Possible Community Activities
What many remote Aboriginal communities need is a whole-of-life, creative community culture – a culture that interests and involves the entire community, and is about and works for community betterment and upliftment. The following section describes some components of many sustainable communities around the world.
Community Resource Centres
Resource Centres are the mind of a community, where information can be shared and exchanged, and new ideas floated. Notice boards can let somebody, anybody or everybody know about something. Community Libraries of resident-loaned books enable cutting-edge ideas to spread naturally, under their own momentum, and at their own speed, without pressure or effort, convincing or persuading, or agreements. Each person can come to his or her own understanding, and become educated, not indoctrinated.
Community Centres are the heart of the community, where important community activities can happen. A place to be used by all, for individual and community use. A place of gathering for special occasions, when people have the opportunity to be good company for each other; and a place for festivities as well as for more serious, solemn and sincere occasions.
Community Work Practices
Cooperative work practices, without emphasis on class structure, job status, race or gender, opens up many advanced work practices that enable greater efficiency and effectiveness, and serve to achieve multiple, win-win problem solving, including: job-sharing, multi-skilling, team-focusing, task-exchanging, flexibility, brainstorming and group discussions. By employing innovative design, flexible structures and caring attitudes, communities can embrace creative, wholistic ways of approaching work.
Community Business Management
Community management recognises that a community business exists to responsibly serve the customer, even as it empowers the workers and uplifts the community. Community management is recognised as above all, managing people. People are what make the difference. People change the world. Managerial excellence, in the final analysis depends upon openness, honesty, fairness, decency, trust and goodwill towards all workers at every level.
Community Cottage Industries
Communities are excellent places for cottage industries, and if done intelligently can effect a captured market of fellow residents, and if the business grows, a guaranteed workforce. Working with friends with goodwill in a trusting relationship is highly facilitative of personal growth and self-actualisation.
Natural, Healthy Diet
Many people living in communities practice a natural, healthy diet as a means of regaining and maintaining good health, and as part of preventative medicine. Many illnesses that people suffer from can be cured by adjusting the diet to include helpful and avoid unhelpful foods. By adhering to a natural diet, bodies become sensitive to and hungry for what is nourishing for their needs. The right foods to nourish and strengthen a body’s weak points are the first line of medicine, and give rise to those specific hungers that will address those needs, empowering bodies with vitality and resilience, without engaging in fad diets, or needing to go to athletic extremes. See also “preventative medicine”.
Many people in communities, being remote from medical facilities can assist each other with natural remedies. Practising safe, natural known bush remedies, free from side effects, together with a natural, healthy diet, is generally enough to keep a person in good health. The standard of health in most sustainable communities is usually far higher than the general population, being free from many of the causes of failing health.
Developing Community Spirit
Wholistic communities are created with an ethos of goodwill, trust and cooperation, and a common commitment towards creating a better community for all. This enables a more refined level of decision-making. Brainstorming and ideas sharing, instead of debates, are the more usual atmosphere of meetings. Consensus decision making, without manipulation, becomes normal, natural and preferred; win-win, multiple outcome solutions are sought as normal wholistic expectations. Steering is often by an ever-improving, common community vision that arises in the atmosphere of free, creative discussion in the pursuit of greater clarity and understanding. Sharing creative ideas takes the place of gossip in interpersonal communication.
- less debates and more discussions;
- less arguments and more ideas sharing;
- less politics and more empowerment;
- less structured meetings and more community gatherings;
- less imposed controls and more shared goals;
- less selfishness and more community spiritedness.
- less conflict and more overall harmony;
- less vested interests and more community consciousness.
Community Preschools and Primary Home Schools
Most communities abound with children, and healthy playful interaction is seen as important for growth, development and deepening friendships. Many communities run their own pre-schools and primary home-schools, so that more enjoyable and more effective methods of education could be practised. Multi-age classrooms enables fast and slow learners to learn at their own pace. New schools, based on improved methods of education, discovered and practiced in recent decades, include:
- Summerhill, was set up for children that had been expelled from other schools. It functions by giving children an inordinate amount of freedom, and responsibility for exercising their own decisions. School attendance is voluntary and teachers must make the class interesting enough to attract students. Children are responsible for their own behaviour, both individually and collectively. Summerhill children, through functioning as a coherent group, mature rapidly, and the school achieves results comparable to mainstream schools. School leavers are considered as more mature and wiser than their mainstream counter-parts, by employment agencies, who actively seek them out.
- Steiner schools orientate around the child’s natural seven year development cycles, providing beautiful, colourful, natural surroundings, emphasising the importance of childhood and play, and educating for a balance of ‘hands and heart and head’.
- Montessori schools emphasise children’s extraordinary passion for learning when they follow their own interests and develop their mind naturally by exploring the world with their senses.
Each of these new forms of education recognises the importance of valuing the child’s spirit in developing a fully functional person, and teaches in supportive, non-interfering ways. Children learn much faster, and understand better, when their inner being is not crushed, regimented, threatened, imposed upon or otherwise stifled.