The ultimate destination of our movement
Since 2014 we’ve had a Meetup called “EcoVillage New Jersey” (EVNJ). It had gathered monthly before the pandemic intervened. The Meetup has about 700 members. We had quite a bit of interest, but we never got to the point of accumulating enough resources to buy a plot of land for our intended ecovillage. Land in New Jersey is terribly expensive! Maybe one of these days an angel with deep pockets will come along saying their dream is to see an intentional community built in the New York-to-Philadelphia metropolitan area and they’ll hand over a check for ten mil. Or maybe one of these days a really talented fundraiser will appear and inspire our lowly members to hock all their assets and pour money into the EVNJ coffers. Unlikely. I marvel at the cohousing and ecovillage communities that manage to get built without the backing of institutional funding.
Anyway, the EVNJ project has been on hiatus for a while, but some of its members have gotten interested in a kind-of-related study group that will launch next month. The following was a communique sent out yesterday:
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In the New York Times Sunday a group of young people including Greta Thunberg published a plea:
Last week, some of the world’s leading climate change scientists confirmed that humans are making irreversible changes to our planet and extreme weather will only become more severe. This news is a “code red for humanity,” said the United Nations secretary general. It is — but young people like us have been sounding this alarm for years . . . The scientists have made it clear that the time is now. We must act urgently to avoid the worst possible consequences.
There are multiple aspects to our ecovillage interest. Many people are seeking a better, more rewarding, lifestyle, having in mind the benefits of community support and the simplification (and cost savings) of living more lightly. These are important considerations. Modern society tends to be stressful, both on people and the planet! Alleviating the isolation and complexity — and the alienation from nature — is probably the biggest factor drawing people toward the ecovillage projects that have been springing up worldwide.
But another factor is a commitment to addressing the challenge that Greta and so many others say has become critical in our time. Not just individual lifestyles, but human lifeways in general, need to be transformed. They must become sustainable — both ecologically and socially.
So there is another dimension to the idea of ecovillage living. Some of us view it as an aspect of a broad and deep movement for fundamental change. Perhaps networks of ecovillages will become the basis of a transition that ultimately leads in the direction of a bioregionalist society.
The how and the why, the vision and the praxis, will be the subject of the new Meetup that will be starting on September 12:
It will be in-person. We’ll figure to meet outside on my patio if the weather is conducive. It will, at first, primarily be a study-group that gathers monthly. But hopefully, after a period of studying and discussing, we’ll start to think about how we can contribute toward the deep green movement that Greta says is so imperative if humanity — and the whole community of life of which we are a part — are going to have a viable future.
Bioregionalism may be the ultimate destination of that movement.