December 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm
Someone recently asked why I talk so much about “community” as part of my sustainable living mantra. The answer is simply that living sustainably doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. Working with your neighbors to live a lifestyle with less impact is not only easier for all, but more fun.
So this time of year while everyone is in the holiday spirit, it is a good time to get your local community or neighbors together and not only celebrate, but get to know each other a little better.
We like to host a holiday party every year that is based on the fable of Stone Soup. For those not familiar with the story it goes something like this. A group of travelers show up in a village tired and hungry but no one is willing to assist them. So they start making a soup in the center of the town square with nothing but water and stone. As the villagers show up to see what these strangers are doing, the travelers point out how much better the soup would be with a few carrots, or potatoes, or salt. And slowly the community rallies around and provides an ingredient or two to create a Stone Soup that they all enjoy together. So like the story, we invite our neighbors, warm up some soup broth and collectively start adding things to the pot and the table to create a simple and sustainable meal for all.
This story is a great parable for any community and what you can accomplish when you work together. This can include how a community can come together during a natural disaster to assist each other, or how you can start a garden that everyone can enjoy. But before anything can happen on that scale, you need to get to know each other.
So this year, start your own tradition of hosting a neighborhood Stone Soup Party. And rather than exchanging gifts, take some time to get to know each other and exchange phone numbers to use in case of emergencies or ideas to help do something positive for everyone. To help you have a great and productive party, here are some helpful links:
- Prepared Neighborhoods: See what communities can do to Map Your Neighborhood and be prepared for emergency situations.
- Thriving Neighborhoods: Ideas on how to bring communities together to help each other out.
- Resilient Communities: A roadmap for how communities can come together and provide for each other.
So this holiday, find some stones, a soup pot, and a group of people to come together and learn what you can do to live better, together. And at the very least, meet a few new friends.
Kate Ruffing transformed her home on Bainbridge Island, Washington, into a “sustainable living lab,” where she explores living an eco-friendly lifestyle that works for her and her family. She shares her sustainable living solutions on her blog Camp 4, and here on Momster.com.