Making Eco-village in Green Mansions

By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh

Loudon County, Virginia, is one of the richest counties in the nation. They are now at the forefront of implementing the environmentalist green agenda of living in an eco-village. The residents are “a typical middle class mix of mostly white-collar workers.” (Washington Post, December 31, 2011)

If we consider this group typical middle-class, we should consider the price of homes in this utopian “paradise.” The last home bought in this Shangri-La in September 2011, a foreclosed home, cost $359,000. Some sell between $895,000 and $1.7 million.

The roads are unpaved, the terrain is rough, and the non-existent lawns are typical of wilderness grasses. The inhabitants like to keep them this way in order to reduce their Al Gore-determined carbon footprint. The gravel roads and the untended surroundings are definitely intentional.

“The development attracts a self-selecting group of people who, to varying degrees, are in search of a more sustainable and locally-centered lifestyle.” This may sound admirable to some people, but it regurgitates the buzzwords and goals listed in the UN Agenda 21 for all nations who signed the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Treaty. I am not sure about you, but I like my roads paved.

Gravel is intended to reduce harmful runoff into the Potomac and to slow down auto traffic. Parking is delineated to lots around the commune, not in front of people’s homes.

According to the Washington Post, “although it’s become almost mainstream to be ‘green,’ residents of EcoVillage, founded in 1996, are on the cutting edge of the movement.”

I am unsure how mainstream United Nations dictates are in America or the push by leftist environmentalists to get their carbon footprint tax.  Most Americans do not desire to live such “locally centered lifestyles.” We love our cars, we love our roads, our cities, and we are not so much fond of village life, which most societies try to escape. We would like to be able to keep our mobility and freedom to go greater distances in search of the American dream. Trying to fashion 19th century lifestyles for the rest of us in the 21st century is not exactly the majority of Americans’ idea of progress.

Residents, in communist fashion, must abide by strict ecological standards for building, lighting, and landscaping. Perhaps they should include goats in their lawn management program. “Villagers” can only pick from six approved house plans and must build in clusters of one-third to three-quarter acre lots for a total of 14 houses. There are 14 more lots, nine of which are vacant and for sale at $80,000 a piece. How many middle-class Americans can afford to pay $80,000 for such a tiny piece of land?

“Villagers” planted 11,000 trees in order to replace flora with indigenous varieties. After all, according to National Geographic, any species of flora that are not local represents “biological imperialism.”

Planting trees is a laudable effort; it makes the area a “heaven for birds,” which prompted the Audubon Society to name the EcoVillage a Home Wildlife Sanctuary. “Eighty-five percent of its 90 acres are protected open space.” This brings me back to the United Nations Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Plan which aim to make most land protected and unavailable to human use.

The founders of the village lived since 2001 in a “straw bale house with timber beams, encased in thick stucco walls.”  I remember living in my Grandma’s straw and mud house in the early sixties in communist Romania. It was a heaven for mice and rats who tunneled and made their homes inside the walls. We could hear busy rat stomping feet all night long.

A solar system on the roof of a typical EcoVillage home heats the house with a complicated system of pipes and switches and an electric backup, just in case the sun does not shine at all. Some homes have geothermal underground pipes and windows are strategically placed to capture more sun.

“Villagers” claim that their choices have not been about the money, implying that the costs were not effective. They are well-off people trying to escape “the traffic and congestion of Vienna,” an upscale town with homes in the millions of dollars.

Potluck suppers and tree planting parties are the life of the “village.” Adults and children are required to do monthly community service in the EcoVillage. It reminds me of our forced “volunteer” work we had to do in the communist dictatorship in Romania – 30 days in the fall, picking the crops, and 30 days in the spring, planting the crops. We were not given as much as water during the 10 hours of daily forced labor.

Americans care for their environment and have plans in place for tree planting in order to prevent deforestation. We do not wish to excessively pollute our environment and do our part to protect it. The capitalist free market does a good job of eliminating and weeding out companies who over pollute. The price system, Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” intervenes magically.

EPA rules and regulations protect our soil, water, and air. We do not need to revert to medieval times of village living in order to protect the planet. The environmental promoters have planned huge economic gains from carbon footprint taxes.

Cap and trade has been defeated so far, yet the United Nations, supported by the Sierra Club and other NGOs, goes full-steam ahead to charge Al Gore’s carbon footprint taxes in total disregard of our laws and Congress.

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