About This Issue

One of the articles in Living Together (IC#29)
Originally published in Summer 1991 on page 1
Copyright (c)1991, 1996 by Context Institute


Is "sustainable community" possible? Can we live together – with each other, and with the Earth – in ways that can continue to develop indefinitely, leading neither to ecological collapse nor social conflagration?

The contributors to this issue believe the answer is a resounding "Yes!" – and they’re proving it. Some are engaged in creating a new form of post-industrial, high-tech human settlement known as the "eco-village." Others, meanwhile, have been living in intimate harmony with nature – and each other – for millenia, and intend to continue doing so.

In this issue, for example, we learn about:

  • Borneo’s Penan people, some of the world’s greatest rainforest naturalists, who have built an entire culture on the principle of sharing
  • a Buddhist community, farm, and retreat center where Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated by chanting the names of the spring flowers
  • plans to turn an 11-acre former dump site near downtown Los Angeles into a model urban eco-village, and even
  • a demonstration eco-village in the mountains of North Carolina that is complete – except for the people!

We also learn about fundamentals: what community is, and how to create it in a group of diverse human beings. We hear from psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck on the lessons he’s learned in his five years of giving community- building workshops. And we sketch out a set of tools and guidelines for developing your own "eco-village" or sustainable community, right where you live.

The ideal of a truly sustainable community is enormously appealing. It is also an enormous challenge, requiring not only the willingness to change the way we build our houses, use our land, and conduct our affairs, but the courage to change ourselves. We hope this issue inspires you to explore for yourself the ever-expanding limits of the possible.

This issue is based in part on eco-village research conducted by Diane and Robert Gilman, with financial support from Gaia Trust of Denmark. Special thanks to all our eco-village correspondents!

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