Our Common Ground for a Common Cause

Reader Contribution by Ruth Tandaan Sto Domingo
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One of the values that I have come to greatly appreciate among most homesteaders, no matter where in the world I may be working, is the ability of the people to come together. This is certainly evidenced in disaster strikes throughout the world, but also equally prevalent, even if not as well recognized, in virtually all aspects of life on the homestead. While this in and of itself may not be anything revolutionary or amazing to those who live largely off the proverbial grid, it seems that the world at large these days, would greatly benefit from a lesson or three in civility from among us “more simple folk.”

The key to this is generally held to be due to the increased quality of bi-directional communication … people talking … and listening to one another. From a strictly sociological standing, it is reasonable to deduce that given the more infrequent levels of communication between friends and neighbors, when dialog does occur, it retains a greater importance to the individuals involved in the conversation.

Allow for a moment if you will, a personal indulgence and a quote from a rather interesting and seemingly relevant movie, “V for Vendetta”. “Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.”

Now this seems especially poignant in this day and age, as words are indeed the literal symbolism that we utilize to capture and share the very essence of our humanity. Words are the means we use to determine our common ground and to unite in a common cause. Words are how we identify and define our problems so that we can work together to find solutions, but this only works if we also take the time to listen. There seem to be far too many issues that are used to drive people further apart rather than uniting them in a common purpose and for a common goal.

This may be best exhibited in matters of both politics and environmental concerns, hopefully only one of which will be relevant here. Still, conversations often are allowed to rapidly devolve into arguments … and there is an old adage that warns us, if we allow someone to drag us into an argument, we have already lost. There are a great many points that will be raised on these pages that are somewhat contentious in nature. This is done for a reason and it is the hope of the author that this will in fact serve a purpose.

What this is not done for, is to allow people yet another forum to scream “Science Denier” and/or “Alarmist” but rather to seek out the points of contention, define the problems and focus on the solutions from a unified front. It is sincerely hoped that the audience here will actively participate in the ongoing discussions, and bring forth different opinions and views that may otherwise be missed. Without differing and even opposing viewpoints, all that is left is an echo-chamber that solves nothing and seeks only to reaffirm and strengthen the problems, without any need to ever introduce meaningful … much less viable solutions, either locally or globally.

Voices of dissent will not only be welcomed, but treasured in the comments section for all of the articles of this author, so long as they are brought forth and introduced with a modicum of decency and a reason for the dissent. Many objections have been presented for the proposed large-scale food forests and other aspects promoted by the author in her book and other writings. A funny thing happens when reasonable opposing discourse happens though. If the parties to the conversation are emotionally and intellectually honest, it forces people to examine their own personal views more objectively, and also introduces additional factors that may have not even been considered to the same degree. In short, a meaningful dialog takes place in which viable and meaningful solutions are introduced.

Homesteaders and other people who live off the grid or on homesteads, run the entire spectrum of beliefs, from the most paranoid of preppers to the most environmentally awake people seeking out a more organic lifestyle and virtually every aspect of humanity in between. Yet despite their differences, these people continually come together and openly exchange ideas and knowledge about what has worked and what has not … and why. It is in this spirit of a unified purpose that the articles will be written by this author for Mother Earth News. Different opinions and opposing viewpoints are invited and quite welcome here, but please, keep it civil and well-reasoned.

As always, please leave any of your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions in the comment section below so that they can be addressed individually, and perhaps even used for consideration in future articles. None of this work would be possible without you, the reader, and as such, your thoughts and considerations are the most important aspect of any articles published herein.

Ruth Tandaan Sto Domingo, Whole-System Sustainable Development Expert. Ruth has worked with numerous NGOs, governments and Indigenous communities in Guinea, Cameroon, Nigeria, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Australia, the Philippines and Vanuatu to implement sustainable solutions. She is the co-author ofWhole System Sustainable Development. Ruth enjoys “hyper-realistic” cross stitch and is working with her husband to build a largely off-grid and self-sufficient home where she will raise livestock and garden both flowers and food. Connect with Ruth onFacebook.

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