Workshop on Climate and Communes – March 15th, Cambridge MA

Feeling helpless and hopeless about climate disruption?  Some of the most powerful solutions are in places most people are not looking.

In 1985, Amory Lovins wrote the ground breaking article, “Saving Gigabucks with Negawatts,” where he argued that utility customers don’t want kilowatt-hours of electricity; they want energy services such as hot showers, cold beer, lit rooms, and spinning shafts, which can come more cheaply if electricity is used more efficiently.  Intentional communities and especially income sharing communes can use a similar approach to reducing their carbon footprint.

Same services, less electricity

You can think of communities and climate in a way similar to negawatts.  People living in community don’t really care if they own a car or bicycle or set of clothing.  What they want are transportation services and clothing services. If these can be provided more efficiently than through personal ownership then their needs are met.  This is where radical sharing comes in and changes the entire climate discussion.

bike fleet
access > ownership (shared bikes at Twin Oaks)

If you are in the Boston/Cambridge area this Thursday, please come to the MIT campus and come to our workshop (Facebook RSVP) on the techniques and philosophies which help these communities reduce their carbon footprint by 80%

MIT Campus 70 Memorial Dr Room E51-145, , Cambridge, MA 02142 – 7 to 9 PM

All are welcome, there is no cost to attend this event.

If you are not on Facebook, but wish to attend please let us know at paxus @

Workshop on Climate and Communes – March 15th, Cambridge MA

Eco-Village Research Request

This is a short survey from a university student in Quebec.  The Commune Life Blog staff think that one of the most important under-reported benefits of living in intentional communities (and especially income sharing communes) is the positive and nurturing mental health impacts of this lifestyle.  This survey only takes about 10 minutes to complete and you might get lucky and win a small cash prize.

Research Thesis
Help me by filling out an online survey
If you are currently living in a community or active in a group that is nature-oriented (e.g. eco-village, WWOOF, community garden), you are invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. Participants may enter a draw to win one of three $75 cash prizes. The survey takes approximately 25 minutes to complete.

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researchposter_image (1)

My name is Simon Stankovich-Hamel. I am an aspiring community psychologist finishing my undergraduate degree. I am working on a research thesis that explores how nature, community, and mental health relate to each other. I am looking for people who are currently living in a nature-oriented community, small or big, to fill out a questionnaire. This is an anonymous survey that asks about your level of agreement with certain statements, or how often you felt a certain way in the past weeks, such as:
“When I fail at something that’s important to me, I tend to feel alone in my failure”
or “I feel optimistic about the future” (Disagree strongly – disagree a little – neither agree nor disagree – agree a little – strongly agree).

I look forward to sharing with you my work when I am finished, but for now I cannot tell you more about it.

If you choose to participate, please click on the link below and read the consent form on the first page. Thank you for your time and consideration and I hope that my survey will spark valuable self-reflection.

Go to this webpage to participate.

Eco-Village Research Request

Living On a Commune or Living In a Commune?

By GPaul Blundell

It’s the first question and it’s the wrong one:

“A commune? Where is it?”


viva la commune.jpg
Where is this commune?


Sure, it’s relevant. It tells a person various things about your life. But it also reflects a basic error on the part of the asker. The commune is not a place any more than a marriage is a place. Sure, most people live somewhere and most people in a tight cooperative relationship like a commune or a marriage prefer to live together but it misses an important point. If you want to understand my life and the role the commune plays in it you’ll want to know about the people, my relationships with them, and our shared life and purpose. You’ll want to know what brings us together and why we stay together not where exactly it is that we have come together in space.


Add to the space as needed


I didn’t actually think very hard about this question until I moved to the city, though, and I think that that very fact is telling. The rural communes are in many cases land-based projects. A significant shared purpose for the members of many rural communes coming together is the cultivation of the land. They are coming together to make a commune that people can come and live on. The experience of being physically on the commune’s property is notable: the space has been transformed. Compersia, the urban commune I now live at, does not own property and probably won’t for years to come. Las Indias, an urban commune of the Spanish speaking world, has moved to an entirely new city sometimes on an entirely different continent every several years for their whole existence. For us at Compersia we think of ourselves as cultivating a home within a space but we know this space is not ours forever. We intend to grow and we know that we won’t always fit in the house we all live in now (and previously have not all fit in one house). But we know that we are one commune. We are people living in a commune.

And that’s when I noticed that small but meaningful semantic detail. At the rural communes it makes sense to talk about living on a commune. In the city it makes sense to talk about living in a commune.

Often times, at our open house dinners or other events at our very full and lively house I’ll mention that we’re recruiting.

“You’re recruiting? Aren’t you full though?”

To which I always answer,

“The city is full of houses.”


moving building.jpg
Don’t be afraid to move


Living On a Commune or Living In a Commune?