Eco-villages are essentially designed communities intending to be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable… but how does that work?
These modern neighbourhoods rely on the age-old principles of cooperation
Ecovillages are urban or rural communities of people who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life. To achieve this, they integrate various aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological building, green production, alternative energy, community building practices, and much more. Ecovillages are living models of sustainability. They represent an effective, accessible way to combat the degradation of our social, ecological, and spiritual environments.
Picture a world of empowered citizens and communities
Imagine a world living abundantly, while within its limits. A world that is regenerating rather than depleting the environment, and where cooperation and connection is rewarded. Groups like GEN, the Global Ecovillage Network, aim to create such a world by spreading the physical and cultural technology of ecovillages.
They envision a world of empowered citizens and communities, designing and implementing pathways to a regenerative future, while building bridges of hope and international solidarity. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well, these Ecovillages exist, and they are springing up in ever growing numbers around the world.
Environmentalist Joan Bokaer developed the vision for the first eco-village, which would eventually be built on the outskirts of Ithaca, New York, while on a continent-wide walk for sustainability across the United States in 1990. In Context magazine publisher Robert Gilman helped refine the concept through his research, writing and speaking on the topic. In 1996, the first residents moved into the EcoVillage at Ithaca, and a movement was born.
Findhorn: the grandfather of all Eco-villages
Findhorn was established in 1962 and is the grandfather of all Eco-villages. The community grew out of the personal quest of three people, Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean, who found themselves homeless and living together in a small caravan, supported by welfare and trying to supplement their meager income with an organic vegetable garden.
Their spiritual discipline slowly led to a mystical communion with the spirits of the plants, the soil, and the place. This guided their gardening until they found themselves producing near-miraculous harvests. Their story became a succession of synchronicities, leading to the establishment of the Findhorn Ecovillage and its related educational foundation, all based on a spiritually guided form of organic gardening.
Today Findhorn has some 450 resident members and is the largest intentional community in the United Kingdom. It has been measured as having the lightest ecological footprint of any community in the country (with half the average use of resources and half the environmental impact), and it has been given a Best Practices award by the United Nations Center for Human Settlement.
Get involved through the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)
The good intentions and creativity of global citizens and our willingness to make a difference are some of the most under-utilised resources. GEN helps unleash this potential. Get involved to support the work of the Global Ecovillage Network.