Firestone Sanctuary is a pioneering project so it is important that its collaborators and volunteers are in close positive alignment so as to achieve effective community cohesion.
By visiting the physical space or collaborating with Firestone Sanctuary, you agree to the following:
Please uphold the autonomy and freedom of every other person. Every person owns their own body. This is very important.
Understand and respect the space, time and body of all other persons.
Be respectful of a person's personal space. You should not touch a person without their permission, even if you think you would be happy to receive the interaction yourself. Use language to establish consent, even for "harmless" gestures like hugs. Everyone is different, so assume that people might not want what you want. Use words, make eye contact, and pay close and sensitive attention to a person's emotional reaction. If someone looks away or acts uncomfortable, take that as a sign that they are likely not emotionally ready to consent yet.
It is often best to state your desire for an interaction, rather than asking directly for consent. Sometimes directly asking a person will corner them into saying "yes" to be polite. When asking someone for consent, ask in a way that makes sure "no" is a perfectly acceptable, possible and even default answer.
A person's ownership of their own body takes precedence over the social construct of property ownership.
Every person deserves respect and admiration for their innate personhood, regardless of any distinguishing factors, such as age, sex, disability, class, nationality, race, skin colour, privilege or other attributes.
Peaceful communication involves listening, comprehending, accepting, and making an effort to show understanding of what the other person has said.
Please do not command people, as they are volunteers. Instead, try inspiring people to help, through encouragement and leading by example.
Communication about any issues should be considerate, bearing in mind principles of early communication, deescalation of conflict, and vulnerability. This is often referred to as the soft skill set of "non-violent communication". Have good faith that everyone is genuinely well-meaning, but might make unconscious mistakes, so speak humbly.
Be careful with your communication, sticking only to facts and recognising your feelings and opinions as being just one perspective. Avoid emotional arguments, throwing the well-intentioned criticism back to the person offering it, or rewording your behaviour to make it sound better. If someone says something, address it directly, instead of deflecting or changing topic. If you are not ready to address it, simply state that you have heard them, restate what you believe they communicated, and request a time to discuss it later. Respectful disagreement is possible, but most people are offering feedback because there's an element of truth to them. Try to see from their perspective. Many issues are just the result of a miscommunication or misunderstanding!
If you think that any person is exhibiting problematic behaviours, do not try to police them yourself. Please communicate peacefully any genuine concerns to the persons involved, and/or to the Firestone Sanctuary leadership / membership. Peaceful communication is direct, rather than complaining behind someone's back.
A person is separate from their behaviours: you may criticise negative behaviours, but do not criticise the person. If you take an issue with someone's behaviour and you think it might stem from their social privilege, please give them the opportunity to learn by peacefully communicating your concerns.
The entire Firestone Sanctuary project is a service to humanity and nature. Kindness is intrinsically rewarding and fulfilling, and treating everyone with generosity is very important. The whole community works better when persons do not get caught up in transactional thinking, focussing on their personal benefit. If you view your contributions as a gift, you will not harbour bitterness about what you can "get back". Kindness has a way of coming back to the giver 💛
Everyone makes mistakes and needs to have a pathway to heal and recover from them. Be forgiving and respect that everyone is on a journey of self-improvement. Forgiveness has many personal benefits, too, such as releasing the psychological burden of holding onto a bitter grudge.
Before getting angry at someone for failing to meet your expectation, first think from their perspective about all of the possible situations which could have excused the perceived failure. They are likely going through more than you think.
Forgive and forget: forgiveness involves letting go of past mistakes, not bringing them up again once they are forgiven. Forgiveness can involve discussion and peaceful communication about what went wrong, and a commitment to change behaviour. Forgiveness should not, however, be conditional.
Forgiveness is a huge part of creating a safe space.
Honesty and Openness
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant".
Please have a mindfulness of transparency, radical honesty, and openness. This is how trust is built, and Firestone Sanctuary is building a trustful ethos for society. Vulnerability is very important for self-development and self-acceptance, as well as genuineness and acceptance in a community project.
Nobody is perfect. If you are vulnerable about your hurt, shame, negativity, or deficiencies, in a trusting safe space, you can find healing and solutions - or simply just feel better about it. Community exists because there are immense psychological benefits in trust and sharing.
Keeping peaceful communication in mind, do not force others to share if they are not ready. It is always absolutely important that there is a safe space for people to be vulnerable. If people feel safe to admit mistakes, the mistakes can be owned up to and addressed. The community will not benefit if mistakes are left to fester.
Please respect the names that people introduce themselves with.
Thoughtfulness and Learning
Firestone Sanctuary cultivates a habit of introspection, initiative, self-improvement and self-growth.
If you take initiative for your own growth and learning, you will be a benefit to all, and the community will flow very well. It is much easier if you cultivate both a humility to be proven wrong and a pride in maintaining a high standard of self.
If you are not proactive about learning, and others find they have to keep correcting you, you will become an emotional burden on the community. It is very important for community cohesion that you agree upon the value of self-directed learning and emotional maturity.
Please clean up after yourself. The general principle applies: "Take only photos, leave only footprints."
If you bring anything to the Firestone Sanctuary property that belongs to you (is not a gift), it is your responsibility to take it back with you when you leave.
If you want to bring something that is yours and leave it at the property, please communicate beforehand to form an agreement about that.
If you leave anything behind without prior communication (and agreement), it can only be assumed that it was a gift, and it becomes the property of Firestone Sanctuary, unless it is agreed beforehand that it belongs to you. To be clear: the absence of an agreement about it implies that it becomes Firestone Sanctuary property. It is much clearer to get any agreement in writing :)
This is about common sense: if you accidentally leave lost property behind, we will, of course, try to inform you and arrange for you to have it back. However, if you bring, for example, building materials to the property, and do not make prior agreement that the building materials are your own for a specific incubated project, we can only assume that the materials are a gift contribution to Firestone Sanctuary in general. If you contribute financially towards a Firestone Sanctuary initiative and do not make prior arrangements about a property-share agreement, the money is assumed to be a donation. It is not fair for you to retroactively assume Firestone Sanctuary to have consented to an unstated property-share agreement. If you have no prior agreement about property that was left at Firestone Sanctuary, and then later attempt to control the property or control others in relation to the property (e.g. telling them what they can and can't do with it), this will be considered a breach of the visitor agreement. Please use peaceful and early communication to establish agreements about your intentions beforehand :)
Be careful with the property of Firestone Sanctuary and others. If you damage something, please make efforts to fix it.
Take responsibility for your own emotional regulation. To be upset, angry, or offended is okay, but it is your responsibility to take time out to process these feelings and then communicate peacefully about them. Turning your feelings into everyone else's problem is not responsible.
Take responsibility for your own expectations. If you are upset with someone not meeting your expectation, consider if that expectation was from you, or if the expectation came from something they actually promised (for example, if someone said they would do something, but never specified when, don't get angry if they haven't done it by a specific time that you had not communicated). Forgiveness is still paramount. You can always choose how you react to a situation.
Take responsibility for your actions and how you treat others. This involves owning up to your behaviours, instead of excusing them due to external factors. All persons have the ability to introspect and change our behaviour in spite of how we have been treated in the past.
Own your mistakes, apologise calmly and commit to changing your behaviour.
Take responsibility for your environmental footprint. Be considerate about minimising impact. Do not be wasteful. Don't leave engines running idle, taps on, fires unattended, lights on, or mowers running. Try to save food or compost it, rather than putting it in landfill. Recycle as much as possible, including soft plastics. Please consume sustainably, as lower down the food chain as possible :)
All of these principles apply even if you think others aren't following them :)
If you do not agree with this philosophy, we humbly request that you do not try to visit or collaborate under any other terms.
If you think there is an error or would like to dispute a philosophy here, please get in contact :)