Free eBook - From Islands To Networks

Free eBook - From Islands To Networks

From Islands To Networks: An Exploration of the History-and a Glimpse into the Future-of the Ecovillage Movement
Written by Jonathan Dawson
Coordinator and Senior Lecturer - Economics For Transition, Schumacher College

Coordinator and Senior Lecturer – Economics For Transition - See more at: https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/about/jonathan-dawson#sthash.Ca99x9ge.dpuf
Coordinator and Senior Lecturer – Economics For Transition - See more at: https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/about/jonathan-dawson#sthash.Ca99x9ge.dpuf

An Introduction:

Extraordinary shifts have been visible within the ecovillage movement worldwide over the last decade that have fundamentally transformed the identity, role and potential impact of ecovillages at this most distinctive moment in human history. In broad terms, the journey that ecovillages have undertaken is that from being  relatively isolated counter-cultural experiments offering a profoundly alternative vision and lifestyle to the cultural mainstream to that of being pioneers increasingly working in formal and informal alliance with the more progressive elements in today’s society. In short, ecovillages can no longer be described as standing outside of and in opposition to the mainstream.i The ecovillage vision, heterogeneous and disparate as it may be, is no longer alien or threatening to the wider society and the relationships enjoyed by most ecovillages with their surrounding communities have improved, often beyond recognition, over the last decade or so.

As this has happened, the many social, economic and ecological experiments that ecovillages have undertaken have spilled out of the confines of the ecovillages themselves to flavor and transform their surrounding bioregions. Dense concentrations – or ‘islands’ – of sustainability-related activities are giving way to networks of engagement in a wide array of social, economic and ecological initiatives, with ecovillages serving as nodes in the emerging bioregional networks. What happened to effect such a transformation? Interestingly, it seems to have had relatively little to do with conscious choices or increased outreach efforts made by ecovillages themselves – at least at the outset.

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