I’m always wary and critical of the ‘run for the hills’ school of ecology. But something more profound seems to be happening with a reverse of the urbanisation movement. Maybe this is just about estabslihinga better balance between rural and urban with a rofound disillusionment with the failure of allure of the contemporary world. Here’s a great article on ‘Settlers by Choice’ from MondeDiplo and the Néos movement:
Degrowth (décroissance) is a loose international movement against consumerism and the idea that economic growth is not only good for us, but the only means by which we can survive. Degrowth is environmentalist and advocates generalised downscaling, at least in developed nations.
Néos in the Cévennes are artisans, artists, social workers, translators, special needs carers, activists, and smallholders. None of them have been “forced” to move here. Most thought hard before taking the plunge into what is, by any standards, deepest countryside: average population density in Lozère is 15 inhabitants per square kilometre, compared to 100 nationwide (1). They come mostly from within France and, in a few cases, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK. Many prepared in advance, training as farmer, brewer or knife maker; others have learned on the job, cheese maker or bread baker. Almost all come from towns. Some were urban professionals. Several have PhDs. Others have a traveller or squatter background. A few have returned to the area – or property – their grandparents once lived in.
This influx, which began in earnest in the 1980s, shows no sign of diminishing.”