“Not only do we know our neighbors names, and their children’s names, we know their pets’ names, too” Davey, an Ecovillage resident, exclaims proudly. He holds up his weathered hands, showing off where he calls home, as he stands in the center of the Ecovillage.
Smaller than my high school, the Ecovillage, located inside the village of Cloughjordan, is populated with a mere one hundred adults and fifty children. The village has fifty five homes and ten businesses. Each house differs drastically from the one next to it. Each is made from a different material and has a different layout. While walking through the village I pass a white washed apartment style building and next to it is an A-frame with blue shingles. At first glance, it appears as if the village has no congruencies. However, that is not the case. One of the reasons for the tight-knit community is because each and every resident has a common goal: to lower their own environmental and energy impacts on the earth.
As we pass each house, Davey gives us a detailed description of the owners. He tells us about where the people are from, their kids’ ages and names, etc. Sadly, this makes me realize how many of my neighbors names I do not know, let alone their occupations and ages.
The Ecovillage has one foot in the last century and the other in the digital age. It supports the best of both worlds. Davey puts it perfectly, “We have plenty of friends on Facebook, but none within our own neighborhoods.” Children run freely up and down the streets, instead of sitting inside their houses on their digital devices. The residents are often found sitting outside on picnic tables, enjoying the warm weather and mingling with each other. Aside from the positive environmental impacts the Ecovillage is accomplishing, it also is achieving a high sense of community for its residents, that cities such as Dublin and Galway are losing.