Conflict is part of life. It is inevitable and helps us learn. We needn’t be afraid of conflict when we have the tools to find a resolution that meets the need of all parties and the community as a whole.
Structural conflict can occur where there is confusion about the group's purpose/vision or fundamental differences in values. Much time has been spent on crafting the vision for this eco village so that people can decide early on if the vision does not align with their own.
The membership process helps to avoid structural conflict around the purpose of the eco village as it provides two way communication with potential residents around culture and expectations.
We at Eco Villages Australia have specifically chosen not to have ownership of particular parts of land or buildings which helps to avoid conflict around ownership. Making it easy to leave is one way to avoid long-term conflict as eco village life is not for everyone and personality clashes may be too much for some people to live with.
It is much easier to resolve conflict between people who want to communicate and work together to get an outcome. A culture of addressing issues will be encouraged at the eco village. Regular eco village meetings will be a time for people to address how they are feeling and bring up situations of conflict to be discussed. These meetings can be productive and meet our common need for connection. Some people may find the level of honesty confronting but part of the reason for living in community is to embrace personal growth. Psychological safety will be of utmost priority at all times.
The Non-Violent Communication process will be used to resolve conflict. All residents of the eco village will be trained in NVC.
I. Problem-Solving Ground Rules
All members will agree to the following ground rules when involved in conflict resolution efforts:
1. Commit to mutual respect.
2. Listen without interrupting.
3. Commit to solve the issue.
4. Agree to use the conflict resolution protocol outlined by Eco Villages Australia.
All members agree to attempt to solve problems by first dealing directly with the person or persons with whom he/she is experiencing conflict. Implicit in this agreement is a commitment to honest, direct problem-solving.
In the case that conflict cannot be resolved between two people/parties directly, an independent mediator agreed to by both parties will be brought in to assist the people/parties to resolve the conflict. The appointed 'Conflict Resolution Contact' at the eco village will organise this process.
In the case that mediation does not resolve the conflict, an independent arbitrator (may be the mediator if appropriate) will be brought in to make a decision. The appointed 'Conflict Resolution Contact' at the eco village will organise this process.
In the extremely unlikely circumstance that conflict remains unresolved, the board reserves the right to evict certain members as per the company constitution.
Throughout this whole process, people will be encouraged to look that their own selves. Often it’s our own insecurities/inadequacies, fears and unresolved trauma that are the real cause of conflict. Individuals are expected to take responsibility of their emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical health.