About This Newsletter What is an Ecovillage? Ecovillage Resources Diana Leafe Christian, Editor

Letters to the Editor 200901

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January 2009 Issue

A New Anastasia Village in the Netherlands

Hello Diana,
   Many thanks for the wonderful job on this nice newsletter! I found your article about the decision-making method N Street Cohousing very interesting.

   I also enjoyed reading your book Creating a Life Together.

   As secretary of the Work Group Anastasia Village in the Netherlands I would like to ask you permission to put a Dutch translation of your article about consensus on our website. I will include a link to your newsletter.

With cordial greetings,

Lex Veelo
Secretary, Work Group Anastasia Village
Dedelstraat 1
2596 RA Den Haag
The Netherlands

Of course I said Yes, and Lex put the article in Dutch on his group’s website. I asked him to say more about this start-up ecovillage and he wrote A New Anastasia Village in the Netherlands for us. —Diana

Ecovillages in France

Dear Diana Leafe Christian,

   My friend Matthieu, who recently subscribed, told me about your newsletter, and I've just subscribed too.

   Our group, Les Colibris project in Marseille, is working (hard!) with your book Vivre autrement (Creating a Life Together). As often as I can, I recommend it to members of other ecovillage groups. Thank you very much for writing it!

   You asked Matthieu about ecovillage projects here. There are between 100 or 150 ecovillage, community, or cohousing projects in France. A small group of 3 persons (including a fan of your book) created a network dedicated to cohousing 3 years ago: the réseau Habitat groupé (Habitat Network Group).

   And Jean-Luc Girard created the Passerelle Eco Association (Eco Footbridge Association) 10 years ago, in order to facilitate connections between ecovillage projects.

   I can also post a translation of your message to tell people about your newsletter on the réseau Habitat groupé website: just tell me if that’s OK,

   I hope that will help.

A bientôt,

Estelle Bessin
Les Colibris
Marseille, France

Thank you so much for your kind words about my book, Estelle, and your offer to post a notice on the réseau Habitat groupé website. I would love that: please do! —Diana

Queries for Consensus

Hi Diana,

   Congratulations on launching the newsletter — it looks like you’re off to a great start!

   I'd like to comment on your list of “requirements for consensus.” You wrote, “ (1) common purpose, written clearly; (2) equal access to power; (3) all group members trained in the method.”

   While i agree that consensus decision-making is likely to work better when all of these are in place (along with some other characteristics, like solid friendships and good listening skills), i generally avoid calling them “requirements.” That’s because I’ve found over the years that for every supposed rule about consensus, there seems to be a group out there breaking the rule successfully. I have personally lived in one community that didn’t have #1 or #3 and another community that didn’t have #2, was weak on #1, and variable on #3. Did our consensus process suffer for these lacks? Probably, but we still got by, and got by with more satisfaction in our governance than if we had used majority voting instead. None of this takes away from the appropriateness of your recommendations, which i support.

   I’ve recently written a set of queries for groups to consider who are seeking to evaluate and improve their consensus process. Queries are a long tradition among Quakers, who are also noted consensus practitioners. Your readers who are interested in this topic may enjoy sitting and visiting with these questions, which are posted on my website.


Tree Bressen
Eugene, Oregon

Tree Bressen is a well-known US-based consensus trainer and facilitator for ecovillages and other kinds of intentional communities and other groups. —Diana

Ecovillages Will Be Increasingly Important

   Diana, I’m very impressed. Both the appearance and the content are marvelous — once again confirming some of your skills that I have long appreciated.

   I think you're at the cutting edge here. As world conditions continue to get harder, ecovillages are going to be more and more important. You've positioned yourself for a productive future. I'm honored to be associated with the venture, and I wish you all success.

Tim Miller
Department of Religious Studies,
University of Kansas, Lawrence

Related Articles:

Also in this issue:

Coming in Future Issues:
  • Anastasia Ecovillages in Russia (Andrew Jones)
  • Konohana Family Farm in Japan (Hildur Jackson)
  • First Philippines Ecovillage Design Education Course (Diana Leafe Christian)
  • Pintig Ecovillage Partners with a Local Green Business (Diana Leafe Christian)
  • Our Whirlwind Aussie Road Trip, Part II (Russell Austerberry)
  • Svanholm in Denmark Becomes Carbon Neutral (Christina Adler Jensen)
  • Ecovillage Conference Tokyo 2009 (Hildur Jackson)
  • ‘Glue’ or ‘Shrapnel’ in Your Ecovillage (Diana Leafe Christian)
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Newsletter Staff

  • Diana Leafe Christian,
  • Jan Steinman,
    Website Designer, Mailing List Administrator
  • Marie Marcella,

Mission & Purpose

To encourage and inspire new and existing ecovillage projects with news about ecovillages and related projects worldwide.

Advisory Board

  • Lois Arkin,
    CRSP; ENA; Urban Ecovillage Network; Los Angeles Eco-Village, US
  • Peter Bane,
    Permaculture designer; publisher, Permaculture Activist, US
  • Albert Bates,
    Co-founder, GEN; Post-Petroleum Survival Guide; Director, Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm, US
  • Tree Bressen,
    Consensus & Facilitation Trainer; Cofounder, Walnut St. Co-op, US
  • Ernest Callenbach,
    Ecotopia, Ecotopia Emerging; US
  • Giovanni Ciarlo,
    GEN; ENA; Huehyecoyotl Ecovillage, Mexico
  • Raines Cohen,
    Cohousing Association of the US; Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC); Berkeley Cohousing, US
  • Leila Dregger,
    Peace journalist & writer, Peace Research Center & Ecovillage, Tamera, Portugal
  • Chuck Durrett,
    Cohousing; Senior Cohousing; Architect, The Cohousing Company; Nevada City Cohousing, US
  • Jonathan Dawson,
    Ecovillages; Findhorn Foundation, Scotland
  • Robert Gilman,
    Co-founder, GEN; Ecovillages & Sustainable Communities; City Council Member, Langley, Washington, US
  • Michael Hale,
    Yarrow Ecovillage, Canada
  • Jeff Grossberg,
    Guidestone Consulting Group, US
  • Martha Harris,
    Earthaven Ecovillage, US
  • Scott Horton,
    Editor, Permaculture Activist, US
  • Hildur Jackson,
    Co-founder, Gaia Trust; cofounder, GEN; Ecovillage Living, Denmark
  • Kosha Joubert,
    Editor, Beyond You and Me, GEN's EDE Program; Ecovillage Sieben Linden, Germany
  • Elana Kann & Bill Flemming,
    Co-developers, Westwood Cohousing, US
  • Joseph F. Kennedy,
    Designer/educator; The Art of Natural Building, US
  • Fred & Nancy Lanphear,
    Northwest Intentional Communities Association (NICA); Songaia Cohousing, US
  • Mark Lakeman,
    Founder, Portland City Repair & Village Building Convergence, US
  • Max Lindegger,
    Cofounder, GEN; Director, GEN-Oceania/Asia; Crystal Waters Ecovillage, Australia
  • Chris Mare,
    GEN's EDE Program; Village Design Institute, US
  • Ronaye Matthew,
    Canadian Cohousing Network; Cranberry Commons Cohousing, Canada
  • Kathryn McCamant,
    Architect/Developer, Cohousing Partners, Inc.; Co-author, Cohousing; Nevada City Cohousing, US
  • Dr. Bill Metcalf,
    Findhorn Book of Community Living; Professor, Environmental Sociology, Griffith University, Australia
  • Ina Meyer-Stoll,
    Co-director, GEN-Europe; ZEGG, Germany
  • Tim Miller,
    The 60s Communes; Professor of Religion, University of Kansas, US
  • Hank Obermayer,
    Mariposa Grove Cohousing, US
  • Toshio Ogata,
    Professor of Economics, Chuo University; GEPA (Global Environment Project in Asia), Japan
  • Craig Ragland,
    Executive Director, Cohousing Association of the US; Songaia Cohousing; New Earth Song Cohousing, US
  • Penelope Reyes,
    President, GEN-Oceania/Asia; Tuwâ - The Laughing Fish, Cabiao, Philippines
  • Michael Rios,
    Network for a New Culture Summer Camp East; Chrysalis, Washington DC, US
  • Jim Shenck,
    Enright Ridge Ecovillage, US
  • Nicola Shirley,
    The Source Farm Ecovillage, Jamaica
  • Tony Sirna,
    Communities Directory; Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, US
  • Jan Steinman,
    EcoReality Co-op, Canada
  • Liz Walker,
    GEN's EDE Program; Ecovillage at Ithaca; EcoVillage at Ithaca, US