Things To Know About Living In A Sustainable Community

September 20, 2017  |  
1 of 15 race woman working in garden

If you’ve been feeling disconnected from the products you use, the food you eat, mother nature, other people and just the flow of this life, you’re not alone. That’s why a lot of people across the world are choosing to live in sustainable communities with a cooperative environment. It’s about more than saving the planet though, (but that’s great, too); it’s about feeling like you can control and monitor your interactions with this place. It’s about knowing exactly how your food is made, so you can at least be sure what you eat doesn’t harm the earth. It’s about knowing who grew the produce and supporting those people, because it’s just you and your housemates. It’s a beautifully simple way to live, but there are things to know if you’re considering making the transition. Here’s what you should know about living in a sustainable community.

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You need to heat your own water

If you’d like to take a hot bath, you’ll likely have to manually light a flame stove and heat up pots of water. Yes: it’s a lot of work. Don’t forget that it’ll likely have to be recycled water, too, since it isn’t intended for drinking. If you get a little lax about bathing, don’t feel bad; everybody does there.





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You need to be up very early

Farming is incredibly hard work, which is why modern society has been working nonstop for centuries to make it so that very few humans need to farm. Your entire day will be about growing your food and sustaining this environment. Forget about ego or projects that let you show off your unique gifts and whatever degree you got at college. Everyone is here to serve the earth and the community.


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It’s your new friend group and family

The best way to get the fully immersive experience is to just stay put, with these people, for as long as you live there. You may leave every so often to run errands one must run in metropolitan areas, but for the most part, this is your new world. There won’t be time, nor will you really feel like leaving, for things like happy hour with friends or matinee movies.




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It can be very good for anxiety

A lot of individuals who suffer from anxiety and depression find that living in a sustainable community for a while makes these problems nearly vanish. If you’re someone for whom the source of your anxiety is the question, “What’s the meaning of all this and what am I doing here?” living in a sustainable community could give you some answers.



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The area is small

As mentioned before, you won’t really be leaving the community much. Don’t think of it as your neighborhood; think of it as your town. After all, if you are trying to get back to a way of living that our ancient ancestors enjoyed, you wouldn’t really be traveling more than perhaps a mile from your own home each day.

 crispy bread (Swedish crackers) with soft cheese lettuce leave and cherry tomatoes on wooden board on white background. Healthy meal concept

It’s about using less than you produce

The main point of these communities is to use fewer resources than you produce. Then again, most people in cities are not even producing resources and only consuming them. But you may be surprised by how much you have to monitor how much you eat of this, drink of that, or build with that other thing, even when you’re replenishing those resources.





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Some do not use money

Truly dedicated sustainable communities do not even use money. This can be quite jarring for individuals. Most people don’t realize how much their identity is tied to their bank account and getting used to being stripped of that can leave them feeling disoriented.





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You’ll give up your car

You aren’t supposed to be creating carbon emissions when you live in a sustainable community, so figure out something to do with your car when you live there. Many do not even allow cars to be stowed on the property. This also means you’ll have to get creative about traveling into the city when you want to.




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They recycle waste

Get comfortable with feces because you don’t get to flush it away and forget it the way you do in modern buildings. Sustainable communities use human waste to make fertilizer (like in the film “The Martian.”)







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You may not be able to refrigerate food

Refrigerators use a lot of energy. Your community may have a few run by solar panels, but these will be reserved for special items. You won’t have your own refrigerator. You will mostly eat foods you picked that day.







There’s no temperature control

Again, sustainable communities frown upon wasting energy. Try selecting one in an area that doesn’t have too severe of weather because you cannot put on air conditioning in the summer or heating in the winter. You’ll need to light a fire to stay warm in the winter and hope for the best in the summer.





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There is no place for vanity

You will not have spare time to do your makeup. If you do, you’d rather use it to sleep. But you’ll also begin to feel so connected with nature that doing things all about ego, like doing your makeup, will begin to feel vain. Plus, nobody else will be wearing makeup.





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Privacy is nearly over

You’ll co-share bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms. In some communities, you may even share a bedroom. If you like your alone time, a sustainable community may not be for you. If you’re trying to force yourself to be more laid back, it could be just the place for you.






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The houses look funny

The houses are made of things like straw, clay, and dirt. Some sustainable communities look like villages in third world countries. Don’t expect to drive up and find beautiful condominiums.







They can change your life

Living in a sustainable community can change your life. Even if you only do it for a couple of weeks, you will leave feeling far more centered, far more grateful and far more patient about everything in life. You’ll never complain your pasta takes too long to come out of the restaurant kitchen again after you’ve grown the wheat for pasta, made the pasta, and lit the stove to boil the water.

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