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Modern Nomadism

“Der Mensch sollte in Zelten wohnen” (People should live in tents)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Inspired by Jared Diamond's remark that the largest mistake humanity ever made was settling down in agricultural and later industrial societies, and the personal experience that continuous movement seems to be the lifestyle fitting best with human needs and aspirations nomadism is a central theme in the development of the World in a Shell project. Superficially it seems to contradict the common opinion and long-term policy of many governments to forcibly settle down the nomads and provide them and their other citizens with a few square meters of living space in suburbia, ghetto's or shantytowns. Some people are celebrating the 21-century as the century of the city as more than half of the human population is now living in cities suggesting that their inhabitants have a better and fuller life as before. But they overlook the unstable side of the cities, their lack of community, their gangs and crimes, and that the influx of people is not an act of free choice but a consequence of poverty, exploitation and in many cases a forced movement instigated by government policies and land grabbing by multinationals and the rich. Nomadism, modern nomadism is on the rise and climate change and the unequal distribution of wealth on a local and global scale will only push more people to move from their ancestral lands just simply to survive. It looks like that the ecological refugee will be more characteristic of the 21 century than the happy human beehive of the city propagators.


Also in the western world more and more people are on the move. Some of them, the e-culture nomads, use computer technology and the internet to be able to work at any place they fancy. Others, the vast majority of the migrants have less choice. Companies want their employees to be flexible and move to wherever the companies’ profits dictate them to go. Then there is this vast and growing river of cheap labourers that despite fences, barbed wire, persecution, discrimination and other forms of inhuman treatment flock to the ‘gold covered’ streets of the metropoles where as modern, voluntary slaves they have to live on the crumbs of the mighty. One can hardly call them nomads in a traditional sense as they have hardly any control over their lives nor their environment but still people are on a massive scale on the move and it is high time not to try to contain these migrations but to use the human resources to develop tools and technology for a modern form of nomadism.

To develop mobile living and working units that are durable and can function independently of their environment and that as a good nomadic technology does not harm the environment and leaves no lasting imprint, while at the same time it stimulates open borders and true intercultural meetings.
  The polliniferous project and the World in a Shell wants to be just that, an example of what modern nomadism could be, a living cultural heritage for the 21st century with roots going back to the forms of civilization that have proven to be the most long-lasting and most in tune with the environment and the other sentient beings.  
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