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A Great Life, A Great Culture

It would be great for
each person, each society,
nature, and natural resources
to be healthy and to flourish.

1. A Simple Life,
A Healthy Life,
A Natural Life,
A Happy Life,
An Inspired Life,
A Self-Reliant Life,
A Sustainable Life,
A Life of Freedom.
A Life of Many Names and Good Qualities.
It would be great to have a family, deep friendships, a home (a place and people to belong to), enough pristine natural land on which to live and thrive, good health, a good economy / quality of life (adequate nutritious food, clothing, shelter, tools, and art), a useful and beneficial education, optimum freedom, art, and practical values.  It would be great for everyone to have a family, deep friendships, a home, enough pristine natural land on which to live and thrive, good health, a good economy / quality of life, a useful and beneficial education, optimum freedom, art, and practical values.  It would be great to live a life that is sustainable, self-sufficient, simple, local, wild, and free; a life of sharing, friendship, heartfelt meaning, practical wisdom, inspiration, creativity, and being a benefit to society and nature; a life that is deeply connected to local society and the local outdoors; a simple life that is free to focus on important issues and is free from useless stressful complications, distracting trifles, and excessive bureaucracies.  It would be great to live in, live off of, and sustain a thriving wilderness of bountiful natural resources, from which to locally grow and gather materials to make necessities (food, clothing, shelter, tools, and art).  It would be great for habitats to flourish, for wildlife to thrive, for the soil to be fertile enough, and for the air and water to be clean.  It would be great to live in a Great Culture that supports this Great Life. 

2. The Great Outdoors
There is a reason why the natural outdoors is called “the great outdoors.”  The natural outdoors is not only people’s source for necessities (food, clothing, shelter, tools, and art, etc.), but also the natural outdoors is people’s source for inspiration, joy, excitement, and relaxation.  People enjoy hiking, visiting, exploring, and experiencing the natural outdoors for inspiration, joy, excitement, and relaxation.  People naturally incline to live in the natural outdoors to directly access pristine natural resources and to continually see nature’s beauty.  Children are delighted to play in the outdoors and are eager to learn about nature.  The vastness of the outdoors is the optimal classroom.  Although nature can continue to grow and evolve without people, people cannot flourish without nature.  People need the natural outdoors for optimal health, economy (food, clothes, shelter, tools, and art), wisdoms, freedom, art, practical values, inspiration, joy, excitement, and relaxation.  For an optimum life and for optimum health, people need to live with nature, to live on the land, and to have enough pristine natural land and resources off of which to live.  Living outdoors and using local pristine natural resources is a healthy life.

3. Local Land,
Deep and Meaningful Culture.
People enjoy getting together to form small societies (perhaps 20 to 50 people) and creating a land-based culture that relates their society to the natural outdoors of the local land.  Caring for the "local" land is best because the society can daily monitor it and continually engage directly with it; whereas, it's impossible to adequately care for a distant land.  Also, it is economically beneficial to primarily use local resources.  As people gather and use local natural resources, they directly see their impact on the resources.  They will use a lot of an abundant self-rejuvenating resource, but never all of it.  They will use only a little of a dwindling resource and try to help it to prosper.  Each person and the society think of the local land as home; home is not a building.  The culture uses, enriches, sustains, protects, celebrates, and continually adapts to the local outdoors and natural resources.  The culture becomes deep and meaningful as it relates to local nature.  Each aspect of culture is done for multiple benefits, such as to benefit society’s health, economy, education, freedom, art, values, and to sustain natural resources (habitats, plants, animals, water, land, air, etc.) on which the society depends.  Each aspect of culture is done for multiple benefits, not for only one benefit such as to make money.  While living off the local land, people create a culture that is deep and meaningful because it focuses on the numerous connections between society and nature and the numerous ways that local nature benefits local society.  The members of society know that everything connects to everything; thus, the society forms and upholds a culture that supports both local society and local nature.  In an optimal culture (that relates local society to local nature), everything has the best chance of flourishing: individuals, family, friendships, society, all social elements (health, economy, education, freedom, art, values, etc.), culture, and all natural resources and elements (habitats, plants, animals, water, ground, air, etc.).  The culture is a sustainable culture; it aims to sustain both society and nature.  Also, a sustainable culture is a fun culture.  It’s fun to connect to nature, which is inspiring, enjoyable, exciting, and relaxing.  Furthermore, it’s fun to connect to a society that relates to its local land.  A society, which relates to its local land, is also inspiring, enjoyable, exciting, and comforting.  Each person is both a social being and a natural creature.  Each person needs to be deeply connected to the local environment and to be deeply connected to a local small society that relates to the local environment.  (Read more about each social element (health, economy, school, freedom, art, and values) relating to nature.)

4. Freedom, Independence, and Self-Reliance.
A sustainable culture, a culture that relates local society to local nature, is also a self-reliant culture.  A self-reliant culture empowers people, families, and local societies and gives them independence and freedom from distant central bureaucratic powers.  A self-reliant culture promotes and requires people to be self-reliant, to be wise, and to be helpful in life and society.  In the self-reliant sustainable culture, each person learns how to do each of the vital basic means of living.  Each person learns how to locally hunt, gather, grow, and prepare food, how to gather local natural materials to make clothes, shelter, tools, and art, and how to enrich and sustain natural resources for future use.  It’s the ultimate education on how to do-it-yourself.  Thus, each adult is prepared to live alone if need be.  Although each adult can independently survive, people usually tend to live within a small society.  Most people enjoy living in a small society, as well as in the flourishing natural outdoors.  Small societies usually have a slight division of labor.   A slight division of labor typically makes life easier. 

5. Free Time.
A sustainable culture provides people with a lot of free time. People spend only a few hours per day hunting, gathering, growing, and or preparing food; occasionally, there’s some clothes making and a little shelter building. Otherwise, during the bulk of the day, there’s plenty of time to play, learn about nature, learn about society, talk, make art, celebrate, develop a deep culture, develop deep friendships, cherish and socialize with people of all ages and genders, and spend time with family. 

6. School and Learning.
Learning happens while living, playing, directly experiencing, and being actively involved with family, friends, local society, the local outdoors, locally gathering and growing natural materials, and making necessities such as food, clothes, shelter, tools, and art. It’s important to play with local natural elements. Spending lots of time with local nature and playing with local nature helps children and adults learn about nature and how people can use local nature for necessities. While playing with, living with, and using local natural elements and resources, people gain a value for nature, we learn how nature develops and replenishes itself, and people learn how to protect and sustain nature. Children automatically and effortlessly learn a vast knowledge about society and nature while being immersed in and directly engaged in society and nature. Knowledge of society and nature helps people sustain the environment and natural resources so that people can use the environment and natural resources for health, economy (food, clothes, shelter, tools, art, etc.), education, freedom, art, values, family, friendship, fun, inspiration, and etcetera.  School, family, living, society, and nature happen at the same place and same time, not at different separate places and at different times.  Children are homeschooled; home is the local land and living with loved ones.  Being with family and loved ones, living, learning about society, learning about nature, and learning how to benefit oneself, family, society, and nature all happen simultaneously.   Being in nature, being in a society that relates to local nature, and being in a land-based culture all inspire and motivate children to eagerly learn.  Learning continually happens, it never stops.  School and learning are fun.  Learning is not always easy, but it is overall fun.  Children love school, life, family, friends, local society, and local nature.  Children love to be useful and helpful, to make things, and to deeply be a part of society and nature.  Children yearn for deep relationships with family and friends.  School encourages children to communicate with people of all ages and to have deep conversations.  Children need face-to-face relationships with people to learn how to behave in a functional society.  Every child gets a superior education because children learn that social elements and natural elements connect with each other and they learn how to be a benefit to society and nature.  School teaches children to share, because sharing helps to sustain society and nature.  In general, everyone is vastly wise in that each person knows many, many facts about nature (its ecology, its wildlife, its edible plants, its poisonous plants, the usefulness of natural materials, etc.), how to build and make vital necessities, how to be resourceful, and how to successfully sustain both nature and society.  Although education has a local focus, people are still fascinated to learn about things beyond the local land.  People would learn some things about distant places and distant times.  However, people need to be enough of an expert on local nature and local society in order to be a benefit to society and nature and to sustain nature and society.  People need to know a lot about local nature and local society in order to live a truly sustainable life and to create and uphold a totally sustainable culture.  (Read more about school and learning at 40 ways school can be a benefit to society and nature.)

7. Simple and Complex.
A great life and a great culture are simple in beneficial ways and complex in beneficial ways.  A great life and a great culture try to avoid being simple in detrimental ways and try to avoid being complex in detrimental ways.  "Being simple" is being simple in ways that are beneficial for people, society, and nature; it’s not being simple in every way.  For instance, it’s enjoying "simple pleasures" such as playing outdoors, raising children, making crafts, and chatting with friends.  It’s the joy of not being entangled in insanely complex bureaucratic routines and busywork.  Playing outdoors, raising offspring, making crafts, and chatting with friends is usually beneficial to people, society, and nature.  Whereas, bureaucracies are overall detrimental to people, society, and nature.  Also, for example, to “be simple” is using hand-powered simple tools is beneficial to society and nature, because simple hand-powered tools are usually locally made and made with local materials.  Whereas, electricity-powered complex tools are usually foreign-made and made with materials from distant lands.  "Being simple" often means being self-reliant, locally-oriented, and sustainable.  "Being simple" often means being simple when it is smart and helpful and healthy to be simple.  "Being simple" often does not mean being stupid.  A great life and a great culture are complex in many ways.  They are complex in ways that are helpful to people, society, and nature.  For instance, they let nature be complex; they let biodiversity thrive.  Natural habitats and ecosystems are intricately complex.  In a great culture, people are very wise; they learn a vast and complicated knowledge about habitats, plants, animals, water, land, and air and how the natural elements relate to each other and to society.  Furthermore, great local art simply includes using only local materials.  Yet, great local art complexly reflects and affects and connects many social elements and natural elements.

8. Totally 100% Sustainable.
What does it take for a society to be totally 100% sustainable? A big and high-density community (such as a city) cannot be totally 100% sustainable.   The definition of a city is a human community that requires taking resources from beyond its borders.  (See Endgame, by Derrick Jensen, 2006.)  Because cities require attaining at least some vital resources from the land beyond its borders (distant lands), cities cannot be totally sustainable.  A sustainable society needs to be able to have all its vital resources within its boundaries.  Also, people need to be living on the land and with nature to fully understand nature and to protect and sustain nature.  People cannot fully understand, protect, and sustain nature if they are living way off the land in a high rise apartment.  However, city people can live in ways that are more sustainable than other ways.  It’s encouraged that each city person live as sustainably as he or she can.  Nevertheless, cities cannot be totally sustainable.  Only societies of small populations and lots of land (farm and or wilderness) can be 100% sustainable.   What does it take for a small society to be totally 100% sustainable?  A society needs to have enough land for each person to freely use and freely live on.  Enough land means that the land is big enough to supply each person with all the types of natural resources (water, variety of nutritious food, materials for clothes, materials for shelter, materials for tools, and materials for art) and to supply each person with an adequate quantity of each type of natural resource.  A 100% sustainable society gets all its vital resources (and almost all its total resources) from within its boundaries.  A 100% totally sustainable community is 100% totally self-reliant; it locally gathers materials from within its boundaries and makes everything it needs. Furthermore, each member of society has to prudently use its resources, directly gather and monitor its resources, and help keep its resources replenishing.  In a 100% totally sustainable self-sufficient society, people do not need any money to get vital necessities, to be healthy, and to have a great life. (Read more about 100% totally sustainable.)

9. Freedom and Sharing.
In a culture of optimum freedom, people are free to do whatever they want to do.  There is no centralized bureaucratic government mandating laws.  There are not zillions of political laws and regulations restraining people’s actions.  However, in a culture of optimum freedom, there is a law.  There’s the law to share and with that: the encouragement to be a benefit to society and nature.  As Abraham Lincoln said, "Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought."  As children are taught to share and society highly values sharing, people naturally want to be a benefit to society and nature and to live in harmony with society and nature.  In this case, what people ought to do is the same as what people want to do.  In a great life and great culture, resources are abundant.  Every person has enough adequate food, clothes, shelter, tools, and art.  No one feels needy; no one feels they have to selfishly keep things to have enough of something.  Thus, people share without restraint.  Also, people are motivated to share because they need to share to help sustain essential resources.  People know that resources are abundant, but not unlimited.  Each person knows that selfishly taking all the resources for himself or herself eventually will completely deplete the resources.  Following, there will be no more resources for anyone.  Thus, sharing is extremely important.  In order for a society to be a society of people wanting to share and to be a benefit to society and nature, the society needs enough land and natural resources off of which to live and the society needs total freedom.  (Total social / political freedom.  Of course, people are subjected to the laws of nature.) Also, the society needs to be small in order for most of its people to want to share and to be a benefit to society and nature.  Small societies have small governments and minimal regulations; thus, people have maximum freedom, which allows people to share and to be a benefit to society and nature.  Big societies have big centralized bureaucratic governments and lots of rules and regulations; thus, people’s freedoms are reduced and the numerous bureaucratic rules hinder people from sharing and from being a benefit to society and nature. Numerous bureaucratic laws are ultimately a detriment to freedom, to sharing, to people, to society, and to nature.  (In the context of today’s world, it is likely best to gradually reduce laws and regulations.  It would likely be disastrous to suddenly end all political laws overnight.  Also, the world population needs to decrease in order for it to be reasonable to get rid of most laws.)  (See more about sharing and greed in the You-Tube video “Greed.”)

10. Wealth.
It would be great for everyone to be wealthy enough and equally wealthy; for everyone to have adequate nutritious food, clothing, shelter, tools, and art.  It would be great for all adults to be able to live self-reliantly: to know how to gather and make food, clothes, shelter, tools, and art and to have access to enough local natural resources to do so.  It would be great for adults to not be needy and to not be dependent on money.  It would be great if people did not have so much money that they buy wasteful things that harm, pollute, and rapidly deplete natural resources.  It would be great for everyone to not be too rich, to not have an excess of stuff and trifles.  It would be great if everyone could focus on family, friends, society, and nature instead of being distracted by money, career, fame, shopping, and other trifles.  It would be great if there was no such thing as poverty.  It would be great if there was no such thing as money, because money makes poverty.  It’s only when people have money that there are some people who are more wealthy and other people who are less wealthy.   Before money, everyone was equally wealthy and wealthy enough; in general, everyone had enough food, water, clothing, shelter, tools, and art.  Because there is money and poverty, over a billion of people live in starvation today (1.02 billion people according to Bread for the World).  Because of poverty (which leads to starvation, malnutrition, polluted water, diseases, etc.), 30,000 children die each day in Africa (according to Cozay).  Indeed, it would be great if money and poverty never existed.  Furthermore, while there is no money, there is no one trying to steal money.  While there is no money, everyone has equal wealth of adequate necessities, and sharing is a supreme value in the culture, theft is a rare occurrence.  In a culture of no money, sharing is celebrated and greed is minimized. (See more about sharing and greed in the You-Tube video “Greed.”)

11. Simple and Low-Tech,
But Many Important Benefits.
If a small group of people are making tools with materials from only local resources, likely, a totally sustainable society is a low tech society of simple tools.  However, instead of lots of high-tech luxuries, comforts, and conveniences, people have a lot of other benefits that are more important.  People have optimum freedom (such as freedom from bureaucracies).  People have great health.  A totally sustainable society also sustains each person with good health.  People gather, grow, and prepare their own food in nutritious ways.  They are physically fit from living, playing, wiggling, and relaxing in the outdoors.  They live a healthy lifestyle, not a lifestyle that creates many health problems which require high-tech medical care.  They do not eat junk food and factory-processed nutrient-lacking fake food.  They are not stiff and stressed out over money, paperwork, professional careers, excessive manual labor, sitting in traffic, and sitting in office cubicles.  A simple, sustainable, self-sufficient, locally-oriented, land-based culture also provides optimal circumstances for individual people, families, deep friendships, a good economy / quality of life, a useful and beneficial education, great art, practical values, sharing, practical wisdom, inspiration, creativity, connections between society and nature, people who are a help to society and nature, and more benefits.  Yes, tools and man-made items are low-tech.  Yet, life is great!

12. The Great Life and The Great Culture.
For 100,000+ years, many people have lived a Great Life in a Great Culture.  This type of life and this type of culture are uncivilized.  Uncivilization is wonderful.  In uncivilization, each person can live a life that is sustainable, self-sufficient, simple, local, wild, and free; and almost every person has a family, deep friendships, a home, good health, a good economy, a good quality of life, a superior education, optimum freedom, art, and practical values.  (Read more about Uncivilization.)  It is only civilization that would like people to think that uncivilization is wretched and savage.  Actually, it is civilization that causes many severe problems for people, society, and nature.  For instance, it is civilization that uses money and extracts resources from distant lands; it is civilization that established public school and discouraged homeschooling; and it is civilization that created excessive bureaucracies, tyrannical governments, slavery, and high-tech weapons of mass destruction.  (Read more about Civilization vs. Uncivilization.)

Links:

Uncivilization
Further describes uncivilization.

100% Totally Sustainable
Further describes what it takes to be 100% Totally Sustainable.

Southwest Michigan's Sustainable Pursuits
Various examples of how people of Southwest Michigan are currently taking action to sustain nature and society.

Additional Sustainable Pursuits
Various examples of how people of Michigan, USA, and beyond are currently taking action to sustain nature and society.

Imagine a School
A sustainable school. A school in which children learn about their connections to social elements and natural elements; and children learn how to be a benefit to society and nature and to enrich and sustain society and nature.
40 ways a school can be a benefit to children, society, and nature.

Sustainable Design:

z-design
A landscape architecture firm in Three Oaks, in Southwest Michigan. The firm’s mission includes designing each landscape with multiple purposes: each landscape to be beneficial to society and nature and to be beneficial, beautiful and enticing, useful, and engaging to the people who use it. Also, the firm’s mission includes helping society expand its understanding of the value of nature, habitats, wildlife, and natural resources; and helping people to learn to use, celebrate, replenish, protect, and sustain local natural resources.

© 2008-2010 Pocket Pumpkin Press, last updated April 2010
Three Oaks, Michigan, USA