Ecological and socially sustainable living is the main theme for living in an Ecovillage. The social component to Ecovillages is modern living.

Modern living with regard to life-style comfort. This comfort is centrally caused by the use of environmentally friendly technology.

A progressive advent of the tradition of communal living, the ecovillage focuses on a palatable, sustainable transition from modern life, needed by people who want to detach from an oil (addicted) based lifestyle without giving up the creature comforts.

The benefit of this slight shift in the support network, bases for a lifestyle beneficial to a bioregion, involving both the natural species and the humans who live there.

Ecovillages are linked via the Internet and form a new kind of international community.

This or these communities are communicating to establish safety and success for the people doing this ecological research in infra-structural environmental change. This interconnected dialog via the Internet is a force that keeps these communities from being labeled as one of those weird cult things.

One of the major accountability think tanks is the GEN (Global Ecovillage Network).

Each participating group tests its process with the success of other peer villages who have similar social and ecological goals. This is done both with respect to and apart from possible ethnic, religious, or other differences.

The modern concept of the ecovillage stands out from both nuclear family household life style, and the of community, in that it focuses normalcy for both the participants and the environment.

The social component in the political thinking of the ecovillage is not a means to do away with what works in modern life, instead, it is a way of taking a look at what could serve a bioregions balance while living comfortably for all the people involved; in order to achieve the ecological goal as well as the social ones.

The ecovillage as a modern research movement has almost nothing to do with its spiritually based counter part: The stereotypical religious commune.

The ecovillage is centered rather, around ecological awareness. The people who live in these communities are just like people who live in regular neighborhoods. By that, it is meant, that these communities are not one of those weird cult things.

Rather, the focus is defined as a partial paradigm shift toward effective use of renewable energy sources. Sources such as communal gardening, bio-swells, shared transportation, solar, geothermal, hydropower, wet land management in the areas of construction, irrigation and other community support systems.

There is a focus on the consideration of social nature and diversity in spiritual well being of the participating individuals. An example of this is children having a safe place to play; men, women and children feeling safe in the community where people are or partially-interdependent than they would be outside the community in a traditional neighborhood sense.

This is, to support participants in continuing to want to be a part of the research that is being done and taught at colleges and universities so that the greater global community can improve general ecological formation or reformation (that is upgrading of) its most environmentally sound practices.

The type of individual that might consider renting an apartment or buying a home in an ecovillage is a person or group of people who want to work at living a modern life style, with the benefit of a village of people who know them; and are interconnected with their well being and with the common goal to create a micro community that is not dependent on oil addiction.

Generally speaking these communities range in size between 50-150 persons. This is considered the ideal size for a community to be able to have successful participants without regard to their personal, ethnic, religious background or lifestyle choice.

This way each community member feels comfortable with the other community members. If the individual is happy in the community and does not feel spiritually threatened by the other members, then socially, the community is cohesive.

This results in community members transition into the more ecologically sound infrastructure with ease and less unnecessary personal or social sacrifices- that usually cause a community to fail. This is based on the GEN research done in communities worldwide.

The GEN has a forty two-page questionnaire that each community member can fill out anonymously. The GEN both compiles the data and also reports back to the community how well they are doing at achieving their ecological goal, and social comfort-ability of the participants.

There is a model called an eco-municipality. An eco-municipality ensures that smaller communities have the trading power of the larger group without loosing smaller community goal effective accountability practices. The largest of which has two thousand participants.

So the transition from something as small as Try-On Farm in Portland, OR– to something as open as EcoVillage At Ithaca, NY–to something as practical as the rebuilding of Greensburg Kansas into an ecocity; is a natural process. It shows the global effectiveness of this kind of experimental global research.

Ecovillages as a minor lifestyle shift are a tool for ecological and socially sustainable research. It is a way to improve on the models we have; and do so with minimal impact on the environment, using renewable sources of energy.

Research with Ecovillages, is clearing a footpath of best practices for every community to live comfortably and in tune with the land around them, as well as with each other, in the decades to come.

Contributed by David Allison

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Posted in Sustainable by admin on July 30, 2008.

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