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The trash goat and watching 30 Days

February 11, 2008

CIMG1013, originally uploaded by nickatnight.

I had never seen the show 30 Days until this past Thanksgiving. The creator is Morgan Spurlock of “Supersize Me” fame. The premise of the show it to take someone and put them in an environment that is antithetical to their personal upbringing and beliefs and films them for 30 Days. After seeing one episode J. and I were hooked and promptly added Season 1 to our Netflix list.

What does this have to do with the blog? Well the episode we watched last night took two “typical” Americans and sent them to Dancing Rabits Eco-Village for 30 days. There they had to follow all commune rules and lifestyle choices. The guy and girl who were both about consumption and consumerism had to live in a grain silo that had been insulated with straw and mud. They didn’t have any power for about a week and then they were taught how to install solar power. They also had to stoke a wood fire to take a warm shower and compost their excrement. Needless to say it was culture shock for the two and while some of their resistance and ambivalence was expected what I didn’t expect was the resistance of the rest of the commune dwellers to the newcomers. I understand that it may be annoying or frustrating to try to teach someone to live this lifestyle but even when the newcomers showed genuine interest in learning they were still shunned. It just drive homes the point that we all need to learn to learn from one another. The answer to global warming and the oil crises isn’t for people to just escape off the grid. If the world is going to survive we all have to learn to work together. By the end of the show the two newcomers had much more respect for the lives and choices of the commune dwellers and promised to recycle and take mass transit more but since the show doesn’t offer any follow up after the 30 day experiment we have no way of knowing if 30 days off the grid made a lasting impact on two “average americans.”

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