Building Resilient Communities: A Moral Responsibility

Recently I wrote about the arrest of Nick Tilsen during peaceful demonstration related to the president’s event at Mount Rushmore on July 4th. (Native News Online about that protest). This is personal because two of my friends were there. They were pepper sprayed, but not arrested, thankfully.

As I was doing research related to this, I came across this TEDx presentation given by Nick, “Building Resilient Communities: A Moral Responsibility”.

Building Resilient Communities: A Moral Responsibility, Nick Tilsen, TEDxRapidCity, July 14, 2015

For years I’ve been working on the idea of how to build sustainable communities from local materials. Because I believe our current infrastructure and social and political systems are going to continue to collapse because of the rapid advance of environmental chaos. That will mean we will have to build such communities for ourselves. And for climate refugees who will have to flee coastal areas due to increasingly violent storms and rising sea levels. Climate refugees that are forced to flee from more ferocious wildfires. And because of severe drought.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of pre-fab communities for years. At the end of this is an outline of this idea. (see Design and Build Beloved Community Models)

In the TEDx video above, Nick explains how the Thunder Valley community development corporation idea developed, and how far along this project is now. What is fascinating to me is how this vision is based upon the idea of Mutual Aid that I’ve been studying, writing about and participating in locally. (see )

I should note I don’t have direct knowledge about this project. But the ideas in the TED talk and from the Thunder Valley website describe many ideas of building communities I’ve been writing about for years.

His presentation begins by explaining what I’ve been writing about, that Indigenous peoples lived in sustainable ways.

As a community, in order for us to figure out how we get out of poverty as a people and how we’re going to build sustainable communities we look to our past and realize that we lived in sustainable communities built around sustainable economies not that long ago.

In fact, Indian people living on the Great Plains were sustainable economies. We had a whole lifestyle that was surrounded around the Buffalo. It provided food, it provided shelter, provided societal roles for people and we built our cultural and governance structures around it. This wasn’t that long ago that we did that.

It’s also really, really important to understand that we came from a people of leaders who took leadership, that living on the Great Plains in the way that we did a long time ago. Although it’s romanticized by Hollywood and other places, it was a hard lifestyle. It was a really hard way to live. But we had leadership. That same leadership that existed long ago is the kind of leadership that we need to have today.

We’re in a place where conflict and a view of different resources created a challenging history for America where we believe, as indigenous peoples our view of resources was very different and that that led to challenges for the West. It led to challenges of how this country was built and it led to a lot of disconnect between people in the natural environment. To really understand. the challenges that exist in Indian country today you have to really understand our connection to land.

Indigenous peoples have a connection to all surrounding especially land. So the stealing of our land and the industrialization of America was directly related to the plight of indigenous people in America.

Building Resilient Communities: A Moral Responsibility, Nick Tilsen, TEDxRapidCity, July 14, 2015

My vision to build sustainable communities

We need to build model sustainable communities. There have been numerous such experiments in intentional community. But this model must be created with the intention of being replicated many times over with minimal complexity, using locally available materials—a pre-fab community.

Pre-fab components

  • Community hub with housing and other structures
    • Simple housing
      • Straw bale houses
      • Passive solar and solar panels
      • No kitchens, bathrooms or showers (community ones instead)
    • Stores, school, meetinghouse
    • Central kitchen, bathrooms and showers
  • Surrounding fields for food and straw
  • Water supply
    • Wells, cisterns and/or rain barrels
  • Power
    • Solar, wind, hydro, horse
  • Manufacturing
    • 3 D printing
    • Pottery
    • Sawmill
  • Communication
    • Radio, local networks
  • Transportation
    • Bicycles
    • Horses
    • Pedal powered vehicles
  • Medical
    • Stockpile common medications
    • Essential diagnostic and treatment equipment
    • Medical personnel adapt to work in community
  • Spiritual
    • Meeting for worship
    • Meeting for business
    • Religious education

Design and Build Beloved Community Models 2/22/2018

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