In response to global climate change and the challenges posed by economic downturns, Qifengshan Natural Farming Ecovillage in Wuchang City, Heilongjiang, China, partnered with Qiandao Lake Natural Agro-Ecovillage to jointly organize the inaugural China Ecovillage Construction Workshop from August 1st to August 7th, 2023 (with an additional day added due to heavy rain blocking the road). Despite facing extreme climate conditions, such as floods that disrupted networks, water supply, electricity, and transportation, over 20 participants from across the country immersed themselves in a 7-day study within the metaphorical Noah’s Ark, gaining a deep appreciation for the historical mission of ecovillages.
The workshop welcomed Professor Qiu Yiru, a renowned Permaculture Certified Teacher from Tzu Chi University in Taiwan, to share his expertise. Additionally, Mr. He Jianzeng from Gengdu University addressed key issues in the implementation of ecovillage construction. By integrating the wisdom of Chinese ancestors, including the ideas of natural harmony and the unity of heaven and man found in Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, along with practical experiences from domestic and international ecovillages, the aim was to create ecovillages that embody distinct Chinese characteristics and wisdom.
The workshop sought to redefine Chinese ecovillages by systematically constructing ecovillage life communities across four dimensions: culture, community, ecology, and economy. This endeavor aimed to contribute to rural revitalization by harnessing the wisdom of our ancestors and creating international ecovillages that harmoniously coexist with all living beings, resembling paradises in each village. Moreover, the workshop aimed to align with international ecovillage standards and serve as a model of sustainable development for ecovillages and communities.
An ecovillage is not necessarily a traditional “village,” but it is definitely a “community” that embodies a complete sense of shared destiny. Simply put, an ecovillage (community) is like a vibrant organism where people live together as equals, respecting and embracing one another, and making decisions collectively. Everyone is a steward of the village, contributing their unique talents while working towards common goals. The guiding principles of unity with nature and following natural laws shape the pursuit of sustainable development, meeting the basic needs of life in an ecologically harmonious manner. Challenges and imperfections may still arise, but people collaborate to face them and co-create a better home.
1. How to plan and layout an ecovillage to achieve comprehensive integration of landscapes, forests, farmland, roads, and housing, while prioritizing energy conservation and carbon reduction?
2. How does an ecovillage operate economically in a sustainable manner?
3. Effective methods for treating and recycling ecological toilets, domestic wastewater, and waste from livestock and poultry farming.
4. Soil improvement techniques that reduce non-point source pollution from pesticides and fertilizers.
5. Making the most of local resources to transform green landscapes into prosperous economic assets.
6. Harmonizing natural architecture with human needs to create sustainable and livable habitats suitable for local ecosystems.