Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community by Karen T. Litfin

I was really excited about reading and reviewing Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community by Karen T. Liftin before I even opened the book, but I don't believe I allowed my excitement for the topic to interfere with my objectivity. Ecovillages addresses several topics I find relevant to the day and to our future. Liftin took an entire year to spend time at ecovillages around the world. She explores what each of these ecovillages are doing to create a better Earth and a more sustainable lifestyle. There is a thread of living simply throughout the book that supports much of my own point of view. She addresses what she refers to as E2C2, shorthand for ecology, economy, community, and consciousness as the components that make up any society. She discusses in detail how each of the ecovillages she visited address each of the components of E2C2. While we may have these images of ecovillages of hippie communes, Litfin points out various ways in which this stereotype is far from the truth. I like that she ends the book by discussing how the ideas these various ecovillages employ can be scaled up to be introduced into communities already in existence. She addresses the reality that we can't all move into ecovillages and that it might not even be prudent to do so. Liftin makes her points well in an easy to read fashion that makes her message and the message of the ecovillages she visited very clear. Ecovillages is a discussion starter. Many times I stopped reading just to discuss points with my husband and to think through not only what she wrote in the book but the implications on my own life and the lives of those I know. Liftin writes with passion and clarity in every portion of the book. Her ideas and discoveries are presented well even when her topic leaves the reader with questions. Liftin provides a thought provoking analysis of her experience within the ecovillages. Ecovillages isn't just about sustaining the Earth but about sustaining a sense of togetherness and community through less consumption and more interaction.

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