I decided to move to OUR Ecovillage for the winter to rejuvenate after a long year of finishing my MBA and being present with the passing of my father Chris in the summer. I’ve come here because something very special about this place has lived in my heart/mind since I was first here in 2008 for a permaculture design course. In a nutshell, what I think it comes down to is that people here are striving to create alternative ways of being and living that establish mutually beneficial relationships between each other AND the natural world. The end result is a loving, supportive culture that thrives on diversity and is deeply integrated with the land, soil and water. People feel seen, included and are supported to show up fully, share their gifts and develop new ones. The land is developed with an aim to protect and enhance diversity, fertility and resilience while directly providing for peoples’ nutritional and housing needs. It is such a wonderfully positive story compared to the perpetual din of negativity evident almost everywhere from living without such a principled stance.
All this hope, innovation and inspiration is currently in jeopardy because the local credit union who has been carrying the mortgage is no longer willing to do so. This has created a potentially game ending challenge if we can’t raise the funds needed by March. Ok, so from a permaculture perspective how can I think about this? One of the permaculture principles that is helpful in such a bind is “The Problem is the Solution”. Demystified: how can we take ________ problem and reframe it or use it as the grit to move forward to a higher level of being. This event is one of those opportunities, where the challenge will provide the obstacle for people to rise up and contribute in ways that enable the switch from bank ownership to community ownership.
Five solutions have risen to the top so far, each of which hold the promise to benefit the immediate village, all stakeholders in the broader community and any communities in the world looking for cooperative models of sustainable land stewardship. The current form of these solutions are:
- A conservation & education covenant with The Land Conservancy of BC
- Gift certificates for space in future courses & workshops
- Green burial
- Transferring stock and RRSPs into the newly created Community Trust for Ethical Development
- Extending ownership opportunities to the larger community by purchasing shares in the co-op
All this innovation is happening out of necessity and is creating precedents that will (un) pave the way for others who wish to follow a similar path to sustainable/regenerative living.
My hope and dream is that the people connected with this place and beyond will rise up to enable this village to leap over the immediate hurdle so that the village will continue to do what it does best: inspire passers-through to live in a principled manner that respects and protects life.
If you have similar aspirations for the future of the world, please consider sharing directly with a financial contribution or with your talent and ideas.