Hang gliding is a blast. So says Bob, one of my oldest (and most interesting) friends at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.
Decades ago, one of his favorite pastimes was soaring through the sky in a delicate aircraft that he maintained himself. At first blush I had to admit, it did sound like it would be a lot of fun.
In order to learn how to do it, you go out with a guide who shows you the basics on a gentle slope where you can’t fall far enough to injure yourself. (Being a newbie is a sweet gig, because your mentor will carry your rig back up the hill for you so you don’t tire out.) Little by little, your competency increases along with your comfort level, and before too long you can expect to stay in the air for three hours or more at nosebleed elevations while crossing vast distances with the aid of little more than a plastic sheet.
I imagined what it would be like taking a flight for the first time, just me and my rig against gravity, the north wind, and the wild caprices of fortune.
Sounds truly wonderful if you ask me, or at least it did, until Bob opened up a little more about what the experience is actually like…
“You have to be totally aware of your surroundings at all times, constantly maintaining your balance in response to shifting conditions; and you’re all alone up there, no one can help you.”
“What do you do, if you know you’re going to crash?” I asked.
“You climb up into the rigging so that the hang glider takes the bulk of the impact and hope for the best,” was his reply. He finished with his characteristic hearty laugh, but I could tell he was reminiscing about times in his past when he had flirted with death.
Nope. Nope-nope-nope. I like all of my bones in one piece. I’ll leave hang gliding to more daring souls than I.
Nonetheless, as I was talking with Bob about his past adventures as a hang glider, I couldn’t help but recognize it as an allegory for the unique place where I live, and our vital mission.
The future for us, and our planet, is as difficult to predict as the whims of the atmosphere. Catastrophic global average temperature increases caused by anthropogenic climate disruption seem all but inescapable at this point, according to the preponderance of the scientific community.
Keeping our balance in the midst of many radical changes happening at the same time, while billions more of us are expected to arrive in the coming century and compete for the scarce resources that remain, won’t be easy. Chances are we’re going to have to brace ourselves for impact, accept that our current system isn’t going to survive the fall, and, like Bob said, hope for the best.
The key difference here is that we aren’t alone. More and more are waking up to the need for environmental sustainability, and real progress is being made all the time.
And the best part is that you can help make a difference. You can get started by joining us for one of our programs in 2020.
Hundreds of people visit us every year, each of them hoping to learn something that will enhance their lives.
In each case, our village is like the hang gliding guide, helping people to learn the skills and the mindset they need to make a difference, until they can fly through their own lives under their own power.
Here’s a brief summary of our 2020 programs, so that you can choose the right one for you:
If you’re new to the idea of living sustainably and you need a general overview, consider coming to our immersive two-week visitor program. We have three sessions staggered throughout the year, so there’s likely to be one that suits your schedule.
Don’t worry if you can’t spare two weeks, because we have several ecovillage weekend experiences on the schedule as well – the basic content is about the same, but condensed into a few days.
For those aspiring to build their own home out of natural materials like straw and clay, we have our natural building course. (The 2019 editions were a big hit, and filled up quickly. Sign up for your slot now, if you know you want to come.)
We consider it a high priority to address the social and inner challenges posed by dealing with climate change; after all, what hope have we to make the necessary adjustments in time, if we can’t figure out how to work together, or if we’re too busy coping with a private sickness in our soul? That’s why we offer a number of programs designed to give people a chance to relax, make merry, and engage in personal growth work.
Reach out if you have any questions, I’m always glad to help. We hope to see you soon.