Or: We are Greece!
Special thanks to Alexis Tsipras and Syriza, and to Ada Colau, the first female mayor of Barcelona and former social activist who has been arrested many times. The economic crises have brought people from protest movements into leading government positions. Their humane and courageous attitude has made the power structures of the present systems visible, but has also exposed their innate fragility. Now these leaders can help connect protest movements to the research of viable global alternatives.
We are witnessing a fierce fight from the present financial and power structures against those who question it. From the edges of Europe, mainly Greece and Spain, a clear message is arising: we do not want this system.
The children that don’t get enough to eat in schools, the unemployed youth, the impoverished retired people and the countless homeless families are not responsible for the debt. They are instead victims of a merciless austerity policy that destroys people and communities. They need a different vision, different politics, and a different monetary system in order to let the country and economy thrive again.
It is not only southern Europe that needs system change, but the entire world of forests, oceans, animals and climate. Life itself is threatened under the rule of capitalism and free trade politics, profit maximization, and the consolidated corporate power that has led to war and destruction of the earth’s last intact ecosystems.
We are all Greece.
The issue is no longer just about debt. It is about a fundamental change of power. When the mega-systems lose their power, it is life that will win. A regenerative future will be created by those who come together in many places and at many levels to build autonomous decentralized systems and cooperate intimately with the powers of nature. Only on a foundation of healthy nature and healthy communities can a sustainable and equitable economy exist.
The protest and the exit of the first countries will be successful if it connects with the concept of a truly effective global alternative – a concept for autonomous regions, industry that produces no waste and does not destroy resources, a healthy water cycle, energy autonomy, reforestation, a just monetary system and modernized local agriculture.
How differently Tsipras and Co could act if they knew the potential wealth of their land! If they could see how quickly a dust bowl can be turned into vital ecosystems with diverse economic possibilities and thriving communities. How community building at local, regional and national levels can lead to the revitalization of villages and regions, with local money cycles and regeneration of nature. With true autonomy, each region can be independent from so-called aid measures, behind which inevitably lie profit interests and restrictive contracts.
These are proven concepts with successful implementation. Some examples:
– The restoration of the Loess Plateau in China, with an area the size of Belgium, shows how quickly desertification can be reversed.
– In Slovakia in 2011, 354 communities participated in the construction of 100,000 small water retention landscapes that reduce the catastrophic impact of industrial agriculture and deforestation.
– In the Alwar district of Rajasthan, similar measures have caused five dry rivers to flow again, and 1000 villages now have fresh drinking water. Through this, hundreds of thousands of people have new possibilities in life.
– The global movement to found ecovillages, communities, transition towns and transition villages shows the readiness to create models for social and ecological models.
– In many countries, green industrial concepts such as Cradle to Cradle are being tested, where all steps of the production cycle work in cooperation with nature.
– In former industrial cities like Detroit, a new kind of urban vitality has emerged through small-scale ecology projects and local economic cycles.
There are numerous other examples that show that the basis of a healthy economic development is deeply rooted in community in cooperation with a healthy natural ecosystem.
“Water, food, and energy are available for all people for free if we no longer follow the laws of capitalism, but the logic of nature,” wrote Dieter Duhm.
He is co-founder of Tamera in Portugal, a school for realistic utopia and a peace research center with currently ~140 co-workers. Tamera gathers the knowledge and experience of global autonomy experts, and teaches sustainable human development in crisis areas around the world. On a site of 140 hectares, desertification has been reversed by a variety of innovative measures for water retention. The community has created new technologies for decentralized energy and food autonomy. In a region which is bereft of young people, many new communities are being created. We can see similar development with Tamera’s cooperation partners in Palestine, Kenya, Colombia and Brazil. The core of Tamera’s work is research on community building, love, sexuality, partnership, conflict resolution, and communication.
All these experiences can now be applied on a larger scale. They can be the basis for a movement of new culture, for a global change of power, for a new deal for the earth, for the training of an entire generation in strategies of sustainability.
For this vision to be realized, southern European countries like Greece, worldwide protest movements, and sustainability research projects have to create an alliance. They have a common task: building model regions in which we can experience what a healthy and wealthy life looks like without Troika, without corporate power, and without destruction of nature.
Places like Tamera are education centers for all steps of a global power shift: water, energy, food, community building, economy. We can leave the old system if we know how to build a new one. We must exit the illusion of scarcity into the reality of abundance. Greece could give the start signal for a global system change. We are all Greece. When life wins, there will be no losers.
Or in the article by Leila Dregger about the current situation in Portugal: 40 Years After the Carnation Revolution