When it is no longer “an experiment”

“Don’t call it ‘alternative energy’” said my Danish clean energy advocate friend Ann Vikkelso.  The proper term is ‘renewable energy’ and her point was that by referring to this robust set of energy solutions as ‘alternative’ it cedes what is normal to the very energy sources we are trying to phase out.


we still are getting all the pieces together

Similarly, i dont call Twin Oaks “an experiment” anymore.  We are 45 years old, we have moved from the experiment stage, quite some time ago.  Now we are a model.  Which of course begs the question “what are we a model of?”

So i have written a bunch of what is worth modelling in my fair commune.  We are basically crime free, we are highly sustainable with less than 20% the carbon footprint per person than our mainstream counterparts.  We run collective businesses without “real bosses”.  Full employment. We have an all voluntary work force.  Full social safety net.  Our kids get lots of attention, love and educational support.  We grow much of our own food.  We fix many our appliances, vehicles, bikes and buildings.   If you are not obsessed with amassing personal wealth (which it seems a huge fraction the people in the US are) it is a completely reasonable place to live.

And for those who regularly read this blog, it will be no surprise that the most important thing i think we are a model of is sharing systems.  Cars, Bikes, Clothes, Residences, Bank accounts, businesses, work responsibilities.  Basically, if it is possible to share it, we try to.


The reason i think sharing systems are the most important thing that we model is because more than our renewables and efficiency behaviors, it has the possibility of sparking the great U turn needed to get us out of this ecological jam we are in.  And at it’s core all it takes is for us to be better communicators, more trusting and more daring.  If we can make those steps, the positive feedback loops of having greater access to resources and needing to do less work for it kicks in and sharing will sell itself.

less stuff more happiness