“Be the change you wish to see in the world” -Gandhi
These words hunt me down as I dream of a better future for humanity, living in my van Luna as a member of Kift, a community of nomads making their way into the future of decentralized cities.
What does “be the change” mean? Am I capable of leading change at the magnitude I want to see in the world? Is thinking this way feeding my ego or preparing to humble me? I recently reached the age of not giving a fuck about my ego, so I tell it “sit down” and I allow the belief that I have the power to bring about change and create the world I want to live in to take root.
In a world where resources are becoming scarce and the traditional 9-to-5 job structure is proving unsustainable, living in a community that values freedom, sustainability, and personal growth truly appeals to me. The idea of an autonomous nomadic community with a central village where people grow food and work on personal projects is a dream come true.
I believe that creating sustainable communities is essential for the future of cities. We need to come to terms with our relationship with the earth. Find ways to live harmoniously with the environment and make the most of our resources. As an immigrant from Nicaragua, I have much to contribute to these communities. For starters, I have knowledge and skills and recognize the importance of agriculture and the careful management of natural resources. After all, the ability to grow our own food saved my home country from starvation. I understand how to make the most of what we have and live off the grid sustainably. But beyond that, I believe that creating small developments with integrated agriculture, sustainable architecture, and conscious living is how I will give back to the world. I want to help create a better future, not just for myself but for future generations. I want to be a part of building something sustainable and equitable, where everyone has access to the resources they need to lead a fulfilling life.
Because of my background, I bring a unique perspective to the table. Growing up in Nicaragua, I saw first-hand the effects of poverty, scarce resources, and environmental degradation. It was a harsh reality, but it also taught me the importance of self-sufficiency and sustainability. I was excited to see abundant resources and opportunities when I came to the United States. But at the same time, I was also struck by the waste and excess I saw around me. I couldn't help but think there must be a better way to live. The solution that I propose is to promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices that can be easily implemented by everyone. This could include reducing plastic waste, conserving water and electricity, and supporting local businesses. I believe that by working together to make small changes in our daily lives, we can contribute to a more sustainable future and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
I believe that the established systems in place do not contribute to this future because they are designed to benefit a select few, perpetuating systemic inequalities and socio-economic and climate injustices. I understand that to create a more just society; I must be proactive in advocating for the marginalized and underrepresented. I must also challenge inequitable systems and work to develop alternative structures that prioritize the community's needs and promote equality for all. For this, I am using my superpower, one I learned long ago as a trauma response and the result of being a woman of color. That superpower is empathy.
Empathy is a superpower that can have a transformative impact on society and the future of cities and communities. When people are able to put themselves in someone else's shoes and truly understand their experiences and perspectives, they become more compassionate, understanding, and responsive. This can lead to greater social cohesion, reduced conflict, and more effective problem-solving. In cities and communities, empathy can help to create more inclusive and equitable environments where everyone feels valued and supported. It can also drive innovation and collaboration, leading to the creation of more sustainable, resilient, and thriving communities. By cultivating empathy, individuals and communities can unlock their full potential and create a brighter future for all.
An eco-village of Nomads
A village primarily inhabited by nomads, located in a serene, green location, would serve as the central hub for the community. By considering energy efficiency, water efficiency, sustainable materials, waste reduction, biodiversity, location, and maintenance, we can design buildings that are environmentally sustainable and minimize their impact on the natural world. It would be a place for members to grow their food, work on projects, and network with one another. The community would include people from all walks of life who are passionate about living sustainably and supporting one another. Nomadic life would be the norm, and the freedom to come and go would give the village an influx of ideas created from a place of flow as we explore the world outside.
Conscious entrepreneurship means a new way to create value as it benefits the whole versus large profits that benefit just a few. The community would organize in such a way that members could work on personal projects, as well as innovative enterprises, that would help sustain the community. For example, members could start a farmers market to sustain surrounding neighbors and towns —or enterprises specializing in solar energy or water conservation, allowing members to be self-sufficient and contribute to the collective in a meaningful way.
Arts as the heart of the community
Art and music play a crucial role in the cultural and social life of a village. These forms of expression allow members to connect with each other and the natural world around them. Art will depict the beauty of the surrounding environment, while music can provide a sense of rhythm and harmony to the community's daily activities. The creation and enjoyment of art and music can serve as stress relief and promote a sense of well-being. Art and music can also preserve the community's cultural heritage and can be passed down from generation to generation.
Holistic practices aim to promote overall wellness by taking into account the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. Engaging in these practices as a community can bring numerous benefits such as improved physical health, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased mental clarity and emotional stability. Some examples of holistic practices include meditation, yoga, massage therapy, cold plunges and saunas. These practices work by promoting relaxation, reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and releasing tension in the body, ultimately leading to improved physical and mental health. Other practices such as dance, drumming, and storytelling can provide an outlet for creative expression and foster a sense of community among members. By prioritizing holistic practices, nomads can maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle while on the move, ultimately leading to greater longevity and vitality.
Exploration and Freedom
For a community of nomads, freedom and exploration are crucial as they enable them to move from place to place in search of resources, opportunities, and new experiences. The ability to freely explore allows members to expand their knowledge, learn new skills, and establish connections with other communities. This not only enhances their chances of survival but also promotes cultural exchange and diversity, leading to a richer and more vibrant community. Additionally, the sense of freedom and independence that comes with nomadic life fosters self-reliance, adaptability, and resilience, which are valuable traits in a community that relies on its members' ability to navigate the challenges of the environment. The community would enable members to pursue their own interests and passions while fostering a sense of community and support. For example, a group of members might go organize a caravan to explore a new national park, while others might choose to stay in the village to work on their projects. The community encourages travel and exploration outside the village to promote interdependence, not codependency.
Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are important values to promote in a nomad community to celebrate differences, encourage cultural exchange, and establish a vibrant and thriving community. Strategies to promote diversity and inclusion in a nomad community include encouraging cross-cultural interactions, fostering open communication, respecting differences, empowering marginalized groups, and providing education and training opportunities. The community would hold an annual campout to welcome a diverse group of newcomers and expand the community. This gathering serves as an opportunity for members to share their experiences and knowledge with one another and for newcomers to get a sense of what life in the community is like. It would also be a chance for the community to come together and celebrate their shared values and goals.
The nomad community with a central village that I've described is a vision for the future that I am incredibly excited about. I know I’m not alone in this vision and I’m encouraged to seeks others. I believe that this type of community has the potential to create a better world for everyone, and I look forward to the work and dedication to bring it into reality.
PHOTOGRAPHER • STORYTELLER
Multi-Passionate Latina dedicated to women’s empowerment, slow living, and minimalism, traveling in a Van named Luna.