Eden Ecovillage is the prototype for the development of a non-traditional ecovillage in the Delaware Valley - located in the North eastern United States. This platform was developed to serve as a means through which ordinary folks could learn more about this ecovillage, what it would be like to live in one and whether or not you yourself would like to be a part of Eden Ecovillage. Although still in its inception, Eden Ecovillage intends to put into practice the fundamental tenets of sustainability and dynamic governance (or sociocracy). Moreover, we welcome any and all volunteers and/or members who are interested in turning this vision into a reality. Because of the lack of such communities, particularly in the eastern United States, and because of the growing need to implement and put into practice tenets of sustainability, this group - the Eden Ecovillage - formed in order to bring into reality a community at peace and in harmony with the Natural World. We are Eden Ecovillage.
The vision of Eden Ecovillage is for the formation of a fully self-sustainable off-the-grid community in the Delaware Valley area (Southern New Jersey/Delaware/Pennsylvania). In order to accomplish this goal, the founders have opted to establish a "Community Land Cooperative." The board of directors of this organization will be charged with the responsibility of establishing a membership pool, developing a treasury, finding a location for the ecovillage and organizing the development of the ecovillage. While, the ecovillage itself would be run based upon the sociocracy model of governance abiding by an anarchistic approach to society, the non-profit itself would have to have a board of directors in order to solicit funds, maintain eligibility, apply for grants, and maintain a good standing in society. Ultimately, the aim of the Ecovillage would be to establish a community of at least 30-40 households and to hold regular Town Hall meetings to maintain the affairs of the community and expand its Eco-Sustainable Vision.
Philosophically, Ecovillages are regarded as a countercultural approach to modern day living and co-existence. Rooted in tenets of Sustainability and Localism, Ecovillages seek to combat the advancement of consumerism, commercialism, climate change and social bankruptcy through the development of localized, autonomous and self-sustainable communities. As such, Ecovillagers seek to reject the massive onslaught of the consumerist culture on the modern day human being and reintegrate laypersons back into the harmony of the Natural world. It is the "Centaur's" departure, therefore, from the Integral State or emergence of pathologies at certain fulcrums that serve as the impetus for a human being's return to the Natural World; Ecovillages seek to offer a Rite of Passage through which the Modern Man can find peace with nature and relish in the wonders of Existence. All in all, Ecovillages can be regarded as a respite for the weary soul and medium through which those worn down by modern day can finally, once and for all, Return to their Cosmic Self.
Many have attributed the formation of Ecovillages in the modern age to their tribal forefathers that were once and still - to a degree - existent in Africa, the Americas and other regions of the world. As such, Tribal communities have been in existence for a long time. However, the key distinction between Ecovillages and ancient tribal communities is that Ecovillagers are willing to embrace modernism as a trait to their communities. This includes but is not limited to the implementation of smart home technology, renewable energy technology, bitcoin and local currencies for a variety of purposes, a rideshare vehicle program, and other advancements of modern society. Having said that, there are many similarities that ancient tribal communities and modern Ecovillages have in common: Localism and a local economy, interdependence, self-reliance, permaculture and hunting game, sociocracy or dynamic governance. In this fashion, Ecovillages borrow some of the most time-tested models of co-living and co-existence and utilize such traits towards the advancement of the Modern Man. Ultimately, therefore, Ecovillages are designed to advance the human being, our culture, our society, and - at large - the human race in this awesome development process in which we are all steeped.
There are key distinctions between ecovillages and modern day society that ought to be laid out. Indeed, many of these distinctions are the reason why many folks embrace ecovillages and reject living amongst the modern layperson. Among the many traits that distinguish ecovillages from modern society are: an embrace and reliance upon permaculture, an embrace of bioregionalism and a rejection of supply-chain consumerism, the utilization of renewable resources, implementation of direct-democracy/sociocracy form of governance, concentrism, and localism.
As mentioned above, permaculture is one of the key differences between ecovillages and modern day living. As such permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people — providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Thus, permaculture offers human beings an opportunity to live harmoniously within Nature and to simultaneously harness Nature in such a fashion that its resources and bounties are not exploited, ruined or depleted but are instead part of a cycle of renewability and reusability.
In addition to permaculture, Eden Ecovillage - and ecovillages in general - embrace bioregionalism as a fundamental philosophy and way of life. In short, bioregionalism is a philosophy which advances the notion that social systems organized around natural ecosystems are more just and sustainable as opposed to social systems organized around capitalistic societies with nation-state boundaries. Without rejecting national and state boundaries, Ecovillages seek to advance ecological systems as the driving force behind commerce, culture, politics and social systems as opposed to the traditional driving forces of modern society. In other words, communities like Eden Ecovillage that are organized around and in harmony with the Natural known environment would not only do less damage to the environment and ecosystems but are also more sustainable as it pertains to cultural, social and political realms of life. Of course, this approach to life is a rejection of supply-chain economics which organizes and distributes resources , commodities, services and good throughout large geographic regions irrespective of the toll that it has on human resources, the natural environment and the labor system.
Another key trait of Ecovillages is their reliance upon and utilization of renewable resources as necessary element of their state. In direct opposition to coal and oil reliant systems, ecovillages rely on the Natural Environment (wind, solar, water, etc.) as their source of energy and dependence. Ecovillages, therefore offer humanity a path forward as it pertains to humankind's paradoxically dependent relationship on oil. This of course is one way that human kind can avoid catastrophes that have already begun to emerge as direct result of climate change and warming of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans.
From a governance stand-point, Ecovillages also contrast with modern society because of their utilization of sociocracy and/or direct democracy as the main method of governance. This, of course, is in direct contrast to many societies' reliance upon representative democracy as a means of goernance. The important distinction to draw is that in the Ecovillage format, corruption is much harder to come across because decisions are made entirely at the local level through a decision making process rather than in chambers far away from the common man and often times behind closed doors. The removal of money from the political process also prevent substantial corruption of Ecovillage politics and ensures that decisions are not made out of special interest but in the best interest of the common welfare.
Although not necessarily common among all ecovillages, many ecovillages do embrace a concentric pattern or layout with a community center or gathering space in the center of the village where ecovillagers gather to assemble. The importance of congregation and communing can not be underexpressed, therefore, as ecovillages successfully do away with social isolation, representative democracy, and other gaps in society that are all too often accentuated by the mere lack of a central gathering space where commune is possible. Furthermore, with the dissolution of many community centers throughout America, many Americans have fallen prey to social inequities that are often times resolved with cohesive communities. As such, Ecovillages seek to resolve this pressing issue by substantiating their existences in the presence of concentric designs that, therefore, allow an equivocal commune between members and residents to take place and that also drive a healthy circulation of ideas, goods, political decisions and phenomenon throughout the village.
Driven and sustained by the concentric nature of may ecovillages, localism is a principle that is not necessarily exclusive to ecovillages but one that is best put into practice through an Ecovillage. Part of that reason is because of the difficulty encountered in the average borough or town in trying to implement a local economy in light of the onslaught of mass commercialism and capitalism. Surely, there are examples of towns through American that have implemented principles of localism well but more often than not, towns throughout America succumb to the influence of big businesses and take precedence over the creation of a strong local economy and a prosperous individualism.