La Casa de los Ningunos is an experimental community in the Bolivian capital city of La Paz, 12,000 feet up in the Andes Mountains. They are striving to create a world in which even Los Ningunos — ‘The Nobodies,’ or have-nots — are not marginalized, because relationships in the community are not driven by profit, and basic needs and more can be fulfilled by collective labor and exchange.
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Located outside the town of Cerbère, near the sea on the border between France and Spain, Can Decreix describes itself as “a centre for exploring, experimenting and practicing organic agriculture and agroecology, eco-construction and renewable energy [and] for research and activism around the ideas of degrowth.” It is possible to visit their beautiful sustainably farmed land to discuss, among other things, ways to voluntarily simplify our lives and to question our focus on monetary exchange and profit. Can Decreix also offers full courses on the concept of “degrowth” — in the hopes that participants, having been inspired by Can Decreix’s simplicity and beauty, will bring the idea back to their own communities. To learn more, visit Can Decreix’s website.
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Qiandao Ecovillage, located in a valley near China’s Qiandao Lake, combines Taoist and Buddhist philosophy with natural farming practices and a zero-waste lifestyle. Founded by a Taiwanese Buddhist monk, the community views farming as a path towards the Tao, the ‘ultimate truth’, and as a practice requiring constant cultivation not just of the soil, but of the self. The village produces its own toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and fertilizer, in addition to growing its own food and getting drinking water from a fresh spring. And they have a lot of leisure time, too, involving singing, dancing, calligraphy, and more. Read more.
Pejeng Village, which lies in a region of Bali beset by mass tourism and overdevelopment, has dedicated itself to achieving water, food, energy, and economic sovereignty. Leader Cok Agung Pemayun and the Pejeng government are creating a local economy of interdependent organizations that can provide sustainable livelihoods for the village’s 6,000 residents. Their projects so far include a community organic farm to teach best practices to local farmers, a natural textile business, water wheels for hydroelectric power and water supply, a holistic primary school, and a community conservation center managed by the Friends of the National Parks Foundation. The Pejeng government sustainable development blog and this article by Bali Lite (both in Indonesian) give further details.
Vauban is a neighborhood in Freiburg, Germany, that is often cited as one of the best examples of sustainable urban living in the world. Built in the late 1990s on the site of an abandoned French military base, Vauban was envisioned from the beginning as a “sustainable model district,” and built using a mixture of sustainable technology and common sense to serve the needs of both people and the planet. To learn more, visit The World’s Most Successful Model for Sustainable Urban Development?.