Friday, March 17, 2017

What better way to reduce your oil usage than to live in an ecovillage?

Extreme Oil Preservation

            There are many ways to live sustainably and reduce your oil usage. Dwellings like ecovillages have the goal of creating a sustainable community for their members. In doing so, permaculture is a main focus when it comes to the design of these communities. Permaculture is a set of techniques and principles used for designing a sustainable human community complete with plants, animals, buildings, and community organizations.
            Sustainable forestry is practiced at Earthaven. Most of the logging is done during the winter in order to preserve the ground and there is very minimal foresting done around streams or bodies of water to reduce erosion and protect runoff from being disturbed while the shade protects the water temperature and fish habitat. As often as they can, Earthaven members collect trees that have fallen on their own and only log when absolutely possible. When they do log, they take the smallest and most unhealthy trees and plant more in their place or grass. Forestry is used for heat and housing. Other sources of energy include hydro-power (micro-hydro system), solar electric systems, and generators or batteries that are able to be charged by the hydro station. In some situations propane is used for refrigeration and cooking. The plan is to implement two more hydro-systems to produce enough electricity for the entire Earthaven community.

At Earthaven there are forty acres that can be used as agriculture fields, including land around the water collection sites. When creating a storage plan for this community, the founders made it a point to build dwellings on sloped land so they could keep the flat land for growing and raising food. The idea for each site is to have their own garden in which they would grow small crops. When there is need for more crop land there are leasing options for community members to grow outside of their yard space. There is some work that still needs to be done, mainly clearing trees, before all of these ideas can be applied.

Aside from personal farming, there is quite the list of larger farms, gardens, and plant nurseries that are run by community members in order to produce more food that can be disbursed if members are not able to produce enough for themselves on their own. Livestock that is currently being raised is chickens, rabbits, and goats. Another interesting community resource is the forest garden learning center. The learning center is used as an example of a style of gardening that “mimics nature while emphasizing production of food, fiber, fuel, and other useful products” (Earthaven, 2016). There are also meditation type gardens for personal well-being and fishponds that are open to the community. Earthaven’s goal is to be sustainable and green, because of this they strongly encourage members to work on-site to reduce transportation costs and gas consumption. There isn’t a policy set in place but they are looking into ways to reduce peoples’ dependency on vehicles so on the farm there are three solar powered golf carts. Walking and biking is always encouraged on the farm, although some members still personally own their gas-powered cars that are used whenever they needs to go offsite to get food or supplies. Resources that are onsite and virtually within walking distance include the School of Integrated Living and a local herbal medicine shop. The community doesn’t offer much onsite work so a lot of the members have to go to the nearest town with is 10-15 miles away, as well as other major resources.

For more information about this ecovillage visit www.earthaven.org


"Earthaven Ecovillage." Earthaven Ecovillage. Genesis Framework, 2016. Web. 01 Mar. 2016. Retrieved from www.earthaven.org.


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