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Strategies

Ecovillages are one solution to the major problems of our time - the planet is experiencing the limits to growth, and our lives are often lacking meaningful content. According to increasing numbers of scientists, we have to learn to live sustain ably if we are to survive as a species. The United Nations launched its Global Environment Outlook 2000 report, based on reports from UN agencies, 850 individuals and over 30 environmental institutes, concluding that "the present course is unsustainable and postponing action is no longer an option."

Ecovillages, by endeavoring for lifestyles which are "successfully continuable into the indefinite future", are living models of sustainability, and examples of how action can be taken immediately. They represent an effective, accessible way to combat the degradation of our social, ecological and spiritual environments. They show us how we can move toward sustainability in the 21st century (Agenda 21).

In 1998, ecovillages were first officially named among the United Nations' top 100 listing of Best Practices, as excellent models of sustainable living.

In the face of climate change and resource depletion, a network that builds bridges between North and South in a spirit of true collaboration, trust and mutual respect deserves special attention. The shared values and goals of those participating have established a peaceful and purposeful multicultural camaraderie that transcends socio-economic barriers and political boundaries, cherishes diversity, and focuses on action. In less than two decades, a worldwide movement has grown and contributed toward the cultural change needed for a viable, sustainable human and planetary future.

Ecovillage principles can be applied in urban and rural settings and in industrialized and non-industrialized countries. From supporting indigenous societies to retain sustainability in the face of modernization, to retrofitting long existing communities, to establishing new communities that embrace sustainability in their core values - the motivation for ecovillages is the choice and commitment to reverse the gradual disintegration of supportive social/cultural structures and acceleration of destructive environmental practices on the planet.

The ecovillage networks have offer practical examples, resources, education, and support to advance the evolution of holistic, integrated, sustainable living systems at the grassroots level. In this process, the national, economic, political and cultural differences fall away to a great extent, and a tremendous camaraderie and sense of “oneness” develops. There are inherently many cross-cultural challenges, conflicts, obstacles and pitfalls involved in working trans-culturally in the transition to sustainable living. However, one of the underpinnings and strengths of the network is that it proactively addresses adversity and diversity as a great opportunity to build understanding, tolerance and equality through working toward common goals.

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