Global Ecovillage Network

From Anarchy In Action

From Peter Gelderloos, Anarchy Works:

To help proliferate ecovillages and adapt them to all regions of the globe, and to facilitate coordination between existing ecovillages, 400 delegates from 40 countries met in Findhorn, Scotland, in 1995 and established the Global Ecovillage Network.

Each ecovillage is a little different, but a few examples can provide an idea of their diversity. The Farm, in rural Tennessee, has 350 residents. Established in 1971, it contains mulch gardens, solar-heated showers, a sustainable shiitake mushroom business, straw bale houses, and a center for training people from around the world to build their own ecovillages. Old Bassaisa, in Egypt, contains a few hundred residents and has existed for thousands of years. The residents have perfected an ecological and sustainable village design from traditional methods. Old Bassaisa now contains a Future Studies center, and they are developing new sustainable technologies like a methane gas producing unit that extracts gases from cow manure to save themselves from having to use scarce firewood. They use the leftover slurry as fertilizer for their fields. Ecotop, near Dusseldorf in Germany, is an entire suburb with hundreds of residents living in several four-story apartment buildings and a few detached homes. The architecture fosters a sense of community and freedom, with a number of communal and private spaces. Between the buildings, in a sort of village center, is a multi-use courtyard/playground /pedestrian zone, as well as community gardens and an abundance of plants and trees. The buildings, which have a completely modern, urban aesthetic, were constructed with natural materials and designed with passive heating and cooling and biological on-site wastewater treatment.

Earthhaven, with about 60 residents, was founded in 1995 in North Carolina by permaculture designers. It is composed of several neighborhood clusters set in the steep Appalachian hills. Most of the land is covered in forest, but the residents recently made the difficult decision to clear some of the forest for gardens so they could come closer to food self-sufficiency rather than exporting the costs of their lifestyle by purchasing food from elsewhere. They talked about it a long time, prepared themselves spiritually, and attempted to clear the land in a respectful way. This sort of attitude, which capitalist ideology would dismiss as sentimental and inefficient, is exactly what could prevent destruction of the environment in an anarchist society.