Ecovillage and sustainable settlement

So far there is no generally accepted definition of Ecovillage. We define the Ecovillage as: settlement of reasonable size with all the features of human activity in which it is securely integrated into the natural environment that supports healthy human development and may well exist indefinitely.

The human scale - is when everyone in the community know each other and each feels that he can influence the direction of the settlement. Typically, a group of at least 500 people.

Settlement with all the features of human activity. All aspects of life: accommodation, recreation, community activity and commerce - should be presented in a balanced proportion. Most of today's settlements - urban, suburban and rural - are separated by function: some areas are set aside for accommodation, others - for shopping, others - for production, etc. These areas exceed the dimensions in which people feel comfortable. Ecovillage concept replaces a large scale and specialization in the integration of functions in a reasonable size. Ecovillage is mold society in miniature.

Human activities are securely integrated into the natural environment. One of the most important aspects of this principle - the ideal of equality between man and other life forms, in which a person is not trying to dominate nature, and finds its rightful place in it. Another important aspect is the cyclical use of materials: the use of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, etc.), composting organic waste and return them to earth, recycling waste water; disuse of poisonous and harmful substances.

Supports the healthy development of man. Ecovillage - a human community, and without the true health of their inhabitants are unlikely to be successful. "The healthy development of man" should integrally involve all aspects of human life - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, and not just for certain individuals, but for the whole generation as a whole.

It may well exist indefinitely. The principle of sustainability requires a certain integrity in the concept Ecovillage. Without him it would be easy in a short time to establish settlements, which seem perfectly fits the nature and having all the necessary features Ecovillages, but will actually be living in a hidden form of capital accumulated in other parts of society, or do not include some important aspect life (eg, children or the elderly). These "blind spots" found in many existing communities. Of course, we are all interdependent, and the settlement reasonable limits can be quite multifaceted, but the principle of sustainability requires neekspluatatsii other parts of the world today - both human and the rest, as well as belonging to the descendants.

Forward, not back
If Ecovillage - such a great idea, why we no longer live in them? One of the most frequent answer is that most people still live in the Ecovillage. According to this view, the best model Ecovillage is a traditional peasant village, and in order to acquire pristine harmony with nature and with each other, all must go back to that lifestyle.

Certainly it is true that you can learn a lot from these villages, which still lives about half the population of the planet. However, we do not think that they embody the ideal of Ecovillage described here. Jobs are hard, life expectancy is low, opportunities for personal development and education are scarce, a variety of lifestyles is very low. The harmony between these villages and the environment are often directly dependent on the low population density - a luxury that we no longer have. Finally, traditional villages can hardly be considered a model of harmony between human beings. Rural life painfully patriarchal: quarrels and mistrust between the courts and the neighboring villages, suspicion of the outside world.

We want to clearly define the Ecovillage as distinctly post-industrial phenomenon. Although they absorb themselves in the entire human experience, but does not return to the previous way of life.

Ecovillage grow from the needs and opportunities arising from:
* New environmental constraints (due to high population density),
* New equipment and technology
* A new level of consciousness (symbolized in part a photograph of Earth from space).

And if so, the answer to the question, why do we still do not live in an Ecovillage, is simple: these needs and opportunities so new that the company had not yet understand them. Much of the technology and knowledge, which is likely to be based Ecovillage, there were less than 20 years ago.

Problems ekodereven
Difficult to be pioneers in any field, including the establishment of sustainable settlements, but on the way there are rewards.
Numerous groups are involved in Creatrix ekodereven for decades. To appreciate the difficulties faced by the pioneers, let us consider their main problems.

The problem of biosystems. In order to implement the ideal - is harmless to write Ecovillage in the natural habitat, is required to:
* Maintain the natural environment in its territory,
* Produce food, fuel and other bio-resources in place,
* Disinfect and processed all their waste,
* Avoid adverse impacts on the environment in other locations through the use of products produced outside of the village.

The problem building environment. Necessary to Ecovillage:
* Was constructed from environmentally friendly materials,
* Use of renewable sources of energy,
* Minimal use motorized transport,
* Has been constructed so that the least impact on the local ecosystem.

The problem of the economic system. In order to Ecovillage embodied the ideal of healthy personality development and represented all the features of human activity, is required considerable economic activity. Here are the most likely issues of economic plan:
* What is a sustainable economic activity in the sense of life-sustaining members of the settlement and in the ecological sense?
* What part of the settlement should be public and what - personal?
* What should be the ownership of land and buildings?
* How to combine economic and ecological efficiency?
* Is there an acceptable alternative to a cash economy?

Management problem. The ideals of justice and neekspluatatsii indicate the overall direction of ekodereven, but do not give clear recommendations for their realization. Before Ecovillage most likely to arise following questions from the management:
* How will decide which methods will be used for different types of solutions?
* How will conflicts be resolved?
* How will implement the outcome of the community?
* What will be the role of leadership and expectations from him?
* What will be the relationship with the administration of the district Ecovillage?

The problem of unifying values. In order to cope with all the problems, members of the Ecovillage should have as its reliance on common values. The need to develop and maintain such a community raises the following questions:
* What are the common values, what behavior and activities should be expected in a group?
* What should be the common vision of the group, if any, should be?
* Which by the group must find, develop and build on this vision?
* How close should be the relationship between members of the group?
* How best to develop this intimacy?
* What will be the relationship with those who are outside the group?

The problem of a complete system. There are more profound and often invisible problem "integrated system". Perhaps the biggest difficulty faced by anyone who creates Ecovillage, is the need to change too many aspects of life. The founders of the community usually try to work on all the changes simultaneously. However, it requires much more time and resources than it seems at first.

When attempts to create a community led to the failure, it is almost always one of the reasons was the desire of to do too much too fast, not in accordance with their resources.

The problem of an integrated system, therefore, is to form a true idea of the scope of the enterprise and find an approach that allows the community to develop gradually and steadily.
All these problems together may seem (and be!) Insurmountable. As far as we know, There are no communities, fully embodying the ideal of the Ecovillage. However, there are many groups that have achieved significant success in developing approaches to each of these problems. Even more communities within a few years will be full Ecovillage.

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