Posts Tagged ‘wwii’

Long after the formal conflicts have ended, physical reminders of war remain embedded in our landscapes.  From old missile silos to spent artillery and and mothball fleets, much of the nation’s military past lies in disuse, strewn across the country without a proper place or function.  Once used as tools of aggression and destruction, some instruments of war have been given a second life in the hands of some very creative, progressive people and businesses.

The Headlands Institute: Just north of San Francisco, the Headlands Institute has turned an old army fort into an outdoor education campus.  Formerly Fort Cronkhite, the school has repurposed the now defunct WWII mobilization point’s mess hall, supply buildings, and auxiliary structures to create conference halls, classrooms, dining facilities, and overnight accommodations. Positioned amidst the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this NatureBridge campus takes full advantage of its scenic beauty to encourage lasting, emotional connections between students and nature.  From residential school programs to corporate getaways, the old military base now inspires feelings of wonder and revitalization instead of fear.

From War to Peace:  Local San Luis Obispo jewelry company From War to Peace uses the salvaged metal from nuclear weapons systems to fashion symbols of peace. Each piece of jewelry, bottle opener, and plaque, incorporates copper from the giant underground cables that once connected missile silos across the Midwest.  Drawing upon inspiration from many different societies, their designs employ religious and cultural notions of tranquility, balance and compassion.  By physically reclaiming and changing the composition of the material, the alloy both literally and figuratively becomes a new object complete with a new and more positive purpose.  Bambu Batu is honored to carry the From War to Peace line in our store.

The Alameda Point Collaborative Urban Farm: Founded in 1927, the Alameda Naval Air Station was built after the wetlands were filled to establish runways for military planes.  Most active in WWII and the Cold War, the station was officially closed in 1997 for development.  The Alameda Point Collaborative Urban Farm is now a one acre plot that grows an array of fruits and vegetables and supports the production of honey, eggs, and fish.  Originally started to combat the problems of urban food deserts, the farm also educates residents about nutrition, agriculture, and offers a weekly CSA.  Surrounded by olive and stone fruit orchards, the Farm has become a unique spot that nourishes and sustains life.

While we are constantly confronted with the destructive aspects of our nature as human beings, it is reassuring to know that there are those using their talent and ambition to call upon our higher qualities.  Though it is important to speak of peace, it is also vital that we create the conditions for social justice and fairness to exist.  This can be accomplished only by ending the cycle of violence that perpetuates conflict, and by transforming the destructive into the constructive.

 

“Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for the scarce resources. Money is a social convention, an agreement if you will. It is neither a natural resource nor does it represent one. It is not necessary for survival unless we have been conditioned to accept it as such.”

Imagine a world where naturals resources form the basis of an economy instead of abstract numbers, diamonds, or gold.  Greed and the desire to accumulate wealth are diminished along with the institutions that thrive off of debt and servitude.  From food to energy, the world’s resources would be the common rights of all, utilizing technology to supply the human population with what they need to function, improving the standard of living for all and breaking the monopoly of the financial elite.  This is the vision of Jacque Fresco and the Venus Project.  By integrating science along with social movements, economics, and political discourse, it is the Project’s hope to form a more equitable and just future for civilizations living in a technological age.

Fresco cites his experience of living through the Great Depression as a major influence that helped to shape his views on society and commerce.  He remembers the suffering of a population that potentially had access to goods, but not the capital to acquire basic necessities.  Motivated to alleviate the ills of greed, war, and government incompetence, he engages cross-disciplinary methods to to look outside the narrow focus of politicians and businessmen.  With a background in the aviation, industrial and structural design, Fresco recalls the manipulation of the economic system during WWII to allow for planes to be produced when there was not enough cash but sufficient materials to manufacture them.  If this effort could be undertaken in times of war, he reasoned, then there is a possibility that an exception for strife could be extended to every day life.

Is such a utopian view realistic?  Can we take advantage of scientific progress and altruism to create a more sustainable global community? In light of recent political protests, is the Venus Project a relevant model for transformation?

 

 

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