What is an Ecovillage?

An ecovillage is an intentional or traditional community using local participatory processes to holistically integrate ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability in order to regenerate social and natural environments.

Background

The motivation for ecovillages is the choice and commitment to reverse the gradual disintegration of supportive social/cultural structures and the upsurge of destructive environmental practices on our planet. For millenia, people have lived in communities close to nature, and with supportive social structures. Many of these communities, or "ecovillages", exist to this day and are struggling for survival. Ecovillages are now being created intentionally, so people can once more live in communities that are connected to the Earth in a way that ensures the well-being of all life-forms into the indefinite future. Ecovillages are one solution to the major problems of our time - the planet is experiencing the limits to growth, and our lives are often lacking meaningful content. According to increasing numbers of scientists, we have to learn to live sustainably if we are to survive as a species. The United nations launched its Global Environment Outlook 2000 report, based on reports from UN agencies, 850 individuals and over 30 environmental institutes, concluding that "the present course is unsustainable and postponing action is no longer an option." Ecovillages, by endeavoring for lifestyles which are "successfully continuable into the indefinite future", are living models of sustainability, and examples of how action can be taken immediately. They represent an effective, accessible way to combat the degradation of our social, ecological and spiritual environments. They show us how we can move toward sustainability in the 21st century (Agenda 21). In 1998, ecovillages were first officially named among the United Nations' top 100 listing of Best Practices, as excellent models of sustainable living.

Thematic article