Where to find sustainable communities if you have recently moved to another country? It was complicated for Tom and me to find like-minded people and companies to our liking when we had just moved.
Fortunately, the internet exists. It’s easy to search on a few keywords. We started with organic and markets. Other words we have looked for are ecological, biological, sustainable event, local activities.
We then visited the promising found addresses. When you’re focused like this, it’s easy to get in touch with people. You can ask about their products or ask if they know of other people who are interested in ‘keyword’.
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Table of contents
Where to find sustainable communities?
Determine what intrigues you most. Search the web and then connect with like-minded people. Start your own group if you can’t find anyone and shape it according to the sustainable principle: ensuring a high quality of life by utilizing adequate and equitable resources for the long term.
What is a sustainable community?
To a greater or lesser extent, every sustainable community meets the following conditions:
- Every individual deserves respect and value;
- Ensure social inclusion;
- Community-building is essential;
- Maintain the collective good by promoting cooperation;
- Sensitive to changes in environmental conditions and able to adapt to them;
- Be resilient. Take on adversity head-on.
The purpose, intent, and scope will vary. Sustainable communities, no matter what size, are only successful if everyone benefits and if everyone actively participates. According to the principle of Wii-FM, what’s in it for me.
However, be aware that community members have different capabilities. Create enough variety in the communities’ activities that everybody can participate to the extent of her and his abilities.
Moreover, resilience means that community members frequently reflect on the community activities, how the members relate, and whether everybody is still content with the communities’ objectives.
What kind of sustainable communities are created?
An eco-community is a small, self-sufficient community that lives off the land and for the land. Worldwide, there are over 10,000 ecovillages focused on cooperative living, self-sufficiency, and the use of renewable energy and ecological materials.
A couple of examples are:
- Crystal Waters, Australia
- Findhorn Ecovillage, Scotland
- Torri Superiore, Italy
In the 90s GEN was established, the Global Ecovillage Network. They facilitate the founding of eco-villages, urban and permacultural projects, and educational centers like the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales.
Neighborhoods and streets
The challenges for existing villages to become sustainable are immense. Of course, the biggest challenge is to get the residents aware of the necessity to become more sustainable.
To be able to do this requires a minimum of understanding and relatedness. Neighbors must experience a bond with each other. At present this is more complicated because social relations often expand the borders of the neighborhood.
Family and friends are important leads to start sustainable communities. However, when they live in another neighborhood or another city, which is common these days, such bonds rarely transform in a neighborhood or street initiative.
Yet, if it’s your mission to influence people, starting slowly by interesting the neighbors and expanding from there to the street or the neighborhood, this may offer more substantial opportunities.
Communes and groups
Like-minded people often find each other. By developing activities together, they get to know each other and form looser or firmer bonds.
Tom and I participate in some groups, and we know several people who trusted their group so much that they moved into communes together.
The groups on Facebook are better than the pages for this purpose. Groups will let you participate in discussions and you can post pictures and messages in the timeline. Facebook groups are a two-way street.
A Facebook page is sending rather than receiving. You can get in touch with the owner(s) of a page but not with all their followers. Yet pages are great for informational purposes.
WhatsApp and Telegram
Personally, I don’t have experience with Telegram. For the same reason, I am not on TikTok or LinkedIn.
Social media can be very time-consuming and I want to protect myself from that in advance. If I’m not a member, I’m not tempted to look at it either.
On WhatsApp Tom and I participate in several groups. We are hardly members of the same groups. If one gets the information and it’s important, the other one will hear it. Usually, part of the messages is redundant anyway because they are not meant for everyone.
What’s the use of being in a sustainable community?
A while ago I got almost depressed by the idea that Spanish people do not care much about the environment. No matter how far we walk into the nature park nearby, we always find a lot of plastic garbage on the paths and the waysides.
After another one of those walks, I started to search for local sustainability groups. I asked the owner of one of the ecological shops we frequent if he had any idea. He made me a member of a group he is in himself.
In this group, I introduced myself and explained what I am doing and what my interests are. In no time people asked me if I was interested in other groups they were a member of. And I got personal messages from some, inviting me to come and talk or look around in their community.
It was marvelous. Just what I needed at that moment to lift up my spirits. In my view, this is one of the biggest advantages of sustainable communities. The task ahead of us – making a sustainable world and turn-around climate change – is too big to deal with as an individual or a couple.
It can definitely be hard to find like-minded groups of people. Especially in the beginning when we have no idea where to start. Yet it is very well possible. Hopefully, you get some inspiration from this article to find or form a sustainable group yourself.
Do you have tips to add? Please let us know in the comment box below.