Burlington and its Eco-Anarchic Icecream
The Ecotopia 2121 project details the futures of 100 cities across the globe as though they've overcome all social problems and also grown greener to become super-ecofriendly. This week, we showcase the urban future of Burlington.
Burlington is a Vermont city of fifty-thousand people situated on a tree-lined bay of beautiful Lake Champlain.
Burlington is the birth place of Ben and Jerry’s, an ice-cream company celebrated across the continent for its creative menu, for its community projects, and for its ecofriendly ice-cream. Burlington was also the political proving ground for the famous 'eco-politician' Bernie Sanders, who served as the city's mayor for many years. Unbeknownst to most Burlingtonians, the city also hosted another celebrated 'eco' resident; Murray Bookchin, a theorist of eco-anarchism.
Like other brands of anarchism, eco-anarchism has a strong disdain of authority flowing through it. Bookchin taught that all beings of the world, human and non-human, had the right to be free from authority. This meant getting rid of human domination of non-humans as well as also getting rid of human domination of other humans.
For most anarchists, the big anti-authoritarian projects they really like are to peacefully rid the world of:
a) corporate power,
b) central government, and
c) national armies.
Only then, the eco-anarchists say, would both humanity and nature be peaceful and free. This freedom would give space for communities to make their own decisions, and these, Bookchin suggested, would generally favour the long-term preservation of the natural environment rather than its destruction for short-term gains of power. It would also reassert the local quirky differences of a place over the rampant unformity imposed by corporations and government.
So, here's the story of Burlington 2121, which leads to the development of Burlington as graphically depicted in the scene above.
As the 21st century proceeds, increasing numbers of environmentalists from around the world visit Burlington and end up converting Bookchin’s old house into a mini-university for the study of eco-anarchy. Over time they enact severa urban projects; the most popular being that they convince Burlington that a city government isn’t really necessary and by the end of the century, Burlington’s city council votes to disband itself. The tasks the council once performed are then dispersed out to groups of enthusiastic people who enjoy mastering them and then teaching others about them. Other tasks are dished out to various small businesses vetted at public assemblies for their trustworthiness. The world may continue on it’s way with large corporations and armies and governments but Burlington follows it’s own quirky anarchic path to ecotopia.