Ecovillages are a manifestation of conscious human innovation and creativity: groups of people living out their principals, regenerating their environment, and increasing their sense of belonging and purpose as a community.
- Global Ecovillage Network
What is an ecovillage?
"Eco" captures the sustainable essence, and "village" captures the locally-scaled community activities. The best way to describe an ecovillage is as an intentional, off-grid human settlement guided by principles of sustainability, equity, and regeneration. Ecovillages use inclusive social governance models to make decisions, resolve conflict, and create innovative solutions. Members take an active role in everyday life. The definition of an ecovillage is rather flexible, because the focus of these communities can vary (permaculture, spirituality, art, cuisine, education, or a combination of many). An ecovillage doesn't have to be a "village", nor does it have to be in a remote place in nature. What defines an ecovillage is its sustainable design and its intentional community life.
Why do ecovillages matter?
Choosing to live in an ecovillage is walking away from the broken systems and creating an alternative model of living. With the impending climate crisis, and the crushing sense of disconnection amongst human beings, we need a more meaningful way of structuring our lives. Ecovillages embody futuristic concepts, such as renewable energy and circular economies, just as much as they embody traditional ways of life in proximity to the earth. Members of ecovillagers cultivate conscious relationships with each other, and experience the deep sense of community and belonging that we are supposed to feel. Feeling connected to earth and connected to each other is the antidote we need.
What do ecovillagers do?
Daily life highly depends on the individual ecovillage, its location, its choice of activities, and also its stage of growth. Often at the outset of ecovillages, building is the primary activity. But life can take on many forms day-to-day: doing yoga, baking bread, swimming in nearby waters, hosting workshops/events, teaching children, gardening and farming, managing income, dancing, updating ecological systems, making artisan items, meditating, maintaining facilities, and the list goes on. The activities will reflect the intentions that a particular community is founded upon.
What an ecovillage is NOT
While many ecovillages have spiritual principles, they are not religious by nature, nor is membership permanent. Guided by values like respecting the earth and living intentionally, ecovillages are progressive, not regressive.
A Single Family
A family living off-grid is not an ecovillage because it lacks the communal aspect that makes an ecovillage more resilient and more socially meaningful. Yet, many families have founded ecovillages by starting out like this.
One aspect of ecovillages is trying to be as self-sufficient as possible, which includes growing their own food. A farm or permaculture project by itself is not an ecovillage. Residence, community, and intentional living are requirements .