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Toward a sustainable future

By Rick and Barbara Welland

In San Miguel de Allende, some people are now using the term “sustainability.” The fact that we are talking about sustainability is a good indicator that we are aware of the crossroads ahead. But what does it really mean?

Free Interactive workshop
laSenda Ecovilla: A Study in
Sustainable Living
Fri, Mar 7, 10am–2pm
Potluck lunch to follow
laSenda Ecovilla
Prinicipal El Batan 12
Rancho El Batan
Register via email:


We need to take a long-term view, examine many of the aspects of how we now live, and ask ourselves how viable these practices are over time. Can we continue to use water at a rate faster than the environment can replace it? Can we continue to rely on fossil fuels? Can we continue to pollute our environment without expecting dire consequences?

Some see the approach of a collapse scenario; others think that the status quo will continue indefinitely. Without a crystal ball to see into the future, we can only wait to find out which of these comes to pass. But neither of these perspectives can negate the moral issue—that caretaking our world’s resources is “the right thing” to do.

As we see humanity struggling with grave economic and social problems, some have come to believe that sustainable rural communities based on agriculture—ecovillages—are part of the path to a more sustainable future. Senegal in western Africa, for example, is one of the first countries to use ecovillage strategies for sustainable development, by establishing a Government Agency for Ecovillages dedicated to transitioning 14,000 traditional villages into ecovillages.

All over the world, many people are involving themselves in sustainable practices—trying different approaches to solving the problems that living in community present. How can we change our behaviors at the individual, community, and institutional levels to enable us to achieve sustainability in its various dimensions: environmental, economic, and social?

Twenty minutes outside of San Miguel de Allende, in the canyon where the Río Laja runs south from the Presa, is laSenda Ecovilla, a model of what sustainable rural living can be.

With abundant water from its own well and solar energy for power and hot water, laSenda Ecovilla has embarked on a path toward 100 percent sustainability. It started with the structural design of the solar passive living spaces, progressed with the addition of the aquaponics pond and greenhouse, and continues with the addition of in-ground bio-intensive gardens and fruit trees. Much of the excess organic produce grown in the laSenda gardens can be offered for sale.

How can we make sustainability into a daily practice? There are many lessons to be learned. LaSenda Ecovilla will host a free bilingual workshop on Friday, March 7, from 10am–2pm, with potluck lunch to follow. Through interactive sessions, participants will explore the many issues related to the environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainable living. For more information, visit


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