Many are awakening more and more to a fuller awareness of the suffering and degradation of the animal kingdom, nature, and our earth. We hear their cries for healing, freedom, and renewal. As each of us in our journey of conscious living acknowledge the deep moaning of their suffering, we are compelled into action on their behalf as well as for ourselves. We are all interconnected in this web of life. If there is suffering anywhere, then we are still in our suffering, too.
Sustainable human settlements are currently evolving and providing a model and solutions to human and social needs, while at the same time working in partnership with the environment to offer an enhanced quality of life for all. An ecovillage is what many call this type of human settlement; they are also described today as Green Communities. Green communities are urban or rural communities of people who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life. In ecovillages you will find ecological building, renewable energy systems, biological waste water treatment, organic food production, sustainable economics, complementary currency and LETS (local exchange trading scheme), inclusive decision-making processes and more.
The health of our communities, our planet, and ourselves depend on how we plan, design, and construct the world between our buildings for a more sustainable future. A green community conserves its land, offers multiple options for transportation, provides open space for recreation and cultivation, and uses its natural and cultural resources wisely.
Green communities aren't a new idea.
In fact, for most of human history, "green" wasn't something special--it was simply how people lived. We arranged our days around the rising and setting of the sun and our years around the seasons. Healthy land resulted in healthy crops, which resulted in healthy people. Living in cooperation with nature wasn't a matter of choice; it was a matter of survival.
Previous generations may not have used terms like "sustainable development" or "smart growth" but they knew that healthy places had clean air, fresh water, fertile soil, and viable ways to move goods and people around.
As people invented new technologies, we changed how we live. Without the old constraints of nature, we can travel the world easily, use electricity to light up our nights and extend our days, and keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. These conveniences, however, have had consequences for our personal health--and for the health of our civic spaces and our planet. It turns out that living in cooperation with nature is still a matter of survival.
Humans, however, are still inventive and many communities are now investing in new technologies--as well as relooking at some old ideas--to create greener approaches to modern life. Earth, air, fire, and water
are the sources of our food, fuel, and shelter--people have extracted, harvested, and cultivated these resources since the beginning of time. With each new technology, we redefine our relationship with nature.
From the land we live on and build with to the soil we cultivate to the energy we extract from below the surface, sustainable planning and design begins with weighing the benefits and consequences of different uses of Earth. Air
Air is all around us and inside us; our health depends on its health. Communities are exploring a variety of ways to improve their air and take advantage of its energy-producing capabilities. Fire
The sun’s radiation is the source of all our food and fuel, which we have mined, extracted, burned or harvested throughout history. Combining innovative technologies with older strategies, we can actively harvest the sun’s fire. Water
In the face of our consistent need for clean water amid changing environmental conditions, communities today are focusing on innovative conservation and purification technologies and on new forms of hydropower.
People are looking for something like ecovillages … green communities, even if we don’t know it yet
, where we can practice a way of life most of our species yearns for on a deep level — sustainable living in human-scale community. These ideas inspire me profoundly. I hope it inspires you, too.
We are taking a look at how communities are coming together and using sustainable strategies. Maybe it’s time more and more of us update how we live in relation to our earth and "all" that we share it with. We’ll research and feature an alternative sustainable green community until we have about 6 to give us a greater awareness of how others have forged a new way to live in more harmony and peace.
Below we will add a discussion for each Green Community.
As we go on this adventure together,
Green Communities group moderators
~ Debbie and Luis
*** Note: We have not been living in any of these places, and as a result, we are not promoting nor even recommending them. We are only presenting it in the spirit of getting to know how other people are living in a spiritual community and making Mother Earth green again. With that in mind, please read how these communities are attempting to evolve new ways of relating to our earth, to each other, and to all that we share it with.