useless, need The Greens to become a major party) do some proper serious subsidising, they're rather expensive options.
Community gardens, on the other hand, cost about as much as you want to put into them. More people producing food locally means less has to be grown externally and trucked in. More people putting in to community gardens means more free food which means less money spent buying it. And you might even get to know your neighbours better and make new friends and stuff.
We're taking over the verge. We'll leave a path for people to walk, seeing as people seem to like walking along there, and we're growing berries along the fence anyway (plants themselves just happen to be on the outside of our fence, just). We might even run it past the council just to be polite, but seeing as they seem to want us to take care of it I can't see them having a problem.
The plan is to get the verge going well and then seeing if we can convince neighbours, across the road etc to convert their verges. From there, the street. From the street, the world!
Join the movement and decentralise!