“Is a renaissance in land-based living possible without the technologies that empower us to design more sustainable, regionally based societies and economies—or the online technologies that help us instantly fan the flames of this movement?”
In her recent article in Communities Magazine, OAEC’s Online Communications Manager Janel Healy grapples with the meaning of “appropriate technology” as it relates to land-based communities. After months of feeling uncomfortable about the irony of working in front of a computer all day at a “sustainability” demonstration center, Janel came to see her role as head of online communications at OAEC as necessary for the sustainability of a community of people who are “living in truth” together about the ecological crisis—and working to do something about it:
After months of reflection, I have come to realize that my deep entanglement with modern technology allows me to play a necessary role in my community. At OAEC, I’ve learned that sustainability isn’t about learning how to provide for all of your own needs; it’s about understanding and accepting what your skills are, then building alliances with people around you who have complementary skills to develop a more sustainable regional economy. Some of us are Farmers, others Builders. When I zoom up out of myself, I see that I am the Storyteller for a group of people who are spending their days researching and educating about place-based resilience. I’m heralding the stories of the work my colleagues are doing in order to inspire community leaders and funders to emulate and believe in OAEC’s vision of a more resilient future. Though my use of technology might be considered resource-intensive if looked at from an individualist standpoint, I believe it is “appropriate” and necessary when viewed through a community lens.