A Resilient Way of Life

San Bushmen of the Kalahari
San Bushmen of the Kalahari

We are all subject to the forces of change, but they can have a greater effect on some people than on others.  For instance, if you are a member of a Kalahari desert bush tribe, like the San Bush people shown here, then a global credit crunch, a surge in oil prices, or a fluctuation in the demand for steel will have about as much effect on you now as it did at any time over your people’s 20,000 year history.  Even global warming probably won’t affect you that much: your ancestors have ridden out changes in the climate before, and you probably have the ancestral wisdom and the personal fortitude to allow you to do it again.

On the other hand, if you are a middle-class resident of the western world, with a substantial mortgage, a car and other consumer goods bought on credit, and a long daily commute by car to get to work, then a tiny fluctuation in a host of factors outside your control could massively impact on your quality of life.  Just a small rise in interest rates, plus a rise in the price of petrol, could ruin everything–not to mention the horror of being made redundant because of a fall in demand for some commodity or other.  The San bushmen don’t get made redundant, but reverting to the lifestyle of our long-distant ancestors isn’t an option–we’ve lost the know-how.

Our lifestyles are not resilient, whereas the lifestyles of many so-called primitive people are highly resilient.

The question is: could we build a more resilient lifestyle without having to resort to wearing loin cloths and hunting with bows and arrows?

At Foldehampton we think we can.  By self-building low-cost housing, on land that is owned by our own community, by having our community (not necessarily each individual) grow as much high-quality food as we can, by reducing our need to use oil to produce food, to travel, and to keep warm, and by taking advantage of many other ideas, we think that we can improve our quality of life, and make our standard of living resilient: more proof against the vagaries of outside forces.