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Finding Community (PDF)
How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community
Finding community is as critical as obtaining food and shelter, since the need to belong is what makes us human. The isolation and loneliness of modern life have led many people to search for deeper connection, which has resulted in a renewed interest in intentional communities. These intentional communities or ecovillages are an appealing choice for like-minded people who seek to create a family-oriented and ecologically sustainable lifestyle-a lifestyle they are unlikely to find anywhere else.
However, the notion of an intentional community can still be a tremendous leap for some-deterred perhaps by a misguided vision of eking out a hardscrabble existence with little reward. In fact, successful ecovillages thrive because of the combined skills and resources of their members.
Finding Community presents a thorough overview of ecovillages and intentional communities and offers solid advice on how to research thoroughly, visit thoughtfully, evaluate intelligently and join gracefully. Useful considerations include:
- important questions to ask (of members and of yourself)
- signs of a healthy (and not-so-healthy) community
- cost of joining (and staying)
- common blunders to avoid.
Finding Community provides intriguing possibilities to readers who are seeking a more cooperative, sustainable and meaningful life.
Diana Leafe Christian is the author of Creating a Life Together and editor of Communities magazine. She lives at Earthhaven Ecovillage in North Carolina.
"Open-hearted and hard-headed in equal measure—and with a delicious sense of humor —Diana Leafe Christian takes the reader on a comprehensive tour of the world of ecovillages and intentional communities.This is the volume for those exploring the options and willing to learn from those who have already trodden the path.There could be no better guide on the path of exploring this lifestyle."
Jonathan Dawson, president,Global Ecovillage Network; author, Ecovillages: New Frontiers for Sustainability
"When you combine encyclopedic knowledge plus wry humor plus a realistic assessment of what the future holds for all of us, you get the wise advice in Finding Community. In a world after fossil fuels, it can extend the keys to your next car, your next house, and the rest of your life. If there is a silver lining to the clouds on the horizon, it will be found in the redesign of human communities.No one knows this subject better than Diana Leafe Christian.To a troubled world, here is the core of the solution."
Albert Bates, co-founder,Global Ecovillage Network;author, The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook
"Through long experience and sheer social honesty, Diana Leafe Christian offers essential resources for and catalogs the oh-so-many pitfalls as well as delights of visiting and joining a community. Finding Community is like having an explorer's compass and a roll of charts under your arm as you embark upon unknown waters.All the more important to learn these essentials before you're out at sea."
Richard Register, author, Ecocities: Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature ; president, Ecocity Builders; founder, International Ecocity Conferences
"Diana Leafe Christian has done it again! Her First book, Creating a Life Together, has become something of a bible for would-be community founders. Finding Community promises to be just as important.Thoughtful, thorough, and engaging, and enlivened by stories from the trenches of real community life, it's a must-read for anyone seriously seeking community."
Liz Walker, author, EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture ; cofounder and director,EcoVillage at Ithaca
"This charming and commonsensical guide to approaching intentional group living should be read by every serious community-seeker. It offers an amazingly knowledgeable perspective, warmly sympathetic but sometimes wryly humorous toward both communities and those who visit and join them."
Ernest Callenbach, author, Ecotopia
"An amazing, comprehensive, collaborative and kaleidoscopic achievement! By showing community seekers practical living examples of cohousing projects, ecovillages,and other intentional communities, Finding Community has the potential to change the suburban way of life and help North America reconcile its ecological footprint."
Professor Declan Kennedy, architect, and member of Lebensgarten Ecovillage,Germany
"This stunning overview of ecovillages and intentional communities is not only a terrific read, but abounds with essential, profoundly important information for anyone seeking more community and a sense of belonging in their lives."
Joan Medlicott, author, The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love series and The Three Mrs. Parkers
"Finding Community is full of wisdom and "Convenient Truths" for anyone wanting to join an ecovillage or intentional community, and packed with advice for ecovillages and communities wanting new members, too."
Max Lindegger, cofounder,Crystal Waters Ecovillage,Queensland,Australia; director,Global Ecovillage Network Asia/Oceania
"Heartwarming and fun, Finding Community will help readers make informed choices about joining a community.Diana Leafe Christian knows what people want."
Hildur Jackson, cofounder,Global Ecovillage Network (GEN);co-editor, Ecovillage Living: Restoring the Earth and Her People
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Weaving Community through Collaborative Eco-Art
Dissimulating the Sustainable City