Writing blog posts can be a pretty lonely, numbing task.
You sit down, pour your heart out, think hard (-ly, as in my case), not knowing if the reader, if there are any, will like what you are about to have put on their screen.
So, we have decided that today’s post will include your participation!
It will consist of a conversation between you and us (the writers).
Us, being the ones to tell you about sixtwentyfour-stuff, and you being the silly, puerile student who better shut up and listen in order to get their degree in sixtwentyfourism.
Unfortunately, since you were not physically here with us, we were obliged to write your part of the dialogue as well.
It was fun, but ultimately, we got carried away a little bit, and it is with great timidity that we announce that we are not fully confident in our ability to create convincing dialogue for your part. Yours truly, are perfectly eloquent as usual.
A classroom. Sun comes shining through the windows. In the middle of the room sits a lonely but ultimately hyper-attractive student, half asleep in their chair. That is YOU. IN front of him stands the post-hippiesque crew of sixtwentyfour. They are US.
US. [screaming, awakening YOU] Today we are going to introduce you to two projects, both representing the sixtwentyfour-spirit to a degree not witnessed before by human beings. Wake up and be amazed.
ACT 1: 4ocean
YOU. What’s 4ocean, oh mighty sixtwentyfour-crew?
US. Oh, we’re so glad you ask! 4ocean is a relatively new organization funded earlier this year in Florida.
YOU. What is the organization doing?
US. Well, as the name suggests, it’s concern is the world’s ocean.
YOU. The ocean? I have been there before! What’s wrong with it?
US. It’s horribly polluted! Did you not know that?
YOU. Polluted? What does that mean? Something about elections?
US. Why, we can see how you can come to that conclusion, but as a matter of fact it means that our planet’s bodies of water, the lifeblood of humanity, are plagued with all the trash we throw in them. Most of which, 80 percent if we’re not mistaken, is made out of plastic, as this material doesn’t biodegrade.
YOU. What’s biodegrade mean?
US. A lot of materials dissolve over time due to various biological and chemical factors. Most of those substances are biological though. Plastic, which is not, does not do so. Not in the ocean at least. It does so under dry conditions but [putting on sunglasses] the ocean tends to be a little moist.
YOU. Ah, you’re so funny!
US. We know, anyway, the part of the plastic that does decompose usually releases toxins into the water, which is also not good. Marine debris is hurting pretty much all of the flora and fauna in the world’s oceans. Fish and mammals tend to mistake it with food, get choked or are just blatantly poisoned by it. Which, by the way, also directly affects humans, if they consume those animals.
YOU. Oh no! I’m scared now!
US. That’s fair, ‘cause the situation’s not getting better.
YOU. We should put up signs that say: KEEP OF THE WATER, YOU JERKS!
US. Most of the trash comes directly from the land, not ships. Did you know that people have been dumping ships and subway cars into the water, so that those’ll work as artificial reefs, preventing the garbage from reaching the beaches? It’s ironic as hell, that our solution to the problem of marine debris, is flinging down even bigger chunks of crap. Humans need to change a lot about their attitude towards the environment if we want it to persist a little longer!
YOU. I had no idea? What can we do?
US. Well, that is what 4ocean is all about. This organization actively removes trash from the world’s oceans and beaches.
YOU. That sounds like a lot of work.
US. Why, it is! But it’s worth it. As the problem about marine debris is getting worse and worse, we need people like those to protect one of our most precious ecosystems.
YOU. I wanna help them! What can I do?
US. You can volunteer at a local clean-up, in case you live near body of water. Also, they have a fashion line! Well, not really a fashion line, more like a bunch of different bracelets. They come in different colours, are made from recycled materials, and the company slogan says that with buying one, you indirectly remove a whole pound of garbage from the ocean.
YOU. Oh, wow! How come I have never heard of those guys before?
US. That’s probably because it’s a new organization, as we said, founded in January of 2017, but rapidly growing. It started out with just two guys, now it has over 30 employees.
YOU. Wow, that’s awesome. Can I go online and buy one of their bracelets right now on 4ocean.com, where they cost only 20 yank-bucks and you can get them in blue and pink, with the pink ones providing 10% of their profits to the fight against breast cancer? Can I also go online to follow them on Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and stuff, to make the cause a little more widely known? And can I also buy a bunch of the bracelets for my friends and family and colleagues and neighbours and the guy at the coffee shop and purchase a lot more, to just randomly give to strangers in the park?
US. Not during class! But later you may do so.
ACT 2: The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)
YOU. I recently read about, something called Ecovillage. Can you tell me what that is, exactly?
US. What a coincidence! That is precisely the other organization we wanted to tell you about today.
US. What do you think an Ecovillage is?
YOU. Well, if I had to take a wild guess, I’d say it is a human-scale settlement, consciously designed through participatory processes to secure long-term sustainability.
YOU. Yes, and did you know that Ecovillages are communities with vibrant social structures, vastly diverse, yet united in common ecological, economic, social and cultural values and goals?
US. We did know that, but it’s marvellous that you mention it here, in order to move potential listeners to become aware of this fact as well. Anyway, the Global Ecovillage Network, shortened GEN, is exactly that, a Network for such Ecovillages, disseminated all across the planet. Do you want us to tell you more?
YOU. Yes, please.
US. We knew you would, this NGO was founded back in ’95 and consists of five regional networks, one for North-, and one for South America, one for Europe, one for Africa and one for Oceania and Asia. Yet, those all share the same visions and objectives.
YOU. What visions and objectives are we talking about here, oh mighty sixtwentyfour-crew?
US. Diversity, yet common spirit, community building, sustainability, inclusive decision-making, economical and energetical independence, the passing on of valuable information and other wonderful things that we are powerless to mention here in their entirety. The homepage says literally: “GEN believes that the most underutilized recourse we [humans] have is the good intentions and creativity of citizens and our willingness to make a difference.”
YOU. That’s really nice and all, but what exactly do they mean with all that sustainability-talk, if I may raise that question.
US. What a fantastic inquiry! Well, along with Gaia Education –
YOU. Which is a big, international provider of education about environmental and social issues, with programmes spanning from the cleaning of water, all the way to mental well-being, human rights and dignity, seated in the UK.
US. -don`t interrupt me! Along with Gaia Education, GEN has developed the “five dimensions of sustainability”: social, cultural, ecological, economic sustainability and, at its core, what they call “whole system design”. All of those are thoroughly established in their “Sustainability mandala”, which you can find at ecovillage.org.
YOU. Fascinating, I guess we can all introduce those values into our everyday lives, whether we are currently residing in one of those stirring Ecovillages or not, amirite?
US. How thoughtful you are today! Absolutely, of course you can! And anyone interested can become part of it, that is another virtue of the movement.
YOU. Oh, so it’s a movement now!
US. Well, it does hold consultative status at various UN councils and institutes.
YOU. I see, so the odds are we’re gonna hear lots and lots of that whole subject in the near future.
US. We can only hope so. Although, actually we can do more than that. As we said, you can get informed and try to put a little more “eco” into your own life!
YOU. My ego wants more eco!
US. Oy, what a creative, humorous soul you have! You handsome devil, you!
-Simon, your echukationnal 6/24-blogger.