Social Sustainability

By: Debaura James, New Mexico

I joined my fellow-marchers way back in Long Beach California in late February with funds raised to march as far as Phoenix.  Little did I know how difficult it would be to leave this new family of which I would become a member!

It was shocking and a bit disconcerting for some of us “older” marchers to find that so little infrastructure was in place when we arrived. There was basically a gear-truck, a box of someone’s donated kitchen odds-and-ends, and an odd assortment of camping gear for the taking.  There were some great organizational ideas on paper.  And that was it.  Over the course of the next six weeks and nearly five hundred miles, we would create a mobile intentional community that was nearly off the grid.  Every day, we have faced new problems, new interpersonal issues, and we have plowed our way through them. Thank goodness for the many skill-sets individuals brought to the table!  But the learning curve has been steep. The results have been a tightly knit, efficient group of marchers who deeply care for one another.  Individuals have had to put their own personal needs and desires aside for the Greater Good.  We have all learned to love individuals that we may not have taken time to get to know in another setting.

In short, we have all been learning how to create social sustainability and it may be the greatest gift we will have to bring home to our places of origin.  As Karl Heinrik-Robert says ecological and economic sustainability can only occur when we live in socially sustainable groups (The Natural Step). Through the crises we are and will be facing as a result of a changing climate, the bottom line will be our ability to resourcefully care for ourselves and one another in community.

I have begun the process of fundraising and re-staging my gear to rejoin the March in a week or so.  This is simply an opportunity too wonderful and instructive to set aside.