Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Alternative Living – Eco-Village…

February 10, 2016
mandyevebarnett


Ecovillages are another type of intentional community. The goal of its inhabitants is to be more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. The usual number of residents is between 50 and 150 individuals, although some are smaller. Networks of ecovillages can increase the number substantially – up to 2,000 individuals in some cases. This networking can include individuals, families, or other small groups that settle on the periphery of the ecovillage and then effectively participate in the ecovillage community.

SiebenSieben Linden Ecovillage

The base belief for all ecovillage residents is to find alternatives to ecologically destructive systems commonly used by the majority of the population, such as electric, water, transport and waste treatment. Their mandate is to break away from wasteful consumerism, natural habitat destruction, urban sprawl, factory farming and reliance on fossil fuels. In addition there is a return to traditional community living, leading to a richer and more fulfilling way of life. With the model being small scale communities the ecological impact is minimal.

The term ecovillage was first mention by Professor George Ramsay when he described the small-scale, car-free, close-in development, which included suburban infill as a “self-sufficient pedestrian solar village” in 1978.

FindhornAn eco-house at Findhorn Ecovillage with a turf roof and solar panels.

 

These villages have developed from the communities characterized by communes in the 1960’s and 1970’s through to the co-housing in the 1980’s onto a more ecological and community themed existence.

The ecovillage movement has expanded globally since the conference in Scotland in 1995 with the formation of the Global Ecovillage Network, which now links hundreds of small groups that previously had no knowledge of each other. Today there are ecovillages in 70 countries on six continents. The mandate is to attract mainstream culture in building sustainable developments, such as Living Villages and The Wintles where eco-houses allow maximum social connection with the added benefit of shared food growing areas and woodland and animal husbandry. Encouragement is given to reduce energy use, create sustainable local businesses, localize farming and create environmentally minded communities.

Tallebudgera Mountain and vegetable garden at the Currumbin Ecovillage in Queensland.

Ecovillage residents respect their environment and grow the bulk of their food organically, use local materials for building, protect biodiversity, maintain growing seasons and protect local water, soil and air quality. Income is typically generated from the retail sales of products and services.

 

Five ecovillage principles from Ecovillages: New Frontiers for Sustainability:

  1. They are not government-sponsored projects, but grassroots initiatives.
  2. Their residents value and practice community living.
  3. Their residents are not overly dependent on government, corporate or other centralized sources for water, food, shelter, power and other basic necessities. Rather, they attempt to provide these resources themselves.
  4. Their residents have a strong sense of shared values, often characterized in spiritual terms.
  5. They often serve as research and demonstration sites, offering educational experiences for others.

ecovillage

Would this kind of community appeal to you?

Humans Don’t Acclimatize, They Destroy…

November 25, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Acclimatize – definition: to adapt oneself to one’s surroundings, environment, or climate

Most of us are familiar with how animal species have adapted to their environments. As a David Attenborough fan, I have watched numerous programs where he has shown these in glorious color. I will not go into the hundreds of adaptations here but this link is a great source of information, if you are interested. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/adaptations

-evolution-of-humans

It is the adaptations of the human species, which concerns me. Earlier civilizations lived with their surroundings and maintained the natural balance. As humans developed and formed larger and larger groups, this changed and we began manipulating our surroundings to suit us. Areas of the planet previously uninhabited due to the climate or conditions were invaded and structures built to accommodate. Resources were, and still are, ravaged. Vast areas of the planet are now under concrete and this ‘invasion’ is still going on.

Humans adapt their environment in any way they can. From the sewing of furs, inventing shoes, discovering how to shear sheep to make wool for weaving clothing, taming fire, domesticating animals, and inventing agriculture, there has been an explosion of adaptations. Also housing became more and more sophisticated from caves to mud huts to brick buildings and wooden structures with insulation. Another discovery was herbs and how they could be used either for culinary or medicinal uses, and which were poisonous. Tools have developed and improved from split rocks with sharp edges to battery powered tools for every aspect of building. Yes, we are a ‘clever’ animal but at what cost?

Unfortunately, this behavior is continuing even though there is scientific proof that human impact on the planet and its inhabitants is destroying the only ‘home’ we have. Obviously, we can not unlearn our inventions and expectations for ourselves – everyone wants a nice home to live in and easy access to food and clothing.

What is the answer? That is the billion dollar question!

Will the Earth Become Defunct..? I Hope Not…

April 25, 2013
mandyevebarnett


David Attenborough 1

David Attenborough 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Defunct – definition: having finished the course of life or existence : dead, extinct

I was brought up to enjoy the natural world around me. My parents would take us on long walks pointing out and naming the trees, grasses, plants and the animals and birds we encountered. I have passed down to my children this love of nature. My daughter in particular is an animal whisperer – no matter what the living organism is, it becomes calm and peaceful with her touch. Many a time she has picked up a squirming bug, which has almost instantaneously become still. I have no idea why it happens but for all of her 17 years she has been this way. As a baby crawling on the lawn she would pick up beetles and spiders. I would cringe thinking it would be crushed but she never killed any of these little creatures. She most surely has the touch!

There have been, and are, numerous naturalists and presenters with shows on TV. Each have their own particular style and interest but for me the most endearing and informative is David Attenborough.  I have grown up listening to him describe a multitude of animals and plants. His dulcet tones whispering over the images we view with complete wonder, are something that will stay with me forever. He is a hero of mine.

David Attenborough 60 years  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2223147/David-Attenborough-celebrates-Diamond-Jubilee-new-BBC-series-60-Years-In-The-Wild.html

It was with sadness that I realized after watching Sir David’s celebration broadcast, that in his 60 years, a great many flora and fauna have become extinct. That is unforgivable when in millennia without human destruction, the numbers were nominal.

This link gives us an idea of the losses: http://www.endangeredspeciesinternational.org/overview1.html

Destroying our environment and that of our fellow animals will have only one result – no where to go! We don’t have another Earth to inhabit.

Image converted using ifftoany

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