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Monday, 18 February 2013

Ecovillages Popping Up Like Mushrooms

Source: ecohouseagent

The concept of ecovillages began in the 60s and 70s when cohousing and eco-communities became increasingly popular. Recently, these communities have seen a huge revival, driven by the economic crisis and a desire to live closer to nature in a more sustainable way.

One of the main goals of an ecovillage is to produce as little waste as possible or to make sure it is renewable.  Compostable toilets are used instead of sewers, eco-villagers use biodegradable soap and avoid buying products with disposable packaging.

Electricity is generated by small windmills, water mills and solar panels.  Gas is extracted from biomass while fires from local wood generates heat.  Water often comes from local sources and food is grown in permaculture gardens.  Residents live in yurts, dome tents, earthships, straw bale houses and wooden buildings.

As in a traditional community, many residents have their own specialties as farmers, builders or bakers.  Typically these communities are closely built-up and arguably collaborate more than traditional communities.  When, for example, someone wants to build a house, they search locally for a builder who then leads a team of other collaborators.  This work is not remunerated in the traditional sense but the house-building effort is taken into account and the new owner will try to return the favour depending on their skills and specialities.

Another phenomenon developing in the ecovillage world is eco-tourism.  People come from all over to help out with ongoing work in the ecovillages.  In return, they are given food and a place to stay.  It is a low-cost way to travel and have an active vacation in the outdoors.

The ecovillage way of living is seen as a solution for many to the ongoing issues of global pollution and the economic crisis.  

Blog by Reiner Wils


  1. Any good links to eco-village sites (in Belgium or beyond) for more info? Thanks

    1. Hi Nicholas, you can find more information at http://gen.ecovillage.org/

  2. Reiner. Thanks for that link. I will bookmark it nd follow it up. As I mentioned when we met last week a year ago I went to re-visit an organic community that I lived in thirty years ago. They weren't called Eco-villages then but the idea was similar. Here's a record of that visit. http://theexpat-files.blogspot.be/2012/05/back-to-roots.html