Self-Sufficiency Guide [Greek Chapter]
Here in Greece we have just started our new project, the "Self-Sufficiency Guide", which is a project something like the Localized Solutions Project mentioned in TZM Defined but more hands-on, short-term and focused on household self-sufficiency. The goal of the project is to create a guide about how a household can gain self-sufficiency, that is spend as less money as possible, on basic needs (energy, food, water, education, software, tools, transportation, services). The guide will be open (probably in wiki format and maybe physically published later) so that everyone can participate and it will be continually upgraded. Essentially, this project is something like Open Source Ecology but for a civic environment.
Specifically, what we're going to do is gather information either from the internet or directly from experts or from other groups (or movements) which work on these subjects specifically (eg. energy self-sufficiency) about how a household can achieve as much self-sufficiency as much as possible (eg. by growing food indoors using hydroponics). There are many social or educational groups working on some specific category of self-sufficiency so what we'd like to do is gather all this dispersed info and simplify it as much as possible so that anyone (even a layman) can understand and use it. If some stuff are not built or tested by others, we can do it ourselves. For example, on of our members has built a solar oven and continues to upgrade it.
At a later time we will make an open call to teams so that they can participate in the project, if they want, by adding their info or correcting previous info.
This project is an experiment, so we'll need to gather lots of positive feedback before suggesting it to other chapters. However, I think it gives other chapters a good idea of how TZM's local projects can be like. Most importantly, this project is an attempt to tackle many of the problems that the movement has encountered so far, the most fundamental being:
1) Some people come in and are not sure what to do. This project gives them a direction.
2) Some people feel we should be more engaged in the transition, in the sense of creating transitional structures.
3) Some people feel the movement should be more "practical" in the sense of building some things.
4) Education is not only lectures and shows. Education can also include showing rather than telling. Keep in mind that language is subject to interpretation, so showing can be more effective than telling. If the movement is about applying the scientific method and technology for social concern, then maybe we have to show to people what we mean, by using technology to solve some of their problems. Also, learning can be doing not only listening. Sometimes learning by doing is more effective.
5) Some countries are not so technologically developed as other countries, so people find it hard to even imagine an NL/RBE. The technological gap from our condition to an NL/RBE seems vast, so this project tries to give them a taste of our technical reality.
6) Some people find it hard to even think about long-term solutions when they have so many short-term problems. This project tries to tackle this by relieving people of some of their problems. Many of our everyday problems have to do with money, so what if we didn't need that much?
7) People find it hard to devote their time to social causes when they have to do 2-3 jobs in order to survive. This is actually a reason why we have lost some of our members. So, this project tries to free people from having to work that much. Then maybe they will better able to participate in social movements.
8) There's a lot of info out there about significant social change and specifically self-sufficiency. However, this info is so dispersed that it may discourage people from devoting their time to social causes since there are so many teams out there which seek social change but do not close in on a common goal. This project attempts to solve that. Notably, from our experience so far, it's hard for social groups/movements to collaborate when there is no ready infrastructure. This project will provide a tool for teams to collaborate on.
9) There are many many teams out there fighting for broad social change but many of them have a little different long-term goals (probably because they don't realize the same root causes of our problems). However, it seems that with many of them we agree on some short-term solutions (such as self-sufficiency), so why not work on these now? When the time comes, we can worry about more long-term issues (such as future government)
10) Many people find it hard to realize the big picture of an NL/RBE but they can more easily understand the smaller picture. This project is an attempt to show them some aspects of an NL/RBE so that maybe it is more likely they can understand the bigger picture.
11) So far we have been attempting to inform people about an NL/RBE by showing them some basic concepts of the train of thought which arrives at this system. What if we reversed the process? What if we showed them first some of the application sets of an NL/RBE so that they themselves can understand the train of thought? Providing physical referents always make it easier for you to make your point.
12) Technological applications are effective attractions in social events/festivals.