& SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
What is an Ecovillage?
Robert Gilman, in his book, Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities (1991), offers this definition and explanation:
“An ecovillage is a human-scale, full-featured settlement in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.”
With the aim of creating and presenting to the world outstanding examples of what it means in live in harmony with nature in a sustainable way, GEN promotes and facilitates communities–whether rural or urban–which develop and implement technologies and practices such that human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world.
The Global Ecovillage Network is developing the concept of sustainability auditing to provide measuring rods for individuals and for existing villages and communities to compare their current status with ideal goals for ecological, social, and spiritual sustainability. In addition, these tools are learning instruments – pointing out actions aspiring individuals and communities can take to become more sustainable.
The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cooperative culture.
We believe that intentional communities are pioneers in sustainable living, personal and cultural transformation, and peaceful social evolution. “Intentional communities” include ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, income-sharing communes, student co-ops, spiritual communities, and other projects where people live together on the basis of explicit common values.
We are a whole systems immersion experience of ecovillage living, together with classes of instruction, access to information, tools and resources, and on-site and off-site consulting and outreach experiences. ETC has hosted courses in permaculture, organic certification professions, herbalology, installing solar electricity and water heating, and yurt, bamboo, cob, earthbag, roundpole, and strawbale construction, biofuels, midwifery, an annual children’s camp, and ongoing demonstrations in alternate energy, hybrid vehicles, constructed wetlands and sustainable farming. We inaugurated a student exchange program with Israeli kibbutz, Russian and Brazilian ecovillagers and a social justice program for training disadvantaged populations. We have ongoing projects in Palestine, Mexico, and Brazil that our graduates can become directly involved with.
The Ecovillage Training Center assists transition towards a sustainable society by instruction in meeting basic needs for food, shelter, energy, fuel, gainful employment, and community process and progress. It comes around to understanding the needs of Earth’s natural systems and the human role in healing and helping.
The Federation of Egalitarian Communities is a network of communal groups spread across North America. We range in size and emphasis from small agricultural homesteads to village-like communities to urban group houses.
Because we share so much, and because we are committed to a vision of community which transcends our individual groups, we have joined together to cooperate on publications, conferences, recruitment efforts, community support systems including health care, and a variety of other mutually supportive activities. Our aim is not only to help each other; we want to help more people discover the advantages of a communal alternative, and to promote the evolution of a more egalitarian world.
Cohousing communities are intentional, collaborative neighborhoods created with a little ingenuity. They bring together the value of private homes with the benefits of more sustainable living. That means residents actively participate in the design and operation of their neighborhoods, and share common facilities and good connections with neighbors. All in all, they stand as innovative and sustainable answers to today’s environmental and social problems. Welcome home.
The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) Family [of associations] organizes and educates affordable group equity co-ops and their members for the purpose of promoting a community oriented cooperative movement.
Since 1968, NASCO and its affiliates have been working with students, worker-owners, activists, and community members who are interested in applying cooperative principles to meet their needs and fulfill their various missions. NASCO provides education and technical assistance to its members and co-op organizing groups, assists its members in communicating with each other, acts to educate the public on cooperative principles and practices, and promotes the co-op movement as a whole.
The International Communal Studies Association was formed in 1985 during the international conference held at Yad Tabenkin, the Research and Documentation Centre of the Kibbutz Movement, in Israel. The conference was attended by scholars, kibbutz and commune members. The purpose of the association was to provide a common framework for a scholarly exchange of information regarding communal life; communes, intentional communities, kibbutzim and other collective communities throughout the world. The ICSA Office has been situated in Yad Tabenkin since the formation of the association.
Our Mission is to coordinate the exchange of information and resources between existing and forming intentional communities in the Pacific Northwest, facilitate communication and networking between local, regional, and national intentional communities organizations,
and ascertain and promote aims and values if intentional communities that contribute to ecological and cultural sustainability.
In the winter and summer we organize communities’ gatherings. These gatherings provide opportunities for communities to meet each other, talk about similarities and differences, and share our community experiences and learning’s with each other. The events are not designed to be promotional although community seekers are welcome and do typically attend.
Monthly Events: Since 2006 we have been sponsoring monthly educational and outreach events at various locations in the Seattle area in an attempt to respond to both perceived need and direct requests from community members (which we whole-heartedly welcome!) Some of the areas we have recently focused on include: Danish cohousing design; co-creating traditions within community; consensus building; intentional communities and the sustainability movement; group facilitation training; and the role of the elder in community.