If we look back to the past of our world, we can see that 1973 was an inflection point, a moment when things that had been going in one direction changed course and curved (abruptly and radically) the other way.
The past: It started in then-Nigeria, where a counter-junta comprised of communist and anarchist forces kicked OPEC and other foreign interests out, with a plan of using the oil deposits of the Niger Delta for the good of the country as a whole rather than the benefit of international interests and a small local elite. Soon the aims of this counter-junta changed, and the decision was made to pursue a completely different–and radically anti-colonial and anti-capitalist–path. Knowing that fights for oil would never lead to either stability or wealth, the instigators of the counter-junta changed their tactics and came up with the now-classic phrase: No Blood for Oil. Inviting back the people of the Nigerian diaspora, the government pursued a course that included and inspired the whole country in a race for renewable energy technologies that would foster equality, disrupt capitalism, and end scarcity. At the same time they worked to decolonize their own leadership structures, replacing a top-down Western ideology with a bottom-up system of mutual horizontal aid and decision making.
The ideas of the now-styled Renewable Energy Revolution spread through then-Africa (now known as The Parent), then to South America (The Southern Twin); the smaller countries of South and Southeast Asia (the body of The Big Sibling); and Indigenous Australia, Indigenous New Zealand, Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia (now the Stepping Stones and the Skipping Stones). Finally, due to the overwhelming impetus of then-China, then-India, and then-Soviet Union’s inclusion in the process, the so-called Western nations took up the challenge and North America (The Northern Twin), Europe (the limbs of The Big Sibling), and non-indigenous Australia (Oz) and non-indigenous New Zealand (Pakeha) completed the transition into the new systems.
None of this was easy, as our stories reveal, but it happened amazingly quickly. It turns out that when you address inequality with solutions that do not replicate the systems that created the inequality in the first place, things rather quickly change. For the better. It seems that in the absence of scarcity and exploitation, people are allowed to express and embody the true main goal of the human endeavor: to help one another.
What ensued was the post-scarcity, post- and actively decolonial, post-capitalist world we all live in. We don’t know what the world would be like if this change had not happened, if petroleum had remained our chief energy source, if neocolonialism and exploitation had remained our chief modes of international interaction. But we have some idea.
The present: It’s sometimes hard for younger people to recognize the precipice we were on. Without the shift to renewable energy, degrowth, equitable interchange, and horizontal mutuality, we–according to the people who study such things–would be looking at at world today with more than twice the number of people and less than half the number of animals, a world where anthropogenic climate change would be wrecking ecosystems and causing droughts, flooding, sea level rise, and other catastrophes.
Our grimmest dystopian fictions hint darkly at the possibilities we avoided.
We prefer the world we have to the world we almost had. And we dedicate ourselves daily, both individually and collectively, to the cause of repairing past harms, decolonizing our daily lives, and working together towards the common good. We are eternally grateful to the brave founders of this new world, to the people who created our inflection point and shaped all that has followed.
Within this larger context, our town has also undergone epochal changes. We are a reflection of the trends and shifts of our larger world, be we also have come up with our own local solutions to local problems. Some of our novel solutions have been carried elsewhere, adapted, and enacted and we feel gratitude (rather than pride) that some of our ideas have demonstrated wider merit.
Approximately 25,000 people live in Aulinta, formerly Santa Cruz. The buildings of the former downtown were moved out of the liquifacting floodplain after the 1989 earthquake. The move was clearly a prudent disaster management idea, but the plan for freeing the river had been made several years earlier when the land of the region was returned to the stewardship of the Amah Mutsun Tribal band. At their behest, we had already moved a couple of buildings out of the floodplain before the earthquake hastened our timeline.
The floodplain is now in an ongoing program of painstaking restoration into a viable and vibrant seasonal wetlands/coastal prairie. Incorporating the cultural land practices of the Native Stewardship Relearning Program, environmental sustainability expert Anja Roodkapje and a team of ethnobotanists,Â interns,Â volunteers, and visitors work intensively to undo the damage of poor planning and urbanization. These workers are housed in the community of Stilt Village near Phoebe Marsh.
The soaring cable-stayed Bridge of Water connects Highland Terrace with B40, its eastern foot sitting just below the Radix Center, housed in the B40 Small Schools building, where Majz works to sprout the minds of children and the seeds they plant in their extensive garden.
A long classic Roman-style arch bridge follows the former route of Laurel Street and Broadway and is primarily used by pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, donkey carts, and other unmotorized transport. The Scenic Passenger Railway Ocean Shore Line coastal train, as well as handcars and railbikes, give access to the north coast all the way up to Yerba Buena Ahwaste. The reopened tunnels through the mountains link us with teh Valley of Heart’s Delight, and the tracks that replaced the highway can take us to points south.
A couple historic Boardwalk buildings, the wooden roller coaster, and the Looff Carousel have moved to the eastside between Twin Lakes Beach and the harbor and form part of Time Atlas Park (Michael Merriam, impresario).
The Aulinta River Valley Aerial Tram and the University/Old Hospital TelefÃ©rico have a transfer station conveniently located on top of the Palomar Building, which was deemed too difficult to move and too interesting to destroy and along with a few other buildings nestles inside its own wee permanent cofferdam. These buildings are used for guest housing, conferences, community events, art exhibits, and performances. We of course removed the plaster conquistador heads from along the top of the Palomar Building, in case you were worried.
Our local economy is based on farming, tourism, Time Atlas Park, our university and its press, as well as the many people who come to learn wetland and land restoration practices, people who come to learn traditional/hipster skills (e.g. vegetable gardening, composting, canning, baking, beekeeping, and animal husbandry), sales of tiny houses from the Tiny House Factory in the former Wrigley’s building, ecotourists, and the sociologists and ethnographers who find Aulinta a suitable subject for their no-doubt-fascinating articles and dissertations.
We hope you enjoy your visit to our town, and look forward to having you back soon!