SPITHARI – WAKING LIFE Spithari Waking life is an experimental project of sustainable selfsufficiency, which recognises the failure of the current dominant socioeconomic system, and sees itself as one of the many transitional components to a totally different trully sustainable society.
Amongst its aims, through mimicking the model of biology, is such projects as itself, to be able to easily replicate themselves. For this reason, apart from the information drawn from the pool of the global commons, any knowledge acquired on site is freely shared with the rest of the global community. The main fields that the project is working on is water, food production, energy production and housing. Given the unsustainability and backwardness of the current dominant practices in all of these fields, it can be said in advance that building such an experimental ecocommunity project from zero is a multivariable task and the necessary skills and knowledge required are several and diverse. Αs the project develops it gets clearer that
the human resources and so their practical skills and knowledge are basic factors.
These skills and knowledge can be categorised into 4 sectors:
Structural and technological skills(The knowledge and familiarity of the members on small and bigger structures, on issues related to energy and of course on the usage of tools)
Cultivation skills (The knowledge and familiarity of the members on Cultivation preferably in a sustainable and natural way)
Digital skills (Since the venture is highly based on open source information,communication and information gathering is required. So “digital skills” are essential).
Decision making skills (Decision making is a basic factor for the success of the venture and so relative tools and skills are totally necessary).
These skills can be analysed further:
● Structural skills
According to the Εcological target of a ecocommunity, structures should be in accordance with sustainability. So Natural building is mainly requested. We in Spithari Waking
Life have firstly chosen to build a geodesic dome with natural materials which can be considered as a sustainable housing structure. Other choices could be earthbags, superadobe, hyperadobe, cob, strawbale, yurts etc..It is totally essential that the members should have familiarity with tools and mechanical devices.And additionally given the fact that
there is no “recipe” for the best structure with the available material at the time (probably recycled material) imagination is necessary on how may be the best structural way.Open source information is a big help at this stage.
● Cultivating skills
Requested aim at a Ecocommunity is that the Cultivating process has a sustainable relationship with nature in such a way that continuous clean natural food can be ensured. Natural Farming is such a way of Cultivation and is one of the methods from which we borrow practices. Permaculture is another great resource of knowledge accordingly on how to optimise the ability of the soil and guides into methods that ensure the best combination of sustainability and productivity. Essential factor relatively is the collection and
maintenance of traditional seeds in order to continuously apply natural farming by using the natural local seeds which give the most clean and healthy food.
● “Digital” skills
Communication and “spreading the word” are very basic factors in a Ecoventure
such as Spithari Wakinglife. We “borrow” knowledge from the global commons and we consider as a “duty” of ours to find the best ways to communicate our successful or unsuccessful efforts digitally and physically. A site is necessary a Facebook group or page,a twitter account. Powerpoint presentations in community events and festivals, participation in ecoevents, meeting like minded people, accepting visitors and volunteers are contributions to
the goal of communication also.
● Decision-making skills.
The specific process of decisionmaking is also essential for the harmoniοus function of such a
venture. There are many tools available which can help.Relevant skills knowledge and familiarity of the members is requested. We at Spithari Wakinglife follow the principles of Rational Consensus. Unanimity is requested as to a decision to be approved and applied. We also use the circle of truth as a process in which the members can express deeper requests or feelings. As said, the structures,the Cultivation process,the communication process and the decision making process are layed upon knowledge which is available on the internet.
by Angelos Varvarousis
Commons have arisen as an alternative to the sterile public/private dichotomy as well as a possible future scenario. Many scholars suggest that “commoning” is the action of the multitude in their effort to re-appropriate spaces and resources in order to transform them in commons. Nevertheless many questions emerge both in a theoretical and practical level regarding the making of new commons. Among others such questions are the following ones: How individuals who come from totally different ethnical, cultural and social backgrounds can act in common in a horizontal and democratic way without exclusions and/or authorities to supervise their actions? Why many commoning projects do not succeed to sustain over time and how these problems can possibly be solved? How a commoning process can remain inclusive when different priorities and views for the future of the common project emerge?
This simulation game on commons intends to bring people who participate in the GROWL programme in front of the aforementioned questions and practical problems. There is a double aspiration here. On the one hand through these games the participants will have the opportunity to understand better the dynamics and the complexity which exists in every “real step” for the transition towards a different world and on the other hand through the game and the possible flourishing collective inventiveness of the participants, useful solutions can be explored for similar problems. The idea is pretty simple. In a “degraded” neighborhood of the city of Thessaloniki there is a big enclosed piece of public land. This piece of land is not used by anyone permanently, although sometimes the local police forces use it for their vehicles and other similar reasons. The municipality tries to find a profitable future for this piece of land. Some argue that it should become a green park but the most argue that it should become a building to host public services. Accidentally some residents of the area decide to transform it into a common space. By appropriating the space they, gradually, transform the place in park, vegetable garden and space for solidarity economy activities.
After some months and the first enthusiasm which followed the first months of this social project, the first problems emerge. As the park receives fame, more and more people want to use it. Some of them do not want to participate in the assemblies and they do not agree with their decisions. Through their activities they “disrupt” the harmony of the venture and they are accused that they alienate the character of the commons. Furthermore, through the activities of the solidarity economy the owners of the small commercial shops in the surrounding area complain that the new activities threaten their shops. In addition, within the group of people who had started the venture there is a big conflict about the future of the park as well as for the ways to respond to the “external’ threats.
GROWL participants will be divided in smaller groups in order to represent the different social actors. Inspired also by techniques from the “forum theater” this simulation game will try to describe solutions for the aforementioned problems and challenges.
What kind of Degrowth do we want?
A brief simulation of the Future Search Method
by Michalis Theodoropoulos (iliosporoi network)
This Visioning Exercise is inspired by the Future Search method (http://www.futuresearch.net/) of participatory planning.
What is Future Search
The Future Search (FS) method consists of organising participatory visioning and planning meetings that help people to build up a mutual understanding, to agree upon a common ground and to transform their capability for action very quickly52
A Future Search Workshop (FSW) typically involves 40 to 80 people who share a common purpose and set of questions about a topic. They convene in a meeting and their activity is framed into five activities of two to four hours each, 16 to 20 hours in total: to review the past, explore the present, create desired future scenarios, discover common ground, and make action plans.
People adopt FS for three main purposes:
To enable all stakeholders to act on common ground and take responsibility for their own plans
To help people implement an existing vision that they have not acted on together
Full attendance, healthy meeting conditions, working across three days (and “two nights”) instead of doing it all in two, and public commitments for follow-up are all details required to organize a successful FS experience. In a nutshell, participants from diverse backgrounds (different stakeholders) work in mixed groups – each a cross-section of the whole – on the past and the future. Stakeholder groups whose members have a shared perspective work together on the present. Everybody validates the common ground. Action planning employs both stakeholders and self-selected groups. Every task concludes with a whole-group dialogue.
The requirements for FS success are:
1. Get the “whole system in the room”, inviting a significant cross-section of all parties with a stake in the outcome. Interdependent stakeholders should meet who among them have: Authority to act on their own; Resources of time, money, access and influence; Expertise – social, economic, technical – in the topic; Information that others need; Need, that is to say that they are people who will be affected by the outcome (these words form the acronym ARE IN).
2. Explore the “whole elephant” (global context) before seeking to fix any part (local action): There is another way to say this, i.e. get everybody talking about the same world. That means a world that includes every participant’s perceptions. The “whole elephant” refers to an old Sufi tale of six blind men who went to meet an elephant. Each felt a different part. Indeed, in any conversation we are blind to others’ perceptions unless we pool experiences to create a shared reality. Each person thinks alone that the whole is only a larger version of their part. Before learning to see the whole together, you need to “unlearn” your partial vision of the world.
3. Focus on common grounds and future action, not problems and conflicts: in a Future Search, participants are told that their task is finding common ground and planning future action. Problems and conflicts are treated as information, not action items, and people are suggested not try to change each others minds. They are encouraged to express their differences so that everybody knows where they stand, but energy is put into staking out the widest common ground that all can stand on.
4. Have people self-manage their own groups and be responsible for action: A Future Search meeting avoids long speeches, exercises, instruments, or games based on external diagnoses of what the group needs. Self-managing small groups are instead extensively used, where everybody shares information, interprets it, and decides on action steps. Small group work is implemented to divide up the tasks – using a discussion leader, a recorder, a reporter, and a timekeeper – and to rotate people roles during the meeting. Under these conditions most people will take responsibility for what they learn and what they do from the new learning.
Workshop process sample STEP 1 - Introduction
Facilitator introduces the principle tasks and goals of the workshop.
STEP 2 - Review the past
Participants explore key events in the histories of themselves, their community and the world, and present them on three time-lines.
STEP 3 - Explore the present.
Trends affecting the community are explored and illustrated by creating a mind map. Groups share what they are proud of and sorry about.
STEP 4 - Create ideal futures.
Visions developed in small groups and acted out to everyone. Barriers to the visions identified.
STEP 5 - Identify common vision
Shared vision identified, first by small groups and then by everyone. Projects to achieve are defined.
STEP 6 - Make action plans.
Projects planned by self-selected action groups. Public commitments to actions are identified and drafted.
GROWL VISIONING EXERCISE
What kind of degrowth do we want?
Introduction (5 minutes)
STEP 2 – review the past (Q: what events from the past have shaped you and the world around you? Where do we come from? Highlights and milestones)
Ask people to depict landmark dates and events from the past that formed the state of the world and the capitalist/ consumer society as we know it today. Also important dates for the degrowth movement and their personal development. Discuss in pairs (interviews) and write titles onto post-it stickers (each person takes note of the other's input). Draw timeline and participants put stickers on it. (25 minutes)
STEP 3 – explore the present (Q: How past practices have shaped present trends? Which external trends do we have to face? What are we doing about? What you are proud of and sorry about?)
Split into 4 groups. Ask people to discuss and write on posters (in titles) convivial/ degrowth/ traditional technologies and practices, that societies have followed until the impact of capitalism and how these have affected present trends. Also to write, on a second column on the posters, capitalist practices that have great impact on present trends. Participants share what they are proud of and sorry about. Groups do 2 minute presentations and stick posters on wall. Match common practices. (30 minutes – 20 minutes in groups, 10 minutes presentations)
STEP 4 – create desired future (Q: Where do we want to go? How is the ideal future you envision? What kind of degrowth do we want?)
Ask people to imagine themselves in 2030 in an ideal degrowth future. Then to write a letter (1 page) to a friend to describe this ideal future by providing details on society, economy, environment, culture, education, institutions, research and technology. (20 minutes)
STEP 5 – discover common vision (Q: Where do we have common ground and consensus? What is your common vision for the future of a degrowth society?)
Split into 4 groups and each group develops a narrative based on key concepts involved in the individual letters. Each group takes notes in a concise manner (bullet points and titles), focused on solutions, policies, tools and strategies, trying to establish a common vision for the future. Presentations from groups (5 minutes each group). Draw mindmap. Collection of personal letters. (40 minutes, 20 minutes group work and 20 minutes presentations)
STEP 6 – make action plan (Q: What are the projects, measures and next steps? What tools, strategies and actions will you pursue for full scale Degrowth implementation?)
Plenary discussion to identify strategies and action plans for full implementation of degrowth at local, national and international levels. Grouping of common tools and strategies, voting on most favorite action plans. (due to time constraints this stage will be left aside unless participants decide to steal some time from the core TTT module)
Needs:1 facilitator – time keeper; 1 assistant; 1 rapporteur; 1 recorder; Post-it papers; A4 and A3 papers; Markers, pens; 1 camera to record; duck-tape
2 N.Neamtan, The Social and Solidarity Economy: Towards an ‘Alternative’ Globalisation, The Carold Institute for the Advancement of Citizenship in Social Change Langara College, Vancouver, June 14-16, 2002, p.2-3
See Minas Angelidis (2007) Developmental dynamics and social transformations in Athens, at courses.arch.ntua.gr/fsr/138722/Angelidis-et-al_Athens.pdf, accessed 27/03/2013, Yannis Milios, The Greek economy in the 20th century, at http://users.ntua.gr/jmilios/Oikonomia_Eikostos1ab.pdf, accessed 27/03/2013.
7 J.K. Gibson-Graham (2006) A Postcapitalist Politics, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London
8 Gibson-Graham, A Postcapitalist Politics, xxiv
9 Mouffe (2005) On the Political, Routledge: London, New York, pp. 48-51; Colin Crouch (2004) Post-Democracy, Polity: Cambridge, pp. 4, 59-60, 103. For post-democracy in Greece, see Alexandros Kioupkiolis (2006) ‘Post-democracy and Greek politics’, translator’s introduction in Colin Crouch (2006) Post-Democracy, trans. A. Kioupkiolis. Ekkremes Editions: Athens.
10 For the socio-economic effects of the crisis and austerity measures see e.g. Dionysis Balourdos (2011) ‘Impact of the crisis on poverty and economic exclusion’, The Greek Review of Social Research, v.134-135: 165-192; Mouriki, Balourdos et al. (2012) (eds) The social portrait of Greece-2012.
11 Solidarity for all, Varkarolis, Lieros
12 Nasioulas, 152.
13 De Angelis, M. (2012) “Crisis, Capital and Cooptation” in Bollier, D. and Helfrich S. (eds.) “The Wealth of the commons: A world beyond market & state.” Levellers Press, 2012
22 For this mobilization and its distinctive features, see Costas Douzinas (15/06/2011) ‘In Greece, we see democracy in action.’ Online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/15/greece-europe-outraged-protests, accessed: 11/06/2012; Christos Giovanopoulos, Dimitris Mitropoulos (2011) (eds) Dimokratia under construction, A/Synecheia Editions: Athens.
23 ‘A few words about us’ at http://pagkaki.org/node/89, accessed 28/03/2013
24 ‘A few words’ and Varkarolis 115
25 ‘Work collective Pagaki: one year on...’ at http://pagkaki.org/node/89, accessed 28/03/2013
26 ‘One year on’
27 ‘One year on’
28 Κατσορίδας, Δ. (2013) «Βιομηχανική Μεταλλευτική: Το πρώτο πείραμα εργατικής αυτοδιαχείρισης σε βιομηχανική μονάδα» (Vio.Me.: The first experiment in workers’ self management of an industrial unit.) http://bit.ly/10ijBxL (accessed 03/05/2013)
31 see for example http://youtu.be/dh2l4dCCK0M , http://www.rizospastis.gr/story.do?id=7301161&textCriteriaClause=%2B%CE%92%CE%99%CE%9F%CE%9C%CE%95 (accessed 03/05/2013)
32 Αβραμίδης, Χ. και Γαλανόπουλος Α. (2013) ΒΙΟΜΕ: Εργασιακό πείραμα με παγκόσμια απήχηση, UNFOLLOW Magazine, issue 15 (republished in http://bit.ly/15lkIzN, accessed 03/05/2013)
33 Fattori, T. (2011) " Fluid Democracy: The Italian Water Revolution” in Transform! Magazine, Issue 09 (http://transform-network.net/en/journal/issue-092011/news/detail/Journal/fluid-democracy-the-italian-water-revolution.html) (accessed 03/05/2013)
34 Wainwright, H. (2012) “From Labour as Commodity to Labour as a Common”, https://snuproject.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/from-labour-as-commodity-to-labour-as-a-common-via-michel-bauwens/ (accessed 03/05/2013)
35 Quilligan, J.B. "Why distinguish common goods from public goods?" in Bollier, D. and Helfrich S. (eds.) “The Wealth of the commons: A world beyond market & state.” Levellers Press, 2012
36 Κατσορίδας, Δ., ibid
37 Κατερινα Νασιώκα (2012), " Οι περιπέτειες ενός λουλουδιού της ερήμου. Αθήνα του 21ου αιώνα, μια πόλη σε 'κατάσταση εξέγερσης’", http://www.reconstruction.gr/actions_dtls.php/75 (accessed 03/05/2013)
48 Role-plays and simulations, developed and directed by the instructor to meet specific learning objectives, are approximations of “the real thing” carried out in the safety of the structured learning environment. Role-plays and simulations are experiential procedures, where all three learning domains are brought into play: The cognitive domain of mental skills and knowledge, the affective domain of the growth in feelings, emotional areas, or attitudes and the psychomotor domain of manual or physical skills http://www.usask.ca/gmcte/resources/teaching/strategies_experiential/role-plays-and-simulations
49 Guided imagery is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination. It can be just as simple as an athlete's 10-second reverie, just before leaping off the diving board, imagining how a perfect dive feels when slicing through the water. Or it can be as complex as imagining the busy, focused buzz of thousands of loyal immune cells, scooting out of the thymus gland on a search and destroy mission to wipe out unsuspecting cancer cells. All Senses are Engaged and although it has been called "visualization" and "mental imagery", these terms are misleading. Guided imagery involves far more than just the visual sense. Instead, imagery involves all of the senses, and almost anyone can do this. Neither is it strictly a "mental" activity - it involves the whole body, the emotions and all the senses, and it is precisely this body-based focus that makes for its powerful impact. You can achieve a relaxed state when you imagine all the details of a safe, comfortable place, such as a beach or a garden. This relaxed state may aid healing, learning, creativity, and performance. It may help you feel more in control of your emotions and thought processes, which may improve your attitude, health, and sense of well-being http://www.mcancer.org/support/managing-emotions/complementary-therapies/guided-imagery
50 Automatic writing or psychography is a technique allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words arise from the subconscious
51 See for instance that “Interactive drama increases student engagement and explores complex issues in Management (…). Because the vivid scenes are so memorable, the students are able later to connect them effectively to management” (Boggs, Mickel and Holtom, 2007: 832)
52The Future Search Workshop (FSW) derived from two models: the German Zukunftswerkstatt (“Workshop of the Future”) which was designed to allow ordinary citizens to participate in urban planning and the North-American Future Search Conference which aimed at accompanying organisations in the search of a common ground on which building a better future (Weisbord M., Janoff S., 2010)