The Global ecovillage movement dates back to the late 60s and early 70s of the last century. Groups of idealistic people moved to the countryside with the intention of changing their lifestyle to healthier ones. This back-to-the-land movement was the forerunner of the modern ecovillage movement. These ideas were further developed in the early 1990s. Ross and Hildur Jackson from Denmark created the Gaia Trust - Creating a sustainable world - Gaia.org
to support the growing social movement towards sustainable development. The term "eco-village" has been firmly included in the public and scientific circulation.
In 1994 the Global Ecovillage Network - Community for a Regenerative World
(GEN) was created. It was organized by representatives of several countries (Scotland, USA, Germany, Australia, Russia, Hungary, India, Denmark). Each ecovillage is unique, and there is no one definition of an ecovillage. GEN stands for ecovillage like "An ecovillage is an intentional, traditional or urban community that is consciously designing its pathway through locally owned, participatory processes, and aiming to address the Ecovillage Principles
in the 4 Areas of Regeneration (social, culture, ecology, economy into a whole systems design)). Ecovillages focus on the emergence of a new culture, which can be an opportunity for a transition to a new quality of life.
Eco-villages are distinguished by:
- joint leadership is defining elements of ecovillages;
- rules of residence and entrance in comparing with cottage village;
- an ecovillage goes beyond the nuclear family, in contrast to the family estate;
- people with different religious beliefs can live in an ecovillage, in contrast to religious settlements;
- dwellers do what they like and make a profit;
- any violence is unacceptable, they greet vegetarians;
- they have common spaces, cared for together.
For example, Sweden island ecovillage Suderbyn
builds an international community based on the principles of permaculture, energy diversity and Sociocracy 3.0, and also emphasizes a vegetarian lifestyle.