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EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture Paperback – May 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In a world filled with stories of environmental devastation and social dysfunction, EcoVillage at Ithaca is a refreshing and hopeful look at a modern-day village that is taking an integrated approach to addressing these problems.

This book tells the story of life at EcoVillage at Ithaca, an internationally recognized example of sustainable development. It transports the reader into the midst of a vibrant community that includes cohousing neighborhoods, small-scale organic farming, land preservation, green building, energy alternatives and hands-on education. By integrating proven social and environmental alternatives into a living model, EcoVillage at Ithaca provides a rare glimpse into one possible-and positive-future for the planet.

EcoVillage at Ithaca delves into the heart of the lived experience at this innovative community. It provides a warm, personal and reflective look at what it is like to create a sustainable culture. The book tells in-depth stories about an integrated way of life:

  • running a family farm
  • creating .invented celebrations.
  • the poignancy of a home birth, as well as a conscious death
  • community work parties, and
  • dramatic examples of personal transformation.
At the same time, as one chapter states, .This is not Utopia,. and the struggles and conflicts inherent in any community endeavor are not glossed over.

Human scale, accessible and inspiring, the example of EcoVillage at Ithaca will help readers imagine fresh alternatives to .life as usual.. It will appeal to all who are hungry to learn about successful working models of a more sustainable approach to living with each other and the Earth.

(2004-12-01)

About the Author

Liz Walker co-founded and has directed EcoVillage at Ithaca since its inception in 1991, and has lived there with her family since the first buildings were completed. She has worked on all aspects of the community's development, and has written and lectured widely on the topic.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865715246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865715240
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Author Liz Walker (a founder and leader of Ithaca) wrote in the Introduction to this 2005 book, "'Ecovillage at Ithaca' tells the human story of EVI. It is not a comprehensive overview... I write from my own lived experience... the book will not show you how to create an ecovillage or intentional community. Nor will it explore our legal, financial, or organizational strategies... Instead I offer you glimpses into our way of life and stories that illuminate our path... I hope this book will inspire you to make changes in your own life, your own neighborhood, and your own circle of friends."

She states, "Ithaca is committed to reaching mainstream, middle-class Americans and others who are open to positive change. EVI is a living laboratory that draws from the best alternative practices in land use, organic agriculture, community living, green building, and energy conservation. We integrate proven social and environmental systems to provide a glimpse into one possible positive future for the planet." (Pg. 3)

She notes, "At EVI meaningful human contact is the norm and not the exception. I consider myself blessed to live here. I can maintain my privacy when I need to, but also have plenty of opportunity to form and develop connections with my cohousing neighbors. Indeed I think that living in community fills the deep longing for human love and connection that is shared by our whole species." (Pg. 75) Later, she suggests, "It wasn't utopia. But it was a pretty good place to be." (Pg. 102)

She summarizes, "Over the years our shared experiences, shared work, and shared leadership have all helped to bring us closer together as a community. Our reconsideration of the whole EcoVillage vision made us feel like an extended family.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Grant on December 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
EcoVillage/Ithaca (EVI) has had two "neighborhoods" of 30 families each for a number of years. The third and final neighborhood, consisting of 40 families, has been "under development" for the past 5 years. Last year, when the full complement of 40 was reached, contracts were signed and construction began, with completion expected in 2014.

My sister and I, natives of California and graduates of UC Berkeley, have had parallel paths in life based on counter-culture values. Living in Long Island, she has put a lot of energy into social justice issues, while I have been living in Louisiana doing faith-based community development work. Last year, she became one of the 40 families in EVI's third neighborhood.

In the spring of 2013, I had the opportunity to spend a month in Ithaca, as my sister participated in community processes at EVI. This included a number of consensus-based decision-making processes related to their neighborhood formation, and a number of formal and informal meetings with other residents, old and new. Liz Walker, the author of this book, was, wherever I encountered her, a steady and stabilizing, but unobtrusive, presence.

Intrigued by the quality of both the participants and their goals and processes, I welcomed the opportunity to read Liz's book.. I found that her style and approach were just what I needed, as a newcomer to this type of community life. With grace and sensitivity, she lays out the history and the components of the community structure and process, and gives a clear sense of the quality and pace, the ups and downs, of the human interactions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kris Noel on June 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
I had the privilege of actually staying at this ecovillage and meeting a lot of these people, so I really love this book. It's a great read for anyone interested in sustainability.

-Kris Noel
Lionhead (Volume 1)
The Serenity Compound
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Swaim on July 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent first-hand personal account of the forming, and subsequent trials, tribulations and accomplishments of one of the most famous ecovillages in the US. Liz Walker does a good job describing how the ecovillage at Ithaca began as more of a movement than just a simple community. She details some of the initial aspects of getting the community going, and offers up some vignettes on life in the community as it formed and once it was formed and stable.

The reason I give this 4 stars instead of 5 is that while it's chocked full of anecdotes, it's short on actual advice for those wishing to form duplicate communities elsewhere. The group at Ithaca had some tremendous advantages early on, (such as being offered free land, and enjoying overwhelming support from the local community). Still, it's a good read for anybody interested in intentional communities or ecovillages.

One thing I took to heart from this is that the CSA farmer couple at Ithaca felt like they were getting something of a raw deal, and not enough support from the community. This is a recurring theme in other ICs that have a single person, couple or small group responsible for growing food for the community, with a community that's free to shop elsewhere if they desire. It's a valuable lesson.
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