Our planet is facing some challenges that Sustainable coliving can help to solve.
We all know that the list is extensive, and very big, climate change, poverty, waste management, loss of biodiversity, carbon footprint, loneliness, and so on…
We are at the beginning of the end of an economic and social paradigm, the way we have been doing business for the last 200 hundred years, is no longer sustainable, too many scientists and International organizations are telling the same, we must change the way we think, live, and work…
Sustainable coliving can help cities, communities, and rural areas, to face some of these challenges…
I´m trying to read, research, and think as much as possible about what sustainable Coliving should be, for a better future.
This is a complicated path, that needs time, patience, research, and consciousness, we need to start walking to learn and to find a way to become sustainable, it is a journey…
There is no one solution or fit for all approach for sustainable coliving, what can work for me in a neighborhood, can’t work for a rural space in the middle of the country, and what works in one country can be impossible to implement in others…
I´ll try to talk about some basic guidelines to understand what sustainable coliving could do, could have, or could implement…
But most importantly, we need to change our mindset, many values, principles, and the philosophy we have for traditional business, don’t work in the new paradigm of a sustainable economy, and for me, this is the toughest point of all.
I´m not going to give you a list of tasks to do for sustainable coliving.
We will approach this topic from the values that should drive these spaces, because first comes the new sustainable mindset.
We don’t have to explain that we live in a world driven by increase, growth, more, bigger, etc
In contrast, the reduced philosophy is here to stay, for many reasons scientists are given evidence that we are running out of many resources on the planet. But also our levels of consumption are driving many ecosystems to disappear literally.
This is also connected with the maintenance of Biodiversity, necessary for our survival.
Any Sustainable coliving should look for ways to reduce its carbon footprint, reduce energy consumption, and waste send to the landfill.
There are many ways to tackle this topic, but first, we should be aware of consumption data, measuring carbon footprint, energy, and waste.
– Ask yourself questions about where your energy comes from, how colivers move around the city or town, what they eat, whether are we composting, and so on…
One of the strengths of the coliving industry is the sharing of assets, which minimizes and reduces the consumption of many resources, such as sharing of appliances, kitchens, workspace, bills, food, bikes, etc…
Sharing is key to tackling the reduce philosophy, ask yourself if the space is doing as much as possible to increase sharing between the community.
Also think about how sustainable is the building, sustainable architecture is growing very fast, there are many new materials, and some architects are helping owners to build very efficient units.
But connected with this reduced concept, when possible we should reuse and recover an old building.
As you can see, the answers from this topic could bring you a very long list of tasks, but avoid that approach, ask yourself questions that drive you to start implementing small changes.
Reuse is very connected with reducing. This is a complicated topic, many customer decisions are based on the atmosphere of the rooms and common areas, design is very important and gives personality to every single Coliving.
There are very good examples of units built in old, traditional houses, authentic and unique places, that inspire and help colivers to experience a place from a very local perspective.
Many of these colivings, reuse old furniture, build their furniture, or buy second hand, but this could be difficult to implement in some cases, because of the design line of some spaces, but we need to take it into consideration.
– Ask yourself about the longevity of the furniture you have or that you need to buy…
Places that reuse buildings, furniture, and materials, have a very authentic personality.
– Ask yourself about single-use products, even if they are not plastic ones, community events are suitable for these products, how can you change this?
What about food, have you a strategy to share and reuse lefties?
I´m not going to talk very much about recycling, it is the last one after reduction and reuse, but a good setup for separate trash is basic.
– Ask yourself how many bins you have in place.
When possible measure the amount of trash you recycle, that will give you incredible data on your work in the long run…
Local organic products, and circularity
This is a hard one because many times the “local philosophy” will crash with our strategies of saving costs. Scale economics help us to save money, bringing products from places far away from our location, but this is very unsustainable, economically and socially.
– Ask if the community members buy in local shops if they eat local products, do they buy from local producers, are you implementing strategies to help colivers to buy as much local as possible.
Turning our consumption to buy bulk organic products could be a big step forward in the sustainable strategy, this could have an incredibly good impact on the local community, because many organic farmers are small, and locals
Having a local Impact is one of the cornerstones of any coliving trying to do something good in their town or neighborhood, but the engagement and activities can change from colivings in different regions, countries, cities, etc
– Ask if we are giving back to the local community something from our resources, knowledge, time, and facilities?
– Ask if we can help to solve any social or environmental problem of our community?
Some colivings do beach cleans, others buy in local shops, some share their facilities for local events, etc, etc, etc…
Think about your suppliers, who they are, where they buy their products, what their local impact is, etc
In this case, you have to listen to the local community and find the best way to be useful to them…
This is a tough one… Individualism and egocentrism have been mainstream in the last 50 years or more, but the outcomes are loneliness, depression, stress, etc
We are social, we need community, and we are meant to be with others and for others…
“Loneliness is globally recognised as one of the most significant health concerns we face today.” Conscious Coliving
Community is another strength of the colivings, coliving is a community, and it is based on a community philosophy, this is very important, and to tackle many challenges in the near future we are going to need strong and healthy communities.
On a personal level, meeting people, connecting with others, or sharing moments of joy with peers, help us to have a healthier life, this is scientifically proven.
– Ask yourself if the space helps human interaction, if there is a community facilitator, or if there is a program of activities to foster interactions…
Also to tackle the reduce and reuse philosophy we are going to have to do many things as a community, sharing workspaces, appliances, tools, means of transport, etc
– Do we have bikes in the coliving, do we share spaces and appliances?
Encourage the new conscious mindset
This looks simple, but it is very tough, as well as important, not everybody is familiar or is informed about sustainability and regeneration.
But, do we have to educate the members of the community to be more sustainable? do we have to organize talks about this topic, visits to local farmers, and share info about how to have a better impact when traveling or living in our coliving?
Think deeply about this, because could be a beautiful path for some colivings, but a complicated one for others, depending on your community’s interests or goals.
In a busy world, not everyone has “time” to learn about these topics after work, in my opinion, it is something that needs a long and consistent strategy…
The increase in population in cities is overwhelming and with it, the prices are going high due to the demand for apartments and houses.
Coliving could be a good tool to help cities to be more sustainable and to allow people to have a decent space to live, all together with this sharing philosophy that we have to embrace.
In some cities, we can already find big units of colivings, that can offer accommodation for reasonable prices with good services, but also a community to meet other people…
Helping people to find affordable accommodation could be the main proposition for some colivings, and it could be very useful in some locations and cities…
Good technology can help us to reduce energy, to be more efficient, and to monitor our consumption…
There are technologies in place to monitor water leaks, time and consumption of water in the shower, calculation of carbon emissions, sensors, etc…
Some of these technologies can cut costs at a high level in the long run, it is something to take into consideration, requires some research in the market but it is worthwhile.
– Ask if you can implement any technology to be more sustainable.
Conclusion of Sustainable Coliving
As you can see there are many values, topics, tools, strategies, and tasks to do to become a sustainable coliving.
Do we have to do it all at once, do we have to start working to implement everything we just talk about? I don’t think that is a good approach.
Don´t think that sustainable coliving is a space that accomplishes all these issues, which is too difficult and even overwhelming.
We have to start this journey with patience, be conscious of the challenges, and tackle one topic at a time, for big units or big teams, they can go faster, but for many small units, you better take this with “philosophy”.
For me, sustainable coliving is a space that works to implement some of these values and mindsets, being a sustainable coliving is much more complicated than having solar panels or a passive building.
In EcoIsleta Coliving we are on this journey, we are doing what we can, making many, many mistakes, learning, and sharing our “travel”, we are open to suggestions to improve this post, but also you can contact us email@example.com to ask for anything or to get more info…
By the way, what a long post, if you get to read all this text, you should send us an email, we have to invite you to a cold beer in a local “bochinche” in Las Palmas…