As economies and ecosystems degenerate, and spiritual malaise increases (as I’ve pointed out in my green Christmas wish list), communities worldwide are forming new bonds. Moving away from the consumer model, ecovillages incorporate various degrees of the old world order – before the industrial revolution – to create a new, post-industrial prototype.
Some focus strictly on natural building and organic farming, others rely on tourism to stay afloat, while the most ambitious ecovillage fuses agriculture, art, building, education, energy, and even medicine into a holistic community model. Penyon Bay Ecovillage, when it gains traction, will fit into this latter category.
Masdar has approached the inevitable post-carbon era with an ostentatious project that will cost billions. But ecovillages are more understated, relying as they do on smaller (and more sustainable) contributions of capital and labor. They are also potentially more complicated, as Penyon Bay’s visionary Mike Soussan points out.
Getting 140-150 strangers together to produce a living environment that is self-sufficient seems like a Herculean feat. Although people in the Middle East have not completely forgotten their communal ways, as Mark Boyle, the moneyless man pointed out, that is 150 different backgrounds, cultures, and expectations to coordinate.
And it’s hard work, work that everyone – not just the enforced “lower” rungs of society – must do. All participants agree to forge a village on 20-100 hectares that produces its own organic food, composts its own waste, purifies its own water, and builds its own buildings using such timeless methods as adobe and cob.
There is a trade off for this more complicated simplicity, which is central to Penyon Bay’s philosophy. Living this way, in all of its tenuous glory, entails a deeper, more meaningful life, one that is expressed through art and communication. It could be bloody, plates could fly, but that happens in any household. Ours is a volatile species after all. Penyon seeks to seal the bridge between the human instinct and its newer, more rational mind, in order to help residents slip back into the interconnected flow of life.
Once it reaches its intended potential, Penyon Bay Ecovillage, which will be located in the Northern Morocco region in the Rif Mountains and overlooking the Bay of Alhoceima within proximity of mountains, beaches, parks, and farmers markets, will include a farm, hostel, school, and clinic.
They are currently accepting applications for serious people willing to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, their minds changed, and their spiritual sensibilities overhauled.
More Ecovillages in the Middle East:
image via Délirante bestiole [Un has-been à Paris]