Another sub topic that came up in the Ecovillage thread I’ve been posting about. Is ableism. One person commented that they are not in an ecovillage because, in their current place:
“… the access to medical care … is beyond what we could find in a small community. Sometimes I struggle with the ableism in adaptation and prep discussions. (Not blaming anybody, just trying to see how we spoonies will find our place when we can’t contribute physically.)”
To which I replied:
Thank you and everyone else who is continuing to bring this aspect up, ableism is an extremely important thing to address. For any community! No community can be sustainable without addressing the needs of all of its members.
Prepper culture, and the dominant culture as a whole, is hyperindividualistic and focuses too much on the material aspect of things. So much is missed, many of us have non-material contributions to make that are every bit as important to the collective survival and thrival.
PS. I even challenge the notion that people don’t have something to contribute physically just because they might have chronic conditions or what have you. Our culture really does undervalue regular daily tasks like child-minding, watching over animals, serving as historians/archivists, and so on, all of which people of many different abilities can do. And people of all ages, right up to the most elder of elders!
Other essential functions include art, storytelling, music. All of these can be done by people who are not necessarily young and physically sturdy. In fact, some of the greatest artists and musicians and storytellers have been physically frail and/or living with mental health conditions.
And yes, the arts, music, storytelling, performance, and just plain FUN and JOY are absolutely essential functions to a culture. (I have written extensively about this elsewhere on this blog.)
If we don’t think they’re essential, that says a lot about the dominant culture we’ve been steeped in — and explains a lot about why more of our community efforts don’t take off and thrive.
I can’t say for sure, because I’ve never seen a study on this and never done one. All I know is that I hear from a lot of people who are supposedly trying to build a community, but they don’t acknowledge the validity of anything other than basic survival functions.
Back to the topic of ableism: Not incidentally, an ableist mindset also marginalizes children and elders. A viable, healthy society not only allows but actually requires the full, valued participation of all of its members, from the very youngest to the very oldest.
Basically a roof over one’s head, growing food, and catching water. Basically a modern-day version of that dour-faced couple in the American Gothic painting. That’s their business, as long as they understand that a lot of people will not want to move onto rural acreage and try to endure life without art, music, storytelling, and just plain fun and joy. And civilization cannot survive, let alone progress, without those things.