Eco-anarchism argues that small eco-villages (of no more than a few hundred people) are a scale of human living preferable to civilization, and that infrastructure and political systems should be re-organized to ensure that these are created. Eco-anarchists assert that social organizations must be designed to work with natural forces, rather than against.

It combines older trends towards primitivism, bioregional democracy, feminism (as eco-feminism), pacifism, secession and intentional community. It is the dedication to these ideals that distinguish it from the more general ‘big-G’ Green anarchism which sees a continuing role for global institutions and global definitions of fairness and safety, or at least dialogue towards those. In general, eco-anarchists reject the common notion of humanity as a whole and human dignity in particular.

One of the most influential pieces of eco-anarchist literature is Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, which relates conversations between a man and a gorilla. This is typical of eco-anarchist literature, in which such concepts as Great Ape personhood and bioregional democracy are often taken for granted, as pre-requisites to a more peaceful society. This book won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award, created by Ted Turner, which rewarded an author who came up with a new solution to environmental problems through fiction. This sponsorship and peaceful coexistence strategy makes some other anarchist movements suspicious, as they reject collaboration with groups they see as enemies. Other authors espousing eco-anarchism include Derrick Jensen, Murray Bookchin, and John Zerzan. Since Ishmael, Daniel Quinn has written several more books that focus on hierarchical and economic factors as the key to our ecological and social crises. Quinn denies any identification with anarchism. He states,”I’ve made it abundantly clear that I admire the functionality of tribal societies – and they’re certainly not anarchies.”[1]

What differentiates the eco-anarchist from the primitivist is this focus on the village and its social capital, as opposed to technology and its acceptance or rejection. What differentiates eco-anarchism from other forms of anarchism and green anarchism is the special focus on ecological integrity.

Some eco-anarchists consider the village, like the bee hive, to be the unit of human life, as opposed to the family or kin group. Assumptions about family are considered to be more important to eco-anarchists than assumptions about work roles. The eco-anarchist philosophy can be explained as an interpretation of anthropological and biological truths. Jared Diamond, an evolutionary biologist and anthropologist, wrote “The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race,” an article discussing the various ways in which the development of agriculture actually made life worse compared to a hunting-gathering culture. The eco-anarchist usually holds “primitive” social organizations such as bands or tribes in high regard, not for some Noble Savage concept of spiritual superiority, but because these social organizations appear to work better than civilization.

Some eco-anarchist sympathizers work on elder care issues and are involved in the Eden Alternative and Kallimos movements to create villages that include many generations of people, including elders who need care, their extended families, and the professional medical staff who care for elders and children. Both movements were founded by Dr. William Thomas, and have so far been largely a North American movement. This is seen as a way to fund eco-villages and reconcile the use of modern medical technologies with small scale living.

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October 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Eco-communalism is an environmental philosophy based on ideals of simple living, local economies, and self-sufficiency (often associated with the ideologies of socialism, communalism, and sustainability). Eco-communalists envision a future in which the economic system of capitalism is replaced with a global web of economically interdependent and interconnected small local communities. Decentralized government, a focus on agriculture, and green economics are all tenets of eco-communalism.



Eco-communalism finds its roots in a diverse set of ideologies. These include the “pastoral reaction to industrialization of William Morris and the nineteenth-century social utopians (Thompson, 1993); the Small Is Beautiful philosophy of E.F. Schumacher (1972); and the traditionalism of Gandhi (1993)” (Great Transition, Pg. 18).

The term eco-communalism was first coined by the Global scenario group (GSG), which was convened in 1995 by Paul Raskin, president of the Tellus Institute. The GSG set out to describe and analyze scenarios for the future of the earth as it entered a Planetary Phase of Civilization. The GSG’s scenario analysis resulted in a series of reports [1]. Eco-communalism took shape in 2002 as one of six possible future scenarios put forth in the GSG’s 99-page essay entitled “Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead.” This founding document describes eco-communalism as a “vision of a better life” which turns to “non-material dimensions of fulfillment – the quality of life, the quality of human solidarity and the quality of the earth” (GT, Pg. 42).

Alternative scenarios

The eco-communalist vision is only part of GSG’s scenario analysis in the Great Transition essay which is organized into three categories. The first, Conventional Worlds, sees capitalist values maintained and only market forces and incremental policy reform trying to curb environmental degradation. The second, Barbarization, is one in which environmental collapse leads to an overall social collapse. The third, Great Transition, is a pathway that includes the “social revolution of eco-communalism” (October 2005 Monthly Review John Bellamy Foster) which finds humanity changing its relationship with the environment. Eco-communalists would be actors in a broader global citizens movement.


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At its core, eco-communalism holds a mindfulness for sustainable development, a belief in human goodness, which often manifests itself through conflict resolution or multiculturalism. Also apparent is a longing for society to advance past reckless industrialism towards a more localized, environmentally palatable system.

Eco-communalism is often associated with eco-socialism, which emphasizes a movement away from capitalism and toward a less materialistic society. The word communalism itself is a term that describes social movements and theories which emphasize the centrality of the community, and eco-communalism ultimately sees the community as the catalyst to help propel the move away from greed and corporate irresponsibility. In 1983, E.F. Schumacher published Small Is Beautiful, a collection of essays in which he expressed the unsustainability of the modern world’s consumption behavior and the need for a new outlook to prevent otherwise inevitable environmental collapse: “Ever bigger machines, entailing ever bigger concentrations of economic power and exerting ever greater violence against the environment, do not represent progress: they are a denial of wisdom. Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful.”

These are the ideas espoused in the philosophy of eco-communalism – rather than a world of capitalist states and their often exploited workers driven by their own greed, eco-communalism envisions a world in which government is decentralized, settlements are integrated with larger cities, local farming is the primary source of produce, and ecological thinking and interconnectedness are the new human values (44-45). As John Bellamy Foster describes in “Organizing Ecological Revolution,” eco-communalism will be the achievement through revolutionary struggle of a more egalitarian society.” It will be one in which “a vigilant civil society would foster more responsible corporate behavior and new values would change consumption and production patterns.” (19) The GSG gives eco-taxes, social subsidies, and green accounting as examples of how eco-communalism could be practically applied (61).

Real-world application

Eco-communalism has taken root all over the globe on different levels. Towns such as Auroville, Nimbin, and the Federation of Damanhur attempt to provide an environmentally low impact way of life. Larger groups such as the Findhorn Foundation provide education to help new communities form. In addition, all of these groups and more are collaborators in the Global Ecovillage Network; which strives to support eco-communalism worldwide. Eco community Transylvania will create eco communities based on the ancient Sekler heritage.

See also

External links

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


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