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An ecovillage is a self-sustaining community aimed at developing alternative ecological, environmental and social standards. The ultimate goal of the ecovillage is to create an environment that can support itself through its own development. Think of an ecovillage as the basis for a new world, one in which people must take responsibility for their own energy sources, food and well-being.
The ecovillage is not just a pie-in-the-sky dream. It is thought by many experts to be the only way forward if the world is to continue. In the year 2000, the United Nations published a report based on findings from various United Nations agencies around the world. The Global Environment Outlook report stated that the world’s present course is unsustainable and that postponing action is no longer an option.
There is an urgent need to find real alternatives to the rapidly diminishing energy sources that we have at the moment. The ecovillage is the prototype of the community of the future. Recycling, solar energy and non-toxic materials are all used by the ecovillage as standard.
The inhabitants of the ecovillage come together under common values and guiding desires. They wish to exist in a world in which the environment is protected and the main principle is to not take away more from the earth than we can give back. Ecovillage dwellers want to enhance the quality of their lives at no cost to the earth’s environment.
The inhabitants of an ecovillage are usually a close-knit group of people with strong spiritual and social beliefs. They are there to help each other, as well as to find a model for a sustainable answer to the world’s economic and environmental problems. If the ecovillage proves to be self-sustaining, then it may provide a real answer to the world’s energy crisis.
Most ecovillages share some standard rules. They have their own local organic food production and renewable energy systems. The decision-making process is a group effort, and global networking is used to pass on new solutions and methods to other ecovillages.
Some ecovillages are stand-alone entities, but many are integrated as part of a larger community. Los Angeles has its very own two-block ecovillage neighborhood. It is an intentional community of 35 neighbors who work within the city to show the impact that the ecovillage can have.
The Cooperative Resources and Services Project (CRSP) is a 21-year-old non-profit organization that is slowly building towards a self-sustainable, greener lifestyle. It has its own ecological revolving loan fund with money coming from private lenders. The CRSP is just one of the many ecovillages emerging around the world. If they can prove that this type of lifestyle can work in the long term, then the ecovillage may become the standard instead of an ideal.