Earthaven Ecovillage

7 July 2012. Trees and bushes brushed against the Love Bus as it approached Earthaven Ecovillage. Traveling along gravel roads, we arrived at a culdesac, where over a dozen hand painted mail boxes stood. It was hot and humid out and Joel, Brittney, and I had arrived just in time to meet our tour group.

Nestled in Black Moutain, North Carolina, since 1995, Earthaven has existed as an Eco-Village. Like a sustainable community or a commune, these places are popularly known today as Intentional Communities. From the website, www.earthaven.org, Earthaven describes their unique mission to, “Create a village which is a living laboratory and educational seed bank for a sustainable human future.” This mission is an important aspect of its members, whom participate in its governance.

During our time at Earthaven, Joel, Brittney, and I helped to prepare dinner with Patricia Allison, a Perma-culture specialist. Her knowledge of Perma-culture and sustainable living are integrated so thoroughly, wherein an interview, she discusses the element of culture with-in the term Perma-culture. She describes how, “Cutlure is the key word here. We are building a culture that leads us to want to be sustainable, and one of the key features to a sustainable culture is, ‘Am myself empowered? Do I know myself to be an important part to this culture?'”

Joel, Brittney, and Patricia Allison prepare dinner at Earthaven, North Carolina.

Governance at Earthaven is different than mainstream governance. At Earthaven, the “Consensus decision making process is a way of helping every person to know their importance in the whole,” and Earthaven members are empowered by this process. It is different from a Democracy, where the majority rules, and the minority rights are maintained. Government at Earthaven is considered to be more a guiding force that helps to align its day to day tactics with its greater mission, rather than assert it’s dominance over the decision making process.

Council Hall at Earthaven.

When conflict happens, the difference of opinions between its members is considered valuable. In ideal surroundings, consensus happens within a safe environment that is key for the conflict to be examined. At Earthaven, Council Hall exists for these purposes. The affect of this in consensus making is that successful proposals which spring up become stronger than before.

Stairs lead one through the eccentric pathways that connect Earthaven buildings and other areas.

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