By Ariana Nieves,
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)
An ecovillage is a relatively small self-sustaining community that strives to live off the land and produce little to no negative impacts on the natural environment. The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) categorizes Ecovillages into two classes traditional and intentional.
Traditional is defined as “existing rural villages and communities that decide to design their pathway into the future, using participatory processes to combine life-sustaining traditional wisdom and positive innovation.” Intentional is “created by people who come together afresh with a shared purpose or vision.” The GEN describes ecovillages as one of a kind; the community decides how to live off their land and self-govern. Each village creates its own culture, innovation, and community.
While each village is unique, the GEN states there are three universal principles of an ecovillage. “Being rooted in local participatory processes, integrating social, cultural, economic and ecological dimensions in a whole systems approach to sustainability, and actively restoring and regenerating their social and natural environments.”
The origin of ecovillages is unknown; however, they have been internationally recognized since 1995 and there are said to be over 10,000 ecovillages across the world today. On average, ecovillages are made up of 50-250 members, some villages have grown to hold as many as 1,000 members.
Ecovillages are incredibly valuable as they aid in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development goals on a local level. Ecovillages are a great way to see innovations flourish within a community setting. These innovations and processes once successful can then be transferred and reproduced in other communities and on higher scales.
If more ecovillages emerge and their styles of innovation are applied at a higher global frequency, this can make a great contribution to combating climate change in the future. Various ecovillages around the world have developed great innovations, here are two examples.
The Federation of Damanhur
There is an ecovillage in Damanhur, Italy with over 600 residents. The village is separated into different divisions that focus on a specific fields such as solar energy, education, organic meat production, seed saving, and more. It has been deemed one of the most high-tech ecovillages in the world. The village even has a molecular biology lab to test for GMOs.
Eco Truly Park
Eco Truly Park is an ecovillage located north of Lima, Peru. The community values artistic expression and is known for its incredible mud houses. The village has developed successful ecological programs and showcases how to cultivate unworkable lands.
Ecovillages in America
There are even many ecovillages right here in the United States, such as the Dancing Rabbit located in Routledge, Missouri, Ithaca Ecovillage located in Ithaca, New York, and Kailash Ecovillage located in Portland, Oregon. Each one is centered around environmentalism and finds creative ways to stay eco-friendly. For example, Kailash Ecovillage turned an aged apartment complex into an abundant food-forest. Click the links below to learn more about each unique village.
Dancing Rabbit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJc4w6RBL04
Overall, Ecovillages are communities that strive to live in harmony with nature. These communities value living with the land rather than living off it. Communities such as these are a great way to combat climate change and could hold key answers and strategies that can be implemented on a global scale.
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