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|I truly believe that the skills and lessons taught at Barter Village are useful for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, people have become far too dependent on the trivial things in life that we have forgotten what we need to know in order to survive. Our global economy is collapsing not because of an over dependence on one product over another, but because we are losing the ability to support ourselves. As more and more people move into the cities to find better paying jobs, work not only becomes less meaningful, it becomes less useful. We are losing laborers, farmers and other trades that keep our societies going. We attempt to fill this void by outsourcing to cheaper countries, which buys us the products at a great cost to our society. The food is unhealthy, the goods fall apart and many of our labor industries continue to fail as they are needs that must be met on our own soil.
I am striving to start a new brand of education, one where we train children in the ways of doing a useful day's work; where their skills lie not just in the ability to "jump through the hoops" (a skill only necessary in the corporate world), but in the ability to thrive and survive; where children do not spend their days filling out papers in poorly lit classrooms, but where their knowledge is a direct result of implementation. I believe that in order to successfully achieve this goal, I must first learn as many of the skills as possible. Barter Village offers many of the necessary skills in a manner very similar to the type of school I wish to open.
Over the years, I have tried to teach myself many of the useful and artistic trades. I have taken up welding, horse care, gardening, cooking, baking, sewing, cross stitching, painting, drawing, writing, and knitting. While I am not yet proficient in any of them, I am more than willing to continue my training and help others who are also starting out. I also wish to gain as much knowledge about different trades as possible. I feel that it is important to be learned in as many trades as possible. As our economy continues it's collapse, the ability to work with your hands, to work on a farm, etc will only become more valuable.
Having spent most of my life growing up in a California city I have seen first hand the detriments that our current way of life has on our society, on our economy and on our environment. People lock themselves away inside, substituting a real relationship for one found online, to the point where they do not care to even know their neighbors. In a time of crisis, people can be found standing around as if they're watching it on television, instead of actively stepping forwards and lending a hand (as happened when my neighbor's house caught fire on Christmas and the only people to offer a helping hand were the people in my household and the people in the house next door; while the rest of the people, in the over 50 households on our block, merely peered in at the commotion). I've seen farm after farm be turned into subdivisions. I've seen large tracts of open land become shopping centers. I've seen roads widen to up to 8 lanes of traffic in one direction and still be found too congested as people prefer to travel 1-2 hours away from their home into the city in hopes of securing a high paying job. I've seen people encroach on the land that once belonged to large beasts like boars and mountain lions, only to call out the police and have the animals killed when they show up on the property. I've seen fire after fire damage our hills as people grow more careless with their matches, cigarettes and illegal fireworks. As time has progressed, less and less of the wildlife areas are open to the public, either being turned into developments or being fenced off for "our protection," such that I've met people who have never seen wild animals outside of squirrels, rabbits, birds and deer. However, our area is teaming with animals such as mountain lions, boars, coyotes, foxes, turkeys, beavers and wolves.
The continued move towards the technological from the natural leads me to fear for our future. Not only are we producing a society of people who can not properly interact with each other, we are producing a society which can not function without the technology it takes for granted. Very few people could even tell you which plants are dangerous, let alone which ones are edible. Many people dont know how to react around livestock, how to fish, how to prepare their own food, etc.
Programs like Barter Village and the school I want to one day start have the ability to at least help reduce the problem, if not help to end it. Acceptance into this program will help me to help the world change for the positive.