There are thousands upon thousands of communities around the world where people are working to regenerate our planet.
Sound surprising? When you first learn about this vast network, it can be surprising because such places receive little to no attention in mainstream media (although that is beginning to change – see here and here). You may discover there is an intentional community or permaculture project near where you are living right now. With some research, you could plan a trip to visit an established ecovillage in another part of the world. Here are some resources to help you navigate the possibilities.
So, how to find an ecovillage…
Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) – GEN estimates that there are roughly 10,000 ecovillages worldwide – communities of people striving to live sustainably in four key areas: ecology, social, economy, and culture. GEN supports on-the-ground initiatives in five global regions, each region with its own organizational chapter. Head to the regional pages to learn more: Arica, Latin America, North America, and Asia/Oceania). Or explore GEN’s global map of ecovillages at this link.
Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) – Supporting intentional community projects for over thirty years, FIC has a plethora of resources on their website. They also have an interactive map of communities with an advance search feature. So say, for instance, you want to find a vegan community in your state that has been established for five years and is open to new members. Just plop your inquiry into the advance search and out comes all the matching communities. A great research tool! Try it out here.
NuMundo (“Nuevo mundo” means “new world” in Spanish) – This team of digital nomads (hyperlink) decided to create a booking platform (like AirB-n-B) for alternative living and learning centers, what they call impact centers. An impact center is a place with regenerative land activities, overnight accommodation, and educational programs. A number of events or “experiences” are easy to book through the NuMundo website. A great site for the traveler seeking an alternative vacation experience!
Ecobasa – This directory is committed to gift economy culture. Ecobasa offers a place for the free exchange of experiences, knowledge, skills, services, and resources. You can even design your communities tour using the platform. Most of the communities listed on the website are based in Europe, so if you love the spirit of gifting and are seeking adventure in the Old World, be sure to visit this directory.
How to plan your visit…
Okay, but with so many ecovillages to choose from, how do you find the one that is right for you?
First, get clear on your intention for visiting an ecovillage.
Do you want to learn from communities so that you can start one someday? Help transition the community where you live now to sustainability? Offer volunteer work? Potentially find a new home? Seek refuge from the madness of the rat race?Do your research to find a community that best meets your needs and what you can offer. For example, on FIC’s directory you can see if a community is open to new members. On NuMundo’s platform you can search exclusively for work-exchange opportunities. Determine which geographical area you want to explore and head to that region’s page on GEN’s website.Some communities have strict guidelines for how you can visit them. For example, a community may offer an open-house once a month or only allow visitors who have signed-up for a tour or other educational program. Some communities aren’t open to visitors at all. Gaia Education offers sustainability educational programs at ecovillages around the world. If you want to join a community, be aware that many require long “courtship” periods (several months to years) for both you and the community to explore if you are a good fit for living together.
Disclaimer: There is no “perfect” ecovillage! After visiting a few communities you will notice they all have their areas of strengths and weakness. The folks at GEN are fond of saying that an ecovillage is not an outcome, it is a process… a well worthwhile process!I’m available for consulting calls if you would like to talk through the options with someone who has visited many ecovillages around the world. Let’s connect through my website: cynthiaatina.com