by Indiana Lee
If finding new ways to live sustainably has become a priority for you why not consider living in a sustainable community? For some, sustainability has revolved around making adjustments to behavior or making purchasing decisions favoring “green” companies. However, if you are looking to go beyond that, perhaps investing in an ecologically responsible and independent way of life is a good choice.
These communities are on the rise worldwide, as people recognize the benefits of getting out of the city while also positively impacting the planet. We’re going to take a closer look at what it means to engage in this way of living.
What are the benefits of sustainable communities beyond ecological preservation?
Sustainable communities offer more support
Perhaps the primary benefit of living in a sustainable community is the sense of neighborhood closeness. That doesn’t mean your neighbors will always be stepping on your toes. Instead, there tends to be a greater sense of mutual responsibility and accountability. Unlike in bigger city areas, the result is that you’ll often have greater access to support.
Support is essential when prioritizing sustainability, as while off-the-grid living can offer independence and environmental benefits, it also requires some expert knowledge to do well. As part of a sustainable community, you get to take advantage of a wealth of practical information from people dedicated to making sustainable living a positive, life-long experience.
As Joanna Miller wrote for The Organic Prepper: The need for supportive communities in SHTF situations is something we talk about often. People know they need a support network because, let’s face it, in a long-term survival situation almost none of us can do it alone. So, even if the s**t hasn’t hit the fan yet, being part of a stable community before it does will help ensure survival.
Community members reap the benefits of shared knowledge
You’ll also find this support valuable when you’re purchasing a newly built home in the community. It is essential to educate yourself on the processes and standards of new construction; this helps you confirm you’re getting the property you want and saves you money in the long run. The community is likely to have resources to help you be more effective in researching the builders involved and undertaking an appropriate inspection for a sustainable property. Indeed, it is generally the case that the community is dedicated to high standards of building practices and has an in-depth understanding of architectural guidelines for eco-friendly properties.
Inclusivity promotes meaningful community engagement
There is also a sense of shared resources in sustainable communities. Often, as with the Sawyer Hill Ecovillage in Massachusetts, there will be communal facilities everyone is encouraged to utilize. These facilities can include workshops, gym facilities, community centers, and even dining halls. You’ll find access to such amenities tied to commerce in the city. However, sustainable communities tend to be inclusive. Inclusivity helps make sure everybody has the resources and knowledge to engage meaningfully in personal and community activities.
Self-Sufficiency is often a group effort in these types of communities
For many preppers, the significant benefit of going off-the-grid is the opportunity for self-sufficiency. The same goes for sustainable communities. Though, rather than entirely fending for yourself, you get the best of both worlds. You are not beholden to big corporations for the essential services you need. At the same time, there is a group effort to maintain independence and deal with any issues as a community.
It is more clear all the time when it comes to utilities, it is not wise to rely on major power companies to provide your energy supply. Demand for services is under increasing pressure, and the U.S. is subject to more power outages than any other developed country. As part of a community utilizing a localized, sustainable energy supply — solar power and wind power are standard options — you’ll generally find the potential for the problems of city utilities are not as prevalent.
Sustainable community agriculture is less affected by shortages
While sustainable communities are often still within easy distance of big-box providers, there is also a focus on growing food and maintaining a community water supply. The Ecovillage in Ithaca is a prime example of utilizing a permaculture approach to community agriculture. A significant amount of the food consumed by the community is grown on-site at The Ecovillage. Sustainable community agriculture puts less pressure on the local ecosystem than industrial farming. However, it also helps the community to resist man-made and climate-led disruptions to food supplies. While supply chain disruptions may result in food shortages in the city, a sustainable, self-sufficient community is less likely to be affected.
Community members feel more relaxed and enjoy an overall sense of well-being
Sustainable communities focus on the planet’s well-being and provide a lifestyle and resources more conducive to maintaining your wellness. While healthcare facilities are essential, sustainable communities offer a more holistic, long-term positive impact. Perhaps most apparent here is the effect on your mental health. While you’ll still have challenges, there often aren’t the same pressures that can be hallmarks of city life. Eco communities are generally more relaxed, mutually supportive environments.
One of the prevailing problems of living off the grid is that it can often result in loneliness and isolation. But this tends not to be the case in sustainable communities. These villages recognize the importance of maintaining relationships to keep one another accountable for environmental standards and to maintain mental and emotional wellness.
There is also a distinct physical wellness benefit to these communities
Many sustainable communities support pedestrianism rather than motorized transportation. In the U.S., in recent years, there has been a developing demand for walkable communities. Reports show 60% of Americans want to live in areas that focus on maintaining mental and physical health. Indeed, sustainable communities experience less pollution due to fewer vehicles and industries. Not to mention being involved in community projects (building, maintenance, agriculture) keeps everyone active.
Sustainable communities are not just beneficial as a reflection of your commitment to the environment. They also offer opportunities to share knowledge and resources and to be self-sufficient while also leveraging local support. Joining a sustainable community can be a positive, practical option for the near future. Would you consider joining a community like this? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
About the Author
Indiana Lee lives in the Pacific Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3