The other day I was asked if our project was in any way political. How was our project to be seen in the light of promoting democracy? While I would like for simplicity’s sake to declare this project apolitical in terms of party politics, this is not to say that our true sentiments are not those of activism.
To the traditional conservative democrat, the act of farming land, or collecting winter rainwater, designing a waste water recycling system, recycling our household waste may not seem political, or might not appear to behold any sort of power, but it is in these very acts that we can as individuals place ourselves at the heart of the true democratic process.
What is the democratic process at the level of the individual if not the potential to directly affect change within the communities in which we live? What is the democratic process if not the potential to create the communities we dream of living in - free from excessive bureaucracy, - free from the apathy of assuming ourselves powerless in shaping the future.
By democracy, I do not mean the “democratic” economic model so unquestioningly prescribed by western governments, but the democracy that begins with personal empowerment. Only when individuals play an active role in bettering local society and are able to see directly the fruits of their labour, only then will they feel included, empowered and further able to contribute positively to the community in which they live.
Only when individuals can look at their community, their environment, and believe with confidence that they have the ability to change things for the better, and from there set about achieving this transformation, only then should we consider democracy to be working.
If we want to see progressive change, it is up to us, as individuals, to instigate that change. Only then can we be truly happy in the knowledge that our ideas and thoughts can be translated into the communities we want to see.
By choosing to harvest our own water, by choosing to treat and reuse our water, by generating our own electricity, by growing our own food, by choosing to attain sustainable cooperation with our neighbours, in all these things we are making a statement. We are saying that we as individuals have the knowledge to survive, we have true respect for the people around us and the land we share, and we have the ability to make a difference.
When we give ourselves this freedom, we are declaring politics accessible to anyone, not just through the ballot box, but by what we do directly, through our own actions.