I always appreciate Dave Ewoldt’s inclusion of reconnecting with the natural world as an essential element in creating a sustainable future. It’s there in almost everything he writes. It makes sense. As this psychologist noted in our conversation, what goes on inside us is embedded in the human and natural communities “outside.”
I’ve been reading his thoughtful essays since 2006, when we learned of his Sustainable Bellingham (WA), which he co-founded. But like ships passing through the night, he and Allison moved to Arizona just before we arrived in Bellingham to tape Peak Moment programs that summer. So when they contacted us recently during their west coast “Coalitions of Mutual Endeavor” tour, the only answer was a long-awaited Yes.
I kicked off our Peak Moment conversation quoting Dave: “The fact is that we’re not in a recession; we’re at the end of an historic period in Western civilization.” Dave noted this period began when the commons were progressively taken over by the wealthy, and an economy emerged which required infinite growth. Infinite growth is impossible on a finite planet. And here we are, meeting the limits to growth in what Dave calls the Triumvirate of Collapse - Peak Oil, global warming, and corporatism.
What’s the alternative? I asked. Dave believes a technologically advanced society can exist within the carrying capacity of our supportive ecosystems — but must balance population, consumption and waste assimilation. How? by following natural systems principles that ecosystems use. Relocalization. Steady-state local living economies. And reconnecting with our roots in nature — and that capability is already there in us, even if obscured by industrial civilization.
After taping the conversation with Dave, we hosted a salon, an informal dialogue with a small group of community members, to learn about Dave’s vision of forming coalitions to effect critical change in this culture that is destroying the planet, and the workshops in which he and Allison provide tools and models for local coalition-builders.
Look forward to big picture perspectives and optimism from a man who ran as an independent in the Arizona state senator race in 2010 to get the issues out there. I think Dave passionately wants to contribute to turning the ship of human culture in the right direction before it’s too late for many of the more-than-human beings and places on the planet. Read his essays (and sign up for his emails) at naturalsystems.blogspot.com.
(Top photo by Allison Ewoldt; Bottom photos by Robyn Mallgren).