The Rise of Eco-Communities and How They Are Helping Fight Global WarmingMarch 9, 2022
Our lives have been in flux for the past few years. The global pandemic has shifted many people’s priorities, and more folks than ever before care about climate change or are being adversely affected by the early onset of global warming.
But global issues like pandemics or climate change are difficult to address on an individual level. After all, recycling a jar of preserves or switching to an electric vehicle isn’t enough to stop the trend towards environmental crisis.
Instead of falling into a trap of fatalism, many folks have decided to join “eco-communities” and are now working together to make a larger impact in the fight against climate change. This might involve lifestyle changes like communities cycling instead of driving, or activism events like holding climate protests and advocating for sustainable requirements for new construction.
So, eco-communities are on the rise but what exactly are they? And how are they helping in the fight against global warming?
Assessing Individual Efforts
If you’re new to environmental activism, you might wonder why we even need community efforts — after all, it will require every individual to make significant lifestyle changes to stop climate change, right? In reality, our individual responsibility to make lifestyle changes that support a healthy environment simply will not be enough to curb the tide of climate change.
This news can be jarring to many well-meaning folks who have been hoodwinked by fossil-fuel companies that run advertisements to make us believe that individual responsibility can stop climate change. In reality, individual behavioral choices make up only a small piece of the climate change puzzle.
This is reflected by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) recent report titled “Net Zero by 2050”, which found that behavioral changes can only reduce carbon emissions by 4%. By comparison, the report finds that changing the way we source our energy can reduce our cumulative emissions by 55%. Clearly, the fault lies at the doorstep of fossil fuel companies — not your parents who forget to recycle their yogurt containers. But how can eco-communities make a difference?
Eco-communities can play a more meaningful role in the fight against climate change. First and foremost, eco-communities model future societies, where we’ll have to share resources and work together to create solutions for energy usage, environmental protection, and waste management.
Eco-communities can also create ripple effects and create trends in housing. For example, many younger folks are already looking for sustainable building and design plans when purchasing their next home. This has created a system of hybrid neighborhoods within urban areas where communities live and work within the same block of housing. This reduces the necessity of commuting, which in turn drives down carbon emissions.
Communities also have the unique ability to self-advocate and engage in more meaningful activism. Unlike individual acts of activism, which often fizzle out, community activism draws on the power of “togetherness” and draws a neighborhood closer together. This means that organizers can create events and stage protests that are designed to catch the attention of policymakers who otherwise would be unaware that climate change is a major issue for their constituents.
Who Forms Eco-Communities?
When you hear “eco-community” your mind might conjure images of hippy communes and shared living spaces. But, in reality, many eco-communities are formed by homeowners who are interested in helping the environment and feel the desire to make a meaningful change to aid the fight against global warming.
Eco-communities have become particularly popular in the post-pandemic housing market. House buyers are looking for homes that exist in neighborhoods that have a strong sense of community and align with their values. As such, eco-conscious homeowners are effectively clumping together across the nation, as people are looking to live with neighbors that they’ll get along with.
But, this doesn’t mean that renters and people living with other housing models aren’t getting involved in eco-community building. Many renters — who can’t make changes to their own homes — can get involved in hands-on activism like supporting community gardens and organizing protests. In short, your living conditions are far less important than your desire to get involved and add to your eco-community.
How to Form an Eco-Community
If an eco-community sounds appealing to you, then you should search local Facebook groups and Reddit pages for an eco-community in your area. If you live in a town or city, chances are that an eco-community already exists and will be happy to take you on board.
If, however, no group exists in your area you can always create your own eco-community. Creating an effective eco-community is all about blending local and global issues. So, when you’ve gathered a group of climate-conscious folks, be sure to weave local interests into your larger vision or mission statements. This will encourage more people to get involved and will help galvanize your neighbors around a common cause.
Eco-communities give us a glimpse into the future, where designers, construction teams, and homeowners all play their part to reduce carbon emissions and create more environmentally friendly communities. Eco-communities also help individuals magnify their impact, as neighbors can influence one another to switch over to renewable energy sources like hydrogen. You can even create your own eco-community in your neighborhood, just be sure to incorporate local interests that support your environment and help fight global warming.