List of Figures vi Acknowledgments viii 1 Living a New Story 1 2 Around the World in Fourteen Ecovillages 15 3 Ecology: Living in the Circle of Life 33 4 Economy: Prospering in the Circle of Life 77 5 Community: Relating in the Circle of Life 111 6 Consciousness: Being in the Circle of Life 149 7 Scaling It Up 187 Epilogue 205 Resources 208 Index 213
Karen Litfin is associate professor of political science at the University of Washington.
"In lively, honest and reflective prose, Litfin offers deep insightinto how this research project has been part of her own mission ofliving more sustainably. While Litfin provides us with a range ofpractical information about the principles of ecovillage organising including countless nuggets of inspiration that will beuseful to anyone, not just those intending to live in communities she also puts forward a theoretical framework for analysingthese emerging ways of sustainable living." Times Higher Education "If you can't take a year off to visit ecovillages around theworld, this marvel of a book is the next best thing. It'sactually even better for the carbon it saves, the questions itasks, and the wisdom it shares. Karen Litfin's journeyenlivens our understanding of the Great Turning. I am eager toshare it with all my students and fellow teachers." Joanna Macy, author of Active Hope: How to Face the MessWe're in Without Going Crazy "This book offers a unique opportunity to compare several different forms of sustainable communities around the world, giving us a glimpse of the best practices and challenges of the global ecovillage movement." Environment Magazine "In these times of political gridlock and myopia, Karen Litfin'stremendously engaging and informative exploration of eco-villagesaround the world points the way to a viable and attractive futurevery different from the bleak place to which we are now headed. Youwill enjoy this book!" James Gustave Speth, author of America the Possible:Manifesto for New Economy " Ecovillages offers that rarest of gifts: wisdom. It asksnot simply how to address the build-up of carbon, dwindling ofspecies, and toxification of our world, but how we can livetogether joyously on a single earth. Among the book's many beautiesis that it is written from the wellspring of experience andexpressed through Litfin's hands, voice, and soul." Paul Wapner, American University "The world is in for a major transition, a huge downshift, ready ornot. For those inclined to roll up their sleeves and get ready (asopposed to lament the trends and decry business as usual),ecovillages can offer insight and hope. As Litfin shows in thiscompelling book, they exemplify an 'affirmative politics,' apolitics at once ecological, economic, community-oriented andspiritual. Ecovillages aren't for everyone, but in theseuncertain times, their lessons may be." Thomas Princen, University of Michigan "Karen Litfin is a perceptive, thoughtful, and gifted observer ofthe human predicament. In writing Ecovillages, Litfincombines her intellectual prowess with her sensitivity andcompassion to tell a hugely important and inspiring story." Chris Uhl, Professor of Biology at Penn State and author ofDeveloping Ecological Consciousness "Karen Litfin has not only written a book of great importance toall of us at this pivotal moment in history, she has also done itin a way that is lively, moving, informative and compelling. Thisfirst-rate book deserves to reach the widest possible audience; wemust pay attention to it if we are going to thrive as a species onthis fragile planet." Nina Wise, author of A Big New Free Happy UnusualLife "Ecovillages have for many years acted as micro-laboratories forbuilding a low carbon, post-growth society. But what can we learnfrom them? How much of ecovillage life is scaleable and replicable?Karen Litfin set out to find out, and her learnings and insightsare invaluable. We owe her road trip and her research a great deal,there is much wisdom and treasure here!" Rob Hopkins, author of The Transition Handbook: From OilDependency to Local Resilience "An inspiring and instructive journey to the wide range ofcommunities pioneering a sustainable global future. " Jakob von Uexkull, founder of the Right LivelihoodAward and former member of the European Parliament "Nature teaches us that nothing disappears when it dies, itmerely becomes something new. Karen Litfin's lucid and heartfeltbook reveals the new life emerging in the cracks of failingsystems. Through her eyes, we meet people everywhere who arebuilding high-joy, low-impact communities. Litfin is the perfectguide: intellectually rigorous, spiritually awake and deeplycaring. If you want to create a richer, gentler life for yourselfand your community, read this book!" Vicki Robin, bestselling author of Your Money or YourLife and Blessing the Hands that Feed Us Karen Litfin understands that today we need inspiration as muchas information, to forge the vibrant communities that will carry usinto an enduring future. The success stories she brings to life arejust what we need to revivify our existing communities on a planetperched at the precipice. Kurt Hoelting, author of The Circumference of Home: One Man'sYearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life "One of the most powerful questions asked of us by our worldcrisis is, 'How can we live together in ways that allow us to "bethe change" together?' Karen Litfin's book gives us answers. Theseecovillage experiments idealistic, imperfect, courageous,creative and honestly described - will help us transform ourconsciousness and find our way forward." Terry Patten, co-author (with Ken Wilber) of Integral LifePractice