Saturday, April 19, 2014

Earthaven's Guiding Principles

Earthaven's guiding principles are pretty special and worth sharing here to show that Earthaven is not just a bunch of people living in the woods - they're part of a movement.

Statements of Principle in the Council Hall
The Council Hall is the central public meeting space at Earthaven. We host several regular public events here, including potluck dinners, farmer's markets, dances, yoga, and others.

Earthaven's Council Hall
Every other Sunday, the governing body meets inside the Council Hall. All the chairs are moved into a circle in the middle of the room. Signs stating Earthaven's goals/ideals are permanently posted in a circle around the roof of the main room as a constant reminder to the governing body of what they're all here for.

Resources on Endocrine Disruptors

A friend here just asked me to send her resources on endocrine disruptors. I sent her the email just after finishing a draft post on Earthaven's Guiding Principles, and then I reread the article (linked below) describing how the chemicals and other industries hide how dangerous the chemicals we live with are. The good-vs-evil contrast was intense and I became so angry I had to post this now...

If you don't know what endocrine disrupters are, please follow the links, especially the last one. In short, the endocrine system is the system the body uses to send signals (such as hormones) regulating all manner of body processes. It's used for slower signals (minutes to weeks) in contrast to the nervous system which is used for faster signals (near-instant responses). Many chemicals mimic these natural hormones, causing tons of problems, especially in the womb, testes, ovaries, etc.

"Our Stolen Future" is both a book and website about endocrine disruptors:

News stories about Endocrine Disruption:

Discussion of industry-sponsored, biased studies designed to keep people ignorant and regulation lax:

Mother Jones has an amazing article on how the chemicals and other industries have tried to hide how damaging these chemicals we live with are. It makes my blood boil:

I'm going to be writing more about this kind of issue in the future - how little awareness or control we have over the health of our environment, schools, foods, etc, and how I'm addressing that in this transition. I refuse to raise a family exposed to the risks described in the links above.

Extracurricular Learning at Earthaven

One of the coolest things about Earthaven is that there are so many learning opportunities both within and nearby. The work-exchange is great, but there's a lot more...

My Work-Exchange 
I’ll describe the work-exchange in more detail in another essay. The core obligation is 17 hours / week in exchange for rent, and I spend the bulk of this out in the garden learning and practicing the permaculture principles we embrace here.

This is the core learning experience for me - it’s what I do regularly and gives me regular mentorship opportunities from the old-hands here. Permaculture is a lot more than just classic gardening - it’s basically a philosophy and set of principles that enable humans to live permanently within nature rather than destructively outside. Permaculture emphasizes growing a whole ecosystem rather than just food crops, so I’m not just learning how to plant and harvest plants - I’m learning how to understand energy, water, and nutrient flows; how to maximize plant, soil, insect and animal life while minimizing the impact of detrimental pests; how to maximize food, medicinal, aesthetic and other yield while minimizing human labor and cost input. Pretty cool!

Outside the Work Exchange
Every learning opportunity I checked out had a core activity such as natural building or organic farming, but few programs had as many peripheral learning opportunities as Earthaven. I’ve tried to really immerse myself here in every opportunity I could find, and sometimes I've encouraged others to put on activities they wouldn't have otherwise. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy: