We see the news constantly covering the detrimental effects of climate change and global warming because of the way humans have lived on this planet. Consumerism has taken over and material stuff is all that seems to make us happy.
We shove the waste from everything we buy back into the Earth, not expecting the damaging outcome that it has had on the planet. Instead, most turn their heads the other way and expect the Earth to just… survive. Some, however, have realized that it just isn’t possible. We were given the responsibility to take care of where we live, and this is just not the way to do it.
Everyone on this Earth is slaving away and scrambling to survive when Mother Nature has provided us with everything we need to live. So, let’s get back to basics. In a world run by material gain, greed and corruption, some folks have decided to get back to simpler times by starting off-grid sustainable communities.
But what does living off-grid mean? There are no hard and fast rules to living off-the-grid; it just means to live without the reliance on public utilities like municipal water, a sewerage system or natural gas. Off- grid communities live autonomously, and are self-sufficient.
Usually run by solar power, these communities grow their own food and usually use a barter system or a local currency for trade. In a way, this is a more primitive way of living, but somehow the future of living as well, because we have to learn to live more sustainably and give back to the planet in order for it to survive.
Here are five communities and eco-villages that are successfully living sustainably, off-the-grid:
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This 297-acre plot of land makes up a small village in the Kaluga region of Russia called Kovcheg. The village came around in 2001 when a successful businessman from Moscow decided he wanted his children to live a happier and healthier life. The community is home to 40 families (110 people) with children. There have been 15 children born in the village and others are on the way!
Each family is allotted a house with one acre of land where they are expected to grow food for themselves and the community. The residents of this community also care for the surrounding forests. They clean up diseased trees and plant others like oak, lime and cedar.
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Tinkers Bubble, England
In rural Somerset, there exists a sustainable off-grid community on 40 acres of land that goes by Tinkers Bubble. The name of this community comes from a stream in the forest nearby that ends in a waterfall. This waterfall was referred to as bubble by gypsies who would bring their horses to drink.
This community has been around for the last 21 years and is home to many passersby and permanent residents. The residents of Tinkers Bubble try to live with zero emission. They use wood to stay warm and also to cook. They make extra cash for the community mainly through farming, gardening, raising chickens, honey bees and selling apple products. They get electricity through a wind-powered generator and solar panels; extremely low cost, eco-housing projects.
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Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Missouri
This sustainable community hasn’t broken ties with the conventional world the way most do; rather, they have chosen to live alongside it, making education and outreach an integral part of their functionality.
Dancing Rabbit is intentionally and carefully made with the principles of sustainability. It lies on 280 acres of land with 70 residents that aim to live on just 10% of resources that other Americans live on.
The eco-village is powered by renewable energy and locals consume organic and in-season, homegrown produce. The community works to create a culture that makes ecological living the norm rather than the exception. They are over 300 returning volunteers that come and help out the eco-village and experience a sustainable lifestyle while they stay.
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Lasqueti is probably the largest sustainable off-grid community out there. With 400 residents, this community lives completely off the grid by growing its own crops and foraging on nearby land. Lasqueti Island lies between mainland Vancouver and the Island of Vancouver.
The residents of this area have little to no carbon footprint. Some use old-school fossil fuel generators, solar panels and small-scale hydroelectric plants for electricity, while others live with no electricity at all. The community composts their waste, giving back to the land what they have taken. They have no formal economy or infrastructure, rather, they just take what they need to survive and live sustainably. The island, as a whole, shies away from mainstream culture, making this a truly autonomous community.
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Khula Dhamma, South Africa
This beautiful and elevated 445 acres of land rests along the Quko River near Haga Haga in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Five friends bought the land together in 2000 with the vision of converting it into a sustainable community. That is when Khula Dhamma was formed.
The community only had four permanent residents up until 2008, although they did have a regular flow of visitors and volunteers. Now the community is up to 10 members, living sustainably and happily on the land. The community offers workshops and retreats for visitors so they can help with green farming on the land and help build the community.
These communities inspire sustainable living for all humans. They show how it is possible to give back to the planet and still live wholesome, happy lives. They give up the need for material gain and conventional structure, which helps them live free of the expectations of society. Rather, they take from the Earth what they need and give back what they can without having to live by the rules of manmade societies.