More People Looking for Solutions: National Cohousing Open House Day

For more and more people, the debate is over. Climate change is real. Wealth inequity is a problem. People need to stop killing each other. I grew up in the 80’s, when Reagan was still managing to convince most people that everything was okay. I remember my radical parents being in a state of perpetual consternation while watching the news. How could people not see what was going on?

We don’t really have that problem anymore. Not that there’s universal agreement about the nature of the problems facing the world, or their cause. But right or left, no one seems to think the world is in good shape. The fact that there are global problems facing humanity as a whole seems to be more or less taken for granted. The good news is that, rather than sinking into despair and resignation, I see more and more people looking for solutions. And intentional community is one of the solutions people are looking at.

A clear indication of this is media attention. Among others, in the last couple years, pieces on intentional communities have appeared on Al Jazeera America,, New York Times, New York Times Magazine, ABC Nightline, and Yahoo! News. The Atlantic has run two pieces recently, here and here. Major news outlets like these don’t run stories they don’t think will be interesting to their audiences, because they have advertisers to appease. They’re clearly responding to something.

I want to give people what they’re looking for. I think intentional communities have a lot to share with the world. We can show how changes in architecture can reduce carbon footprints, and how it’s easier and cheaper to implement energy saving or producing technologies when you have more people involved. It’s easier to recycle when you’re coordinating with others. It’s easier to grow a garden. It’s easier to carpool when you know your neighbors. You don’t have to personally own every single tool you might possibly need.

We’re also showing how much more satisfying life can be when you’re surrounded by people who care about you. How this has become a novel concept is a little baffling, but such is the nature of this modern world we live in. We’re showing that it’s possible for people to make decisions collectively and manage collectively held facilities and resources, so that everyone has more than they would have had if they lived alone. We’re showing that it’s possible to address and resolve conflict and come out the other end better for it.

This is why I want you to participate in the second annual National Cohousing Open House Day, on Saturday, April 29th. As the Executive Director of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, I want us doing everything we can to build the communities movement, and I’m proud to support this effort by the Cohousing Association of the US.

For those who don’t live in cohousing or another form of intentional community, but who believe in it and what it has to offer the world, I encourage you to attend an open house in your area and encourage others less familiar with the idea to check it out. For those who live in a cohousing community that hasn’t yet planned an open house event and signed up, I encourage you not to miss this opportunity. Make it a party! Have a blast! And support your movement in the process. (And by the way, Coho US is more than happy for communities of all stripes to participate, not just those that identify as cohousing.) For those who live in a community that has signed up, thank you for being willing to put yourself out there.

Building community can seem like an impossible feat sometimes. The world needs to see the people attempting the impossible, because seeing people attempt the impossible is how people realize that more is possible than they ever imagined.