Technology has seeped deep into our lives and let’s just say this: it is not everyone’s cup of tea. No matter where you go in the world, we’re always held back with devices. This, along with the increasing awareness of climate change, has encouraged people to adopt an ‘off the grid’ lifestyle.
This refers to a lifestyle that is as eco-friendly as it can be, without the use of wasteful items, in hopes of achieving a zero carbon footprint. This sounds pretty impossible but the following 22 communities are proof that a lifestyle harmonious with nature is very much possible.
1. Earthships, United States
The Earthship house is the perfect self-sufficient house. It has been designed by Michael Reynold, an architect who has made it his life’s goal to design houses that are the most eco-friendly. He has been working on the perfect model for 45 years now. All his residential designs are made of at least 45% recycled material. As for the Earthship house, it has a negative carbon footprint.
Here’s what is even more mind-blowing:
This house is capable of producing everything! Freshwater, enhanced soil, electricity, and food is all produced without the use of any municipal utilities. Despite this, the house is no less than a modern comfortable living space. It is surrounded by greenery. The sewage system has also been taken care of. There is even a temperature control system in the house that regulates the insides of the house based on the outside weather.
2. Torri Superiore, Italy
This small village is located in Liguria in Italy, in the foothills of the Ligurian Alps. The fact that it is just a few kilometers away from the Mediterranean Sea only adds to the beauty of this perfect landscape. Although an ecovillage, this place has some of the most well-designed buildings, hence why this place is described as ‘a jewel of architecture’. There are 3 main buildings that date back to the 13th century. Within these 3 buildings are over 160 rooms, connected with vaults and stairways. It is often compared to a labyrinth.
This eco-friendly place is a common tourist spot too. Not only is it a great honeymoon spot, but it also the perfect location for people who want to learn more about ecological living. Torri Superiore hosts a number of educational workshops and courses to spread the word about this lifestyle.
3. Auroville, South India
Auroville has been around since 1968. This south Indian community was formed with the goal of unifying humanity spiritually. Without the intervention of politics, race, and nationalities, Auroville is a society for all. Although it has differing goals, ultimately this community has become one of the most harmonious with nature. This conveys that an off-the-grid lifestyle is what ultimately speaks to the souls of humans and so, it brings peace and unity.
It is a well-developed place with compressed-earth buildings. Solar power and wind are the main sources of energy. The sewage system is plant-based, hence the cleanliness and greenery. You can visit Auroville throughout the week to admire the self-sustaining system that has been striving independently from any waste-producing source.
4. Tir Na Beo, Ireland
In Munster, Ireland, a community is living on 10 acres of land called Tir Na Beo. These people are welcome to accept new members who want to experience an off-the-grid lifestyle without the long-term commitment. The area of Tir Na Beo has been divided into different parts. For example, one part if solely for gardening whereas another one is perfect for camping.
The main aim of this community so far is to produce and consume organic food. However, they do plan on introducing more nature-friendliness later on. They are in the early years of settling as it has only been 3 years since this community adopted this lifestyle. Since they haven’t reached a stable stage yet, it is the perfect place to join for people who want to experience the struggle of becoming eco-friendlier. Volunteers can live in Tir Na Beo and contribute to taking this community to a more self-sustaining stage.
5. Konohana Family, Japan
In the foothills of Mount Fuji reside the Konohana family. It is a community of 80 members, of which 25 are children. Originally, the Konohana family was found by 20 members who aimed to reduce their ecological footprint. They have been successful, considering that their measurements are three times less than an average Japanese and 6 times less than an average American.
This community shares the collective finances, food, and economy. They live on 40 acres of land where they are able to grow all the food that they need. This includes over 250 types of vegetables, over 10 types of rice, grains, soy sauce, honey, eggs, and a traditional version of many other processed foods. Their sole dependence on the outside world is for salt, spices, and sugar.
6. Khula Dhamma, South Africa
The words Khula and Dhamma come from two languages; Xhosa and Pali. What these words mean when put together is ‘to grow on a path of awakening’. This African community is not very old. The 445 acres land on which Khula Dhamma strives was bought by 5 friends in 2000. It is 8 kilometers away from the coast which is home to many beautiful beaches. The land is at an altitude of 568ft above sea level. All in all, the location is ideal. The weather is pretty pleasant all year round.
Khula Dhamma is most famously known for its natural homes. The traditional African Hut design has been put to use in an eco-friendly way. Moreover, with the help of volunteers, this place has developed a water pump that runs on solar energy. Two beehives have been set up. Also, a compost toilet has been designed for the community. The people of Khula Dhamma produce crops twice every year. Along with green-farming, this village also hosts workshops to further spread information about green-living.
7. Crystal Waters, Australia
The reason why this place is called crystal waters is that these people have created an oasis in a land that was very commonly struck by drought. Isn’t that mind-blowing? They have developed a system of dams and channels that collect all the rainwater. This cycle is fool-proof even during the drier months.
This community was established in 1984 in northeastern Australia. It was the first permaculture village in the world. This means that this village has set up an agricultural system that is self-sufficient. It is a small community with around 200 residents who make things work by pooling in all their skills. While some run the bakery, others have expertise in management. Along with humans, you’ll also find kangaroos and wallabies enjoying nature in this community. Many types of birds and reptiles also roam around this area. However, this isn’t a dog or cat-friendly place, neither are these animals welcome here.
8. Kovcheg, Russia
A businessman of Moscow decided one day that he wanted to move far away to provide his family with the best life possible. His aim was to go to someplace that will bring his children health and happiness. Therefore, in 2001, four families including this businessman’s leased 297 acres of land from the government. Since then, the community has grown to 40 families. However, this number goes up to 80 during the summertime when more people join in.
Each household in the Kovcheg village gets one hectare of land for the growth of food, which always ends up in surplus. On top of sustainable farming, these people also play a major role in the maintenance of the nearby forests. They look after diseased trees, plant new ones, and keep illegal lumbering under control.
9. Podere Vallescura, Italy
What better way to live off the grid than on an organic farm? Podere Vallescura is located in the hills of Umbria, amid all the greenery. There are no electric wires, poles or pollution ruining the beauty of nature. The people of the village produce their own energy with the help of wind and photovoltaic panels.
Although the experience of this village sounds out of this world, it is just a few kilometers away from Perugia. The people of Podere Vallescura are always welcoming to volunteers who want to help around the farm. It is also open for tourists who would like to live inside buildings that were originally constructed in the 1660s.
10. Lammas Eco Village, Wales
If you’re interested in a community that is completely built on its own, without any connection to the utilities provided by the government, Lammas Eco Village will grab your attention. From electricity to water supply, everything is managed by this village independently. The buildings have been made with the help of volunteers using recycled materials for the most part. They also grow their own food.
This small community in Wales comprises of people with varying backgrounds. While some are very knowledgeable about eco-living, others are clueless. There aren’t a lot of residents. The village has been divided into nine parts of 5 acres each. It took some time for this village to get to where itis now. Along the way, there were some issues with the authorities too. However, the passionate people crossed every hurdle to successfully live in this minimal carbon footprint lifestyle.
11. Raoul Island, New Zealand
The picturesque beauty of New Zealand needs no introduction. We all are well-aware of the magical mountains and the fresh atmosphere of this place. All of this is only made better in a place called Raoul Island. This place is around 1100 kilometers away from New Zealand’s northern border. It is far away from this world’s chaos in terms of distance as well as lifestyle. Raoul is the only island among a cluster of 4 that is inhabited.
This island is home to a number of seabird species who also nest in this area. Moreover, it is also the island where you’ll find many types of flora and fauna. Since it is geographically near a volcanic site, eruptions and earthquakes are pretty common here. Yet, the residents of this island have found a way to live safely, in harmony with nature.
12. Damanhur, Italy
When you think of an ecovillage or off the grid community, the picture that comes to your mind is usually of an under-developed, old-fashioned area. If that is so, this community will change your point of view entirely. This ‘modern’ ecovillage was established in 1975 in the Piedmont region of northern Italy.
600 people reside in this place. They rely on solar energy. Some of the works they have introduced in their community include seed saving, a personalized currency system, customized smartphones, and a biology lab for testing out genetically modified foods. These people produce their own food, including organic meat. An education system has also been set up. This high-tech lifestyle is accompanied by well-designed temples that are a famous tourist attraction.
13. Mystic Marmot, France
In the Alps of France, you’ll find this serene place that aims to provide its visitors with the luxury of a laid back life. It is welcome for tourists who can stay here for as long as they like. The hosts help the visitors get comfortable with the idea of leaving behind all the technological advancements to enjoy nature to its fullest.
It is the perfect place for people who are in need of a mentally refreshing experience. The beautiful chalet is spread over 12 hectares of land. There is nothing but beautiful nature all around this place. You can enjoy activities such as mushroom picking and paragliding while learning to live with the minimal use of energy sources.
14. Tinker’s Bubble, England
In Somerset, England, there is a small place called Norton Covert. This is where Tinker’s Bubble has been growing since 1994. It is a community spread over 20 hectares of land. Woodlands, pastures, and orchards surround this entire area. Some people come and go while others live here permanently. Throughout the years, this community has become more and more successful in their goal of being ‘zero-emission’. However, they do burn wood for cooking and heating.
This community is self-sufficient and self-sustaining. The people of Tinker’s Bubble produce their own food for the most part. They also produce their own cash to maintain a stable economy without being dependent on the outside world. Solar panels and wind generators are used for the production of energy.
15. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Around 354 kilometers away from the Brazilian coast, there are 21 islands that go by the name of Fernando de Noronha. These islands are far away from the mainstream world, which is why they maintain their natural beauty to this day. Around 3 thousand people live in these islands in a very eco-friendly way. They produce minimal waste and maintain these islands.
These islands are pretty common among tourists. It is a volcanic site. But, the beautiful beaches make up for any possible risks around this place. Dolphins, rays, reek sharks, and sea turtles are a very common sight from around these beaches. One of the islands is a national marine park and ecological sanctuary. It is a perfect vacation spot for wildlife lovers as well as for people who want to unwind in a serene environment.
16. Tinos Eco Lodge, Greece
Greece has recently become a very well-loved vacation spot for many, and rightly so. If you wish to enjoy the weather of Greece while also trying out a green-lifestyle, Tinos Eco Lodge will be happy to host you. You’ll find this place on the island of Cichlids. It is a village that comprises of two houses. Each house opens up to the view of the sea.
This place runs mostly on eco-friendly methods. The energy comes from the wind and the sun. Rainwater is collected and treated before being used. You can enjoy beautiful views even if you stay inside these houses. However, if you want to get on with some activities, gardening and beach hiking will be your options.
17. Freedom Cove, Canada
Canada is home to many ecovillages. On the western Vancouver island, in a town named Tofino, there is this Freedom Cove which is a floating village. Wayne Adams and Catherine King found this ecovillage back in 1991. Adams is a carver whereas Catherine is a dancer, musician, painter, and writer. Together, they have created 12 platforms all by themselves. Each of these platforms serves a different purpose. For example, one of them is a dance floor whereas another one is a guest lighthouse.
They have learned to live with the circumstances. Since there is no fridge, they rely solely on fresh food. This either comes from their greenhouses or in the form of fish from the bay. They had 14 solar panels that supplied energy but since they broke down, an old generator has taken over. What sounds like a challenge to us is a dream life for these two.
18. False Kiva, Utah
Utah is a well-known place in the Canyonlands of the US. Within the Canyonlands National Park, there is a cave where you’ll find a man-made circle of stones. Sadly, this interesting place has now been shut down due to numerous cases of vandalism.
Before it was closed down, the False Kiva offered a breathtaking view. This place could only be reached after a long hike. Once you got there, you were cut off from the rest of the world. Without any technological hindrance, the visitors would enjoy the unique but mesmerizing views.
19. Ecovillage, New York
The Ecovillage is located in upstate New York. It was founded in 1991 by Liz Walker. She started by first setting up a non-profit organization. Once she was able to collect enough funds, she bought the land that this Ecovillage is located on. Her aim from the get-go was to create a place with an alternative lifestyle.
Like all other ecovillages, this one also focuses on renewable energy sources, environmentally-friendly buildings, and organic farming. However, the unique aspect of this village is that it is a mix of cooperative living along with private ownership. Each individual can enjoy a private residence but, every resident is also dependent on the rest since the community strives on collective funds. They eat and cook together too.
20. Rainbow Lodge, Portugal
The aim of ecovillages and off-the-grid communities is to adopt a lifestyle that will have the least possible environmental impact. It won’t be wrong to say that Rainbow Lodge has been pretty successful in achieving this lifestyle. Hens and goats are a common sight around this village. The land is occupied by organic fruit trees and vegetable gardens. The residents produce most of the food for their consumption based on the resources they own.
Rainbow Lodge is located in central Portugal, surrounded by mesmerizing landscapes. Tourists can visit this place to experience an off-the-grid lifestyle. Expect thatched houses and minimal energy consumption. Tourists can explore this cozy place to find out more about it. Visitors can also take part in workshops about astrology and energy medicine.
21. Lasqueti, Canada
There’s another off-the-grid community in Vancouver, Canada. This is a small island that goes by the name of Lasqueti. Roughly, this place is the size of Manhattan. 400 residents are enjoying a low carbon footprint life here. They grow their own crops and produce their own food with whatever is available.
The sun, wind, and water serve as energy resources. People are living in homes built from recycled materials. One of the residents is also successfully living inside an old school bus which he is fueling on vegetable oil. It is a very well-organized and developed community. In fact, the people of Lasqueti are the most educated in al lof British Columbia, as per Statistics of Canada.
22. Finca Bellavista, Costa Rica
Imagine this: the weather of Costa Rica paired with hand-built tree houses, animals in their natural habitat, and a beautiful backdrop of mountains. This is exactly what Finca Bellavista is like. You can only imagine how serene and peaceful life here would be. This carbon-neutral place is home to many and is also open for tourists.
With a barbecue grill, dining area, lounge, and a combined community center, the residents of this community have a well-maintained social life even when they are far away from the rest of the world. On top of that, activities like ziplining and hiking keep the residents and visitors occupied.