Text of a presentation given to a Prospect meeting by Edward Munns Faleyev
The mind map we created gave an idea of the areas in which we wanted to develop Prospect E-Co-Housing, it shows the things we considered to be important… It was a summary of 6 months of discussions and ideas about what sort of project we are creating – It showed the results of our thoughts but didn’t show our reasons. Richard and Frances have presented the Prospect Vision and mission, which gives an insight into where we are coming from, we are going to refer back to the Mind Map, to give you an idea of the reasons behind our desires.
It is important when thinking about why to respect everyones reasons, people can have all sorts of (sometimes contradicting) reasons that come to the same conclusion, so we will try and give reasons that are shared by us all
‘There is nothing more personal than vision – yet at the same time the power that vision carries to transform reality springs from its connectedness to the larger whole’
Why are the environmental factors so important?
(sustainable building / renewable energy / water / wild areas / food)
It is clear that there are problems with the way we live in this world at the moment, Climate Change, Dependence on Oil, and Environmental destruction are happening all around us, and indeed by us. Many of us have been involved in Protest movements, and Campaign groups, and increasingly got very Angry about what was happening, and felt insignificant in the scale of things… The quote by Gandhi sums up our feelings pretty well,
For the change you wish to see in the world, you must be the first to change.
So by creating our small community which lives in a way that honours the earth, and seeks to minimise Carbon Footprint, and environmental impact, we are doing our bit for the global picture, and leading by example.
This is why we have thought about creating dwellings which are “carbon neutral” and low energy to run. This is why we feel it is important to utilise the available technology for renewable home generation. This is why Water use is a factor, and this is why Wild areas play an important part in the creation and development of Prospect.
Why is it Critical for Prospect to be in a Rural Location?
(wild areas / food / workshops / Spiritual space)
Following on from the Environmental issue, we come to the issue about Rural / Urban, in our discussions we always imagine ourselves being in a rural location, but it is also crucial that the location is very near to a viable community as we do not want to live isolated from the rest of the world. One of the most fundamental reasons for being based in the countryside is space. There are many sub-projects that we envisage coming from Prospect – we are not just building a housing estate for people to live in. We need space to enable us to work towards self sufficiency through horticulture and agriculture, through supplying our own [electrical] energy needs from renewable sources, and using natural resources like firewood. It is also our desire to earn a livelihood through indoor and outdoor education, courses, and workshops, as well as alternative technology for the wider community, and other on-site businesses. Being in a rural location will help to encourage us in this drive for self sufficiency.
Again referring back to our desire to live an “environmental life” we see our location in the countryside as helping in another way, rural regeneration, we see a revitalised countryside as being essential for a sustainable society (town and country), which is not dependent on fossil fuels and we want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Our Project will help to conserve wildlife and live as part of nature in an increasingly pressurised countryside.
We are uncompromising in our desire to be in a “rural” location – it is possible to live a very environmental life in the city or Urban areas by using Renewable energy, public transport, allotment or garden space, and so on, we know it’s possible and commendable – and although we don’t want to live there ourselves, we do hope that our project will inspire people who live in urban areas to live in this way.
Other personal reasons for our location include;
“Best environment for children to grow up in”
“On a more mundane level I would just prefer the (relative) peace, quiet and fresh air”
“Rekindle our connection with nature”
Why is Spirituality a factor in Prospect E-Co-Community? (Spiritual spaces)
We have had lots of discussions about “Spirituality” trying to define or label it – one of the first distinctions we made was that we definitely are not talking about RELIGION, it seems to focus around the feeling of awe we get from the natural world and our part in it… at the most basic level the idea of including “spiritual space” is to give ourselves areas to escape to, to get back to nature, to reflect on ourselves and our connection with the world.
Why is on site business such a key part of Prospect?
(Workshops / Land hire / Retail)
As mentioned, we are building more than just a housing estate, one of the core ideas is for on-site businesses to develop themselves. This is both as a way of making a living (earning Money) and as a tool towards our greater aims of reduced environmental impact and positive rural regeneration. By creating sensitive business ideas, that work with the local community rather than in competition with it we can be an active part in making the area an easier and nicer place to live.
“There is something about spending your life working for someone else to be able to (only just) afford the things you want – like a house. Prospect will create our dream dwelling – it seems silly to have that and spend most of your time away from it”.
We are creating a place for us to live, which will require many lifestyle changes. Work is (for the majority of people) a big part of life which cannot be avoided, we want to create opportunities for making our living doing things we love and have a passion for. – we want to have facilities to allow us to run courses, we want to be able to have workshop space to create beautiful things for ourselves and for sale. This lifestyle will allow us to live in a beautiful place and earn money without having to travel for it.
We have not started to create any business yet, but we are full of ideas for ventures, some conventional like agriculture and craft, some more innovative like renewable energy and alternative courses.
Why is being a Community a crucial part of Prospect?
(Workshops / retail / land hire / sharing)
“Before you can have environmental sustainability it is crucial that you first have social sustainability.”
For all of our members the idea of living in a community is at the very core of why they started their search for a new way of living, why is this notion of community so important? It seems to come down to two things, not being alone, and having the power to achieve more as a group. It just feels natural to live with like minded people in an environment of mutual care and support. Living in cooperation with each other enables so many dreams to be realised, as a group we will share, equipment, spaces, skills, and resources – this will make many challenges easier to overcome. What we are trying to achieve is daunting, being a group empowers us to succeed.
Of course, when we talk about community we are referring to not only ourselves as “Prospect e-co-housing” but also about our relationship to, and involvement in, the wider community. Being part of the wider community puts us in context and keeps us down to earth and open to differences of view. There is also a definite element of showing by example, – we will be a parallel community – one which operates alongside mainstream society and not against it or separated from it, we want people to learn from what we are doing, so we need to involve them, and we want to be involved in whatever is going on in the local area, to benefit the community through sharing our work, knowledge, and resources.
“I like contact with regular folk now and again!!”
Why is using Permaculture principles to guide us a defining part of Prospect?
We are planning to be a self reliant community, The Permaculture principles have been developed already, and they are a very useful template. They are a dynamic model which can be developed and help us to develop as individuals. The three core values of Permaculture, Earth care, People care, Fair Share, are so in tune with our current thinking, it just makes sense for us to live like this.
It is also important to have some uniting guidelines to work to, this helps in the daily running of our lives, it helps in times when inspiration is needed, and also in times of conflict.
We have chosen Permaculture to provide these guidelines.