13 Years Living in an Ecovillage

Our entire economy is based on finite fossil fuel resources and wholesale destruction of the environment in the interest of providing for an ever growing human population. Of course, most of the “wealth” created by this economic model goes to a small fraction of the human population, so essentially we are destroying our planet to make a very small segment of the human population so rich they don’t even know what to do with all their wealth. But there are some who are trying to change the way humanity interacts with the planet.

I’ve lived in a model for a more sustainable way of living in community for over 13 years now. My impact on the planet is about a tenth the impact of the average American. It’s taken a while to get set up to live this way, and living this way hasn’t been easy. It’s a struggle to try to live in a way that mostly defies everything every American has come to depend on to make their lives easier. Technology provides many sustainable alternatives to replace fossil fuel equivalents. But inevitably living sustainably requires harder work and doing things the old fashioned way. Having lived this way for 13 years, I have a story to tell. Sustainable living may be a different way of life in many unrecognizable and unimaginable ways to the average American, but the average American might not imagine any of these could be positive on a personal level. They can only imagine negatives in a life without luxuries and conveniences they have become utterly dependent on, but there are so many benefits to living this way above and beyond the direct and indirect ecological impact. It’s a holistic way of living that doesn’t just apply to reducing your environmental impact, it restores your energy and life force in many ways on a daily basis.

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3 Comments

  1. Chantelle Hobgood

    I listened to your video yesterday, and like your other videos, I loved it! I’m curious though. With such a focus on non violent communication at DR, why is there so much conflict? Why would members brow beat others into submission? It’s so puzzling to me, but maybe it will all make sense if my family and I get approved for a work exchange this year. Thank you for all the information you share!

    • Hi Chantelle, there is a focus on NVC and there is always process for dealing with conflict, but that doesn’t mean that in the heat of a meeting on an intense topic there might not still be conflict and power dynamics happening. I think that in the past when we had some founders still living here, they held a lot of sway and power and sometimes even the facilitators of meetings would be influenced by them. There were multiple meetings on a major topic for the community and I was in the minority in opposing where some major players in the community wanted the decision to go, and it was then that I felt browbeaten. I knew others who were newer at the time and felt like their opinions were brushed aside. It really doesn’t happen to me anymore, probably because the founders have moved on and I am one of the longer term members now, but there is still plenty of conflict in the community. Stronger personalities can be overpowering in some discussions, but overall I think our facilitators try to handle the conflict and lead the community through it in a way that is fair for everyone involved. I do think that differences in experience here and time invested in the community can lead some to feel like they might know better. Now that I’ve been here so long I catch myself thinking this way about newer members sometimes myself. I have to be careful, although there is no doubt that people who have been here longer might know better in some aspects of community life.

  2. Chantelle Hobgood

    Thank you for such a thoughtful response. That really sheds light on some of my questions. I hope to meet you this summer! Take care and thank you for being the change!!!

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