The Interdependent Movement has spread worldwide, with proponents living across the globe from the USA to Europe, to India and beyond. It is a far-reaching idea that has found support in almost every nation it has reached. The need for a more cohesive, community-based culture is strong and therefore people are turning to Dr Barber’s teachings in order to make it happen. However, how does living an interdependent lifestyle function on a personal, individual level?
One of the most obvious ways in which to move closer to the interdependent lifestyle model is to literally live enmeshed within a wider community. This could mean anything from extended family members, to a group of likeminded friends, to a whole neighbourhood that looks out for and relies on each other. Starting from a grassroots, local level not only mirrors the principles of the Movement, but is also a much more accessible starting point for most people interested in pursuing the lifestyle. It’s not practical to up and leave town in order to start an idealistic community somewhere rural; in fact, we’ve seen time and time again how this approach can lead to pitfalls and corruption that ruins the whole operation. However, digging yourself in to the community that already surrounds you – whether that be a household, a street, a village, or something bigger – means that you’re starting from the ground up, and encouraging those around you to do the same. It has a much higher chance of successfully making real change, and evolving quickly into a desirable and, most importantly, sustainable way of living. The first small change could just be introducing yourself to your immediate neighbours, and agreeing to look out for each other concerning shopping, security and socialising.
The 12 principles of permaculture are as follows:
- Observe and interact
- Catch and store energy
- Obtain a yield
- Apply self-regulation and feedback
- Use and value renewables
- Produce no waste
- Design from patterns to details
- Integrate don’t segregate
- Use small, slow solutions
- Use and value diversity
- Use edges and value the marginal
- Creatively use and respond to change
As you can see, some of these principles are more immediately applicable to the interdependence movement than others. Two in particular that stand out are ‘Integrate don’t segregate’ and ‘Use and value diversity’. It’s essential to apply these two methods to community life in general, in order to live in a more interdependent manner; however, it’s also important to see how they can apply to our lives on an individual level. Just like plants, different types of people work well together, and having a diverse cross-section of society as part of your community is vital for success. Figuring out where your unique skills fit in, as well as accepting the differences you see in others, is a great first step to living a more interdependent lifestyle.
The internet has opened up a world of opportunity for everybody, no matter where they are on the planet or their financial situation. It’s a great resource of information, advice and community – the ultimate interdependent resource. Whether you’re searching for a way to stay in touch with far-flung relatives (Join.me), want to dive deep into the storyline of a new slots game (PokerStarsCasino), or are looking for the perfect nut roast recipe (Tasty), the internet has you covered. It’s got everything! It has become a vital part of our social networks and our self-directed education in all sorts of areas; it also acts as the ultimate entertainment complex, and can satisfy all of our material needs through shopping sites like Amazon or Etsy. In short, the internet has interwoven itself so closely into our daily lives that it’s pretty clear that it’s here to stay. The best way to approach it is to investigate how best to utilise this amazing resource in order to further the aims of the Interdependence Movement in your own life, and to offer help and support to those interested in pursuing it further afield. Whether this means researching relevant information or organising a remote meeting with other community members, don’t underestimate this valuable tool.
Of course, we can have the loftiest ideas in the world but we still need money with which to feed and clothe ourselves, and put a roof over our head. The whole premise of building a stronger, more interdependent worldwide community is to ensure that people don’t have to suffer through periods of poverty alone – whether that means lack of material, physical, emotional or spiritual wealth. The community should support each other, but in the current environment, this means that money is a necessity for most. A sustainable income, however, need not depend on a 9-to-5 office job, on government handouts or on the kindness of friends and strangers alike. It could involve running a community garden or tending a shared allotment; this means that there is always a sustainable income of fruit and vegetables which can be supplemented by food bought in more conventional shops. It could also involve considering less standard workplaces and career paths; for example, consultancy work online is taking off in a big way for many different disciplines. Whatever your area of expertise (and everybody has one), there will be a customer out there ready to pay for your opinion and advice on something. Think outside the box, and think big when you do.