Ecotourism and proof of concept demonstrations can be powerful tools when building an intentional community. When employed strategically, these strategies can help you reach out to potential members, create revenue for the community, educate people about the project, and add new allies to the team.
However, there are a few challenges that come along with leveraging ecotourism and proof of concept demonstrations that must be carefully considered before implementation. These include privacy and safety issues when inviting guests, managing expectations and potential disappointments, and managing resources in a way that makes sense for members and visitors alike.
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people” (International Ecotourism Society). It focuses on maximizing the positive impacts of tourism while minimizing its negative impacts on both nature and communities. It is a type of travel that allows visitors to connect more deeply with nature by experiencing local cultures, traditions, customs, cuisine, music and art.
Why is Ecotourism Important for Intentional Communities?
The primary goal of most intentional communities is to create sustainable models for living outside mainstream society. This means creating projects that are self-sufficient—projects which rely solely on their own resources rather than external ones. By leveraging ecotourism as a source of revenue and outreach for your intentional community you can help it become self-sufficient by utilizing natural resources available in your local environment or nearby area to generate income without relying on external infrastructure like power grids or grocery stores for essential needs.
Arcosanti is an Arizona-based intentional community that has leveraged ecotourism as a source of revenue and outreach. The project was designed to demonstrate how humans can live sustainably in dense, urban environments. Visitors can experience the local culture, traditions, customs, music and art while also learning about sustainable living practices and arcology principles.
Example: The Earthships in Taos
The Earthships in Taos, New Mexico is another example of an intentional community that has leveraged ecotourism as a source of revenue and outreach. The project was designed to demonstrate how humans can live off the grid in harmony with nature. Visitors can experience the local culture, traditions, customs, music and art while also learning about sustainable living practices and permaculture principles.
What are Proof of Concept Demonstrations?
Proof of concept demonstrations are projects that are designed to show the feasibility of an idea. They serve as a way to test out ideas and strategies without taking on too much risk or financial investment. For intentional communities, proof of concept demonstrations can be used to create awareness and generate excitement about the project, reach out to potential members and partners, and show that these types of projects are indeed possible.
Creating proof of concept demonstrations can be a powerful tool in building an intentional community because it allows people to see first-hand how their ideas or strategies could work in practice. It also encourages people to think outside the box when it comes to creating sustainable living solutions and helps them understand how these concepts might be applied in their own communities.
Bringing it All Together
Ecotourism and proof of concept demonstrations can be powerful tools when building an intentional community but they also present opportunities and challenges that must be addressed with care and intentionality. By understanding the intricacies of these concepts you will be able to make decisions that are more in line with the values of your project.