Combining location independence and sustainability — Economadia Manifesto

Preamble

In the following lines we wish to outline the spirit and basic orientation of Economadia. It is about creating a common mindset and base of ideas and for you to see whether or not you find yourself in those ideas. With the aid of this manifest you can basically find out if you think you wish to meet the kind of people that come to our events, projects and anything that we are going to create in the future.

Location independence gives us the power to choose of where, how and with whom we want to live.

With that said, we see the need and chances to re-think, re-invent and re-order life and livelihoods in the countryside or small towns which are not on the radar where especially young people don’t have much to stay for other than that they were born and raised there.

Picture of a huge building in a city
Picture of a building in a big city
Economadia Coworking Farm project in Portugal in 2017

Or in other words: actions speak louder than words.

Our vision is to combine the best of modern life, i.e. taking advantage of the latest technology and developments, having access to nature while feeling good being surrounded by friends in a proactive, creative and thriving community.

Community

Above all, we believe that nothing can be achieved by a single person because no individual can cover all necessary areas and abilities for more complex projects. Only by collaborating, sharing work and ideas, giving each other inspiration, energy and hope is what can bring us further in a sustainable way. And no project can really unfold its full potential if no feedback is given, no second doubting from external people occurs and a certain procedure of development is taking place. That’s why the concept of a community is essential to the whole idea of Economadia and is basically the first priority.

Location independence

This point is fairly easy to define and has been outlined already further above, yet it has of course some grey zones and different degrees. Due to your life and job situation you can be partly or fully location independent, from being a single mother doing a part-time home office job to the showcase digital nomad running a remote business with x amount of employees changing locations on a very frequent basis. The common denominator here is that technically as well as mentally you are able to choose (almost) any sort of location to go or live for a while or full-time if you wanted to do so because your job/project/activity allows you to do so. However, just having a big amount of money for whatever reason and roaming through the world or being a lost traveler is not meeting the concept as you will see in the next points.
The crucial point here is: location independence is not the aim or goal itself, it’s simply a very important and powerful tool to be able to pursue your own individual lifestyle — in terms of Economadia this means to be able to live a sustainable lifestyle as it pleases you.

Sustainability

This term is definitely already far more difficult to depict as it can affect many different areas and has become sort of an empty phrase. When talking about “sustainability” or “sustainable lifestyle” many people often think about causing less pollution, using less of transportation which is destroying the nature or sorting the trash in different bins to recycle certain resources. While this is definitely not wrong and a good thing to do, in terms of Economadia we emphasize first and foremost the social sustainability. We’d like to differentiate here into the following categories:

1/ Psychological sustainability

Psychology basically explores and describes how our brain works and why we behave as we do as an individual. In different ways it approaches to categorize our personality. When looking at Maslow’s hierachy of needs we at Economadia are aiming to get closest to the top of the pyramid, the self-actualization which implies that all levels below are sufficiently covered.

2./ Social sustainability

One thing is for sure: the way we are living in big cities nowadays has not much about social sustainability in many aspects. We live in big blocks of 50 units, hardly know our neighbors by only greeting them fleetingly on the corridor if at all, and old people end up dying all alone in their apartment and no one is taking notice of that. That’s of course a bit of the extreme case but they happen — in the midst of hundred of people.

3./ Ecological sustainability

When the first two points are sufficiently given we believe that this point is kind of emerging more or less automatically, or at least it can find its place in our everyday lives. When you live the good life in a functioning and at best striving community you will have the capacity to contribute or even dedicate to this topic and actively support measures and actions which are needed, e.g. helping in the permaculture garden for a little bit or learning more about earthship building.

Technological advance

Generally speaking, technological advance is great as this basically opens up new opportunities and new chances — for better and for worse. In terms of Economadia, any technical advance that helps to improve/facilitate our everyday lives is welcome and should be used if it replaces older, obsolete systems or improving the social, economic or environmental livelihood as long as the environmental or social damage don’t outweigh its benefits.

Entrepreneurship

One important point of Economadia is to foster and support any type of entrepreneurship, creativity and unconventional ideas. Entrepreneurship is the backbone for improvement and the further development of any community. It’s not the formula to save the world, yet, at least in the western educational system entrepreneurial thinking is way too underdeveloped and even being defeated in many ways; be it by the parents of a child, the society, the educational system, the media or in general the system; well you can ask rightly ask what the latter is supposed to be exactly. Not everyone is by definition an entrepreneur, however, everyone has (or used to have once) creativity in one way or the other. We are all curious to discover and unravel, to have a meaningful impact to our surroundings.

Mobility

“The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page” goes the famous quote of Augustine of Hippo.

Gardening, not agriculture

We absolutely respect those that are dedicated to agriculture as it is very hard and above all committing work with the risk to end up having no harvest, subsequently no money and nothing to eat. However, for Economadia this is not a concept or at least not a primary goal when thinking about how to have a good life in rural areas. It makes you stuck instead of location independent, obviously. What we want are the tomatoes behind the house that we can put on Instagram or wherever you like and to enjoy on a slice of good bread or in the next salad. People who wish to dedicate more to garden work are of course welcome to do so and in fact are needed. If everyone is sitting on the computer all day long nothing will ever grow and the dog will die starving.

Co-working, co-living, co-choose-yourself

Sharing resources and knowledge is the key for a good life.

Coop model

This is important when it comes to a permanent physical location in the future like the “global village of improving people” as we envision it. It is imperative that no private ownership is involved so that no interest of profit maximizing dominates and or gambling investors who are looking for their share. Investing into ourselves is the deal breaker for getting our community into an even more powerful state.

Some final words

This manifest is tied to an ever ongoing learning process so it will always be imperfect and therefore subject to be altered and rewritten where needed. With the creation of new projects we will also gain new knowledge and insights that we will implement here.

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