A sustainable lifestyle is a core part of the Tasman Ecovillage vision.
Sustainability can be defined as the ability to continue a defined behaviour indefinitely. When considering our behaviour, it's useful to consider the environmental, economic and social implications, sometimes known as the "triple bottom line" or the "three pillars" of sustainability. The three pillars should not be considered in isolation as they are interdependent and often reinforce each other.
At Tasman Ecovillage we have a diverse water supply:
- rainwater is harvested from roofs and collected into rainwater tanks for potable and non-potable use
- we pump water from the creek for non-potable use
- we pump water from the dams for non-potable use
- we have a bore (as a contingency) for non-potable use
A diverse water supply is important given the uncertainty over climate change and future rainfall.
Where possible, rainwater tanks overflow into non-potable water tanks so that the maximum amount of water is harvested and stored.
Mains power in Tasmania is mostly generated from renewable energy so installing solar power systems is not necessarily a high priority (at least from a sustainability point of view).
Some residents are installing solar panels anyway as the return on investment makes economic sense (especially as we have no control over mains power prices in future) and to avoid the occasional mains power outage.
Obviously, new homes are being designed to mimimise energy consumption and many of the previous motel units have been renovated to bring them up to modern efficiency standards.
Instant gas hot water systems are being used in some locations where this makes sense and there are some gas cooking appliances.
Under certain conditions, residents may install solid fuel (e.g. wood) fired appliances for cooking, heating and hot water.
Recycling and Composting
We minimise our waste by not creating it to start with and by recycling where possible. Areas have been set up for general waste and recycling and volunteer residents periodically transport the contents to the local transfer station in Nubeena.
Green waste and other organic waste e.g paper and cardboard are generally recycled on site.
Tasman Ecovillage Residential Design Guidelines
In line with our sustainability aims, the Tasman Ecovillage Residential Design Guidelines impose some additional requirements to the standard regulatory requirements and home designs are subject to approval by the Body Corporate.
Tasman Ecovillage may not yet be a "full-featured settlement" as per the Robert Gilman definition of an ecovillage but the Ecovillage does have its own internal economy with a number of employment opportunities and many residents already work full time or part time from home.
The Ecovillage is within Nubeena, the main town on the Tasman Peninsula so there are local employment opportunities and local consumers for goods and services offered by Ecovillage businesses.
Fixed wireless NBN is available in Nubeena which helps home based businesses relying on a good Internet connection.
Paid work required to be done by the Body Corporate such as building maintenance and work on the grounds is first offered to TEVA Members and residents.
With support from TEVA Members, a local chapter of the Community Exchange Network Tasmania (CENTs), Nubeans has been established on the Tasman Peninsula. CENTs is a local exchange trading system which enables members to exchange goods and services via a locally created currency. This helps to keep money in the local area and reduce economic leakage.
Tasman Ecovillage has adopted Sociocracy (also known as "Dynamic Governance") for governance and decision making. Sociocracy uses an inclusive decision making process to ensure everyone is heard and decisions are made that everyone can at least, "live with".
Personal development courses e.g. in Non Violent Communication (NVC) are sometimes organised and residents are encouraged to attend. Free online resources where members can study at their own pace are also recommended.
Business meetings, discussion circles and heart circles are each scheduled at least once per month so members have a number of avenues to air their views and share ideas.
Conflict resolution and other policies and procedures have been established and these are reviewed and updated as necessary and in consultation with the community.
With the cleanest air in the world and a temperate climate suitable for growing a wide range of fruit and vegetables, Tasmania is an ideal location for an Ecovillage.
With the Ecovillage in close proximity to the centre of Nubeena we have a walkable neighbourhood. This encourages us to walk rather than take the car (unless it's pouring with rain or we are doing a trolley load of shopping)!
In addition to the above Social Sustainability initiatives, other health related initiatives include:
- growing food on site as organically as possible
- including healthy home design in the Tasman Ecovillage Residential Design Guidelines
- minimising the risk from bush fires
- a fire and wood-fired appliance policy