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Ecovillages, Ecodistricts and Climate Change

Karen Litfin, a University of Washington professor of political science, spent a year traveling and researching her book, Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community. Litfin, along with Deni Ruggeri of the UO’s landscape architecture program and Anita Van Asperdt, a local landscape architect, will be discussing “Ecovillages and Ecodistricts: Solutions for Climate Change” at the UO Jan. 13.

Litfin says an ecovillage is “generally an intentional community that has come together trying to live sustainably” and she says that means living ecologically, socially and economically. 

In more than 20 years of teaching about global environmental politics at UW, Litfin says she has watched things go from bad to worse in terms of climate change, biodiversity and even optimism about where the world is going. But she says that looking at ecovillages gives us some basic principles of how we can live together from small communities all the way to the nation-state. 

Litfin studied 14 larger, established ecovillages that were part of the Global Ecovillage Network located around the world from Los Angeles to Africa. One of them, Auroville in India, is home to more than 2,000 people and was founded in 1968. Litfin says that despite the diversity in everything from location to religious beliefs, she still found commonalities including a belief that the web of life is sacred, and humanity is an integral part of that web; that global environmental trends are approaching a crisis point, and we need to act; that positive change will come from the bottom up; and that saying yes is a greater source of power than saying no.

“Ecovillages and Ecodistricts” is 4 pm Monday, Jan. 13, in Lawrence Hall room 115 on the UO campus, and it is free and open to the public. For professionals who cannot make the afternoon event, the Eugene Branch of the Cascadia Green Building Council is hosting a noon event at the LCC Downtown Center room 408.