Daniel Greenberg, Living Routes Ecovillages, points out the differences between sustainability in academia and in living experience in ecovillages.
Daniel Greenberg, director of Living Routes (livingroutes.org) Ecovillage Education, begins the discourse on community outreach with ecovillages as the ultimate sustainability classroom. “We are at a moment in not only human history but a planetary history,” said Greenberg. Living Routes is a non-profit based out of the University of Massachusetts that provide study abroad programs in ecovillages across the world. Ecovillages have staked out the middle ground between high quality and low impact, above the “dignity floor” (ethical standard of living) and below the carrying capacity of our world.
1) Findhorn, Scotland
2)Auroville, India (40 different nations trying to build a sustainable community)
3) Kibbutz Lotan, Israel (live in the desert sustainably, building “dome”tories out of sustainable materials suitable for the environment)
4) Monteverde, Costa Rica (social and environmental justice)
6) Amazon, Peru
7) Sirius community in Massachusetts
8) Brazil (studying permaculture)
9) Australia (studying permaculture)
Global Ecovillage and Network and Gaia Education along with Living Routes are creating a network and curriculum for living sustainably. Academia is 1) conservative, 2) hierarchical, 3) competitive, 4) fragmented in knowledge (departments), 5) academic community, 6) theoretical, 7) secular, 8) large footprint, 9) problem oriented.
On the other hand, ecovillages are 1) experimental, 2) heterarchical, 3) cooperative, 4) transdiciplinary, 5) living community (transformative, “Reawakens a need that’s inherent in us,” said Greenberg), 6) applied, 7) spiritual (ask the bigger questions: what does interdependence mean?), 8) smaller footprint, 9) solution oriented.
“We have to recognize that we are coming up against an institution that is antithetical to what we are teaching in sustainability,” said Greenberg. “In ecovillages you see sustainability measures everyday. It’s not disconnected.”