Sunday, November 19, 2006
Visiting Oakland Ecovillage: Slow, Beautiful and Lively
Last night Paul and I visited the Oakland Ecovillage gathering near Lake Merritt. We were heartily welcomed and felt instantly at home. This is a lively (bordering on rowdy!) group and a great model for any community considering an ecovillage approach.
I've talked before about how the Oakland (formerly Hanover) Ecovillage serves as a model for the Phinney Ecovillage in my north Seattle neighborhood. We're both "unintentional" communities in the sense that we are formed from an existing locale rather than from an intentional community brought together specifically for ecovillage implementation. What we admire most about the Oakland gathering is its informality, and their calendar! On just about any night of the week they've got a video or a board game or a discussion group of some kind going on.
It was a real treat to be able to say a few words about what we're doing in Seattle and learn how the Oakland process works. They had a great turnout and some quick wits in the audience, including Raines Cohen, who was "channeling" the meeting on his Mac Powerbook (aided by the home's wireless network). Any time someone would mention a URL or Web site, it blinked onto Raines' screen as fast as the person could spell it out. I suspect Raines had several of the sites cached, so it wasn't all magic, but the guy is still Merlinesque in his ability to conjure.
Speaking of Raines, he's set up a visit with his Berkeley co-housing group next Friday. We're looking forward to that, too! Thanks so much to Janet Kobren for the invitation to the Oakland Ecovillage, and if anyone ever makes it up to Seattle please let us return the favor!
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