Once upon a time, there lived a group of like-minded people, who got along well and decided to help one another and help the planet too. They pulled their visions and resources together and created a community. They agreed that respect for each other and the Earth could be the foundation for a fuller life and they could recognize the talents and gifts that each person was capable of developing, no matter what age they may be. So, elders and youngsters could enjoy the mixture of wisdom and energy and both flourish in a social atmosphere that sponsored civility and love.
The economics of this arrangement allowed for huge across the board cost savings, as well considered design, sweat equity, barter and shared service decoupled the joy of living from money. They had gardens yielding healthy veggies for storage and security; they took fuel and food from a sustainable forest and meadow, working together with a sense of real progress, purpose and mission.
Money lost its domination over their lives, as did junk TV and idiot infotainment, theocratic fundamentalisms, political theater, rat race living and conspicuous consumption. There was time for culture, art and music. They had clean water and clean energy from Solar & Wind. They had a general store and a café. There was a health clinic that practiced preventative and alternative as well as conventional medicine. There was a tool library. There was a little schoolhouse. Most of the people worked in the village, helping to procure the necessities of living or running service businesses out of their homes. They did not need cars to go to work, but had a couple of types of appropriate transportation options available if needed.Where is this place? When is this time? I want to live there!
If you speak to anyone about this you’ll hear a stream prejudgments and fear around this concept. But wait, we have 7 Billion people today on a Planet that can sustainably carry only 1 Billion. We can’t continue using the same old models and practices that created the challenges we face today. I think Eco Villages can work, should work and do work, and there are more than 700 such places in the World today. They have valuable lessons to teach and can offer valid blueprints for the future. The State of Vermont already has a number of these communities in existence. The United Nations has said that these types of communities may well be the most important trend for the very survival of our species.
So let’s begin serious conversations about how to move into this future. Do they need to cost $100 to $200 a square foot? Can we find a way to make it an affordable option without the “low income housing boogeyman” coming out of the closet? If these villages could be built in a way that the homes planned for privacy, as well as common area, used indigenous materials, invoked some shared labor (aka “Habitat for Reality”) and took advantage of the long term economics of renewable energy, isn’t that at least part of the way forward? I invite all interested in helping to answer these questions to contact me thru the letters section of Green Energy Times care of The Green Guru. It’s just an idea at this time…If you think it’s a good one, I’d like to hear from you.
By Dave Bonta, aka the Green Guru
GET Aug2011 page 35