Happy Earth Day!!!
The main website is now live and RE-Branded...it is like the Matrix ReLoaded and we are stoked on the new look, feel, and navigation...so far...
We make mention on the site that we are going to be writing an expose' on why we changed the logo and everything we have learned this past year - a Stage One report that is guaranteed to make you laugh (most important), raise some eyebrows, shock, and perhaps outrage some part of you that actually needs to be felt by the part of you that has numbed out to the crap we all go through whenever we attempt to pursue our dreams.
With that said we want to let you all know that we would love to hear what you think of the new logo and site. As always we respond well to feedback.
We wanted to share on this special Earth Day post a story that was written by core team member Susan Frank that she published today in the private Interdependent Community Sphere called "Earth Day Story". We did not ask Susan if we could publish it here so it may or may not stay up on this blog but we were so inspired by it and we felt it really deserved to be published in the outer matrix. Thank you Susan and if you would rather this jewel remain private we totally respect that.
The following is my vision for The Sphere...... A wise person once told me that the way to create your vision is to see it clearly, then walk yourself back in time to watch unfold how you got there, to see each step. So on this Earth Day, let's put our collective minds and hearts together and envision what great things this place can, and will, become.....
In gratitude for all things possible, especially this place we call Earth,
It's Earth Day 2012, three years since the launching of the Community Sphere networking platform of the Interdependent Project. Little did we know when we created this realm that it was going to lead to so many incredible connections and benefit so many people and communities. Just goes to show how good ideas can spread virally, infecting us with positive vibes as we inspire each other and improve our lives.
There seems to always be something happening in the sphere. One thought tends to spur a flurry of interesting ideas. One request for an answer brings more than the asker could desire, giving them choices of how to best construct their new straw bale, or what ingredient makes for the best humanure concoction, or where to find the best quality, least expensive materials for a 1000 gallon rainwater harvesting system, or what method of canning is the best for tomatoes.....
Right now there is a bio-diesel truck bringing organic produce from 3 farms in the same region of northern California to 3 communities in Colorado, who in turn are sending grains and spices to be dropped off in Arizona, where the truck will pick up building materials for a project back in CA. The truck owner, George from Biggimus Riggimus Community in Truckee, CA, got the great idea to become a driver to move products around the country to help communities trade with each other while promoting the use of bio-diesel. At his community stops he puts on workshops to teach others how to convert their vehicles, and he almost always gets questioned everywhere he goes from strangers whose interests are piqued by the great info and mural on the sides of his truck. Those were done, by the way, with eco-friendly paints by “Patrick The Eco-friendly Painter Guy” we all know and adore, who traded for a ride to the west coast to help supervise a painting project at a community he connected with on the Sphere. George thinks he needs to add two more trucks already, because since he posted his original idea on the Sphere to start this trade route, he has connected with so many communities with items to offer into the system, he can't keep up! The Sphere barter network started to work with him and provided the capital for his road expenses from the funding received from the Interdependent Project's Foundation “seedling” grant program. Imagine- we are on the way towards a fleet of bio-diesel trucks to move items traded among communities! The more trucks and the larger the barter network grows, the less driving each truck will have to do because we can keep the produce as local as possible. Another great “side effect”- George met the love of his life Georgina when he was delivering some homemade organic chocolates and freshly harvested strawberries to her community Lovespirit. How could she resist such a delivery right to her community kitchen?
Recently the Alpha Cmty posted a need for 3 people to come help them build a greenhouse, and offered in return 3 people to offer services in teaching permaculture techniques. What happened was Beta Cmty needed some help building a cob house, and Delta Cmty, an up and coming sustainable farm, needed some advice and help with planting their first seeds of their first crops. So Delta sent some help for the cob building because they lived closest to Beta, who in turn sent some help for greenhouse building because they had people traveling in the neighborhood of Beta who happened to have experience building greenhouses, and Alpha sent some help to Delta to advise them on how to work with their land sustainably.
These kinds of multi-community trades happen all the time now! It is amazing what happens when you ask for help in the Sphere.
We have watched various communities with products and services be able to more broadly market themselves and their wares through the Sphere, as well as start trading for their needs with other communities. Having so many things available in one place with the IP brand and seal of sustainability has also given communities more opportunity to create wealth from the IP main website, and as the Matrix has garnered such a mass of public attention, we are getting feedback that community sales are way up!
The IP media company has done a tremendous job of promoting online workshops, dvd courses and demos on everything from SOS (Seeds of Sustainability) to building your humanure hut to one community's documentary on how they went from a struggling farm to a successful permaculture education center with the help of the Sphere communities. Their radio shows, community podcasts, and “Interviews from the Road” series are all getting worldwide acclaim!
A great core team of experts in green building, off grid energy systems design, rainwater harvesting systems, and various aspects of permaculture formed to offer their help to upstart communities in exchange for room, board and traveling expenses, and so far they have traveled to 6 states already and been a wealth of help to places which really needed it. In addition, the outpouring of support from established ecovillages and communities towards struggling new communities has led to a measurable jump in the success rate of intentional communities worldwide.
Last year some of our European community partners got together and finally met each other in person at Lammas Ecovillage in a gathering to celebrate how far they have come since they first helped develop the Sphere. We all know how much hard work it was as we virtually observed their progress, and many of us wished we could have been there to toast their success in person and witness the results of so many of their plans which have come to fruition. However, we were there in spirit and online because they posted a live podcast to the Sphere allowing us to share the joy around the world.
This year there is momentum building for a massive ride share caravan of Sphere members to converge on Terrasante for a work project week focused on helping them finish the creation of their solar and wind powered microgrid system, following by a huge drum circle event that I suspect will be worth however much effort is put forth during the week. Really, when it comes down to it, this kind of action can't even be called “work”- when so many caring and committed people come together to help each other, it is too much fun to be called work, isn't it? That is why I love the term “work party”, cause when communitarians really get their groove on with a project, it's always a party atmosphere!
Ride share situations have also popped up to help people get to events such as the Bio-Regional Congress two years going now. We have heard some great stories of the connections made while traveling to events!
Melvin and Misha figured out how to build a super efficient solar water heater inspired by a discussion started in the sphere. They create a dvd with instructions on how to build it yourself which they offered to free for all Sphere members, and their sales on the IP main site to the public have skyrocketed! With input from several people, the idea formed almost instantly!
Oh, and the philosophical discussions have been fascinating! Not to mention the incredible loving support, the guidance given, the humor....
Its all about networking. The internet age has allowed us to create a web of connection, free flowing info, knowledge, and ideas which have generated this amazing opportunity for all of us. It has allowed us to strengthen our communities, to find and create resource, to have a wealth of perspectives at our fingertips. Technology can indeed make our lives easier, when the human element is not forgotten. Here in the Sphere we connect humans, really, though, people began connecting with each other naturally, and the energy has just built upon itself, flowing and evolving as more people joined and added their energy.
There isn't a way to gauge these sort of things I suppose. When Dandarius began this adventure they had vision and heart, two main ingredients for creating something incredible. Their belief in what can be was the seed that blossomed into this great space we call The Sphere. Being motivated by hope and possibility, sharing their ideas and inspiring others to join in, moving forward with a positive attitude paid off- now this garden is in full bloom, thanks to them and to all of your who have helped it to grow. Whether you have played in The Sphere just a few minutes a week, or have put hours into it when moved to do so, you are all responsible for making it what it has become today.
So thank you for being a part of this amazing, ever unfolding experience! May The Sphere continue to inspire us, to guide us, to infuse us with energy and ideas, to create abundance for each of our lives and our communities, and to lead us together into a future that is increasingly more and more focused on sustainable solutions for the good of people everywhere and for the planet Earth!