On the weekend of the 24th and 25th of November, the first Global Ecovillage Network Australia regional gathering was held in Queensland at Currumbin Ecovillage on the Gold Coast. There were representatives from Crystal Waters Eco Village, Currumbin Ecovillage, Bruns Ecovillage and a number of forming eco village projects. There were presentations by an intentional community academic, a lawyer who specialises in intentional community disputes and a presentation on non-violent communication, meditation and philosophy.
One of the engaging group conversations I enjoyed was about volunteer contribution required by people joining ecovillages. We agreed that the providing clear expectations from the outset is just as important as creating and maintaining a culture of contribution. To support a culture where everyone contributes, it's vital to have clear communication at allocate times for example, weekly meetings. Eco villages are places where people want to feel empowered. This means that telling people what they should and should not do is not going to work and will leave many people feeling bitter and resentful. The most empowering way is to encourage and support people to contribute in the way they want to contribute. Everyone has something special to contribute whether that be building skills, facilitation, cooking, artistic work, entertaining - it's really about empowering people in ecovillages to step up into leadership whenever they have something to offer.
The Global Ecovillage Network Conference at Currumbin Eco Village was just the start of what I hope will be many more wonderful gatherings and opportunities to meet those who are forging ahead with intentional communities at this exciting time. It was such a pleasure to be experiencing the conference at one of the few ecovillages in Queensland. Currumbin Eco Village has approximately 400 people living on 140 lots. There are kangaroos hopping around on the lawns and that is because there are no cats and dogs allowed at the ecovillage.