More on “homesteading” and the compulsion to move “away”

Not only has the “homesteading/pioneer” virus infected the permaculture-design movement; it’s infecting the #Degrowth movement as well.

The thing we need to (re)learn in order to do #Degrowth is not “homesteading” (a thing that is rooted in the infinite-growth paradigm), but rather, village living. 

So-called “modern” people in capitalist society, the skill we need most is getting along with others, living in close connection and cooperating, learning together and refining skills together. As indigenous societies have done for millennia and are still doing. (Including the old-fashioned European towns/villages.) 

We rich westerners/Global Northers keep trying to sidestep that, but the planet does not contain enough land and stuff for all the privileged people to “escape” to; buy, hoard, and live isolated on. 

I think the whole “Homestead”/”pioneer” mentality is creating the worst hardships of all. It’s colonialism all over again. People with the privilege to buy isolated acreage are gentrifying entire countries. Living isolated on plots of land and reinventing the wheel. This is not the way to save humanity.

The real skills of the future, the core of Degrowth, is people skills, including self- regulation.

To find out more about #Degrowth, and engage in conversations with others who are exploring, check out the Facebook groups Degrowth – join the revolution and Degrowth – it’s urgent. 

Added later:

I should clarify that when I say village, I’m not talking about a bunch of “likeminded” people moving out onto acreage and trying to make a new village together. 

The “romantic utopia Ecovillage” trope is about as toxic as the “rugged pioneer homestead” trope. So much perfectionism with the concept of “like-minded” people etc. And still doing the thing where we go buy a bunch of land and plop ourselves down in a place where we know no one, chop down a bunch of trees to clear land, etc. 

As opposed to being present with the people who are around us right now.

I’m talking about adapting into the existing towns, villages, neighborhoods where we already live. We chose the places we live for a reason. 

Even if that “reason” was just a “job” that will not be sustainable over time. Still, we are here. Now it’s time for us each to be cells of the Degrowth movement for our neighborhoods and towns.

I’m not saying no one ever has any legitimate reason to move and start over, but time is of the essence, and for most of us the village is right here right now, and possibly our first task is simply meeting our neighbors. This is particularly true in the USA where car culture and material affluence has created so much social isolation that many people have not ever needed to know who their neighbors are.

Also, If you are in a suburb and don’t know where to start physically, one book that might be helpful is Retrofitting Suburbia. It’s by David Holmgren (who founded permaculture, together with Bill Mollison).

But really the main thing we all need most is the skills of living in community. We can start to develop those from wherever we are right now. Even if we know nothing about that, still we can start and learn and it is the essential task that most of us have been avoiding with all of this moving “away, ” planning on moving away, fantasizing about moving away etc. There is no away. We need to develop the skills of coexisting with each other, building beneficial relationships, doing mutual aid. All the old-fashioned stuff our grandparents used to know.

If you already know your neighbors and have a neighborhood culture of helping and checking on each other, sharing skills and tools and rides etc., congratulations — you have a head start on the core task.

Here, from the good people at, is a good one-paragraph description of #Degrowth: