Re: [penn-permaculture] Infrastructure and resilience

From: Carol K.
Sent on: Sunday, November 4, 2012 5:53 PM

Dear People,

 

I just want to say, this is a very interesting discussion, and some of the points Joy (and others) raised are excellent food for thought. 

 

In the same way that I think the "infrastructure" sometimes causes us to neglect the one-on-one relationships, I think the internet can tend to do something similar.  We rely on electronic social networks too much, and sometimes forget that many people do not access the internet.  Even among those who do access the internet, there is a need for personal contact and communication in order to connect with one another.

 

Thanks for starting this discussion!

 

Sincerely,

 

Carol Kennedy

Swarthmore
 


From: "Shalita" <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Friday, November 2,[masked]:11:47 PM
Subject: Re: [penn-permaculture] Infrastructure and resilience

Hey Joy and Everyone,

I'd say yes it can be an impediment the same way having convenient grocery stores prevents us from caring to learn to grow our own food. We don't have to allow it to stop us from building community. There's plenty of work to be done and gifts to be shared. Thanks for sharing. I love to read your thoughts on things. Now I'm feeling all nostalgic.

On Nov 2,[masked]:20 AM, "joy" <[address removed]> wrote:

Hi folks,
I've been thinking a bit about this whole hurricane thing, and as is often the case, it has turned to more permaculture-related thoughts.

When my grandfather was a boy, he had a little kerosene lamp to light his way to bed every night. You see, they didn't have electricity yet. During Hurricane Sandy, my mother used this very same lamp to read by and navigate through a darkened house.
I find it amazing that in around just one generation's time, we've gone from having no electricity, to being so UTTERLY dependent upon it.

I recognize that this is largely due to the fact that electricity has been built into our infrastructure. Generally, we don't put wood-burning stoves in new homes or apartment buildings. We think of fire as a potential hazard, even if we cherish the warmth of a fireplace enough to make electric versions of them.

All of this brings me back to my grandfather. In his childhood, they had a lot less "infrastructure", but stronger social relationships. I've had a lot of discussions about alternative infrastructure, how to strengthen it, getting off the grid "in order to be self-sufficient", etc.
But none of those are really the same as talking about the idea of infrastructure ITSELF as being a crutch or a potential obstacle to resilience.

Back in the day, my grandfather's community, in a town next to where I still live, had a very important discussion. These people were very hard-working folks who believed very much in the church as center of community, and in helping your fellow person out. These people also invented the very first insurance company in the U.S., and the idea of "insurance", and this was almost a scandal inside the church.

Why? Because they recognized that it had the potential to "relieve" folks of the moral responsibility of helping their fellow community members, since insurance would step in and do what had traditionally been done by people: re-build houses after a fire, loan resources, etc. In the end, it was decided that they would only make "insurance" available to "heathens outside of the church", in order to not make their own people complacent and apathetic. Obviously, the idea grew past those boundaries, and we now have a nationwide epidemic of insurance fraud and a litigious court system. Our good natures are now actually HAMPERED by insurance liability in many cases. Which is exactly the kind of thing that they were worried about. Oops.

My point is this: is infrastructure that is not based in social relationships, but rather, in contracts, actually an impediment to resilience, both physically and morally?


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