Reconnecting with the Essence of Being Human
Cora Pausch is 33 years old and the mother of 2 children (6 and 3 years old). She studied International Forest Ecosystem Management (Bachelor of Science, 2009) and Global Change Management (Master of Science, 2013). At the time of her masters internship, she already had the desire to live in a community with her partner and 1 1/2 year old son. And not just any community but one which had personal relations and personal development as a basis. So she decided to combine her personal desire to gain experience in a community with her research for her thesis by focusing the thesis on sustainability in communities and choosing Los Portales as a case study.
Initially her focus was on ecological sustainability but her experience in Los Portales showed her the strong connection between social and ecological sustainability. This connection and the attempt to apply its key aspects to any kind of society (also large-scale) became the heart of her masters thesis. Since then she has felt strongly connected to Los Portales and its members and recently she and her partner decided to make Los Portales their permanent home and they will move there in spring 2018.
In times of globalisation, accompanied by economic crisis and climate change, it becomes obvious that the western lifestyle cannot be maintained anymore if a Great Transition towards a future of enriched lives, human solidarity and a healthy planet is the overall objective. The industrialized countries are made responsible for a disproportionate share of the worldwide exploitation of natural resources, CO2 emissions, and pollution of air and water; but still the associated lifestyle is spreading its way.
The question arises how the Great Transition can be facilitated and what is still missing to overcome the challenges of global change, resource depletion and individualism. The Great Transition cannot be achieved by technical means only but an adaptation of lifestyles is also necessary to obtain this target. Sustainable lifestyles include attractive social coherences that combine the individual freedom with responsible cooperation and a harmonious coexistence. There is a great demand for sustainable lifestyles; a way of living in which human cooperation is appropriate and carried by respect and empathy; a search for lifestyles without moral appeal and demand for abstinence. The field of intentional communities represents direct response to the questions and problems of social conflicts, environmental crises, and uncertainty at all levels.
In this thesis, the Community Los Portales in Andalusia, Spain was chosen as the case study to display approaches and methods that aim for the improvement of socio-ecological sustainability.