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Eco-communalism (a portmanteau word combining ecology and communalism) is an environmental philosophy based on ideals of simple living, self-sufficiency, sustainability, and local economies. 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, biodiversity, ethnic diversity, 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)”: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. 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”.:42
The eco-communalist vision is only part of GSC’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 societal 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.
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.
- ""Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead."". Gtinitiative.org. http://www.gtinitiative.org/resources/gtessay.html. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- "Global Scenario Group: Publications and reports on alternative visions of globalization". Gsg.org. http://www.gsg.org/gsgpub.html. Retrieved 2011-01-28.