9 Ecovillages Working Towards Sustainable, Intentional Living

From Palestine to Portugal, here are the world's most inspiring ecovillages.

All across the world, people are gravitating towards sustainable communities known as "Ecovillages."

According to ecovillages.com, "An ecovillage is an intentional, traditional or urban community that is consciously designed through locally owned participatory processes in all four dimensions of sustainability (social, culture, ecology and economy) to regenerate social and natural environments."

This definition is intentionally broad, as ecovillages can take many different shapes and forms. They can be made from scratch or can be created in existing towns and villages. Always, ecovillages are dedicated to fostering societal change—and not only through sustainability efforts, but also by facilitating economic equality, spiritual awakening, and human compassion.

Most responsible ecovillages prioritize working with local communities, and actively avoid the trap of becoming a kind of walled village for rich, usually white environmentalists. In this, they provide valuable lessons for the environmentalist movement on the whole.

More research is needed to fully understand and apply their success and failures to new projects, but these innovative ecovillages—sometimes inspired by spirituality, other times on the cutting-edge of green technology, and often doing both at the same time—can provide valuable visions for how the world could look in the future's best-case scenario.

1. Crystal Waters, Australia

Wordpress

When it was founded in 1984, Crystal Waters was the world's first permaculture village. Permaculture is a style of farming based on emulating natural systems, utilizing nature's mechanisms of reproduction and rebirth to ensure a sustainable way of sourcing food and energy; today, it's spread across the globe as more people realize the importance of living in a sustainable manner.

Today, this community cooperative is an environmentally friendly permaculture farm that offers living opportunities for people looking to live in harmony with the earth. Located on 650 acres and home to 250 people, it's a prime example of what all of our communities are going to need to become if we want to learn to coexist with the planet and each other.

Ecovillages

The community features compost toilets, grid solar-power systems, heat pumps, land restoration technologies, artificial wetlands, dams, and much more. Inhabitants are surrounded by lush wildlife sanctuaries, and their homes are organized into community-style circles that emphasize spirituality, social interaction, and meaningful activity alongside clean living.

2. Finca Bellavista Treehouse Community, Costa Rica

Destination Magazine

Have you ever wanted to drop everything and live among the trees? The residents of Finca Bellavista have done just that. Community members design and build original treehouses, which are connected to each other by an aerial walkway that extends through the jungle canopy. The community emphasizes sustainable living and self-sustainability—one of their requirements states that each resident must buy a biodigester, which is a machine that converts waste into energy.

If you don't want to commit to living there forever, you're in luck: Some of the houses can be rented out, and they also have a special aerial venue designated for weddings.

3. Eco-Yoff, Senegal

Gaia Trust

Environmental action means nothing if it doesn't work with local, low-income communities who are already on the front lines of the worst of the environmental crisis. One of many Senegalese ecovillages, Eco-Yoff village puts this into practice, as it's designed to focus on "poverty alleviation through social and environmental micro-enterprises," according to the Handbook for Gentrification Studies.

This ecovillage trains villagers in environmental practices like waste water recycling, solar power, and vegetation. Its efforts are dedicated to resisting gentrification that can occur as flooding moves wealthier homeowners closer inland, and they're also meant to help the community develop a symbiotic relationship between environmentally conscious living and improved quality of life.

4. The Los Angeles Ecovillage

ECO HOMES + COMMUNITIES

The Los Angeles Ecovillage developed after the 1992 LA riots inspired a resurgence in social justice activism. Today, the village is home to 40 people committed to focusing on community life and environmental action.

"Our vision is to reinvent how we live in the city," its website reads. "We do this by demonstrating higher quality living patterns at lower environmental impacts while striving to connect the social, economic and ecological systems of our neighborhood."

5. Hakoritna Farm, Palestine

Global Ecovillage Network

When Israelis built a wall right through Hakoritna Farm in Tulkarm, Palestine, farmowner Fayez Taneeb decided to convert what was left of his damaged land into a sustainable symbol of peace. Taneeb found his way into permaculture and sustainability while protesting the wall with international peace activists. "That was when I started to hear about permaculture, and to realise its potential," he said. "I received the message that water, food, and energy are available to all humanity if we work with the laws of nature. That's a powerful resistance tool, because water, food and energy are things that Israel does not want us to control."

International Women's Peace Service

Today, the farm is an up and running ecovillage that teaches locals how to build biogas tanks and convert waste and sunlight into energy. The farm also hosts a unique aquaphonics installation (which grows plants and fish together in one integrated ecosystem) and uses solar drying, seed collection, trading, and many other sustainable technological solutions.

6. Auroville, India

Andalou Agency

Auroville is an ecovillage and sustainability education center in India. With a population of around 2,000, the eco-city is most notorious for having restored massive amounts of lush forests to a formerly barren land. Today, it's a utopian community born of 1970s idealism that has visions of becoming a 50,000-person multicultural township. Land, school, health care, and electricity are free, and Aurovillans work together to keep the community running in a sustainable way.

Today, Auroville hosts volunteers, university students, and scholars, as well as community members and trains people in sustainability, medicinal plant gardens, philosophy, medicine, and much more.

Quora.com

The community was originally inspired by the teachings of Indian thinker Sri Aurobindo and his partner, a woman known as the "Mother." Together, they emphasized the connection between peace and work, and the Mother went on to found the Auroville Ashram, which was the blueprint for what Auroville would become.

Auroville has gone through changes, successes, and failures since its inception, but one thing remains constant. It's dedicated to shaping a better way of life, one completely free from ownership, excessive waste, and corruption, one where people can pursue a higher consciousness together.

7. Damanhur, Italy

positivelife.ie

Located in Piedmont, Italy, Damanhur is an ecovillage that consists of around 600 people. The community has its own Constitution, currency, and education system, and it offers many retreats and courses for visitors and locals. Its citizens use green building principles and work in ecologically friendly clothing production, renewable energy, and similar programs.

Environmental consciousness is part of Damanhur's framework. One of its many programs is Music of the Plants, which involves research on plants' ability to communicate and which facilitates concerts inspired by nature's melodies. According to its website, "In the Damanhurian Spiritual Vision, humans are part of a spiritual ecosystem with forces and intelligences, and it is important to establish a conscious contact with them."

Damanhur is also famous for its cathedral, known as the Temples of Humankind. Dug by hand into the side of the mountain, the temples are full of mosaics, stained glass, and art, and they've been called an Eighth Wonder of the World.

Youtube.com


Tripadvisor

8. Ivory Park Ecocity, South Africa

Located in a township near Johannesburg, South Africa, Ivory Park melds indigenous African technologies with western technology to create a wholly new vision. According to Gaia Trust, the city's projects "include ecologically-friendly homes, a zero energy community centre built by local women, solar energy, water conservation and harvesting, medicinal herbs, paper-making and traditional crafts, smokeless fires and solar cookers, eco-tourism, youth and women's empowerment, youth environmental activities, sanitation, product recycling, food security; finance and eco-banking, eco-construction, eco-businesses, co-operatives; non-polluting transport, eco-urban planning; pollution, waste, and natural resource management."

Built in 2002, the village focuses on economic development in conjunction with ecological sustainability. The town still has no electricity, but its buildings are made to stabilize internal temperatures and its design incorporated technologies like solar lanterns and solar-powered air heaters.

9. Tamera, Portugal

ideas.ted.com

Founded in 1995, the Tamera Peace Research and Education Center in Portugal is dedicated to achieving peace on Earth. The community, which consists of around 200 people, follows no mandatory ideology, but it prioritizes love and connection between people, animals, and the earth.

Tamera envisions a new model of living for human society, which it calls a "Healing Biotope." It was founded by three German professors who left academia to focus on tapping into the core problems that lead humans to destroy each other and the environment, like greed and jealousy. Tamera began as a social experiment dedicated to finding ways to surmount these problems. Its founders developed a complex philosophy that theorizes that the existence of peace research villages is necessary to create global healing.

Today, the research village partners with many environmental organizations and is involved in many projects. It emphasizes scientific advancements like permaculture and solar power, as well as mental advancements like reducing the "war between the genders" and inspiring others to work towards their mission of world peace.

ideas.ted.com

BONUS: Tiny House Community

While this is not yet an ecovillage, owners of tiny houses all across the globe are connecting, and many hope to eventually create an eco-friendly community (or several) of tiny house owners. Plenty of tiny house communities exist, but we've yet to see one grow into its true ecovillage potential. Check back for updates.

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Food & Drink

6 NYC Food Trends You Can Try at Home

From Raindrop Cakes to Ramen Burgers, these New York City food crazes are available in your kitchen.

Back when a world outside your home and the grocery store existed, New York City had a habit of getting swept up in food crazes.

Sometimes those crazes have involved a burgeoning appreciation for an established cultural tradition from around the world -- arepas, poké bowls, Korean barbecue. At other times these crazes have just involved particular purveyors taking a familiar item more seriously -- like the doughnut renaissance spurred by Doughnut Plant and Dough.

But the most alluring and often ridiculous food trends in New York City tend to involve something truly novel, eye-catching, and sometimes just weird. Fortunately, for those of us who are taking pandemic conditions seriously, there are options to bring some of the novelty of those trends home for the Instagrammable weirdness you may have been missing.

These are some of the recent New York City food trends that you can try for yourself.

Raindrop Cake

raindrop cake

Like a lot of food trends that sweep New York, the Raindrop Cake can be traced back to Japan. Created by the Kinseiken Seika company outside Tokyo, the clear, jiggly cake was originally introduced as water mochi. In 2016 a Brooklyn-based digital marketer named Darren Wong set out to introduce the strange "edible water" to New York at the Smorgasburg food festival, and the strangely beautiful dessert took off.

Now Wong sells kits with everything you need to create your own low-calorie jellyfish/breast implant confection at home. For $36 the kit includes ingredients, molds, and bamboo trays for six raindrop cakes served with brown sugar syrup and Japanese Kinako flour.

Cronuts

cronuts

Dominique Ansel Bakery

When French pastry chef Dominique Ansel introduced New York to his chimera dessert blending a croissant with a doughnut, it was an overnight sensation with lines around the block to try the flaky fried goodness. They were such a hit that a more pedestrian version of the cronut made its way to Dunkin around the country.

Since then, Ansel has unveiled a number of buzzworthy and inventive creations, like What-a-Melon ice cream, Zero-Gravity cakes, and frozen s'mores. But if you want to try the sensation that started it all, Ansel has shared his original cronut recipe.

And if it turns out that you're not quite at the level to emulate a world-renowned French pastry chef, you can always try the knock-off version with these simple biscuit dough donuts you can make in an air fryer.

Ramen Burger

ramen burger

Here's another food craze imported from Japan. The ramen burger has popular in the Fukushima region for some time, but it was first introduced to New York by chef Keizo Shimamoto's restaurant Ramen Shack in 2013.

The simple fusion of Japanese and American cuisine is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Instead of a standard white bread bun, ramen noodles are cooked to chewy perfection, pressed into a bun shape, then seared in sesame oil until the outside is crispy.

Inside that bun you can place whatever kind of burger you like, but Shimamoto's version involved a beef patty served with arugula, scallions, and a signature sauce. While your results with instant ramen are unlikely to match the quality of Shimamoto's buns, this recipe should help you get close.

Ube Ice Cream

Ube ice cream

Gemma's Bigger Bolder Baking

The purple yam known as ube is a staple of Filipino desserts. In recent years its distinctive, almost floral sweetness has grown in popularity in NYC, showing up in a variety of baked goods and in the Philippines's signature take on shaved ice -- halo-halo.

The fluffy ube mamons -- sponge cakes -- at Red Ribbon Bakeshop are a great introduction to what has made it such a popular ingredient. There is also the delicious flan-like ube halaya. But maybe the most craveable and craze-worthy uses of ube is as a flavor of ice cream.

This simple recipe calls for ube extract or powder, rather than using actual yam -- but the distinctive ube flavor still comes through in the delicious results.

Grasshoppers

Tempura grasshoppers

Food Republic

Speaking of climate change... oh, were we not talking about climate change? It's always just lingering in the background -- a portent of doom hovering over all our thoughts about the future? Cool.

Anyway, speaking of climate change, one of the most important changes our society will need to make in order to mitigate its catastrophic effects it to shift our food supply to a more sustainable model. And one of the keys to that effort will be a shift away from meat to less wasteful protein sources.

Plant-based alternatives like impossible burgers and beyond meats are a likely component of that shift, but one of the most efficient forms of protein on Earth is also one of the easiest to come by -- bugs. With that in mind, restaurants like The Black Ant have introduced insects as a fashionable part of NYC dining.

You might be thinking that's gross, but in reality...it absolutely is. Bugs are weird and gross, and the idea of eating them is not appetizing.

But chances are there's already something in your diet that would be gross if you weren't used to it -- aren't lobsters basically sea bugs anyway? So if you can find a way to get over that mental block and make those bugs appealing -- as cultures around the world have been doing throughout history -- you might be ready for the Snowpiercer dystopia that lies ahead.

With that in mind, you can buy a bucket of crunchy dried grasshoppers to start experimenting with cooking. And, while not as inventive as Black Ant's grasshopper-crusted shrimp tacos, these recipes for curried tempura grasshoppers and Oaxacan chapulines tacos sound downright edible.

Hot Cocktails

hot toddy

Okay, this is hardly a new or a specifically New York trend, but with restaurants and bars moving outdoors in the middle of winter, people have been warming themselves with hot beverages. But there's nothing to stop you from bringing that heat home to enjoy a tipsy winter night on a balcony, rooftop, or fire escape.

From hot toddies to hot buttered rum, spiked hot chocolate, and mulled wine, the possibilities are endless. A hot cocktail can be as simple as Irishing-up a cup of coffee, but we recommend getting your hands on some citrus peel and mulling spices -- cloves, cinnamon sticks, allspice, stare anise, and nutmeg -- and start experimenting with some cheap red wine or apple cider spiked with your favorite brown liquor.

Travel Tips

Best Jobs for People Who Love To Travel

If you want to travel but have a job that is currently holding you back, here are a few of our suggestions for the best jobs for people who love to travel.

For many people, traveling is an amazing experience, but traveling is not always feasible because of responsibilities to work.

One way to get around this roadblock is to get a job that will let you travel and see the world. Here are some of the best jobs for people who love to travel.

Hostelworld HostelworldHostelworld.com

Translator

A translator is a wonderful job for those who want to travel. It will bring you to many places as you work, so long as those places speak the language you can translate. The great thing about translating is the variety of work you can get by translating for specific clients or just translating for tourists in the area. You can choose what type of scene you wish to work in very easily.

Pilot

A pilot fits the definition of a job that gets to travel perfectly. Now, whether you are a private pilot or a commercial pilot, you will still get to fly all over the planet. The only major problem with this job is the requirement of flight classes. But once you get your license, you can fly freely around the world while making yourself money to fund your trips.

Travel blogger

Being a travel blogger is a temperamental job but, if done correctly, it will allow you to visit anywhere you want. Writing to fans as you travel the world can be a fun and exciting way to engage with the planet. This job can be difficult to do, though, as you must be able to write consistently and capture your audience with each post.

English teacher

This may not sound like a job that allows you to travel, but schools all around the world are always looking for more people to teach English.

In this career, you would move near the school that you would teach at and live there over the course of your time there. The interesting thing about this job is that it does not necessarily require a teaching degree, depending on the school and country in question. You also get to live in a new country for an extended period.

When it comes to the best jobs for people who love to travel, these are just a few of our suggestions. There are plenty of jobs where you can travel around the world, but these ones are far-reaching and cover a lot of different lifestyles. They might seem like pipe dreams, but hey, you never know!

Seattle, Washington is a rainy, coffee-fueled, coastal town often referred to as the "Emerald City."

Located against the ecological wonderland of Puget Sound, this cosmopolitan, seaside city is a mishmash of arts, culture, history, nature, and, of course, cloudy weather. Thanks to its proximity to nature, its greenery, and its culturally rich, big-city atmosphere, the city is becoming increasingly popular, both for tourists and those looking for a change of scenery.

The Big Stops: Tourist Seattle

If you only have a few days to visit Seattle, you'll probably want to check out the area's most famous attractions.

For nature lovers and summit-chasers, there's the imposing, wildflower-shrouded Mt. Rainier.

Mt. Rainierthebesttravelplaces.com

Mt. Rainier

For foodies, there's the popular Pike Place Market, a giant patchwork of food-sellers and friendly chaos where you can purchase everything from giant crabs' legs to bottomless amounts of coffee (more on that later).

Pike Place Marketseattle.eater.com

And finally, there's the iconic Space Needle and the Sky View Observatory, which will give you extraordinary views of the city.

Space Needlegetyourguide.com

Seattle Arts and Museums

For arts and culture lovers, Seattle has plenty to cut your teeth on. Don't miss the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a collection of extraordinary blown-glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.

Chihuly Gardensfodors.com

Chihuly Gardens

For art, there's the giant Seattle Art Museum Downtown. Seattle also offers the Museum of Pop Culture, a nonprofit that features all your favorite icons from history, and plenty of other options.

Museum of Pop Culturesmithsonianmag.org

For some history, there's the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which commemorates Seattle's history as a gold rush hub.

There are plenty of quirky attractions—like the giant Fremont Troll, the 18-foot sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood that cuts an imposing figure.

Fremont Trollsillyamerica.com

You could also take in the city from a boat—marine enthusiasts might enjoy visiting to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to explore the history of this port city.

Seattle, of course, also has a gritty underground side—you may know the city from its time at the heart of the '90s grunge movement.

It also has a long, storied history that has left more than a few scars. You can literally see its underground through one of its underground tours, which will take you on a walk through the "buried city," the remnants left over from before the Great Fire of 1889.

Seattle Undergroundpinterest

Natural Wonders

Seattle is notorious for its natural wonders. For a close-up view, there's the Seattle Aquarium, a marine experience that showcases the best of what Puget Sound has to offer.

For more exposure to the beauty of Seattle's nature, try the Washington Park Arboretum, a 230-acre showcase of Seattle's wetlands and natural wonders.

Washington Park Arboretumtriposo.com

You might also pay a visit to the Alki Beach for some time with the ocean waves.

Alki BeachMetropolitangardens.blogspot.com

Or consider taking a more exhaustive adventure to Discovery Park, a giant and labyrinthine natural park at the edge of Puget Sound.

Discovery Parktrip savvy.com

Food and Drink

Food tours are also popular options for those who want to get more intimate with the city's cuisine, and Seattle is often ranked as one of the best cities for foodies.

It's also a great place for coffee-heads. You might also pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, AKA Ultimate Starbucks, a tasting room that features a coffee library amongst other treats for coffee addicts.

Sarbucks Reserve Roasterydesigner.com

Moving to Seattle

If you're planning on moving to Seattle, locals say there's a few things you should know. First off, it is most definitely overcast the majority of the time, though the rain is rather like a mist. That makes the rare sunny day shine even more, though, locals say, in addition to fostering natural abundance.

The city is generally very congested with traffic, which can be noisy, though it offers great public transportation options, from buses to rail—regardless, you'll want to get an Orca Card for that.

Like every city, Seattle has a number of diverse and charismatic neighborhoods. For example, there's the beachy, more laid-back West Seattle.

West SeattleWest Seattle

There's the vibrant Capitol Hill, a hub of arts, culture, tech bros, and nightlife (during non-COVID times).

There's the historic and artsy Pioneer Square, featuring plenty of museums, shops, galleries, and pubs.

Pioneer Square SeattleExpedia

Fremont is a more bohemian area. Belltown is a trendy waterfront neighborhood that's close to everything.

In general, Seattle residents love the city for its proximity to nature, from beaches to glaciers, and its abundance of arts and cultural attractions. As Kimberly Kinrade said, "Seattle is for people who love culture, but refuse to sacrifice their wild nature to attain it." Residents dislike the steep cost of housing and all things that come from rising prices, including the city's large homeless population.

In general, the city is known as environmentally conscious, liberal, and dog-loving. The people are often referred to as nice but possibly a bit standoffish and cold (the "Seattle Freeze" is when you make plans to hang out and then bail, which is apparently very common). The rain can certainly get depressing, but the proximity to nature helps.

Remember, if you do happen to move: umbrellas are dead giveaways for tourists.


What's your favorite part about Seattle? What did we leave out? Let us know at @thejourniest on Twitter!