Reading this at the moment
Lessons For Sustainable Community
By Karen Lifton
In a world of dwindling natural resources and mounting environmental crisis, who is devising ways of living that will work for the long haul? And how can we, as individuals, make a difference?
To answer these fundamental questions, Professor Karen Litfin embarked upon a journey to many of the world’s ecovillages — intentional communities at the cutting-edge of sustainable living. From rural to urban, high tech to low tech, spiritual to secular, she discovered an under-the-radar global movement making positive and radical changes from the ground up.
Not only is another world possible, it is already being born in small pockets the world over. These micro-societies, however, are small and time is short. Fortunately — as Litfin persuasively argues — their successes can be applied to existing social structures, from the local to the global scale, providing sustainable ways of living for generations to come.
Karen Litfin, Ph.D. is a professor of political science and environmental studies at the University of Washington. In her research and teaching, Karen takes a “person/planet politics” approach, which entails integrating the intellectual, emotional, practical and contemplative dimensions of sustainability. The book traces Karen’s journey to fourteen ecovillages around the world. She shares her unique experience of sustainable living through four broad windows — ecology, economics, community, and consciousness. Her aim was not to be a cheerleader for ecovillages but to truly learn from them, to transform her own life accordingly, and to share her gleanings with people who want the information about how to transform their lives and the inspiration to do so.
“If you can’t take a year off to visit ecovillages around the world, this marvel of a book is the next best thing. It’s actually even better for the carbon it saves, the questions it asks, and the wisdom it shares. I am eager to share it with all my students and fellow teachers.”
— Joanna Macy, author of Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy
“Ecovillages offers that rarest of gifts: wisdom. It asks not simply how to address the build-up of carbon, dwindling of species, and toxification of our world, but how we can live together joyously on a single earth.”
— Paul Wapner, Professor of International Service, American University and author of Living Through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism
“Ecovillages have for many years acted as micro-laboratories for building a low carbon, post-growth society. But what can we learn from them? How much of ecovillage life is scaleable and replicable? Karen Litfin set out to find out, and her learnings and insights are invaluable. We owe her road trip and her research a great deal, there is much wisdom and treasure here!”
— Rob Hopkins, author of The Transition Handbook