EcoReality Sustainable Land Use and Education Cooperative Membership Agreement
I share the EcoReality Sustainable Land Use and Education Cooperative mission, purpose, vision and values, and agree to abide by the procedures and guidelines in this document and in the coop rules of incorporation, and future changes made with my consent, and apply to be a member of EcoReality Sustainable Land Use and Education Cooperative.
In the interest of transparency, and also as an example, I also agree to share my member application with prospective members, so they can better understand those whom they are joining, an so they can submit a suitable application, with the appropriate level of detail.
EcoReality strives to create a way of life for its present and future residents that is completely sustainable, in all realms, and to spread the imperative and knowledge of sustainability with the greater regional community and the world, through clear, compassionate communication, sharing, education, and nurturing relationships.
Here, we the members of Ecoreality define sustainability.
These are the values we hold in common, in priority order. These values are the basis upon which our other guidance documents have been formed, and should be consulted whenever difficult or contentious agreements are made. These values may change over time; please place additions or comments on the discussion page, together with your name.
Sustainability in all its relationships: food, energy, economy, society, politics, more
- Simplicity: everything should be kept as simple as possible.
- Ecological action:
- Commitment to growing organic foods and gardening for community consumption and possibly sales via farmstand/farmer's markets and value added products.
- Low-impact, as part of the sustainable model: working with the land as much as possible to keep as many natural resources intact (or in a renewing cycle as determined through careful study and management) as possible.
- Sustainable actions:
- in building, food production, development,
- energy generation & use; ideally with an off the grid system that is tied in to the grid for use during low self energy production periods and the option to sell back during surplus times.
- Preservation of tools and resources and efficient use of skills.
- Habitant-built housing. Nothing provides a closer connection to your habitat than building your own dwelling, with your own hands.
- Freedom from debt with the outside world. Doing our best to not make large banking corporations more money.
- Growth of the ecovillage in population and development is carefully managed, balanced by new members, children, project action, decline and death.
- Attention to details in all aspects of actions and skills.
- Resource sharing: assessment of skills and owned items inventories within the ecovillage, with clear guidelines on what is available for use and the conditions or special considerations with each item/skill. Sharing of items, ideas, and skills that are existing within the community or brought in by one party, neighbour or partner intentional community. Working together to share hard work in all aspects of the ecovillage: labour, administration, emotional well being, day to day tasks etc.
Clear, written process and agreements for managing our interactions within ourselves, among ourselves, and with those outside, supported by appropriate tools that everyone agrees to use.
- Adherence to non-violence in all its forms, including to non-human animals.
- Compassionate truth-telling using non violence, blame- and shame-free sharing of concerns, and empowerment of others.
- Progressive conflict resolution with facilitators within the community and outside resources available.
- Emphasis on empowering people, through personal responsibility and accountability, supported as needed by others.
- Encouraging and empowering others in all areas of their lives.
- Respect for personal space within the sharing community.
- Communication & feedback: self-expression, consistent effort to improve & listen to others & self, acceptance, cooperation, prevention of conflict through behavior.
- Practicing consensus in agreement making/governance. Having training/facilitation as needed.
- Building trust between members, committees, visitors etc through honest communication and transparent documents.
- Open communication within the community and with others. Having the reputation as a reliable group to work for or with.
- Openness to understanding of others. Keeping an open mind during deliberations, agreement making and conflict resolution.
- Positive thinking and positive expression.
- Radical transparency in finances, documents, agreements etc.
- Respect for others- to be upheld in all situations. To be healed and rebuilt as needed.
- Supportive conflict resolution with facilitation if needed, within the community or a healing soul sought and introduced for the purpose.
- Administration kept tidy and organized for all to use, tools returned to proper place. Ease of use to encourage participation.
- Village feel, walking to/from houses, creating more chances of meeting and interacting with others.
Spiritual awareness & connectedness: acceptance of spiritual/philosophical/religious diversity, agreement-based practices, celebration & ritual on community/personal level that is non-religious, yet accepts many ways & paths
- Compassion & love: honoring others as self/family, gifting, heathy vibrations & willingness to change.
- Sharing thoughts, ideas, and concerns during shared meals, social occasions, meetings, working alongside each other etc.
- Loving relationships between families, households, the community as a whole, visitors etc. Caring about/for others.
- Giving love, good thoughts, hugs & positive feedback
- nurturing, embracing for all humans and animals.
- Inspirational creative activities- Yoga, music, photography, wildlife, carpentry, crafting, dancing etc etc etc
- Joy in life: happiness, fun activities
- Cultivating intimacy and love.
- Support for child rearing: value of space for children, caring for family needs, supporting child care.
Education: learner-centered, ecologically-based, living and non-living systems-based teaching within the community for children, teens & adults. Groupwork will be a mainstay of education
- Teaching and guiding children as an ecovillage as a whole and by those who choose to take on teaching children within the community.
- Teaching: goodwill to share information (personal, skill-based, other) and set up times for workshops or classes on specific skills/expertise. Willingness to be taught and continue to learn -- to say, "I don't know," when applicable.
- Taking in of knowledge provided by external sources.
- Fostering on-site cultural exchanges to provide opportunities for personal growth and learning.
Global impact/benefit. Inducing global change by leading by example and spreading the knowledge
- Dedication to equality in lifestyle, while respecting individual equity.
- Honour and respect for Diversity in all its forms, mix of ages, races, etc.
- Honesty Pure and simple, at all times.
- Understanding and fair treatment to animals.
- Tangible expression of doing active outreach efforts.
Because humans have tipped the planet out of energetic balance, leading to increasing overpopulation, conflict, famine, and extinction, possibly of humans themselves, we, the members and advisors of the Ecoreality community agree to honor our individual roles as part of a collective that is committed to sustainability in all its forms.
Here is our mission (an action plan that guides us):
We choose to build a loving community together in the South Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. As a community, we pledge to learn by practice and exploration how to apply principles of ecology, non-violence, awareness, diversity, and education toward the achievement of a lifestyle that is a result of intentional sustainable actions and alternatives to the state of the world (see first line). To do this, we agree to use clear, compassionate communication and written process, and to empower people through ongoing group awareness and processes that promote personal responsibility and accountability. We agree to share knowledge and materials in ways that promote our community values. Finally, we will support our mission actions by appropriate tools that we all agree to use, such as consensus decision-making.
Furthermore, we endorse a common set of values in priority order, from which we derive our common vision and purpose statements, the latter of which we periodically review and ratify by unanimous consent.
EcoReality Sustainable Land Use and Education Cooperative exists to establish and maintain an ecovillage community in the South Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. The primary mission of the Cooperative is to provide ecologically sustainable housing to its member-investors, and to educate each other and the public about the imperative and implementation of sustainable living systems through participation in the creation of a sustainable ecovillage lifestyle. The Cooperative will support its mission with the use of compassionate communication and written process, consensus decision-making, principles of ecology, permaculture, non-violence, educational tools and other such activities as are necessary and desirable for these purposes.
EcoReality Pet Policy
- Pets are a great addition to an ecovillage. They can be companions as well as having roles or jobs to perform.
- The pet policy is meant to provide guidelines to ensure that the balance of sustainability is not tipped and the removal process of unwanted pets rarely or never has to be used.
- In a community of 8 households (24 people), the general guidelines for pets are:
- 4 Outdoor cats (1 per every 2 household)
- 2 dogs (1 per every 4 households)
- Generally there are two types of cats. Indoor (never go outside) and outdoor.
- Cats that do go outdoors are essentially the community’s cats. They will have free reign of the property and will be able to come and go from their owner’s house as they please. They should be provided with bells around their necks to prevent unwanted critter casualties. It will be the responsibility of the owners to maintain the health of the cats and pay for any medical attention it may need.
- Dogs require heaps of attention and guidance. Any dog residing on the ecovillage must be very friendly, non-threatening, well behaved, well trained, and gets along well with the other animals and people. Including all children.
- Training is essential for the dog. It is required that:
- It respects the property’s boundaries.
- Does not dig in the garden or any other sensitive area.
- Does not beg for food.
- Does not chase wildlife or other animals.
- Comes when called.
- Can be called off at any point.
- Knows where it is appropriate to eliminate waste.
- Indoor pets:
- Ecoreality supports the theory of non-violence towards all creatures. Caged animals do not live the full lives they do out in the wild. Any requests for indoor pets will be discussed on a case by case basis.
- Indoor cats are welcome under the same guidelines as the other pets: Friendly, healthy and well behaved.
- The animals of an ecovillage will have maximum stimulation. In their lifetime they will meet hundreds of people and animals including other pets, wildlife, kids, animal lovers (and not so lovers). We feel it is ideal if the pet is friendly (either in an outgoing way or maybe they’re shy and hide for a while when guests arrive, but then warm up to new people).
- Fighting, attacking other animals, scratching or biting people is a hazard that can be prevented. Aggressive pets are not welcome and will be asked to leave the ecovillage if their behavior is not modified rapidly.
- Every pet requires an owner/handler. Homeless pets are welcome only on a temporary emergency basis until a home or owner is found. If the community is at full pet allotment, the home must be off of the community.
- Pet management:
- Should a pet go against one of the animal guidelines, the following process will be put in action:
- A conversation will be had between the pet owner and the animal stewards; a solution to the behavior will agreed upon and a training/behavior modification plan will be put in to action.
- Should the animal persist with the negative behavior the animal will be requested to have limited access to the property and immediate actions will be put in place by the whole community to encourage the pet to modify its habits.
- Should the pet persist, it will be requested to find another home.
- Should a pet act in a violent way towards another animal, immediate action will be taken. An assessment will be done by the animal stewards and they will steward a proposal outlining to the community what options are available for that pet. It may be asked to find another home if the pet has an aggressive history.
- Should a pet act in a violent way towards a person, it will most likely be asked to find another home immediately.
- Should a pet go against one of the animal guidelines, the following process will be put in action:
Ecoreality Population Policy
- Diversity in population is key to an ecovillage.
- Sustainability includes having people of all ages living and working with each other on the land.
- Children are categorized as being under 16 years of age, or under 19 and still in school full time.
- The ideal ratio of adults to children on the ecovillage is 3:1.
- Children are a necessity to the community and families are welcome. It is with delicacy and empathy that Ecoreality has established and enforces its population control to maintain the balance of working adults to children and dependents.
- A child on the ecovillage is a child of the ecovillage. We will all share in the child’s upbringing and the child will impact all of our lives.
- Parents, or "expecting to be" parents, are encouraged to discuss with the community their desire for having or adopting children. The community will pass on “birthing rights” to the couple when the ratio of adults to children is at a level that another child can be supported by the community.
- Parents having or acquiring children while living in the community without having “birthing rights” will be supported by the ecovillage in their decisions. Those parents are requested to work with the advisory council or population stewards to formulate and present to the rest of the community a plan of inclusion for the new being to fit in. The community will acknowledge that this new person was not within the “birthing rights” category and work to make way and accept the situation.
- Unexpected births or adoptions are not ideal for the sustainability and planning of the ecovillage. However, not all of life is planned and laid out how we intended, and our values will guide us as a community to create loving, non-violent workability with such a situation. While we are not a haven from the rest of the world, we are a safe place to land, even if temporarily.
Recreational intoxicants are to be used responsibly, in a way that
- does not create a health or safety problem for the individual or community,
- does not put the community at legal risk,
- does not create a public relations problem for the community, and
- does not interfere with an individual's effective time or monetary commitment to the community.
To implement these guidelines, specific use may be further limited as needed to specific zones and times, such as "private residence only" or "dining areas after 5PM."
Within these guidelines, it is our intention that individuals are able to choose to (or not to) enjoy moderate use of intoxicants without endangering themselves or the community, and without "sneaking" or working around arbitrary community rules.
If it appears to community members that an individual's use of intoxicants could result in harm to that individual or the community, we will meet with that individual to explore the cause of the harmful substance use, and their intentions in using the substance, and to discuss the perceived negative results, so as to come to some understanding about future behavior.
If the harmful use continues, an escalating sequence of consequences is triggered, possibly culminating in the expulsion of the individual from the community.
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