A Greener Indiana

Everybody can do something to make a greener Indiana

it is surprising that there are so few intentional communities in indiana. most of these communities are interested in living sustainable and to some extent sharing resources. it seems like it would be a an ideal life choice socially and financially, the intentioal community movement is not well known, not much talked about and very much misunderstood. the communities of today are for the most part very different from the historical communities. there still are religiously oriented groups and a few "hippie" type communes, but they really are in the minority. the variety of communities is almost limitless. anyone who is interested in communities can investigate http://www.ic.org/ for more information. it's the best intentional community site, with community listings, information related to community, community events, and other community related subjects.

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Comment by rosemary weston on December 11, 2009 at 1:59pm
i figured out how to post community videos and will try to post more. i hope this will make more people aware of intentional community. i think it could be the solution to many problems in our society.
Comment by rosemary weston on December 11, 2009 at 1:39pm
thank you for you interview with diana. i've have her book,"creating life together which is very helpful, i wish she would write something on how to find a core group. this seems to be a real problem for people trying to start a community. it's impossible to move forward with any real plans without at least a small core group.

how are your community plans going? what is the name of the community in indianapolis you mentioned in a previous post? it would be interesting to have a regional intentional community group to support each other and bring more attention to the community movement.

have you seen the interviews with diane on youtube?

i was ftrst contacted by "a greener indiana" because they were planning on doing something with intentional communities here, but nothing seems to have materialize. iwondere if there are others here on this site who might be interested in community if they knew about it. the mainstream doesn't know intentional communities exist or have a inacurate view of what they are. there probably are a few hippy type communes around and unfortunately some fanatical leader controlled groups, but these are in a definite minority. i think dianes videos gives a much clearer view of what communities are and what one should look for. i'd like to add those videos to the list here, but i don't know how to do it.

i have a group on intentional community, that at present is not very active, unfortunately, but it does have a lot of information related to community. anyone interested can take a look and if you are interested enough to want to participate, please join...like in a irl community, it's hard to do anything alone. ttp://www.care2.com/c2c/group/CommunityIRL
Comment by Mrs. Cara Dafforn on December 9, 2009 at 8:33am
Rosemary: Below is a interview with and Eco-Village expert, my hope is it will provide you insight as you build your intentional community.

Diana Leafe Christian was telling me about her work as a traveling consultant to communities. Diana is author of two books: Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities and Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community. For many years she edited Communities magazine, and now publishes a free online newsletter, Ecovillages. She travels internationally to talk about ecovillages in conferences and workshops, and to help community groups that call on her for help and advice. In her experience, there are only a few typical problems that come up communities, usually the result of what she calls "structural conflict." If these important structures are absent, she says, conflict often results.

Here is the rest of our interview:

Diana: "For example, in some communities not all members know what the group's agreements are. Or they might not have access to information on recent meeting decisions. Sometimes there are no published minutes, or no minutes available online — the group could be six months behind in posting minutes. Some community members might have this important information and know what's going on. But not everyone does. This creates a power imbalance. The solution? Even if you have to pay money or labor credits to get your meeting minutes up to date, do it! Make sure this information gets out to everyone!"

“Another common problem is having no system of labor credit or no way to manage and track the labor system. With no system, only those people who feel moved to volunteer time and energy to the community end up doing everything — and they often get burned out. Sometimes, even when most people want the community to have labor requirements, one or two members object, believing, 'If it's really community, people would just want to work!' Or they object to tracking people's labor through some kind of labor-tracking sheets, like our 'Leap Sheets' here. Those who do want to have labor requirements, and to track it, are often accused of acting like corporations! But in fact, communities that have labor requirements, and a method to manage and track people's work hours, tend to have higher morale and lower burn-out."

Alice: What else do you see in communities?

Diana: “Well, sometimes a group doesn't have a clear and unambiguous mission and purpose. If their mission and purpose statement is vague, conflict can arise when people interpret it differently. This shows up with proposals. One person can argue that a proposal is not in line with the community’s mission and purpose, and perhaps block it. But advocates of the proposal are sure it does express the group's mission and purpose. These disagreements are exacerbated if the group uses pure consensus. In pure consensus everyone must agree for a proposal to pass. What an awful Catch-22! One of the requirements for using consensus in the first place is having a clear, unequivocal mission and purpose!"

"A related problem for groups that use consensus is too-frequent blocking or blocking to express personal values, rather than the group's shared, agreed-upon values. Some communities follow the advice of consensus trainer CT Butler and have criteria for what constitutes a principled block. An ecovillage in British Columbia, EcoReality Co-op, and three cohousing communities in the US: Eastern Village, Wild Sage and Silver Sage, all have agreed-upon, written-down criteria for what is a principled block. In addition, they have clearly agreed-on procedures for how their facilitators can test whether or not a block is principled."

Alice: Anything else groups can do about this?

Diana: “N Street Cohousing in Davis, California reduces this kind of structural conflict by requiring anyone blocking a proposal to be part of the solution. Someone who blocks has to come up with a new proposal, working in small-group meetings with advocates of the proposal. If no new proposal is created within their series of meetings, the first proposal is brought back, and it only needs a 75 percent supermajority vote to pass. N Steet has used this method for 22 years, and there've only been only two blocks, with two small-group meetings each, in the whole time. Only four small-group meetings about blocks in 22 years! I like this method because it deters frivolous blocking while still respecting anyone who blocks. It respects the blocking person by giving them many meetings and a relatively long time to convince others that the original proposal was a bad idea and to suggest a better idea. And it respects the advocates of the original proposal too — all they have to do is wait."

Alice: Could you say more about "structural conflict"?

Diana: “New-member orientation courses are another way to reduce this. Twin Oaks, Dancing Rabbit, and The Farm all have orientation courses for incoming members. These give new folks much-needed information about the community's history, purpose, and functioning. I'm so happy Earthaven is doing this too, with such as our consensus training, our new "Land Use/Permaculture" workshop, and our new "Sustainable Economics at Earthaven" presentation."

“Another conflict reducer is creating agreements for how people communicate in meetings. Typical communication agreements often include ‘No interrupting’ and 'No pejorative comments about people in the meeting or their ideas.' The facilitator reminds the group when a communication agreement is breeched, and participants encourage each other to comply."
Comment by rosemary weston on June 26, 2009 at 2:44pm
wonderful! i wish i were so lucky, but i certainly hope it works out for you!
Comment by Mrs. Cara Dafforn on June 26, 2009 at 7:06am
Rosemary, you learn something everyday. Because of your post I have connected with Greg Buck and a sustainable community in Indianapolis. Thanks, your post was very meaningful to my life.
Comment by rosemary weston on June 24, 2009 at 9:53pm
if you look on the ic.org website there are communities here in indiana...mostly forming communities. i'm trying to form one here called "little white pines", but so far haven't gotten anyone interested. i have an intentional community group on care2 website and several other people from various parts of u.s. and canada are having the same problem. i wonder if more people were familiar with what they really are, there might be more interest. of course one has to be careful of what they are getting into these days like with anything else.
Comment by Mrs. Cara Dafforn on June 24, 2009 at 8:54pm
Yes, sadly there are not hamlets, eco-villages or intentional communities present in Indiana without being Amish. But, Indiana has had a history founded in intention in New Harmony, Indiana with the Harmonists and the Owenists. Perhaps history will repeat itself. Thanks for the post and the resource web-site.

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