Sustainable Living


A High-Performance Building for Cohousing: From Vision to Move-In

Posted on July 13, 2018 by
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So you want to design, build, and live in community in the most ecologically positive building that can be built? After a decade-long pursuit of that goal, a co-creator of Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing recounts lessons learned along the way.


Good Neighbours with Earth: Using natural building materials in community-scale construction

Posted on June 29, 2018 by
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Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood offers their mistakes, successes, and learnings in the hope of encouraging the wider use of natural building materials and systems in cohousing projects.


Eco-Building at the Ecovillage (I Have Built a Home)

Posted on June 22, 2018 by
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At Earthaven Ecovillage, the experience of planning, building, working with others, and living in the sensual, earthy “Leela”—part temple, part hideaway—proves to be a dream come true.


Building with Respect

Posted on June 15, 2018 by
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Green building could be our salvation or hasten our destruction, depending on what we pursue and how. Here are a dozen suggestions to make the former more likely.


Ionia’s Barn Project: Where Community and Natural Building Meet

Posted on June 8, 2018 by
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At this cooperative ecovillage, the barn is magical, a space that will make a liberating special meeting area, meditation nook, reading loft, and more…once, after nine long years of building, it is done.


Building in an Ecovillage: Lessons Learned

Posted on June 1, 2018 by
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Yes, you can build your own house; you don’t have to do it alone; you don’t have to do it all…and 18 more tips from a professional builder who learned his trade at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.


Harmonious Homemade Habitat

Posted on May 30, 2018 by
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Having built the strawbale house of her dreams, a Tolstoy Farm resident encourages others to use natural building and eco-materials to construct durable, nontoxic, low-impact, energy-efficient, and creative structures.


Building Collectively Is Greener, Easier, and Cheaper

Posted on May 28, 2018 by
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Eco-building in community offers both opportunities and challenges, benefits and potential drawbacks, as compared to doing it alone.


Adventures of the Mini Moon: Realities of building your own earthen house with reused materials and volunteer labor

Posted on May 26, 2018 by
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Becoming a general contractor for a project way beyond one’s abilities can be a powerful, humbling, community-building learning adventure, especially when the house is made of horse manure.


Eco-Building, #179 Contents and Free/By Donation Digital Download

Posted on May 24, 2018 by
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For reasons both practical and ideological, intentional community has long been a hotbed of eco-building activity. In Communities’ “Eco-Building” issue (Summer 2018, #179), authors share their eco-building journeys, ranging from nearly-free stick-framed shelters to high-end green developments. They examine how to assess whether a building is actually “eco,” hard choices they’ve needed to make, the benefits and challenges of taking on eco-building projects in community, or of retrofitting vs. building new, and much more. Once again, the issue is available via free/by donation digital download at ic.org/communities.


Moving Beyond Diversity Towards Collective Liberation: Weaving the Communities Movement into Intersectional Justice Struggles

Posted on March 8, 2018 by
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The co-organizer of the People of Color Sustainable Housing Network shares strategies for deepening your community’s work on issues of race, class, and privilege.


Green and Resilient Neighborhoods: Portland, Oregon and Beyond

Posted on January 11, 2018 by
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Columbia Ecovillage, Cully Grove Garden Community, Kailash Ecovillage, River Road Neighborhood, and elsewhere embody diverse, promising approaches to re-greening our lives.


Compact Community at Maitreya EcoVillage in Eugene, Oregon

Posted on January 1, 2018 by
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Urban development needs sufficient density to support functional public transit, bicycling, and walking—while also staying beautiful, fun, green, and rich with community.


Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage: A 13-Year-Old Retrofit Ecovillage in Cincinnati, Ohio

Posted on December 21, 2017 by
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While it involves inevitable struggles, this replicable model both forms community and provides an ecological framework for living in the city.


Life Lessons for Community Longevity

Posted on November 1, 2017 by
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The founder of Bellyacres Artistic Ecovillage profers advice inspired by the nearly three decades he was immersed in the experiment.


Variations on a Theme: Low-Carbon Communities of All Sorts

Posted on May 1, 2017 by
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Three innovative non-residential groups use community as a tool to address climate change.


Affordable, Developer-Driven Ecovillages: Meeting an Unmet Need

Posted on April 21, 2017 by
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A replicable ecovillage model is our best hope for achieving essential, global-scale changes.


Soil, Communities, and Climate Change: An Interview with Nikki Silvestri

Posted on April 11, 2017 by
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As a climate solutions advocate explains, carbon is not a bad thing; it’s often just in the wrong places right now.


The Question I Get Asked the Most

Posted on April 1, 2017 by
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“What can I do?” It’s the right question—almost.


Addressing Climate Change: Two Generations at Heart-Culture Farm Community

Posted on March 21, 2017 by
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For the next generation, planting trees, growing food, and living in community are only the start.


Local Solutions to Global Warming: Paying for Our Carbon Meal

Posted on March 11, 2017 by
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Compared to carbon offsetting, carbon onsetting may be a more effective strategy to build sustainability.


Living Energy Farm: An Answer for Climate Change

Posted on March 1, 2017 by
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A fossil-fuel-free community empowers its members to dramatically reduce their dependence on the corporate economy.


Climate Crisis, Dystopia, and Community

Posted on February 25, 2017 by
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From the personal to the global, with hard times undeniable, community may be our life-support.


Communities and Climate Change, #174 Contents

Posted on February 20, 2017 by
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Our Spring issue examines how intentional communities and other groups are responding to the challenges presented by climate change. Through stories from more than a dozen diverse communities, we learn about steps being taken both to mitigate the intensity of climate disruption and to adapt to its effects. Innovative approaches include carbon onsetting, biochar production and use, personal/spiritual work, strategies for fossil-fuel-freedom, and more.


Ecosexuality: Embracing a Force of Nature

Posted on January 1, 2017 by
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Only when we create a container that is loving enough and strong enough to embrace the erotic, do we create a container that is loving enough and strong enough to embrace all of Life itself.


Social Permaculture: Applying the Principles

Posted on December 11, 2016 by
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Permaculture’s 12 principles apply to human groups just as much as to any other ecological system.


Social Permaculture—What Is It?

Posted on December 1, 2016 by
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Ecological relationships are relatively easy to deal with. Human relationships are often much more difficult, but we can design social structures that favor beneficial patterns of behavior.


Not Rocket Science, but Just as Important

Posted on November 25, 2016 by
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The arts of cooperative living—supported tirelessly by the cash-strapped FIC, and worthy now more than ever of financial support—will be as essential as technical skills if our species is to survive on this planet or any other.


Social Permaculture, and Public vs. Private, #173 Contents

Posted on November 21, 2016 by
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Our Winter issue explores both Social Permaculture and the interface of Public and Private in intentional community. Starhawk and her colleagues share wisdom from the cutting edge of social permaculture practice, while diverse communitarians discuss how they find balance between the collective and the individual, openness and self-protection, outer-world activism and internal focus. We also learn about Sociocracy missteps, legal structures that help groups put their best feet forward (or not), and more.