What are Ecovillages?

Cloughjordan ecovillage is a member of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) which defines an ecovillage as ‘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’. It sees them as one solution to the great problems of our times, the limits to growth and the unsustainability of our societies. It states: ‘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 (GEN website).

Ecovillages are urban or rural communities of people who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low impact way of life. To achieve this, they integrate various aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological building, green production, alternative energy, community building practices, and much more. The means by which an ecovillage grows and evolves are as follows:

Community aspects

 Recognising and relating to the needs of the local community

Sharing common resources and providing mutual aid

 Emphasising holistic and preventative health practices

 Providing work by fostering ecological business ideas

 Promoting unending education

 Fostering cultural expression

Ecological aspects

 Growing food as much as possible within the community bio-region

 Supporting organic food production

 Creating homes out of local materials where possible

 Using village based renewable energy systems

 Protecting biodiversity

 Fostering ecological business principles

 Assessing the life cycle of all products used from an ecological point of view

 Preserving clean soil, water and air through proper energy and waste management

 Protecting nature and safeguarding wilderness areas

Cultural aspects

 Shared creativity, artistic expression, cultural activities and celebrations

 Sense of community unity and mutual support

 Shared vision and agreements that emphasise the cultural heritage and the uniqueness  of each community

The European Ecovillage Network www.gen-europe.org

Building ecovillage community
Building ecovillage community