Ecovillages, Transition Towns and Living Local

Sadie Ross-4x5Sadie Ross, Director of Environmental Sustainability, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“The focus of this subtopic of sustainability is the communities in which we live, the health of those neighborhoods and cultivating a sense of place. Study in this area is about various ways that sustainable communities have been conceived and established in locations around the world.”

“Living local involves making a conscious effort to spend money at local businesses and use local services. This approach includes the local food movement. Spending money at locally owned establishments keeps money in the community in a variety of ways for the business owner and workers, but also for local services like accountants, advertisers, legal advisors, use of local banks, and other establishments. Investing locally is not only good for a stable local economy, it also maintains a sense of place and supports a greater sense of community. Sales and tax receipts finance schools, hospitals, police and emergency services, arts, transportation and open spaces. And locally owned businesses are more likely to support local non-profits that support and serve local community members.”

“The transition town movement and culture is about creating communities that are less dependent on oil. Based on a handbook written by Rob Hopkins, communities all over the world have come together to consider various ways of being more locally sustainable. This concept of creating a community that is independent of oil goes further than just getting homes and businesses off the grid, it’s about ensuring a smooth transition to a world without oil dependence through grassroots movements and developing a core community of active committee members.”

“Ecovillages are planned communities where members agree on social, environmental and economic values and practice those values as a community. They plan to live in harmony with the environment, often agreeing on alternative community resources like water, energy and sewer. These ideals have been executed in a variety of communities around the world.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site: Follow Sustainability’s board Ecovillages, Transition Towns and Living Local on Pinterest.

The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions, Winifred Gallagher

Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide, Juliana Birnbaum, Louis Fox, Paul Hawken, Erika Rand

Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, Diana Leafe Christian, Patch Adams

The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition, Michael H Shuman

Setting the Stage for Sustainabilty: A Citizen’s Handbook (Sustainable Community Development), AbeBooks – Maser, Chris; Beaton, Charles R.; Smith, Kevin M.

The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience, Rob Hopkins