People need to be educated to get involved: that they are supporting small systems that are not mechanised, that are not economically fragile. There’s nothing quaint about coming to help out on the farm.
Philippe Barret tells the story of Beaufortain, a community in the French Alps that has been coming together to practice rural sustainability since the 17th century.
Despite the warning signs — climate change, biodiversity loss, depleted soils and a shrinking supply of cheap energy — we continue to push along with an economy fueled by perpetual growth on a finite planet.We’ll need to reckon with this discrepancy.
The eventual decline in fossil hydrocarbon flows, and the inability of renewables to fully substitute, will create a deficiency of energy to power bloated urban agglomerations and require a shift of human populations back to the countryside. In short, the future is rural.
Something new will arise, and in the evolution of what comes next, many may find what is often lacking in life today—the excitement of a profound challenge, meaning beyond the self, a deep sense of purpose, and commitment to place.
For two months in 2012, longtime Iola, Kansas, resident Mary Ross trudged through the sweltering heat, waving gnats from her view as she walked door to door with a petition. It was the hottest summer since moving there with her family about 30 years ago, but Ross was determined to gather signatures requesting a grocery store be established in the small rural town of fewer than 6,000 people.