I like to play the What If? game every once in a while. What if I had a magic wand and could create any kind of future I wished, what would that future look like?
In my fantasy future, permaculture would be the norm -- from its concepts of living simply, working with instead of against nature, and recognizing the interconnections of the natural world -- to its ethics of sustainability, respect for all life, human and otherwise, and culture of sharing. Urban and suburban neighborhoods would be transformed into human scale villages and communities. Existing homes would be retrofitted with straw bale wraps, earth plastered walls and/or living roofs. Recycled bottles and bits of discarded materials would be artistically incorporated into the transformed living spaces, while the ingenuity of creative minds unleashed would find inventive uses for old ‘junk.' Parking lots and driveways would become urbancrete and the liberated land put to better purposes. Malls and big box stores would be dismantled for their building materials or converted to community gathering places. In wooded areas, tree houses connected with aerial walkways and zip lines would free up the forest floor for nature to reclaim its own, while in cleared areas, stone cottages or hobbit houses would gradually be surrounded by food forests and disappear into the landscape. Some people would live and travel in variations of gypsy caravans, facilitating trade while spreading news from one locale to another. Others would travel the coasts in sailing ships or ply the interior waterways in their houseboats. There would be a richness and diversity to life -- no two communities would be quite the same, and solutions, while local, would be respectful of the greater environment.
Okay, it’s just a fantasy -- but it seems to me that the first step in creating a better world is imagining what it would look like. In the words of Rodgers and Hammerstein, "You've got to have a dream, if you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?"
Today, I am thankful for the power of creative imagination and for dreams of a better world. And who knows, dreams do sometimes come true.