ecoVillage Journal #5 Q&A: Open Meeting Part 1

in #ecotrain11 months ago (edited)


There is lots of thinking and planning happening for ecoVillage right now, as we create the foundation and crystallise our vision. There are five of us working on these details and we are right now all answering some questions to see how our ideas line up! I am Very curious what the others will write, and whether it will match up with my vision!I have been thinking about this for a few years now, and so this Q&A is a great opportunity for me to bring some of my thoughts together in answering these questions. The others will share their answers on the website once we have finished the 'meeting'.


What lies at the core of ecoVillage is that it is a model that embraces decentralisation in every way. We make sure every aspect of life is as close to home as possible, and under an individual’s control! That definitely includes water, power and some food production, but the scope is also wider than that.

All decisions and projects must pass the decentralised benchmark. Every person has the same rights and opportunities, and progress through merit. Our decentralised approach is coupled with Anarchy in its purest sense. Things evolve naturally, and organically as they always do when structure is not imposed. There is total transparency to everyone on all aspects of ecoVillage, and decision making happens through a direct democracy using technology rather than endless meetings and debates. Our currency is decentralised and based on Blockchain technology, and exchanges with our local communities is the preferred method of trade.

What will be the extent of the services and responsibilities handled by the Social Company (Hereby: The Company)? Topics such as Housing permits, Infrastructure building, building the structures, Acquiring building permits, Water, Electricity, Garbage collection/cleaning, maintenance of public spaces.

ecoVillage are responsible for maintenance of all aspects of the village. Specific roles and tasks will be taken on by appropriate community members who have taken on that role, or by delegation of duty if needed. The organisation of these roles and who does what will be automated and managed online without a need for and one person to be responsible for everything.

Will there be a central kitchen that will make meal for everyone?

Yes, This is a very important part of the community for many reasons. We would have at least one meal a day together, probably dinner. Whilst not compulsory we would encourage everyone to attend at least 80% of the time. Having an amazing chef will make this work, and I put my hat in the ring to assist with this!

Do we take a minimal approach as in – community will only do what doesn’t make sense to do at individual level?

There is not much to distinguish between an individual or the community in my opinion. We are like family, the ecoVillage IS the community, and will help with any issues organically, as they arise. We will all know who is good at what, and we can ask for help directly with others in the community. If further assistance is needed for wider support then the ecoVillage community website can be used to get support and even funds allocated.

How will things be decided and updated based on dynamic community needs?

The entire process of community action and discussion will be held on-line in a like system. Support for ideas and projects are given directly by each member via direct up-votes. These up-votes translate to support in whatever way is needed, including potential funding from ecoVillage,

One of incentives we will have in place (to be decided and confirmed) is that those who hold more ecoVillage coin will have more up-vote power to direct community activities and funding, in the same way that Steem allows bigger up-votes for people with more Steem Power.

What Taxes will the community charge from residents to cover the costs of its operation?

None. 50% of profits from community commerce, ecoVillage coin sales and other funding will be used to cover the very minimal costs of operation. Keeping these costs down, e.g. through use of Earthship Biotecture and Permaculture thinking are very important.

What will be the process of admitting a person into the community?

We will hold many eco building workshops during the construction of ecoVillage. Education and training will be on going for the first few years as we build all of the homes for ecoVillage. These workshops will be a time where people who wish to join can come and learn what it means to be a part of the community, and many other things besides. During that time we will get to know and from those experiences choose who will be given a spot. People will need to attend several times. During these visits we will get to know new members and finally decide who is able to join. Recommendations and Objections can be made by other ecoVillage members and will be considered on an individual basis. Diversity is very important in all aspects and so the selection process will ensure there is a wide range of people from all walks of life. Initial selection will be made by the Elders, currently a group of 5 people.

Dispute resolution mechanisms?

Non-violent communication! This point is one of the most important aspects to ecoVillage’s success. It is genuinely a new paradigm of communication, almost like a new language, based on natural giving, and centred around communication that does not label another, blame another, and plays no part in the I’m wrong you are right game. What it is really about is being able to identify our needs, and then communicating them in such as way as to open the door to a resolution.

It is a tragic thing to tell someone to stop doing something, or to change because something they do annoys you. Blame and oppression are built right into our language, but most of us are not aware of it. It is tragic to tell someone that they are this or that, because when you do it you end up ensuring that you will never get your needs met, and you close the door to any productive dialogue. Instead, if you can learn what your needs are, things can go in a very beautiful direction so easily. So rather than saying, I feel upset because you have not spoken with me today, we need to rephrase it in a different way. Instead we can say, I feel lonely and really miss our chats and intimate time. Suddenly, we have not blamed someone, instead we have just stated our needs and give space for the other person to respond without needing to justify or be defensive.

This way of communication is not easily or quickly understood, but it is incredibly important to successful relationships and indeed community. It is my belief that most communities live and die base on their communication and ways to deal with conflict. Because of this we would hold regular workshops, lectures and activities that would teach and instil these qualities in us all. Violent communication would not be tolerated, and over time the entire community would learn to live and speak in this language of the heart, and WHAT a difference that will make!

If you would like to learn more about this, then i invite you to watch one of the videos below by Marshall Rosenberg. This man has a kind of rare and incredible wisdom on this subject and shares it in workshops and lectures.

Basics of Non-violent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg
(This is a great short 10 minute introduction)

NVC Marshall Rosenberg - San Francisco Workshop
(Go deep with this and watch the full 3 hour workshop)

In the unfortunate case that we have to ask a member to leave, in what cases will we do it? What will be the process? How can that be decided? How do we protect members against unfair exclusion? How do we take care of leaving members and under what circumstances to minimize offense to all parties involved?

Asking people to leave is done as a last resort, once all other attempts to resolve it have failed. A good example for a reason for anyone to be excluded would be severe mental illness that threatens the safety of others. A STRONG emphasis is placed on NVC, and mediation will also be provided. If all else fails, and there is no way to resolve a situation , and the community are in consensus that this person needs to go, then they will be asked to leave and reimbursed with at least some of the money they put in to their home (i.e. the material costs). This reimbursement money will come from the sale of their home by ecoVillage when a new member joins.

What is the process for voluntary leaving of the community by a member?

As this initiative spreads there will be more ecoVillages created around the world. Anyone who does not like their ecoVillage for whatever reason may opt to move to a different community. This could be done by simply swapping homes with other ecoVillage community members who wish to do the same, or selling their property and the purchasing a new property in their chosen ecoVillage.

In the event of an ecoVillage member wishing to leave or sell their home and leave altogether, the ecoVillage would manage this process and approve the selection of new members. The property would be sold to the new member, and the money originally given by the member would be given back. The remaining profit will go to the ecoVillage.

When the occupant passes on, their next of kin would have the right to inherit the property. If there is no next of Kin, the ecoVillage would reclaim ownership and sell the property to new owners.

What are the different options for membership? (Members, Temporary residents, Guests/Volunteers, long term non-members, etc.)

Elders, Members, Guests. Volunteers.

How do we define the rights of members over their earthship/place of residence? Contractual right of use? How do we map/Mark the land allocated for the use of each resident?

Legal ownership is held by the ecoVillage. This is to prevent abuse and people seeking to build at low cost only to attempt to re-sell at higher value. People living in their ecoHomes have all the rights, freedoms and privileges of ownership, but without the right to sell independently. Any modifications to a home needs to be approved by the ecoVillage, mainly to ensure that there are no detrimental effects to the performance or functionality of a building.

There will be a minimal amount of private / personal land around any home. Marking of each plot can be done digitally on a map.

What happens to ecoVillage profits?

The ecoVillage is not for profit and with the goal of facilitating and sustaining the ecoVillages. All profits generated by the ecoVillage will be put towards this goal. This may be for expansion to new ecoVillages, improving / maintaining existing ecoVillages, and re-purchasing ecoVillage tokens on the market.

The ecoVillage’s Ladder of Trade

1. Do everything Locally whenever possible.

This encompasses both the production and sourcing of materials, to how and where we sell our products and services. Whenever possible we would sell to people who are visiting or attending an event at the ecoVillage itself. This is one reason why our Healing Dance Festival Event is such a good avenue for our commerce. We could sell most if not all of our products and services at each event without having to even go anywhere!

2. Trade first, tokens second, fiat last!

We aim to forge and create systems of trade with our neighbouring communities in Portugal. One very important task for us will be to identify as many ecoVillage type communities within a few hundred Km's and to create trade links with them all. When we have food or other products to sell, we can first look to trading and exchanging with our nearby communities. We will also encourage our neighbours to buy and use a dedicated ecoVillage coin (pegged to gold), when trade is not possible. Using a pegged coin is relatively safe, and pegging to gold would also make it a very interesting store of value!

3. Shops and Online

We will also trade on line as well as in local shops, but only when the previous options have been exhausted. Shipping, transport etc. are a huge burden on our climate and air quality, and are the hardest to manage. Shops also inflate prices too much, and have such high overheads and challenges that we would rather avoid any commerce with the centralised systems where possible.

4. Sourcing Ethically.

Everything we use to make or produce things will not only be local, but also ethically sourced all the way down the chain. That means ingredients or materials used to make a final product, and of course the labour that was use to make them. Anything coming from International countries like China, India, etc. would be a red flag unless due diligence was done, and there would have to be a very good reason for transporting materials so far.

5. No Fixed Price!

ecoVillages is founded on the principles of natural giving and collaboration, as well as many facets of Anarchy. We each have different needs and lives, and some people can afford more than others. Keeping events and services open to all is very important to having good relationships with our neighbours and friends, as well as to be able to reach out to the masses. The way I see it working, for example at an event, people would be asked how much they would like to donate for the weekend. They would most likely donate in Fiat, which is fine.. we would convert most of that to ecoVillage coin quickly enough! If they are not sure how much to donate we tell them what most people donate, and then explain that those with more to give tend to give more, and those who really don't have money can give less. It is a person to person exchange, there are no fixed rules.. we should all have what we need and be flexible! Often times the most interesting and talented people have very little money!
Diversity & Freedom Of Expression.

Having a community made up of the most diverse cultures and people that we can have is very important. Things get very stale and boring when we all think the same way and say the same kind of things. Diversity is essential for a community to flourish, have good ideas, a wide range of opinions, to be able to overcome challenges.

Freedom of expression is also tied to this, in the sense that we also welcome a diverse sense of expression, and all forms of non-violent expression. We may not all enjoy or agree with others way of expressing themselves, but we should always be willing to hear them out, have an open mind, and most importantly not feel threatened by them. I believe that when we live in a community based on NVC, this becomes much easier to do!

How it Works for new members

An ecoVillage earthship home will provide a lifetime of self sufficient off-grid living for all members. ecoVillage will not only remove the burden of self building, but will also donate the land, labour, and support of the entire build process to each community member.

An ecoVillager would only have to pay for the material costs of their earthship home. They may choose from various designs, and we will provide an ultra-low cost option for those on a very low budget.
As the community develops it will produce many products, goods, and services such as vegetables, crafts, workshops and entertainment. A percentage of these profits are shared with ecoVillage and used to expand and improve the ecoVillage. Profits are also used to buy back ecoVillage tokens from investors on an ongoing basis. Investors may exit at any time by selling their ecoVillage coin on the open market.

This is very decentralised approach to community living and commerce, whereby each member would have all the amenities they need to live self sufficiently. Whilst they would be responsible for the maintenance and management of their homes, they would receive the support and help they need from the ecoVillage. The community works synergistically and for the good of all, like a family unit.

Economics of the ecoVillage Coin

The value of ecoVillage coin is supported very strongly by its low supply and continued demand, at higher prices, from some of the profits generated from workshops, events, earthship build training, products and services etc. The build phase will take several years to complete, and will use many volunteers who come to learn and experience eco building. Their donations will in part be used to buy back ecoVillage coin at market rates until the community is established. Once building is completed, some of the profits from events, and sales of our products and services will be used to continue the buy back and expansion process.

ecoVillage coin has a limited supply of 1,000,000 Coins. There is no inflation of ecoVillage coin supply. Since most investors are buying to gain a return on investment, they are also going to sell at higher prices on the open market, which will be honoured by ecoVillage on an on-going basis as well as any other potential buyers on the open market.


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There is so much LOVE under-pinning all the detail here... a love that is ensuring a solid foundation and a creative, productive and harmonious future.

Appreciating the transparency of the process so that those of us who may never move to Portugal can learn and grow from the edges, and hopefully seeds are planted and nurtured for other steem-giving-based communities around the world.

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very nicely put xxx thank u

I'm liking the sound of this more and more. I live in the states so wonder how I could become part of the village.

you can join us when we build and learn how.. then one day you can do it in the USA.. what part of the US are you in?

North Texas.

Wonderful to see the organisational infrastructure moving forwards so rapidly. Glad to see this is now explicitly based on anarchist decentralist principles.

I was particularly interested in this aspect:

There is total transparency to everyone on all aspects of ecoVillage, and decision making happens through a direct democracy using technology rather than endless meetings and debates.

It really does seem like one of the best uses for technology, especially as I know there's a tendency for communities to get mired in 'meetingitise', a nice elegant solution switching all of this to a transparent, virtual space.

I also really like the non-individualised ownership aspect.

Looks like a great starting point! I look forward to reading about others' ideas!

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this is so exciting, I really appreciate all the transparency and how you are creating a village that really is open to all who wish to get involved. So very inspiring,, I look forward to helping and getting involved with the building work xxx

Wow, and wow! I'm actually quite interested in learning, and becoming used to speaking this language of non-violent communication. As with other languages, understanding the rules is only the first step. I gotta get used to using it. And with the help of other speakers, who may remind me of my mistakes, I will internalize it sufficiently to notice my mistakes before making them. This is something I'm quite excited about...!

 11 months ago Reveal Comment