The New Environment Statement of Concern and Statement of Objectives

(From New Environment Bulletin No. 7, October 1974; the Statement of Objectives as amended February 1980.)


STATEMENT OF CONCERN

The New Environment Group is motivated by a hope rooted deep in the heart of each of its members that the way is still open for the development of a new society based on the loving interrelationship of humans with the Earth and, more importantly, of humans with each other. The direction of world affairs as guided by the ethos of the developed nations deeply concern us. Increasingly, the dominant systems of the modern world can be seen to be not only contrary to any real concern for life, all forms of life, but, most distressing, these systems can be seen to be actually destructive of life. They are systems turned in upon themselves, destroying and consuming that which they serve.

The individual, the precious individual, the me, the you is left feeling intimidated, overwhelmed and helplessly small in the face of it all. The individual sees abuses and injustices, and he or she wants to suggest change, to create and work for improvement; but the systems roll on. The individual is important: each of us is perhaps the world's greatest resource. A sense of dissatisfaction, of powerlessness, but most beautifully, of hope motivates the New Environment group to a search for a new community. We seek a community which is based on the awareness of human's dependence on each other and on nature and which encourages an enthusiastic involvement by its members.

The New Environment group goes forth in the spirit of experimentation with the immediate aim of establishing prototypical communities which will serve as the cornerstones for an envisioned network of communities comprising the New Environment. We dare to dream that some day a viable and meaningful alternative to present systems and processes will exist and that we can bring it about through the commitment of our energies to these communities. It is the group's resolve that a fresh spirit of conscientious exploration be maintained regardless of what successes or failures the future may bring. Change is constant, and we pledge to try to plan wisely and harmoniously for the flow of time.



STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES

We cannot at this time describe in detail a fully functioning society in the New Environment, because it must come into existence through an evolutionary process which derives its energy from the active participation of increasing numbers of individuals. There are, however, a number of principles which we believe must guide this process so that it can lead to a realization of our vision. These include:

  1. Decentralization of cities and organizations of all types, with greater autonomy and self sufficiency on the local level.
  2. Avoidance of technological schemes that can become a yoke on society.
  3. A completely reshaped economic system which discourages waste, resource depletion, excessive consumption, and destructive exploitation of land, water, and air.
  4. Development of a social structure (including political, legal, and educational systems) which does not exploit or oppress particular groups or individuals but which provides a richness of choice and adequate support for each human being.
  5. Conduct of our affairs consistent with a sense of stewardship for the natural environment.
  6. A reduction in world population, an equitable distribution of resources on a world wide scale, and world peace, as long range goals.

Our thinking and planning, which incorporates these principles, has led us to the following tangible picture which we consider realizable in perhaps 20 years:

In a number of geographical locations, not necessarily all within the United States, New Environment "Centers" will have been established thriving communities which offer a highly attractive alternative to the cultures which surround them. These Centers will have evolved through the processes we are now initiating, and together with their citizens they will represent the embodiment of the New Environment at that time.

They are compact communities of perhaps several thousand, that combine urban and rural aspects, on land which is held in trusteeship or is commonly owned. For various practical reasons they will probably not be located within existing urban areas, nor will they be in remote isolation. In spite of their geographical separation, the residents of the various Centers will be united among each other, and with a large number of supporters in the society at large, in their effort to further expand the New Environment and plan additional Centers. Mechanisms will have evolved for regulating trade between Centers, for avoiding serious resource imbalances, and for conflict resolution. Complicated organizational and technological demands will have been minimized through comprehensive planning. Within the Centers, life will be supportive of individual human beings in the various groups in which they may choose to live or participate, and a spirit of cooperation will pervade human relationships.

We do not allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of even such a limited goal. Instead, we try to focus our attention on the evolutionary process which we want to implement, a process which can accommodate and accumulate the diverse efforts of a large number of participants. Our enthusiasm stems from our faith in the creative and productive capacity of human beings, which can lead to great achievements if only they will work together.

Our immediate concerns, then, are as follows:

1) To increase participation in our Association, to get to know each other and, through workshops and study groups, to strengthen our understanding of the world we live in and of the kind of alternative we should seek in the New Environment.

2) Through a variety of working groups and experimental projects, to develop guidelines for implementing various aspects of the New Environment.

3) Accumulate funds for land acquisition and Center development.

4) Once land has been acquired, to initiate a sound process for gradually developing the kinds of viable Center communities which can serve as experimental sites for perfecting various operating principles of the New Environment.

Time moves on inexorably. When the future arrives, we want to have taken part in shaping it. The New Environment is our comprehensive plan for a human future.


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