What we do not want from an ecovillage project
Wild Oranges ecovillage project arises from the direct observation of several existing ecovillages.
A common flaw in many ecovillages is the excess of zeal and the predominance of idealism over planned and determinate activities. Idealism can spoil an ecovillage project from the very beginning, by setting unreachable goals, e.g. achieving an impact on the public opinion, living an idillic life, where peace&love triumph over everything. This first of all causes a useless waste of resourses (time, money, energies…), which instead could be used for activities necessary for the survival of the ecovillage. Moreover, a rampant idealism is also at the basis of great disappointments, which cause a widespread frustration and disillusion, and prompt several members of an ecovillage to break away and fall back into the system.
The excess of idealism, typical of many hippie-like ecovillage projects, is an emotional response to the the excessive materialism of the consumerist economic system. Several ecovillagers are people who run away in despair from the monstrous reality of the current system. Prey of their emotions and without taking the proper time to analyse the situation, they let themselves fall in the opposite excesses. So if the system oppressed them with rules, they become intolerant of any form of organization. If the system educated them to submit their emotions to hard work, they become intollerant to any work activity (let alone hard work). If the system persistently suppressed any spiritual dimension of life in the name of material goods, they then end up underestimating the importance of material life and indulging in excessive, and sometimes even grotesque, manifestations of spirituality.
If on one hand there is an almost hysteric break-up with the consumerist culture, on the other hand some consumerist values are carried along, because too deeply rooted in one’s conscience and habits. So it is not unlikely to meet in many ecovillages people who cannot conceive a happy existence without affording superfluous consumer goods, e.g. a packet of cigarettes or a holiday in an exotic place, or in a popular sea resort. As a consequence of that, the limited economical resources of an ecovillage are unnecessarily strained and several people end up to working outside the ecovillage for very long times. To the point that often an ecovillage ends up in a simple cohousing solution, or even worse, in a cheap housing platform from which it is possible to carry on a consumerist lifestyle.
Many ecovillages are troubled by economic problems and their existence is constantly threatened. There is hardly any systematic form, or not even an endevour of sistematization, of ensuring a constant income.
Another trait that many ecovillagers bring with them from their former consumerist existences is an idea of freedom that is strictly connected with possession and with the fulfillment of a certain urge of realising one’s own ego. This sometimes make the coexistence with other beings more problematic than what it can be.
How Wild Oranges will be different from many other ecovillages
Our project is different first of all because it is not an initiative arising from sheer emotions, or from a nerve break down, but from an emotionless analysis of the system and equally emotionless formalization of our objectives.
Our key principles are balance and reason. We are aware of the risk of exaggerating in the opposite direction of the actual economic system and our practical choices will be based on reason, rather than emotions. Actually we even think that some aspects of the consumerist system can be used at our own favour. This is for example the case of the systematic planning of activities.
Wild Oranges has realistic goals and it is a project devoid of any idealism and any faith in progress of mankind. Wild Orange’s objective is to dissociate from the consumerist system, but at the same time keeping safe distances from any hippie-like evolution. There is no intention of telling the world what the right way of living is. It is all about thinking out the most reasonable and solid way to lead an existence as much as independent from the system as possible.
The economic aspects of an ecovillage are too far important to be left to improvisation and to idealistic principles, especially since we are going through an unprecendented economic crisis. Wild Oranges is an ecovillage project that will be based on a sound planning of the interface with the current economic system. Laws, incentives, fiscal systems will be studied for an optimal contextualization of the project.