Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community
Diana Leafe Christian
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Finding community is as critical as obtaining food and shelter, since the need to belong is what makes us human. The isolation and loneliness of modern life have led many people to search for deeper connection, which has resulted in a renewed interest in intentional communities. These intentional communities or ecovillages are an appealing choice for like-minded people who seek to create a family-oriented and ecologically sustainable lifestyle—a lifestyle they are unlikely to find anywhere else.
However, the notion of an intentional community can still be a tremendous leap for some—deterred perhaps by a misguided vision of eking out a hardscrabble existence with little reward. In fact, successful ecovillages thrive because of the combined skills and resources of their members.
Finding Community presents a thorough overview of ecovillages and intentional communities and offers solid advice on how to research thoroughly, visit thoughtfully, evaluate intelligently, and join gracefully. Useful considerations include:
• Important questions to ask (of members and of yourself)
• Signs of a healthy (and not-so-healthy) community
• Cost of joining (and staying)
• Common blunders to avoid
Finding Community provides intriguing possibilities to readers who are seeking a more cooperative, sustainable, and meaningful life.
Diana Leafe Christian is the author of Creating a Life Together and editor of Communities magazine. She lives at Earthhaven Ecovillage in North Carolina.
the mid-1980s. “There is strong scientiŠc evidence of the connection between community and healing,” writes Blair Vovoydic, M.D., in Communities magazine. “Of all the many inšuences on our health, interpersonal relationships are not only a factor, but increasingly are being recognized as the most crucial factor. One study showed that people who said WHY COMMUNITY? 7 they did not have anybody that could help them out if they were sick or broke had three times the risk or premature death from
Education. Global Ecovillage Networksponsored and United Nations-affiliated handson courses and workshops held onsite in “living and learning centers” in ecovillages worldwide, according to a curriculum worked out by a consortium of 12 leading ecovillage founders and educators from ecovillages in Europe, Australia, and South and North America. gaiaeducation.org • Gaia University. Courses and workshops in ecological sustainability and other topics, held in ecovillages in North America and Europe.
necessity). “Stone Soup is an urban intentional community of three co-op houses dedicated to joy and justice,”says Stone Soup Co-operative in Chicago. “Our members are organizers, teachers, social workers, students, artists, and others doing creative work for social change. We support each other’s commitment to social justice with a caring, creative, and fun living environment.” “Our mission is to provide affordable cooperative housing for a diverse membership through cooperatively owned
clean up after themselves in ways you expect, or who seem terminally wrong-headed about most things most of the time.This takes patience! And patience takes energy. A person can end up feeling drained by the simple act of extending patience and tolerance to someone whose actions they’d normally want to just get away from. But in community you can’t get away — these folks are still your fellow community members the next day. Then there are the people who want to explore difŠcult interpersonal
in this foreword, I should perhaps proactively answer a question that has likely crossed the minds of a few readers: If I see the need for intentional communities today, and have had the experience of living in them, why I am not pursuing that path currently? My personal strategy, at this stage in life, is to try to maximize the survival prospects for communities by making the inevitable collapse of fossil fuel-based industrial society a manageable one. I do not expect that national or municipal