The website ecovillageroad.eu is a tool to gather valuable knowledge created by the ecovillage movement around the Baltic Sea and to make it accessible to a broader public. By Jesus Pacheco, Suderbyn Ecovillage, Sweden.
“Human-scale, full-featured settlement in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.”
The above quote is a widely used definition of an eco-village, by Robert Gilman. ”Full-featured settlement” means one where all the major functions of normal living such as: residence, food provision, manufacturing, leisure, social life, and commerce are present and in balance. While ecovillages strive to be self-sufficient, at the same time they do not aim to isolate themselves from the surrounding community.
In fact, it is the opposite: a settlement must be integrated into the neighbouring area and foster strong social links and commercial interactions with local people. So, in order to become full-featured, it is necessary to develop significant economic activity.
An ecovillage needs to create jobs within it so that there are employed people living and working in the ecovillage; others ecovillagers can go outside the village to work; and people who reside outside the village can also hold jobs inside.
It sounds simple, but an ecovillage society created entirely by the villagers themselves has the capacity to grow so complex as to put stress on relationships within the ecovillage community. To prevent this situation, and to ensure continuing harmony and balance between community members, ecovillages need to use appropriate social tools.
Different methods can be used to achieve and maintain a situation of harmony and balance, but it is also evident that digital tools can be beneficial for ecovillage community development. This is especially so for fostering co-operation between ecovillages and with mainstream society.
The Ecovillage Road is a good example of such a tool and one of the more important initiatives of the Ecovillages Project (http://www.balticecovillages.eu/ ).
The website www.ecovillageroad.eu aims to gather valuable knowledge created by the ecovillage movement around the Baltic Sea region and make it accessible to the broader public. The activities of the informal network will be accessible on the Ecovillage Road website, where ecovillages and related projects can offer their knowledge, services and products for the general public and each other.
There are many benefits offered by the Ecovillage Road membership:
The sharing of knowledge about eco-lifestyle ideas, including the possibility for teaching and learning.
Creating new relationships with others who share the same values and are involved in similar projects.
The possibility to share your knowledge and experiences with the broader public through a well-structured portal for eco-services.
Free access to an international e-commerce platform dealing with eco-services and eco-products.
To unite and strengthen the ecovillage movement in the Baltic Sea Region, which in turn could help to develop a ecovillage, both spiritually and economically.
If you are an ecovillage or eco-project or you have valuable ecovillage-related ideas, services or products to offer to the broader public, we invite you to use the possibility and join Ecovillage Road!
(Original article published in BEN newsletter at 30th August 2013)