RE: Cohousing Groups Calling Themselves Ecovillages
From: Michael Mariner (
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 1998 17:25:31 -0600
Danial Nachbar said re Subj:

>No, it is definitely not my ideal.
>Walking lightly on the earth is a good thing.
>Living in community is a good thing.
>Many people (even some in my own community) hold both values.
>But they are very separate issues.
>I, for one, have no interest in living in an ecovillage.
>But I'm very happy to be living in Cohousing.

That's one of the powers of cohousing -- that it isn't excessively 
ideological and that it embraces (or at least tolerates) people of all 
kinds of political, religious and environmental beliefs.

Some are more obsessed with others about "living lightly on the earth." 
Yet, if we want our nice cohousing communities to last for a few 
generations, shouldn't we be at least moderately concerned about how 
sustainablly we live?  How fast we're filling up landfills?  How much we 
pollute the air driving to and from our communities?  How much we pollute 
the water supply by the chemicals we put on our lawns?  Science (and 
human health) is telling us we better start getting more concerned.  (end 
of sermon)

Daniel, it wasn't clear to me that you understand what an ecovillage is 
or what they aspire to.  Please don't envision a hive of angry 
environmentalists who spend all their time litigating against business & 
government and whose members have no interest in warm fuzzy community and 
having fun.  Sure, there are extreme people in aspiring ecovillages, but 
most aren't. Most are looking to live ever more lightly on the land, as 
you said

For anybody who is not sure what an ecovillage is, I suggest visiting the 
ecovillage site listed in my signature below.

>That said, I very much like the "village" part of the "ecovillage" name.
>I have never been fond of the term "Cohousing."  It's too confusing.
>Upon first hearing the word many folks
>take it to mean that people live in the same house
>(i.e. - the people are "co" rather than the houses are "co".)
>It also shares the first two letters of "commune."

Yes, there are problems with the word "cohousing" but I feel Chuck 'n' 
Katie had no choice but to event a new term for the Danish phenomenon.  
All the existing words like "community" and "village" have lost their 
original meaning or are so vague they aren't helpful in describing 
specifics about cohousing. 

In the last few years, it's getting to where Cohousing has gotten out in 
the media enough that many  mainstream folks are beginning to have a good 
idea what it is and what is not.  Others have begun to use "cohousing" to 
mean any kind of intentional community including communes. 

The trouble with the word "village" is it's become too amorphous and the 
word is abused:  conventional suburban developers  name their crass, 
ugly, poorly designed, non-human scale sprawling subdivisions "villages." 
Cohousers have a clearer idea of the human feel they mean when they say 
"village" but for others it's just a pretty, somewhat sentimental name 
for strip malls or sterile suburbs.

So, let's keep the word cohousing.  And I think more and more cohousers 
will be interested in *eventually* evolving to be more like ecovillages 
(by whatever name) -- but it ain't required!  I promise not to sick the 
eco-police on you if you're not interested!  <grin>

Mike Mariner

Michael Mariner
maikano [at]
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