#stacktivism is a term that attempts to give form to a critical conversation & line of enquiry around infrastructure & the relationship we have to it
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I just returned from the Green Foundation Ireland Climate Gathering in Dublin. Eamon Ryan invited me, the second of his events I’ve been to, and it was an extremely stimulating and mind-expanding weekend. The topic, in theory, was urbanism, but actually it was a profound discussion of values around intergenerational transmission of culture that dominated the days: is the shortest path to fix our broken industrial base to fix the insane culture that created it?
I believe the answer, in the short run, to CO2 is ultra-cheap solar panels but that just buys us time until the next crisis, probably around biotech/nanotech, and runs the risk of simply making our shitty political culture sustainable. But it’s better than 6C+ of warming, so there we go.
So then I got knocked on my ass in a way that hasn’t happened since my first conversation with Marcin Jakubowski about Open Source Ecology. They’ve come a long way since it was one man in a mud hut!
Shannon Hayes started a movement called Radical Homemakers. Her conception of the world is simple: the economic value of Do It Yourself culture in small areas like knitting is small, but the sense of personal empowerment that comes from doing it leads to genuinely significant steps in self-sufficiency as one acquires a rooftop garden and chickens. Then, over time, at least some people can make the leap to genuine Producer status, where they stand on their own feet.
Shannon’s moral code is simple: social justice, family, community, ecology. The magic of her life – and that of her family – is that she’s managed to create an ecosystem niche which fulfils all of these requirements simultaneously, without infringing trade-offs. What she’s achieved is every bit as impressive as the Open Source Ecology vision, and I hope you’ll be equally inspired by her words and her work.
I shot video of Shannon’s talk in Ireland. She discusses the history of the Consumer/Producer split, and the creation of the Consumer identity in the gender-and-work struggles in post-WW2 America. Then Shannon turns to the cultural changes as Farmer’s Markets became increasingly a real and productive part of people’s lives, the growing “Producer Culture”, as well as what she’s learned from her kids in the process of home-schooling them, and the practical steps that ordinary people can take down this path. The Q&A is particularly excellent.
Absolutely amazing work.
This is one of the most advanced efforts I’ve seen at cracking the intellectual code which traps people in consumer culture and consumer consciousness, and done in a way which belies the intellectual sophistication that produced it. I’m incredibly impressed. This is exactly the kind of future I was hoping for when I wrote The Unplugged, that early #STACKTIVISM classic. Anyway, watch the video – it’s absolutely riveting, and come to the Stacktivism conference.