Sirius Community is among the oldest ecovillages still thriving in North America. Timber-framed buildings, permaculture gardens, and sustainability activists have nestled themselves into this woodland oasis in western Massachusetts for over thirty-five years. Although humans have been living in community since before becoming Homo sapiens, the word “ecovillage” is a recent term. According to the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN):
“An ecovillage is an intentional or traditional community using local participatory processes to holistically integrate ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability in order to regenerate social and natural environments.”
GEN emerged during the 60’s to support a growing movement of groups of people beginning to return to living in communities that seek to care for each other and the earth. Today these ecovillages are often international hubs of activism, learning, and living. Their gardens are some of the world’s most productive sustainable agriculture sites. They are experimentation centers for alternative decision-making processes and economic models. In a way, ecovillages are tiny microcosms of possible future worlds. By achieving sustainability in full-scale human living settlements they serve as powerful models for the rest of the world to learn from. Sirius Community in Massachusetts is one of thousands of these inspiring ecovillages around the global (see www.ic.org for a community directory based in North America).
This April 24-27th Sirius Community will be the location of the 2014 Youth Ecovillage Summit. An educational event, the Summit will gather together some of the most exciting activists, educators, and students launching the next wave of the ecovillage movement. The focus will be placed on learning about integrated sustainability, the ecovillage model, and how to participate this initiative. Guest speakers will include pioneers from the movement who have founded long-established communities, to millennials starting their own land-based projects. Participants will also have the opportunity to experience first-hand communal life and sustainable design, as they work and dine with the residents of Sirius Community.
The is hosted by NextGEN North America, a youth-run organization committed to empowering young people to build the more sustainable world of the next generation. Founded within GEN International, NextGEN is creating a network of Ecovillage Ambassadors and Sustainability Educators, connecting youth with the ecovillage movement.
You can visit www.nextgenna.org to learn more and to register for the Youth Ecovillage Summit before the April 14th deadline. Help us join the wisdom of the old with the energy of the new – together building the more beautiful world of the next generation.