Cohabitat: building a community in an eco-friendly way

An increasing number of people is not satisfied with the way we are living. We have been drawn apart from our neighbours, our means of production and the way our food is produced. Words like 'sustainability', 'ecologic' and 'social' are empty, until we really get involved and try to make our own life greener. In Poland, a movement is emerging that takes these ideas very seriously.

Last weekend I had the chance to speak at the second edition of Cohabitat in Lodz. The cost of this conference was completely raised by crowdfunding. 500 participants, of which 100 online, llistened to presentations about the forming of communities, open design, crowdfunding, building with straw and earth and organic farming. Mary Clear, one of the initiators of Incredible Edible gave a very inspiring and moving presentation on Propaganda Gardening: the rules are rubbish; actions speak louder than words; if you eat, you're in. This intiative has now more than 300 towns and villages participating.

Do It Yourself, or better Do It Together, is an important theme. How to build your house with natural elements, how to establish a commune, how to produce energy with solar power. In each case, this is about the power of a new collective, aided largely by the communication possibilities of the internet. In Poland, that just left communism behind it, these anti-capitalist ways of living are not embraced so easily. Despite this, the participants are trying to push the movement forward.



Frank Kresin