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"Heartbeat" Ecovillage

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"Heartbeat" Ecovillage

From Ecovillages

By Diana Leafe Christian

(Nov/Dec 2009)

In April, 2009 I had the honor of traveling to the Philippines to be an instructor in the first Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) course held there. EDE courses, hosted in ecovillages and sustainability education courses worldwide, are projects of Gaia Education, a program of Global Ecovillage Network (GEN).

This first EDE in the Philippines was sponsored by Happy Earth, an environmental education organization set up by my friend Penelope Reyes, a fellow speaker at the Japanese Ecovillage Conference in 2007. (See “Eco-Heroes” in Japan in the May, 2008 issue.) Happy Earth is one of three cofounders of Pintig Ecovillage, which Penelope described at the conference. So it was a great pleasure, a year and a half later, to actually stand on the grounds of this nearly 10-acre (4-hectare) site and imagine its future.

Once developed, Pintig Ecovillage will use traditional bamboo architecture like these buildings at Center for Ecozoing Living and Learning (C.E.L.L.) in the Philippines. Pintig cofounder Penelope Reyes, left.


Director of Cabiokid Foundation Bernard Peters (left), myself (next), and Penelope (right) at Cabiokid Permaculture Center. Penelope and her partner John Vermulen (far right), are cofounders of Laughing Fish Bed & Breakfast.
Pintig (which means “heartbeat” in Tagalog), is the first ecovillage in the Philippines. It’s located in Cabio, in the province of Nueva Ecija, 90 kilometers north of Manila on the island of Luzon. The other two ecovillage cofounders are Cabiokid Foundation, a permaculture teaching center on an adjacent property in Cabiao, and the Center for Ecozoic Living and Learning (C.E.L.L), an educational center for teaching Thomas Berry’s Universe Story, located in Silang, in the province of Cavite, about 30 kilometers south of Manila.


EcoReality Ecovillage

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Welcome to EcoReality!

Kilroy was here! But also Carol and Rudy, when they put the siding on our new woodshed.

We are developing an ecovillage in the South Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. The ecovillage is working to be a model of co-operative, sustainable land habitation and land use and features public outreach and education as included goals.

EcoReality has acquired 43 acres of the former 104-acre Hughes Farm in Fulford Valley, 61 acres of which is to become community farmland. This land features large, irrigated fields, riparian areas on two year-round streams, and young forest. It backs on the Burgoyne Bay and Mill Farm public parks, which protect nearly the entire watershed of the two streams.

We are seeking members who can help us become debt-free through investment in the co-op, which at a certain level, provides habitation and building rights. People of exceptional skill with fewer financial resources are also encouraged to begin a process of involvement that may ultimately result in membership and habitation.



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O.U.R. Ecovillage LandHistory

Located on an extraordinary 25 acres near Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE began operations in 1999 with a vision to create a model demonstration sustainable village community rooted in social, ecological, and economic well being. O.U.R. Ecovillage is the host site for O.U.R Community Association, a registered nonprofit society dedicated to the promotion of sustainable community living. People from all walks of life and all ages are able to benefit from educational programs facilitated within O.U.R developing site. The idea of O.U.R. Ecovillage had its genesis in the early 1990s when a number of people lived in a cooperative household in Victoria. During this time the O.U.R. acronym (One United Resource) was created. Subsequent events can be described in seven different phases.


Phase I (March 1999) 

involved the private purchase of 25 acres of land near Shawnigan Lake in order to secure it from future development. The former owner was eventually convinced that the proposed development of a vibrant, environmentally friendly community would be a very positive use of the land, and ended up donating a third of the original asking price. A group of approximately 14 people came together as the Creation Team, taking responsibility for the ongoing design and development process of the community project.

O.U.R. Ecovillage Canada Geese

Phase II (2000-2002) 

saw the establishment of O.U.R. Community Association, a registered not-for-profit (541542). An overriding principle was established: that the project would be created “by the community, for the community and through the community” so that none of the overall project would be established for anyone’s primary personal gain — all people would be here as stewards. During this time the Cowichan Community Land Trust and the Land Conservancy of British Columbia worked to create a flora and fauna species mapping of the overall site in order to determine the most vulnerable ecological areas. Next, O.U.R. Community Association embarked on a far-reaching visioning process involving hundreds of communitarians from nearby neighbourhoods, various levels of government, people from corporate and educational backgrounds, and international visitors. This enabled O.U.R. Community Vision to be a broad representation of what folks wanted to see happen at O.U.R. Ecovillage.


Phase III (2002-2004) 

focused on creating a precedent-setting rezoning for O.U.R. Ecovillage. The “Sustainable Land Management Design” evolved concurrent with several years of permaculture design. The 25 acres were to stay intact and become a multiactivity integrated land use zone with: a) A conservation area consisting of one third of the property under a protective covenant b) Allowance for educational activities c) An organic production farm, and d) An off-grid eco-home cluster of 9 homes (in addition to the existing home currently used as a residence and Bed and Breakfast). This work with regulatory authorities brought in major support and funding from government. Eventually O.U.R. Team began working with engineering and regulatory teams in earthen construction (natural building) using alternative wastewater treatment and other innovative technologies and doing so within approved building codes.

Phase IV (2002-present)

O.U.R. Community Association develops “TOPIA: The Sustainable Learning Community Institute.” TOPIA offers a wide array of on-site sustainable living programs (e.g. natural building, organic food production, bio-fuels, community building, etc.)



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The name makes them sound new and revolutionary, part of a new movement toward sustainability and community. But in reality, this is the way humans have lived for thousands of years before we took a sharp turn toward unsustainable living. Eco-villages are glimpses to the past, to how humankind used to resonate with the natural environment. They are spreading and popping up everywhere where people are found.
Here is an alphabetical list of ecovillages from the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) website.
1. 5th dimensional eco-village (northern NM or southern CO, New Mexico, United States) Forming
2. Abeo (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) Re-Forming
3. ABRA144 Ecovillage - Amazonian Bioregional Village (Presidente Figuereido, Manaus, Brazil) Forming
5. Abundance EcoVillage (Fairfield, Iowa, United States)
6. The Alchemical Nursery Project (Syracuse, New York, United States) Forming
7. ALDEAFELIZ (San Francisco, Cundinamarca, Colombia)
8. Alderleaf Farm and Wilderness College (Monroe, Washington, United States)
9. Aldinga Arts EcoVillage (Aldinga Beach, South Australia, Australia)
10. Aleskam (684020 Razdolny Setl, Kamchatka, Russian Federation)
11. All Are Welcome: We Invite You (Olympia, Washington, United States)
12. Amazon Highlands Eco-Cooperative (Campamento Salto Yutaje) (Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas, Venezuela)
13. Amity Highlands Ecovillage Cohousing (Woodbridge, Connecticut, United States) Forming
14. Anarres Ecovillage (Northampton, England, United Kingdom) Forming
16. Andelssamfundet i Hjortshøj (DK-8530 Hjortshoj, Denmark)
17. Aquarius Nature Retreat (Vail, Arizona, United States) Re-Forming
18. Arcosanti (Cordes Lakes, Arizona, United States)
19. ASL in Veg/an Ecovillage Communities (Cottonwood area, Arizona, United States) Forming
20. Aspenwood (Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States)

The Ecovillage Movement

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“Would it be an exaggeration to claim that the emergence of the ecovillage movement is the most significant event of the 20th century? I don’t think so.”
Sociologist Ted Trainer, University of New South Wales, Australia

“In my view, ecovillages, and the larger social movements of which they are an integral part, are the most promising and important intentional community movement in all of history."

Robert Rosenthal, Professor of Philosophy, Hanover College, USA


The “most significant event of the 20th century”? The “most important intentional community movement in all of history”? Powerful words. Let us look at what is behind them.

Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)When Findhorn community in northern Scotland announced the topic for their annual autumn conference in 1995 as “Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities”, they were overwhelmed with applications from all over the world, breaking all previous records. Eventually, they had to turn away about 400 people for lack of capacity in beautiful Universal Hall. Somehow they had struck a chord that resonated far and wide. The word “ecovillage”, which was barely four years old at the time, thus became part of the language of the Cultural Creatives. It was appropriate that the first major conference was at the “planetary village” of Findhorn — founded in 1962 — because it was one of the oldest and best known of the many intentional communities around the world. After October 1995, most of them, like Findhorn, began calling themselves “ecovillages”, and a new movement was born. Following the conference, a group of about 25 people, from almost as many countries, decided to formalize the sense of a major historic event by founding the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) to link the hundreds of small projects that had sprung up around the world with a common motivation, but without having knowledge of each other. Gaia Trust, Denmark, committed on the spot to fund the network for the first five years. (1)

 A Sustainable Lifestyle

Thus was born a new lifestyle movement, which may prove to be far more significant than has been realized to date in government circles and the media, who have yet to discover what is happening all across the world. 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.


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