Published on March 1st, 2009 | by zshahan2
First Ecovillage in the Netherlands
The ‘Ecovillage’ movement is not new, but, along with many other green ideas, it is growing steadily these days.
Ecovillages come in different varieties, but they hold a few basic characteristics in common. They try to combine great ecological sensibility and responsibility with innovative social environments that are supportive and fair. Different communities use or establish different systems of governance, but they tend to stand apart from the larger societies in some clear ways, whether it be their own system of rules or laws or just a very clearly defined sense of community.
Many such societies also address spirituality or religion to some degree or another, but it is not the case in all places. Ecovillages vary from one to another and it is up to the people who live there (and especially founding members) to bring different issues and ideas to the forefront of their community.
The first ecovillage is not yet in existence in the Netherlands, but recent news from an international ecovillage network shows some strong progress. The article linked above also makes it clear that there is currently a supportive framework and good opportunities for other such projects in the Netherlands.
It is noble to try to change our habits and lifestyles to be more green in whatever situation we are in, but there is great help in being surrounded by people trying to do the same. I lived in an ecovillage in Ithaca (NY) for several months as a Sociology/Environmental Studies intern in college and was shown the great ecological benefits of such communities. The experience was also transformative in other respects. Look into the arriving possibilities wherever you are, or start your own!