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A happy hippie (unlimited)

On a visit to the Danish eco-hippy community Christiania, I started thinking: When is someone “green” enough? Is it possible to create an ecological-orientated society on a large scale, and how far should we go in being green?

Houses grew bigger, small dots changed into cars and the yellow squares turned out to be fields full of rapeseed. It was almost possible to see if it was genetically modified or not. We were preparing for landing. Copenhagen, here I am!

I have to admit, I was surprised by this city. Even if you didn’t pay attention to it, you would notice their attempts for a “greener” environment: from recycled plastic bags with slogans such as “think ecological” (written in Danish of course), city-bikes which everyone can use (almost) for free, windmills providing the city’s energy, to a totally independent, downshifted and ecologically-oriented community in the middle of Copenhagen.

Christiania originated in the 70’s, when students were fighting for liberty and peace. They occupied the deserted buildings of the army and eventually this “student community” was declared independent by the Danish government. The hippies, in that period it was still “hippie-time”, tried to build their own society, based on ecological thinking and art.

Nowadays, it has grown into a community consisting of 1,000 people, all living together and passing their time by recycling garbage into furniture, building design houses using natural products and drinking coca-cola or smoking joints in their local pub. 

I was walking there, talking to my best friend who joined me on this trip. How lovely it is if you could live like this: in harmony with the Nature without having to go back to the period in which human beings were still more of an animal. 

He looked at me with this “you are kidding, aren’t you” –face and said that this does not feel much of a reality to him. Instead of improving the quality of life, you lock yourself in your small world of ecological rules and this will make it impossible for you to feel the joy of (for instance) making “perfect” furniture using modern machinery, he said. 

Christiania will most likely disappear in the near future. The government accepted this “social experiment” for more than 33 years and is now trying to get it back. Some rumours say it is because they are afraid that even more people will be attracted by this way of living and planning to move to this community. 

These things made me think.
When is someone “green” enough? Is it possible to create an ecological-orientated society on a large scale, and how far should we go in being green?

Back home in Amsterdam, I decided not to bother about the limits. I first have to stop buying chopped onion packed in plastic, and I have to make sure I reduce my shower time. Though, if I will ever get close to an ecological border, I will definitely let you know.