Jan Martin Bang lives in the Camphill community of Solborg in Norway. He has spent a lifetime working alongside alternative communities and currently leads training and development projects for new Ecovillages around the world.
In his first publication, Ecovillages, Jan explained the principles and practice of setting up a sustainable community, including difficult decisions on issues of management, design and architecture, farming and food, water, sewage, energy sources and economics.
Growing Eco-Communities looks at what comes next. Groups, Jan tells us, do not stay fixed by their earlier decisions: they grow and develop – and not always in expected directions. The book gives readers a comprehensive overview of the changes that communities can undergo and offers experienced advice on how to handle particular situations.
To support this, the book is anchored by numerous real-life case studies. Divided into time-phases, each section explores the groups’ experience. For example, The Pioneering phase, where ‘everybody does everything’, decisions are discussed over dinner and there is not enough money; the Maturity and Stability chapter, with procedures for new members, such as ‘I want my own room’ and how to handle troublemakers; and the Old Age section, which examines how ‘the professionals take over’ and asks: ‘where have all the heroes gone?’
Throughout Growing Eco-Communities Jan Martin Bang addresses the practical issues of flexibility, neighbours, techno-logy, self-sufficiency, spirituality and, of course, money, among other things. It is a candid, inspiring and practical book – essential reading for anyone involved in, or who wants to join, a community or a non-residential group.
‘Growing Eco-Communities: Practical Ways to Create Sustainability’
by Jan Martin Bang, price: £20.00
Published by: Floris Books, 15 Harrison Gardens, Edinburgh, EH11 1SH
Tel: +44 (0)131 337 2372
Organic baker and ecological activist,
Harvard Brorby, brings fresh loaves
Photo: © Floris Books