In recent years the idea of eco villages seems to be gaining traction. Communes, or communities, have been around in various guises for a long time, but as we become more aware of how the way we're living is impacting the environment, and indeed ourselves, more people are turning towards thoughts of eco living. The natural path eventually leads to the eco village, because it’s hard to really become self sufficient and less reliant on consumerism without others with similar goals around you. Community becomes essential to unhook from the system.
So with this in mind, here are three things that I feel would be important in the eco village of the future.
In order to gain freedom from reliance on the system, ironically you'll need to find a new reliance on others as a community. A community can't function without the people contributing, so a certain amount of commitment is needed. However, many also need their own space and a certain amount of control over that space. So in order for true freedom to happen a compromise between personal space and communal space would need to be reached.
There would be your own house and personal garden to work as you chose to, then there would be the common land which the community would choose between them how to use and work. There would need to be a certain amount of commitment to working the common grounds, which could seem to some like being back in the rat race, except it's work of your choosing.
Closed loop systems
One of the things often mentioned with earthships is the closed loop water systems, where nothing gets wasted and everything is utilised, from rain water harvest, to household use through to returning back to the earth for the plants which will ultimately return it to the clouds in evaporation. Nature does not create waste and everything needed for life does not need currency. Everything should be able to be cycled around in some way so as not to need a constant stream of supplies from outside the village and not to end up with a waste dump in the village. Excesses can be traded out for what is needed to come in, as things inevitably will, but this in itself is a loop.
These closed loops systems have pretty much been lost in our current way of life, where resources are harvested and discarded at the end of their useful life to never have another use. We end up with a build up of toxic waste which won't return to nature for hundreds of years, when it shouldn't be produced in the first place, if it can't be fixed, reused, refurbished, recycled or composted.
Knowledge and Skills
In our modern world we're losing a lot of hands on knowledge and skills, so I feel it's important to teach and record these skills. There's no better way to learn these skills than by doing them with the guidance of experienced people and there's no better way to store knowledge long term than in books and passed down through the generations. As we are encouraged to swap over to digital storage of information, many don't realise that data storage doesn't last more than 5 years most of the time. Then if the power goes out, everything could be lost.
Before books existed, knowledge and history was passed down through stories told and song and dance. Some indigenous tribes tell of events from teens of thousands of years ago through their dances, which have now been verified by science. This can only be done through community connections, something we're losing in the modern world and it's what the modern world is losing that is turning people towards the idea of communities and eco living.