Veggie oil and high community spirit

By April 22, 2007 No Comments

Apple trees

In Escanda there has been a hype about the biodiesel motors – turning your diesel motor into a motor which runs with recyclable veggie oil. The idea itself is really cool, but we soon noticed why all the cars don’t use this bio oil instead of gasoline. The main reason is that it stinks.
When you’re driving, it smells like the McDonald’s french fries fat. Everywhere.
The other reason we noticed on the way back from the Gijon demonstration – the car just stopped and didn’t start again. One hour trip turned into three hour wait by the high traffic motor highway.

Well, we’re back and alive.

About the community in Escanda: There are 14 people living here permanently. Most of them don’t have any kind of a daily job. And they don’t need one. They grow all sorts of things in the garden, get loads of fruits, pasta, rice and stuff for free from the markets and shops. There are always plenty of visitors here, yesterday there were over 20 people staying here, today most of them are gone and it’s a bit more relaxed. You can stay here for free, just by working in the garden or helping with household works.

All the costs (food, car repairs, transports, gas, new stuff bought to the house etc), so really ALL the costs of 14 people are 1500e a month. That’s living with 100e the whole month. Most of this money comes from workshops which they run at local schools plus environmental researchs.

This way of living has really opened my eyes. This is SO far away from the society I’m living in back home. If you don’t work there, you’re officially unemployed and the society takes (more or less) care of you. The society is based on individualism, not common good.
Here you can just decide quit working and put all your energy on making the community better. And you’re not considered unemployed, you’re considered free. All the work you’re doing is not for you but for everyone. And the people are so balanced and happy. They have time for themselves and for each other.

After getting over the cultural shock I’ve gotten used to the idea that not everything has to be as tidy and super-hygienic as back home. It doesn’t kill you. On my first post I told what things they don’t have here. Now I’ve realized they have everything you need. And a bit more.

It’s 26C today.

No Comments

  • Reality Check says:

    ..and what happens when one of you gets _really_ sick?

    If you stay true to your hippie ideology you let sick persons die. :) People tend to die quite easily when there is no medicare.

    Otherwise – welcome back to civilized society. :) I hope you realize that all services you seem to forget are made with (tax/private)money. That money comes from real jobs. Your “workfree” community is a fake – ie. it is leaning on services you and your buddies are not willing to finance.

    Get a job and do your share like all others do.

    That is – IF you want enjoy the benefits like:

    “Not dying on side effects of dental cavities”


    “Oops, broke my leg! Why is it so black now? Guys, could you saw it off please?”

  • Orion says:

    Hi Tuomas.

    I agree with some of the opinions you have.

    However, the community here isn’t and doesn’t want to be isolated from the “outside world”. It’s more about learning how to reduce the dependency on the market through organic farming, renewable energies, sustainable forestry and autonomous communications.

    The community gets most of its funding from EU youth programme and different seminars and workshops. The workshop topics include for example gender, North-South relations, arts, environment and consumerism.

    After all, the community works as a big part of the local society. The funding, workshops and their topics and big part of the ideology are very similar to any cultural centre in Finland. The biggest difference is that no one gets paid of the work they are doing.

    About the medical care. The people living here (at least all the europeans) are under Spanish health insurance. If someone gets really sick, getting medical care should be pretty easy. So no sawing off legs here, sorry :)

    And still – to make it clear – I’m writing all this from the visitor’s point of view. I’m here on a work trip, sharing the media education methods with the locals.

  • Niko says:

    Tuomas makes an interesting implication: he says “Get a job and do your share like all others do.” But he implies that you should get a job for you should pay taxes.

    So, assuming work is something that has a direct or indirect benefit to others:

    What if you don’t work, but pay taxes? Let’s say your investments bring in money, but your person is of no benefit to the society, and you’re still using society’s services.

    What if you DO work, but don’t get paid, and hence, don’t pay taxes? You work for the benefit of the society, but shouldn’t get to use society’s services?

Leave a Reply