EcoVillage Question

What is an Eco-village?
Ecovillages are formations of people who have intentionally-decided to integrate a supportive social environment with an environmentally conscious way of life. To achieve this they may explore various aspects of ecological design, permaculture, alternative energy, sustainable land use, alternative economics, and much more in planning and practice.  Often the goal is to live more softly on Earth.  Ecovillages, like colleges, are communities in their own right.  They have their own built and natural environments, populations, and complex interactions that define them.  However, they are also part of a larger community—both political and natural—that they interact with both contributing and teaching, and learning from. 

In studying the structure and history of ecovillages, we can learn much about our own communities and the positive ways in which we can change them.  By reflecting on our own community here at UVM with an inclusive frame of reference—one that considers all social, economic, and ecological aspects of life—we can begin to plan sustainably for the future. 

Why an Eco Village?  Imagine!
Imagine a world where you have a daily connection with nature; where your community governs itself and all voices are heard; and where people do favors for each other because the world works better that way.

Imagine a community that is willing to steward the land, heal its wounds, and restore its waterways.  One with protected wetlands for all the wildlife; constructed wetlands to treat storm-water; and diversified flower gardens, food-crops and elegant pathways instead of high-maintenance mono-crop lawns and concrete sidewalks.

Imagine a workspace where the February sun streams through your window and your desk is bathed in light, except in summer, when the grape vines shade your terrace; where you control the fresh air flows from outdoors; and a personal space which is not defined by concrete walls, but designed with an invitation to think, materials that are alive. Imagine a place that produces more energy than it consumes, a water system which uses fresh rainwater for showers, and a place where your mind and spirit can explore the nuances of ecological mystery in a fragrant garden.

Now imagine committing yourself for four years to a village where you actually know everyone’s name, where you are investing in your future and where you live at the same time, where academics are integrated into your environment, and where you truly are learning and living as a citizen on this Earth.  Imagine a university where through applied research and problem solving you are directly contributing to a more desirable society for yourself and generations to come.

The question is not: Why an Ecovillage?  But rather: Why not an Ecovillage? 
With the ongoing investment in housing and traditional patterns of energy, water, waste, and food systems, we are losing a huge opportunity for redesigning our environment.  When we settle for housing and buildings which are meant to compress, oppress, and deaden life forces, we lose the chance to be engaged and responsible for ourselves and our environment. 

It is time we figuratively and literally step outside the box with regard to housing and other building models, and dare to treat our minds and souls with respect.  It is time that we live in concert with nature, and integrate ecological systems into our daily lives. Finally, it is now that we need to twin an ecovillage model with the academy of higher learning.  Let us set forth a direction of inspired learning which arises out of inspired living.  Imagine a UVM community that is a truly a sustainable village!