IMG:Layout of Munksøgaard Ecovillage

To define just what exactly an is, let’s take it straight from the horse’s mouth. One of the leaders in the movement from the earliest days is Ross Jackson, with the .

The ecovillage movement — although still in its early embryonic stage — is a global phenomenon responding to global causes. It is best understood as a part of the anti-globalisation movement. But while the more visible parts of the anti-globalisation movement protest the corporate-dominated global economic model through demonstrations in the streets and consumer boycotts and through single issues movements, ecovillagers have a different approach. They are quietly building small, sustainable communities with their limited resources, with personal commitment — walking their talk. They see ecovillages as models of how we must all live eventually, if the threat to our environment and social structures posed by corporate-led globalisation is to be taken seriously. It is a lifestyle possible for everybody on the planet.

Many politicians and others, who have observed the phenomenon, tend to classify ecovillagers as “idealists”, as if to dismiss them as irrelevant. But this reaction is flippant and quite misleading. The reality is that ecovillagers are the true “realists”, who take the threats to our way of life seriously, and are taking personal action to deal with the problem. It is our traditional politicians who are unwilling or unable to deal with the issues. They are living in a fantasy world that cannot continue for long. Their almost religious belief in unending economic growth as a solution to our problems is untenable and is simply delaying the time when serious action will have to be taken. Politicians are taking the easy way out, while ecovillagers are confronting
the problem head-on, doing the hard but necessary work with little or no support from the broader community. They are establishing the very foundation of a new culture, which society will eventually embrace, partly through necessity, but also because ecovillage living simply offers far more satisfying life conditions than the dominant Western model, as a closer
examination would demonstrate to any curious citizen.

An ecovillage is, ideally speaking, a microcosm of the macrocosm, as it represents in a very small area — typically with 50-400 people — all the elements and all the problems present in the greater society, while providing visible solutions to these problems, whether it be living sustainably, resolving conflicts peacefully, creating jobs, raising children, providing relevant education, or simply enjoying and celebrating life. Contrast this with the broader Western society, with fragmented families, separation of work and home, separation of rich and poor, crime in the streets, and living in constant fear under stress, not least because deep down we all know that the current Western life-style of exaggerated consumption and social inequity is
unsustainable and unjust on a global scale, and will come to an end sooner or later.

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