I am amazed at how Facebook has connected me with old friends, and when I got an email from my high school and college friend Kassia about her tour of European communes, just in time for our Environment issue, I read about her travels with great interest.
In the blog, Kassia and her partner Sky say "Communities, including social networks that incorporate some kind of economic support system, are in a unique position to support a more comfortable and peaceful transition to a post-carbon, environmentally-destabilized world. They are developing needed skills, both technical and social: like how to grow a garden and how to work out conflict non-violently."
The blog takes the reader through their entire journey, from dumpster-diving in Amsterdam to their tour of the self-sufficient, controversial free town of Christiania in Copenhagen to an eco-village in Italy focused on producing a very small eco footprint.
Though each of the seven European communes the couple visited were (sometimes vastly) different, some common themes emerged. People work together for the common good. They try not to overuse cars. They grow their own food. They make decisions collectively.
Kassia and Sky have now returned to Charlottesville, VA to try to build community there, and are using their European travels as inspiration. They'll be doing a series of talks around central Virginia, featuring stories and images from their tour. If you're interested in hosting one email them at karmakas(att)gmail(dott)com or peacewithinchaos(att)gmail(dott)com.
Kassia also has her own blog where she discusses environmental and other politically-charged issues. Check her out here: http://karma-kas.blogspot.com.