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Intentional communities and the green phenomenon

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Intentional communities and the green phenomenon
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Bishop, Harvey John
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vi, 111 leaves : ; 29 cm

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Collective settlements ( lcsh )
Green movement ( lcsh )
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Green movement ( fast )
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theses ( marcgt )
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 106-111).
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Political Science.
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Department of Political Science
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by Harvey John Bishop.

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Full Text
INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES AND THE GREEN PHENOMENON
by
Harvey John Bishop
B.A., Metropolitan State College, 1982
M.A., University of Colorado, 1984
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science
1994


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Harvey John Bishop
has been approved for the
Graduate School
by
Date


Bishop, Harvey John (M.A., Political Science)
Intentional Communities and the Green Phenomenon
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Michael
S. Cummings
ABSTRACT
Environmentalists, including those identified
as radical Greens, represent a vigorous social
movement. Greens' political impact has been blunted
by fragmentation: however, new alliances among
diverse Green groups are overcoming fragmentation.
One such alliance is between radical Greens and
members of intentional communities. While
communitarians have been stereotyped as apolitical
escapists, the present study finds that many
communitarians not only share, but live out radical
Green values in their intentional communities,
and, further, have highly positive attitudes
towards political and social involvement in the
larger society. Communitarians also support many
radical Green ideas for social change, but are
likely to regard their deeply held values
of cooperation and interpersonal relationships
as an antidote to the widespread competitiveness
iii


and alienation in the larger society which they
believe contributes to ecological and social
problems.
This abstract accurately represents the content
of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its
publication.
Signed
IV


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION................................. 1
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE.................... 14
Existing Research Results.................23
Implications for the Present Study........29
3. RESEARCH DESIGN............................. 32
Hypothoses................................32
Units of Analysis, Coding and Sample......34
4. COMMUNITARIANS AND GREEN ATTITUDES...........41
Green Practices in
Intentional Communities................. 41
Communitarians and Green Values...........43
5. COMMUNITARIANS AND POLITICS................ 52
Socio-political Attitudes................ 52
Mainstream Politics and Direct Action....55
Communitarianism as Activism..............59
6. GREEN TRANSFORMATIONAL POLITICS..............60
Ecological Solutions......................61
Other Measures..........................66
Intentional Communities
and Transformation......................,.69
7. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION...................... 77
Intentional Communities and
the Green Phenomenon......................85
Suggestions for Future Research...........90
v


APPENDIX
CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY QUESTIONNAIRE.......91
REFERENCES....................................... 106
Additional Readings......................Ill
vi


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Although many communitarians^ and the
intentional communities they live in, not only
share, but live out, "radical" Green values and
practices, communitarians are all but ignored
in the literature about the U.S. environmental
movement. Some scholars have argued that
communitarians are apolitical bucolics, responding
to environmental and other social concerns by
focusing on harmonizing their small intentional
communities with the natural world, while ignoring
the larger society (Milbrath 1986, 105).
In the last 20 years, a growing recognition
of an environmental crisis has spawned a diverse
and rich social and political responsea Green
phenomenonthat includes citizens, political
I use the word "communitarian" to refer
to present, past, or prospective, future members
of intentional communities, regardless of the
institutional patterns of ownership in a particular
community. My usage of the word should not be
confused with that of the Communitarian Network,
founded by sociologist Amitai Etzioni: this is
a loosely knit movement that argues for a return
to social responsibility and virtue, including
an emphasis on the nuclear family.


parties, interest groups, protest movements,
and, I will argue, communitarians. The last are,
my research would suggest, anything but apolitical
and unconcerned about larger social issues.
The Green phenomenon is significant. Some
scholars believe that environmentalism could
become an important political force, in addition
to having an impact as a social movement, by
representing a new alignment that transcends
traditional left-right ideologies (Paehlke 1989).
While environmental groups oriented towards
conservation operate within the traditional
realpolitik (Dunlap and Mertig 1992; Gottlieb
1993), other ecological activists criticize a
modern industrial world view that is seen as
sanctioning the attempted domination Of nature
through unrestricted progress and technology
for short-term profit. These Green activists
advocate an alternative world view and a new
vision of a society that stresses long-term,
environmentally sustainable values. The emerging
alternative Green world view has been termed
the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) (Milbrath
1989).
2


How might a Green society that honors the
environment as well as human needs look?
During a vegetarian lunch, using organic
produce from a community greenhouse, an elderly
woman talks with a younger woman, joyfully recalling
being present at the home birth of the younger
woman's daughter, with midwives and friends in
attendance (Sunrise Ranch* field research 1993).
In rural and urban communities of 200 or fewer
people, people share in the major and minor passages
of life. Medical doctors and holistic health
practitioners work side by side. A medical doctor
dons a droopy-faced clown costume to relate better
with patients, and is especially effective with
anxious children (Adams 1993).
In this Green society, citizens of widely
varied communities make decisions through the
face-to-face democracy of town-hall meetings,
using consensus whenever possible. Decisions
are considered in light of their potential impact
on future generations.
The communities in this alternative society
are diverse. One community of passive solar homesis
constructed from adobe on a foundation of recycled
3


tires, operating free of power companies and
sewer systems, with roofs designed to harness
rainfall (Brown 1993; Reynolds 1990). Another
community markets hand-held radiation detectors
that empower citizens independently to verify
environmental hazards (Bates 1993). Gender does
not arbitrarily determine work or social roles.
Notes one leader, "If a man knows auto mechanics
and a woman doesn't, you put them together. It
takes longer, but striving for equality is a
priority. There are rewards in seeing someone
move from being timid to being confident" (anonymous
questionnaire respondent, personal interview,
28 August 1993). Resources tend be shared rather
than hoarded, a choice reflecting egalitarian
values. It is believed that work should be
personally satisfying, and workers often make
business decisions democratically.
Many of these communities within a Green
society protect and care for local forests
(questionnaire response, 1993), as well as practice
social responsibility nationally and
internationally. One community's volunteers operate
a low-cost urban ambulance service and
4


fl
assist with housing projects in Central America
(Bates 1993). There are varied spiritual practices
among communities and regions as well.
Cross-cultural and ecumenical rituals recognize
the interdependence and interconnection of humans
and the natural world. In one case, people ranging
from Christians to pagans gather to drum with
Native Americans in honor of the blue moon, and
dance to express thanks for the gifts of the
earth.
This hypothetical Green society is based
on fact, comprising a synthesis of existing
practical micro-utopias including proto-typical
Green-oriented intentional communities such as
The Farm, Alpha Farm, the communities allied
with The Federation of Egalitarian communities,
Sirius community, Gesundheiti Institute, Social
Transformation Alternative Republic (STAR), and
Emissary communities like Sunrise Ranch. The
composite portrait is based on survey and field
research, ceremonial events held at the first
international Celebration of Community in 1993,
"Ten Aspects of the Utopian Vision by the Tarrytown
Group (Communities Magazine and the Fellowship
5


for Intentional Community 1990, 49), the Mondragon
cooperatives (Hoover 1992), and indigenous peoples'
societies (for the relationship of indigenous
politics to environmentalism see Churchill, 1993;
1988-89; 1986; Mander 1991).
The Green macro-vision of an alternative
society is advanced by nascent U.S. Green parties
(Rensenbrink 1992), bio-regionalists (Sale 1985),
social ecologists (Tokar 1987; Bookchin 1982),
eco-feminists (Diamond and Orenstein 1990), and
others. This Green macro-vision shares many themes
already evident in intentional communities,
including non-alienating human interaction, harmony
with the natural world, social and gender equality,
and some degree of political and economic
decentralization, with an emphasis on grassroots
democracy. In addition, there is considerable
overlap among the practices of many intentional
communities, Milbrath's (1989) conception of
the New Environmental Paradigm, and the "10 key
values" advocated by the U.S. Green movement
and parties: ecological wisdom, grassroots
democracy, personal and social responsibility,
non-violence, decentralization, community-based
6


economics, post-patriarchal values, respect for
diversity, global responsibility, and future
focus (Rensenbrink 1992, 153).
While these groups have much in common in
terms of the values that should underlie a new
society, it would be a mistake to ascribe uniformity
to the specific structures prescribed for that
society. For instance, decentralization of present
political and economic structures is generally
considered to be part of the Green prescription
for environmental and social ills because large
political and economic entities are believed
to disempower people and overuse resources. Greens
would subscribe to the dictum "small is beautiful,"
but there is considerable debate over defining
"small," and over the degree of decentralization
considered desirable (Dobson 1990, 122-129, 183-186;
Paehlke 1989, 156-157).
Bio-regionalists, as one example, would
advocate abandoning arbitrary political boundaries
for a confederation of bio-regions based on
eco-systems such as watersheds, land forms, and
indigenous plant and animal species (Sale 1985).
Some social ecologists, such as Murray Bookchin,
7


argue for a loose confederation of nearly autonomous
communities (Bookchin 1982). Running partly counter
to Green-favored decentralization, many Greens
want national and international governing bodies
to prohibit ecocidal activities (see Callenbach
1981, especially 34-36; Cummings 1993).
Groups associated with the Green phenomenon
offer different strategies to attain a society
based on a new environmental paradigm. There
has been rancorous debate, especially in the
nascent U.S. Green parties. Some Greens believe
a political-party strategy would provide an
important public forum for Green issues, while
others argue that the compromises inherent in
the electoral process and in appealing for votes
could detract from the movement's goal of deep
social transformation (Rensenbrink 1992, 124-140).
Some Deep Ecologists, however, argue that the
environment cannot wait for political and social
transformation, even if that view means Greens
must work with imperfect governments and take
small steps to save a part of the whole. Deep
Ecologists strongly emphasize a nature-centered
rather than human-centered view of the world
8


(Naess 1989). Without that value change, Deep
Ecologists argue, a society could be decentralized,
democratic and egalitarian, but still harm the
environment (Tokar 1988). Other activists and
scholars argue that there will be a paradigmshift
because an industrial society that exploits nature
cannot sustain itself. So a new society, utopian
or dystopian, may emerge out of crisis, or a
synthesis of industrial and post-industrial values
may avert crisis (Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap,
1992, 22-31).
These debates cannot be viewed as merely
abstract, for the presence and ultimate success
of the Green phenomenon could affect planetary
survival. In the 1960s and 70s, environmental
concerns focused on national and regional issues
such as pollution of air, water, and soil. Now,
a second era of global concerns has been added
to the environmental agenda with the focus on
global warming, ozone depletion, and acid rain
(Rosenbaum 1991, 35). It has been argued that
it will take 50 to 100 years of intensive effort
to reach a sustainable ecological balance, and
that time and options are narrowing (Bates 1990).
9


Where do Green-oriented intentional communities
fit within the Green phenomenon and the hope
for an alternative future? This study will analyze
early findings from the Celebration of Community
2
Questionnaire research project to explore the
following questions.
How common to the communitarian experience
are the innovative Green values and practices
of prototypical Green-oriented intentional
communities? What forms of ecological outreach
or political activities do communities engage
in? What are individual communitarians' beliefs
about the environment, political participation,
and social transformation? How do communitarians1
beliefs compare to those of non-communitarians,
and of other Green activists? Do communitarians
see intentional communities as a self-contained
respite from modernity, or as McLaughlin and
Davidson (1985) have argued, as
research-and-developmeht laboratories, modeling
2
See appendix for the entire questionnaire,
which was filled out by about one-seventh of
the 800 plus attendees at the Celebration of
Community gathering in Olympia, Washington, in
August 1993.
10


a vision for transforming society?
While many people have noted that the
substantive impact of the Green movement has
been blunted because its diversity has led to
fragmentation, some recent developments suggest
that new and significant alliances are being
formed.
In the past, whites have been characterized
as caring more about ecology than social ills,
such as poverty, unemployment, and racism (Lewis
1990), while people of color have been perceived
as being less concerned about the environment
(Caron 1989). Now, there is a growing movement
to combat environmental racismthe disproportionate
location of toxic industrial sites in poor
communities. People and organizations of color
led by Ben Chavez and the NAACP as well as the
Indigenous Environmental Network (EIN) have
initiated successful partnerships with Greens
(Bullard 1993; Gedicks 1993).
Ten years ago, Cummings (1987) argued that
there should be a similar alliance between
communitarians and radical Greens. He acknowledged
the two groups' divisions: radicals have viewed
11


communitarians as narrow escapists and
communitarians have seen radicals as inneffectual,
sometimes power-hungry, and compromised by
over-involvement with the societal institutions
they seek to replace. He recommended that
communitarians and radicals look beyond those
perceptions to their common alternative values,
including ecology, egalitarianism, and direct
democracy. In terms of practical politics, Cummings
noted that self-sustaining cooperative communities
could support political activists as well as
model the future society proposed by the movement.
The social experiments in intentional communities
would inform the movement, and the national movement
could synthesize a broad perspective of diverse
interests that would be difficult for individual
communities to advance on their own.
The present study suggests that the alliance
Cummings envisioned is happening and that
substantial progress is being made in many areas
of convergence among Greens and communitarians.
The data analysis will examine similarities
and differences between communitarians and radical
Greens, and will look at areas in which
12


communitarians may bring their unique perspective
to Green issues and examine the possible affect
of these actual and potential alliances on U.S.
Green politics.
This study will also have relevance for
the long-standing debate among communal scholars
about what constitutes a "successful" community.
Kanter (1972) argued that a community that lastsat
least 25 years should be considered a success
and those that were shorter-lived, unsuccessful.
More recently, Pitzer (1989.) challenged this
view with his theory of "developmental communalism,
which sees communalism as an alternative option
or important phase in a longer developmental
process originating in a social or spiritual
movement.
In addition to examining the links between
communalism and the Green movement, the present
study also asks communitarian respondents how
they view communal living in the context of these
two theories.
13


Chapter 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
An assessment the existing research focusing
on communitarians and the Green phenomenon would
be in order at this point. Unfortunately, to
my knowledge, prior to this study, there have
been no systematic, scholarly studies of the
points advanced by Cummings (1987) as they relate
to intentional communities in the United States.
Pepper (1993, 1991) studied the Green ideals
and practices of communalists in Great Britain.
His neo-Marxist critique (1993) of communitarians
(and Greens) is pessimistic. He concludes that
many communalists believe that social change
starts with changing individual attitudes, a
point-of-view that is at odds, he argues, with
class struggle. There is a contradiction between
increasing communitarian individualism and the
cooperation communities rely on, he writes. Pepper
believes that communes choose moral example over
political action. (But he also notes that there
is evidence that the communitarians he studied
became more concerned about the public good through
14


the experience of organizing their own communities'
governing and economic structures.) None-the-less,
he concludes that communes are isolated from
the working class, will never attract sufficient
numbers of people to affect real change, and
would be irrelevant in event of a mass revolt
(pp. 150-151, 160, 199-200).
Pepper's arguments about communalist
individualism are based on a strict definition
of the term "communal." For instance, he defines
the desire for "private space" as a sign of
individualism. Kleiner (1993) raises methodological
and conceptual questions about Pepper's study.
She notes that the opinions of his subjects are
given equal weight, although some come from large,
influential communes, and others from smaller,
more recent efforts, so a possible cause of
differences in Green attitudes goes unexplored.
Kleiner also notes that "at heart, the Green
movement is propelled by a moral or spiritual
vision as well as a political or ecological vision
...and the most successful and influential communes
...reflect this understanding" (p. 238). Kleiner
argues that Pepper did not take into account
15


that his respondents from Findhorn lived in a
spiritually-based community which might account
for their positive attitudes towards Green social
change as compared to Pepper's other subjects.
There have been detailed studies (albeit
with some weaknesses) on the ecological, political,
and social transformational views of the citizens
of the United States and other countries. This
review will focus on that research, both to show
how researchers have operationalized their studies,
and to indicate how those studies affected the
design of the present study. Earlier results
about citizens will also help establish a baseline
for comparison with our communitarian respondents.
The discussion will first address the design
of the previous research, which is generally
termed New Environmental Paradigm or NEP studies.
The most recent major book-length treatments,
Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap (1992), and Milbrath
(1989), stress the theory of two competing world
views: one ecological and the other anti-ecological..
Researchers often term the ecological world
view as the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP)
and ideas related to the industrial-technological
16


age as the Technological Social Paradigm (TSP)
or Dominant Social Paradigm (DSP).
The TSP or DSP is related to modern industrial
society and includes many components based on
a pro-growth ideology that permeates the economy,
as well as political and social life. The beliefs
that flow from this ideology include "natural
resources are ample for all human needs";
"technology can eventually solve most human
problems"; "a market economy based on private
property and operated to maximize profits is
most desirable"; production should be increased
to create greater wealth, and "consumption should
be maximized to improve standards of living for
all." Politically, the TSP or DSP is characterized
as centralized government, hierarchical
institutional structure, and government by
"experts." In the DSP, or TSP social inequality
is inevitable, citizens are rewarded economically
according to their ability and effort, and economic
deprivation is best dealt with through continual
growth (Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap 1992, 4-8).
Milbrath (1989) argues that the DSP represents
a "dominator society" that stresses capitalism
17


and efficiency, but that, in fact, rewards
competitiveness with power over other humans
and nature, both domestically and internationally
(pp. 39-57). Milbrath (1989) argues that NEP
and DSP beliefs are so divergent that two different
societies are represented, thus creating "the
possibility for a new society" (p. 133).
The original conception of the New
Environmental Paradigm scale by Dunlap and Van
Liere (1978), and those who followed (Caron 1989;
Edgell and Nowell 1989; Noe and Snow 1990) was
a 12-item scale with statements keyed to core
environmental issues such as harmony with nature
versus human domination of nature, and a recognition
of limited resources versus the potential for
unlimited economic growth. The Dunlap and Van
Liere scale did not include the broad range of
Green socio-political issues. Milbrath (1989)
and Cotgrove (1982) conceived a broader vision
of the New Environmental Paradigm which included,
in addition to limits, growth and harmony with
nature, such Green social prescriptions for
environmental ills as egalitarianism, direct
democracy, and decentralization.
18


Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap (1992), argued
that those Green prescriptions were not clearly
related to environmental problems, but included
a separate Ecological Social Index in their study
to see if there was a relationship between those
who accepted the more general statements of their
NEP scale and those who accepted Green
socio-political prescriptions. They argue that
the many reforms contained under the rubric of
an alternative Green society, including small
communities, decentralization, citizen
participation, and workplace democracy, are so
diverse that they may represent more than one
paradigm, and that people who hold strong ecological
beliefs may not necessarily embrace all, or even
part, of the new society endorsed by radical
Greens (p. 60).
Statements that measured their general
conception of NEP included "people must live
in harmony with nature to survive" versus "people
must learn to control nature in order to survive."
Subjects associated with the Ecological Social
include meaningful work ("workers should decide
how their jobs get done"), political participation
19


("citizens should have the major say in deciding
important political issues"), egalitarianism
("incomes should be only moderately unequal so
that even the lowest income are adequate"), human
scale organization ("most businesses and industries
should be small local firms) and a non-material
lifestyle ("people should try only to live with
the basic essentials") (pp. 81-87). Their survey
was sent to Washington State residents in 1982,
and represents 696 respondents.
Milbrath's interpretation of NEP included
items such as "There are limits to growth beyond
which our society cannot expand," and the preference
for a society that emphasizes economic growth
over environmental protection. His three-nation
study surveyed environmentalists, business people,
and citizens in the United States, England and
West Germany in 1980-82.
Other scholars who employed the Dunlap-Van
Liere scale stress cautions about NEP studies.
Edgell and Nowell (1989) note that survey items
that are aimed at generic environmental concerns
"may be too coarse to identify the finer aspects
of beliefs" (pp. 287,294). Noe and Snow (1990)
20


argue that interpretations of some scales' abstract
statements such as "the earth is like a spaceship
with limited resources" may vary and require
a familiarity with ecological and economic issues
(p. 26).
Finger and Hug (1992) argue that the NEP
scale is itself outdated, and that it is rooted
in the 1970s, when it was assumed that only a
minority of people held environmental beliefs.
The authors point out that a majority of people
now recognize environmental problems, but disagree
about possible solutions. As a result, the authors
believe that the literature has been deficient
in addressing differences in environmental
perspectives and preferred solutions among both
citizens and activists.
Both major studies, Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap
(1992) and Milbrath (1989) are deficient in
measuring respondents1 preferred solutions to
ecological and social crisis. Their statements
are often too general to accurately assess
respondents' policy preferences. For instance,
Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap are quite specific
when testing attitudes towards renewable energy
21


("Solar energy should be developed as a means
of meeting our national energy needs"), but much
less specific in terms of political participation
("Citizens should have the major say in deciding
important political issues"). Milbrath also uses
some very general statements to infer that
respondents might support drastic social change.
Milbrath found strong support for "a society
which is willing to put up with some delay in
order to let more people have a say in the big
decisions" versus "a society which is willing
to let a few people make the big decisions in
order to get things done more quickly" (p. 130).
As a result, he concludes that people would prefer
the decentralization and non-hierarchical
organization advocated by Green activists, but
this result would appear to be more indicative
of a general sympathy for participatory democracy
than of support for changing society. His study
showed no consensus among the public when they
were given a choice between "changing our lifestyle"
and "developing better technology" as a solution
to environmental problems (p. 130). Although
Milbrath intended to test respondents' attitudes
22


towards fast-lane, consumption-oriented lifestyles
versus living simply, this item may be too vague
to be an appropriate measure. Better technology
could be interpreted to include appropriate "soft"
or non-polluting technology as well as nuclear
energy and does not necessarily evoke images
of fast-lane consumption.
Existing research results
I will briefly summarize the results of major
studies addressing citizens' concern about ecology,
their political activism related to ecological
issues, and the level of their desire for a new
Green social and political order.
Quantitative studies suggest that people in
the United States (and abroad) are increasingly
concerned about environmental degradation. Milbrath
found that 75 percent or more of the public agreed
with the statement "mankind is severely abusing
the environment" (p. 129). Dunlap's (1991) analysis
of existing public opinion surveys shows that
during the 1980s, 50 to 75 percent of the American
public believed that protecting the environment
was critical (p. 32). One weakness with many
23


of these studies, regardless of the population,
is that respondents1 environmental concerns are
often not compared to their concern about other
social issues. The tension between environmental
protection and employment is just one problematic
area that may affect citizens' policy preferences.
The American public tends to blame business
and industry for environmental problems, but
citizen concern has not translated into activism
to check the perceived excesses of business.
There is no identifiable Green voting bloc, although
environmental issues have played an increasingly
important role in state and local elections (Dunlap
1991, pp. 33-34) and the major parties have adopted
environmental rhetoric and some policy positions
in response to voter concerns. Milbrath (1986)
argues that "there is no natural home" for
Green-oriented voters on the traditional left-right
ideological continuum. His three-nation study
shows that Green-oriented citizens are more likely
to seek political expression through direct action,
special interest groups, and citizen input into
bureaucratic decision-making, while some will
drop out and become indifferent. Like other
24


scholars, Milbrath argues that Green sympathizers
are a latent political force that could be mobilized
(pp. 102-103).
Dunlap (1991) notes that citizens'
environmental concerns, heightened by the
environmental movement, have been harnessed via
letter-writing campaigns and have translated
into moderate Success ininfluencing citizen
lifestyle changes. In the United States in the
1980s, "large pluralities, even majorities,"
recycle and avoid aerosols" (pp. 32-34).
Olsen, Lodwick, and Dunlap (1992) found
that only about a fourth of their respondents
retained a TSP orientation, agreeing with statements
such as "science and technology have improved
our quality of life," and "modern technology
has increased our freedom and independence."
At the same time more than four-fifths of the
respondents expressed some sympathy with NEP
concepts, with more than half of those being
strong or moderate believers, who agreed with
statements such as "modern industrial societies
are very seriously disturbing the balance of
nature" and "despite our special abilities, humans
25


are subject to the laws of nature like other
species." The authors separated tests for beliefs
and values, and found stronger support for beliefs
reflecting a statement of what is (i.e. "resources
are finite"), and a weaker support for values
that reflect what ought to be (i.e. "renewable
resources are desirable"). Few respondents accepted
TSP beliefs or values (pp. 74-75).
Milbrath (1989) found that, as a measurement
of NEP, "the public in the United States chose
environmental protection over economic growth
by a ratio of 3-to-l in both 1980 and 1982" (p.
122). Environmentalists were in the vanguard,
but Milbrath noted surprise because business
leaders tended to be neutral or undecided rather
than taking the opposite view from
environmentalists. Labor leaders tended to support
the NEP view. Public officials tended to neutrality
but "overall favored environmental protection
over economic growth" (p. 124). In 1982, he found
that 66 percent of the American public supported
governmental protection of the environment, compared
to 79 percent of environmentalists, and 47 percent
of business leaders (p. 124).
26


Milbrath (1989) also found strong disagreement
among Americans over the statement "there are
limits to growth beyond which our industrialized
society cannot expand" (p. 126). Environmentalists
were most likely to accept limits to growth,
and business leaders were most likely to deny
limits, with the public in between (p. 128).
While scholars have found citizens concerned
about ecology, studies that measured citizens'
desire for Green-oriented social and political
transformation have shown mixed results.
Milbrath (1989) argues that there is
significant public sympathy for NEP, with public
thinking ahead of leaders of dominant social
and political institutions. NEP concepts are
more likely to be formed into an "internally
consistent structure" among educated activists.
However, Milbrath cautions that approximately
50 percent of the American public "have not clearly
worked out a logically consistent belief structure;
many hold beliefs and values that come from both
paradigms" (p. 133). People love nature and want
to produce goods: see humans as interrelated
with nature, but want technology to exploit nature,
27


"want economic growth, but ...want environmental
protection even more" (p. 134). Milbrath predicts
a long struggle for undecided citizens between
NEP and DSP elites. Edgell and Nowell (1989)
concur, noting that many individuals may hold
both NEP and DSP beliefs, indicating a time of
transition, but not widespread acceptance of
NEP. They found NEP concerns balanced with
aspirations for material wealth (p. 293).
Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap (1992) tested
items associated with Green transformation,
including simple technology, small communities,
renewable energy, social responsibility, citizen
empowerment, and more meaningful work with more
worker control. Twenty-one of 30 post-industrial
social-ecological index statements were accepted
by a majority of the respondents, and 10 of those
were accepted by more than two thirds of the
respondents. There was strong support for renewable
resources and the belief that social life should
be beneficial and meaningful for all members
of society. There was also strong support for
the view that modern societies should act
responsibly in the marketplace and in world affairs
28


and should address population control. Value
statements supporting citizen empowerment and
meaningful work found a weaker intensity of
acceptance (pp. 92-93).
Although post-industrial values were generally
accepted, the researchers found that there were
weak links overall with the more general statements
of NEP scale, suggesting that the ties between
NEP beliefs and values and the desire for a
post-industrial social order is not as strong
as some literature would indicate. The authors'
analysis, however, focuses on data gathered in
1982 and so may not be useful for drawing inferences
about about contemporary perceptions of Green
social transformation.
Implications for the Present Study
There are apparently no recent, systematic,
scholarly studies of the relationship between
communitarians and the Green movement in the
United States. The present study will begin to
address this deficiency by addressing a
little-studied population, communal residents.
Scholars have studied citizen attitudes about
29


ecology, political activity related to ecological
concern, and the desire for Green social
transformation. Elements
of these studies are applicable to the present
study in terms of both design and results. NEP
scholars have demonstrated that it is possible
to operationalize indicators of the two competing
world views, ecological and
technological-industrial, addressed by activists
and theoreticians. But, while these designs are
useful, there are also weaknesses. The present
study not only will include general measures
about ecological and social values, but also
will test measures of highly specific prescriptions
about the environment and political and social
transformation. In addition, the present study
will measure respondents' concerns about the
environment relative to other social issues.
The present study, based on 1993 data, also has
the benefit of measuring ecological attitudes
10 or more years after data gathered for major
existing studies in this area. During that time
discussion and debate about Green issues have
expanded. The present study of communitarians
30


will also continue over time, allowing further
analysis of possible shifts within this population.
For purposes of comparison with our
communitarian respondents, the existing research
about citizen attitudes shows great concern about
the environment, but limited political activity.
There have been some successes in terms of lifestyle
changes, including recycling. There is also support
for governmental environmental regulation. Measures
of environmental protection versus growth are
mixed, with more support for general limits,
but less support for any specific ones. Results
about citizens' desire for drastic social change
are also mixed, with many people holding ideas
from both of the two conflicting ecological and
industrial world views. Scholars indicate that
this may indicate confusion inherent in a possible
time of transition between paradigms.
31


CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH DESIGN
New alliances within a diverse Green movement
have led to new successes, especially in combating
environmental racism. Other such alliances have
been advocated, including a link between members
of intentional communities and radical Greens.
The present study is a preliminary attempt to
assess findings about the Green beliefs and values
of communitarians, and to understand some ways
communitarians might express these beliefs and
values, both within their communities, and within
the larger society and political system.
Hypotheses
The hypotheses are as follows:
H^= Green values are associated with membership
in intentional communities.
This hypothesis will address communitarians'
beliefs and practices within their communities.
H2= Membership in an intentional community
is associated with political isolationism from
32


the larger society.
This hypothesis will address the perception
in the literature that communitarians opt for
personal lifestyle changes over political activity
as a solution to ecological and social problems.
H^= Communitarians' Green beliefs and values
will be associated with support for Green-oriented
social and political change in the larger society.
This hypothesis will address communitarians'
attitudes towards solving ecological and social
problems through deep social and political
transformation versus through limited, specific
changes within the existing system.
One additional, highly specific hypothesis
will be tested.
H^= Communitarians' concern about ecology
is combined with concern about social issues
such as poverty, and racism.
This hypothesis will test the present
communitarian sample against the popular perception
in the literature that environmentalists, who
are predominately white, are more concerned about
preserving wilderness than with issues of social
3
equality, particularly racism.
33


Units of Analysis, Coding and Sample
The Celebration of Community Questionnaire
(see appendix) is an in-depth 15-page survey
with closed and open-ended questions including
demographics, experience in intentional communities,
chacteristics of respondents1 intentional
communities, respondents' philosophy of life
and the best possible community, and "Key Issues
of Our Time," a series of Lickert-scale statements
measuring social, political, and psychological
variables.
Coding for open-ended questions was determined
by grouping responses into broad categories or
themes. Much of the coding for open-ended questions
was conducted by two researchers, working
independently, producing similar categories and
themes, demonstrating inter-coder reliability.
With a few exceptions, coding for closed-ended
questions was straightforward, based on the question
3
There is a corresponding perception that
people of color, particularly African-Americans,
are relatively unconcerned about environmental
issues. The latter view has been challenged (see
Caron 1989), but there is an insufficient number
of respondents of color in the present study
to allow a test.
34


styles which included rank-order, numerical ratings,
and agree-disagree, as well as the use of scales
to facilitate eventual computer-based tabulation.
In instances in which respondents chose more
than one answer, such as both agree and strongly
agree, the stronger of the answers was coded
as the response. When two opposing answers were
selected, the answer was coded as neutral.
Variables and measures to test the present
study's hypotheses include:
: Ecological practices within communities;
beliefs about the proper relationship between
humans and the earth; communitarian spirituality;
concern about and attitudes towards ecology and
other social issues associated with Green politics,
and beliefs about the causes of social problems
in the larger society.
Respondents' attitudes about political
and social involvement, the two-party system,
Green parties, civil liberties and civil
disobedience, and beliefs about the future of
communitarian living and the communitarian movement.
: Respondents' preferred solutions for
the environmental crisis, and attitudes towards
35


decentralization, direct democracy, technology,
Green parties, and other environmental issues.
H4; Respondents' level of concern about
ecology versus poverty, intolerance and racism.
The Celebration of Community Questionnaire
project is an effort to compile an ongoing database
4
about communitarians and intentional communities.
In the first phase of the study, approximately
400 questionnaires were distributed among the
present, past, and prospective, future
communitarians attending the first International
Celebration of Community at Evergreen State College
in Washington state, August 26-31, 1993. The
response rate was 29 percent (representing about
one-seventh of those in attendance for all or
part of the Celebration). The initial sample
of 117 communitarians was self-selecting, as
responses were solicited from whoever was
4
A second phase of the study will focus on
more culturally traditional, religious communities
such as the Bruderhof. Additional responses will
be sought from other communitarian populations
both in the United States and abroad, so
communiatrian attitudes can be tracked over time.
The project will include a broad range of issues
relevant to communitarians and intentional
communities, in addition to ecology and Green
politics, and will include other researchers.
36


willing to take a questionnaire and fill it out.
Thus, the present study's findings should be
seen as suggestive rather than conclusive, pointing
towards fruitful areas for further research.
Three additional responses from current
communitarians were obtained at the 1993 meeting
of the Communal Studies Association in New Harmony,
Indiana. One "volunteer" communitarian who did
not attend either event responded by mail. The
present analysis is based on a sample of 121
present, past, and prospective, future
communitarians.
Because of the length of the questionnaire,
the varying levels of each respondent's interest
and time, and some anti-survey, anti-research
sentiment among the communitarians, not all
respondents replied to all questions. For instance,
about 68 percent of the communitarian respondents
addressed all or part of the optional "Key Issues
of Our Time" section. In general, results for
current communitarians (CC's), past communiatarians
(PCs), and prospective future communitarians
(FCs) will be reported as aggregate results for
communitarians, unless there are significant
37


differences among these groups for some items.
The present sample is almost evenly divided
between men and women. The average age for CCs
is 47 and for PC's and FC's 44. The average income
for communitarians is close to $25,000. The
respondents1 occupations range from teaching
and health-care work to office and administrative
work, to construction and agriculture. About
62 percent of the respondents are "traditionally"
employed (including those working for communally
owned businesses). The remaining 38 percent include
the retired, students, homemakers, political
activists, those pursuing alternative or irregular
employment, and the unemployed. Only four percent
report being unemployed. Approximately 28 percent
of the respondents would be considered
professionals, and include engineers, doctors,
and lawyers (including the former occupations
of the retired would boost this percentage).
Non-U.S. citizens accounted for 13 percent of
the respondents (nine Canadians, five Europeans,
and two Australians). Eighty-five percent express
some spiritual belief, but fewer than a third
of this majority espouse a conventional religion.
38


Many describe a personal, holistic interpretation
of spirituality, drawing from and combining many
sources. Forty-three percent describe themselves
as politically independent, 31 percent as Democrats,
and 14 percent as Green. There were no Republicans.
The CCs have lived communally for an average
of 11.5 years and the PCs for seven years. The
CCs live in communities that have been in existence
for anywhere from one year to more than 70 years.
More than half the CCs who responded to this
question live in communities that have existed
for between 15 and 30 years.
Some results will be compared with those
of a control group of 26 college students: graduates
and undergraduates attending the University of
Colorado-Denver. The nature of the urban-commuter
campus provides for more diversity in age,
profession, and income than might be true for
more traditional campuses.
The average age for the control group was
28 (ranging from 21 to 49). Fifty-eight percent
were male, 42 percent female. The average income
was $13,000 (ranging from 0 to $56,000, with
occupations including full-time students and
39


professionals). Unlike the communitarians, 81
percent espouse a traditional religion. Thirty-eight
percent cite no political preference, 35 percent
the Democratic party, and 27 percent the Republican
party.
40


CHAPTER 4
COMMUNITARIANS AND GREEN ATTITUDES
This chapter will examine data from the
questionnaire to determine the extent of Green
practices and outreach among our respondents'
intentional communities. The analysis will also
consider communitarian and control-group responses
to a variety of social issues that are generally
considered to be associated with the Green
phenomenon.
Green Practices in Intentional Communities
In response to a closed-ended question
about community ecological practices (See appendix,
questionnaire section III, question 16), CCs
and PCs indicate (1) a high degree of acceptance
of ecological practices within their intentional
communities and (2) a significant number of
communities involved in outreach and political
activism that express ecological values. These
results both support the characterization of
Green-oriented intentional communities as living
out radical Green values and practices, and call
41


into question the perception of intentional
communities as mostly harboring political and
social escapists.
The results show that 58 percent of these
respondents report living in an intentional
community that is engaged in environmental political
action, while 73 percent report that their
communities are involved in outreach through
providing oral or written philosophical support
about ecological issues.
Acceptance of Green practices is high. These
intentional communities are careful with their
waste: 98 percent of the respondents report that
their communities recycle, and 94 percent report
community composting. Care is also noted in terms
of production and consumption: 87 percent cite
community organic farming; 82 percent say their
communities engage in selective purchasing
emphasizing socially and environmentally friendly
products; 66 percent come from communities that
are vegetarian or offer a vegetarian option;
63 percent say that their communities use some
form of alternative energy. About a third come
from communities that espouse population control.
42


About one-fourth chose "other" ecological features,
reporting a variety of practices including studying
and protecting local forests and eco-systems,
developing sustainable technology, homebirth,
spirituality related to the natural world, using
environmentally friendly building materials,
developing and teaching an office-waste-reduction
system, "living simply," anti-consumerism, using
natural meats, and community carpooling.
Patterns of governance in intentional
communities also reflect Green values. In terms
of both actual governance and most-preferred
governance, consensus is the overwhelming choice
of these communitarians, followed by a variety
of combinations of consensus, majority rule,
and delegated authority. Consensus is also important
to U.S. Green parties, eco-feminists, and
bio-regionalists, among others, who value the
process for emphasizing empowerment and
face-to-face, grassroots democracy.
Communitarians and Green Values
The level of concern among these
communitarians (with approximately 69 percent
43


of the sample responding) about ecological problems
is significant: 83 percent are highly concerned,
seven percent are moderately concerned, and 10
percent express low concern (see appendix).'
This finding is not very divergent from what
studies have foundfor most citizens, except
perhaps in terms of the intensity of the
communitarians' conviction. Our control group
included 73 percent highly concerned about ecology,
19 percent moderately concerned, and only eight
percent noting low concern.
In an open-ended question, respondents were
asked to describe what they believed to be the
proper relationship between humans and the earth.
Among the communitarians, the responses were
twice as likely to mention interdependence, or
a symbiotic partnership with the earth, as they
Question 7 in section IV of the
questionnaire listed a number of social problems
and asked respondents to rank those problems
from 0, no problem at all, to 10, extremely serious.
For the purposes of the present analysis,
respondents who ranked a problem 8 or above were
classified as highly concerned with that problem,
those who ranked a problem from 5 to 7 were
classified as moderately concerned, and those
who ranked a problem 4 or below, were classified
as indicating low concern.
44


were to mention "stewardship," which may imply
a more managerial approach to the natural world.
The communitarians also cited sustainable living,
a respect for the earth, and a belief in the
sacredness of the natural world and its cycles.
"The earth will survive whether we do or not,"
wrote one respondent. The relationship between
humans and the earth should be "like a child
to a mother," wrote another. The control group
cited, in descending order, a respect for the
earth, followed by two roughly equal groups,
one group citing resource conservation and
wilderness preservation (a mainstream environmental
view that did not appear among communitarians),
and the other group stressing interdependence
and sustainable living.
The spiritual beliefs of many of these
communitarians which draw from multiple sources
is compatible Green values, especially that part
of the Green movement that has been characterized
as "eco-spiritualism" (see note 6).
The belief that economic growth has been
stressed at the expense of ecology is central
to the Green world view and the New Environmental
45


Paradigm. Two measures of environmental protection
versus economic growth show overwhelming acceptance
of ecology over growth among these communitarians
(about 60 percent responding) in two separate
measures, with 89 and 94 percent in agreement.
About two-thirds of the control group believe
that ecological concerns should supersede economic
growth. These results are similar to those Milbrath
(1989) and others have found for strong acceptance
of this belief by environmental vanguard groups,
and by citizens generally, although citizens
show less intensity of feeling.
As a more specific measure, the questionnaire
asked respondents to contrast environmental
protection with the possible loss of jobs. In
this case the communitarians still preferred
ecological considerations to protecting jobs
by about 87 percent, but were more likely to
"agree" rather than "strongly agree" with
6
See Spretnak, 1991, who argues that
broad-based spiritual beliefs avoid the
"compartmentalization" in thinking characteristic
of modernity and help people to understand their
relationship to the human community and the earth.
She notes the compatibility of Green activism
and Buddhism, Native American spirituality, Goddess
spirituality, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
46


Paradigm. Two measures of environmental protection
versus economic growth show overwhelming acceptance
of ecology over growth among these communitarians
(about 60 percent responding) in two separate
measures, with 89 and 94 percent in agreement.
About two-thirds of the control group believe
that ecological concerns should supersede economic
growth. These results are similar to those Milbrath
(1989) and others have found for strong acceptance
of this belief by environmental vanguard groups,
and by citizens generally, although citizens
show less intensity of feeling.
As a more specific measure, the questionnaire
also asked respondents to contrast environmental
protection with the possible loss of jobs. In
this instance the communitarians still preferred
ecological considerations to protecting jobsby
\
about 87 percent, although they were more likely
to "agree" rather than "strongly agree" with
^See Spretnak, 1991, who argues that
broad-based spiritual beliefs avoid the
"compartmeritalization" in thinking characteristic
of modernity and help people to understand their
relationship to the human community and the earth.
She notes the compatibility of Green activism
and Buddhism, Native American spirituality, Goddess
spirituality, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
46


these two measures. Among the control group,
support for ecology over jobs was slightly less
than the previous measures of support for ecology
over growth. As Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap (1992)
found, there was a difference between people
recognizing non-specified limits to growth, and
their determining what specifically should be
curtailed.
Green values are made up of social as well
as ecological concerns, and here again, these
communitarians show concern for a variety of
social problems akin to the concerns of Green
parties (see note 5).
The perception of Greens and others as
unconcerned about poverty and racism as compared
to environmental issues does not hold true for
these communitarians. Overall the results are
comparable to their concern for ecology. About
two-thirds say they are highly concerned by racism,
while 13 percent note moderate concern and 13
percent report low concern.
Among communitarians (and the control group)
who indicated high concern about ecology, 79
percent also noted high concern about racism,
47


or racism and poverty combined. Fifteeen percent
of the communitarians (and 16 percent of the
control group) reporting high ecological concern,
indicated moderate concern about at least one
or both of these social issues. Only six percent
of the communitarians (and five percent of the
control group) noted low concern about racism,
or racism and poverty, while also indicating
high concern about ecology.
Majorities above the 60th percentile note
a high level of concern for a variety of social
problems such as sexism, intolerance, and poverty.
When the results for those expressing high concern
are combined with those expressing moderate concern
overwhelming numbers of these communitarians
indicate that they regard these issues as important
Only eight percent note low concern for poverty,
only 15 percent report low concern for sexism,
and only 16 percent note low concern for
intolerance. Results for the control group were
roughly comparable in these areas. Concern about
sexism and the negative effects of patriarchy
are important to Greens.
A majority (71 percent) of the communitarians
48


note moderate to high concern about governmental
corruption, although the intensity of feeling
is not as high as for other issues. Similar findings
were noted for other Green issues such as
alienation, estrangement, and loss of community
in the larger society. Bare majorities of
communitarians show strong concern about these
problems. When those results, however, are combined
with those expressing moderate concern, more
than 80 percent of the communitarians score as
moderately or highly concerned. The control group
showed greater intensity'Of feeling .on the measure
for loss of community. Perhaps these communitarians
have stemmed some anxiety about these issues
through living in community.
The issue of consumerism, or excessive
materialism, presents an interesting contrast
between communitarians and non-communitarians.
Among communitarians, 71 percent expressed high
concern, 15 percent moderate concern and 14 percent
low concern. Among the control group, only 35
percent were highly concerned, and 23 percent
were moderately concerned, while almost half
(43 percent) expressed low concern. These results
49


may reflect the fundamental value conflict between
consumer materialism and communitarian living,
which stresses living simply and favors cooperation
over competition. (These communitarian values
are also compatible with the 10 "Key values"
advanced by U.S. Green parties.)
War and the arms race were a critical concern
in the birth and early success of European Green
parties (Rudig 1991). Global issues of war and
peace have also been of concern to the more recent
U.S. Green parties (Rensenbrink 1992). The
questionnaire results suggest that the end of
the Cold War and deceleration of the arms race
have not ended uncertainty about global politics
for some: 78 percent of the communitarian sample
expresses high concern about war and the arms
race, with eight percent moderately concerned.
Among the control group, 50 percent report high
concern, and 35 percent moderate concern.
When asked in a closed-ended question what
they believed were the five biggest causes of
social problems in the United States (see appendix,
questionnaire section IV, question 11), the
communitarian respondents chose, in order of
50


importance, "advertising and consumerism," "big
business," "bad or inadequate values," "apathy,
selfishness or other qualities of human nature,"
and "loss of spirituality." Skepticism about
big business is similar among both Greens and
U.S. citizens. Greens are also critical of
advertising and consumer-oriented materialism
and loss of spirituality (Rensenbrink 1992, pp.
163-164, 237-245).
Among the control group, the five biggest
problems were seen as, in order of importance,
"apathy, selfishness or other qualities of human
nature," "bad or inadequate values," "loss of
spirituality," "the media," and "the government."
While the communitarians and the control group
share some concerns, two areas of special concern
to communitarians are noticebly absent among
the control group: advertising and consumerism
and big business which were addressed by only
about a quarter of the control group.
51


CHAPTER 5
COMMUNITARIANS AND POLITICS
The analysis will now address measures of
attitudes about participation in the traditional
political system as well as outside of established
political channels to examine ways that
communitarians may, or may not, express their
radical Green values and political beliefs.
Socio-political Attitudes
Virtually all the communitarians who responded
to the "Key Issues of Our Time" section (see
appendix, questionnaire section V.) agreed with
the statement "we should be actively involved
in addressing the critical issues of our society."
While 97 percent agreed, only three percent were
neutral and no one disagreed (Among the control
group, 96 percent agreed).
In addition, there is strong support for
political involvement from the communitarian
respondents. Seventy-nine percent reject the
statement "political activity is useless." Among
communitarians only 14 percent are neutral,
52


and only seven percent agree. Three-quarters
of those who responded support the statement
"political involvement is an important part of
our lives." Results were comparable for the control
group.
The questionnaire also tested a number of
attitudes held to be popular political and social
"truisms." In responding-to the statement "unless
we get involved politically, we have no right
to complain about government," the communitarians
are almost evenly split, with 42 percent in
agreement, 41 percent disagreeing, and 17 percent
neutral. These results may reflect the ambiguity
of this particular aphorism, but they still
demonstrate the high priority given to political
involvement by many of these communitarians.
Among the control group, 65 percent agree, 17
percent are neutral and 17 percent disagree.
Other results as well call into question
the stereotype of communitarians as escapists.
Almost half (49 percent) reject the aphorism
"we would do better to take care of our own affairs
than concern ourselves with worldly politics
and government," a statement that reflects a
53


7
popular perception of communitarians' attitudes.
About one-third agree with the statement and
slightly less than one-fifth are neutral. However,
unsolicited editorial comments written by some
respondents on the questionnaire indicate that
this measure was subject to idiosyncratic
interpretations. One respondent interpreted "our
own affairs" as a member of a polis rather than
as an individual, arguing that people "should
strengthen regionally first." Another interpreted
the word "worldly" as meaning global affairs,
in agreeing with the statement, and arguing against
what was perceived as the negative impact of
U.S. intervention in other nation-states. Another
respondent agreed with the statement, noting
that "only people who actually understand issues
are useful. Most people don't." Another who agreed
with the statement, qualified the response, noting
that "It's a matter of balance." Fewer respondents
from the control group disagreed with the statement,
with 40 percent disagreeing, 40 percent neutral
See Cummings and Bishop (in press), for
a more detailed discussion of common stereotypes
about communitarians and intentional communities.
54


and 20 percent agreeing.
Only 19 percent of the communitarians accepted
the statement "it is probably wiser to do our
own thing than try to save the world." Nearly
half47 percentreject the statement, and 34
percent are neutral, representing a more
pro-activist stance than the sample of
non-communitarians. Among non-communitarians,
the majority (52 percent) are neutral, while
22 percent agree and 26 percent disagree.
Mainstream Politics and Direct Action.
While these communitarians clearly demonstrate
positive attitudes towards concern about critical
social issues and political involvement, their
attitudes towards conventional, mainstream politics
are more ambiguous. These results are perhaps
not surprising, given the respondents'
left-of-center political orientation and radical
Green values. They express skepticism about the
two-party system. Among the 31 percent who described
themselves as Democrats (the largest group of
communitarian respondents affiliated with any
party), many qualified their responses. Their
55


comments included "Democrat (minimally)," "radical
disenchanted Democrat," and "Democrat Several
identified themselves as "Democrat/Green." In
response to the statement "politically, I hope
that Green parties are the wave of the future,"
70 percent agree, indicating the desire for a
wider spectrum of political choice. Half of the
control group expressed a desire for Green parties.
Among communitarians, 71 percent agree with the
statement "Republicans and Democrats are birds
of a feather." Among the control group, 59 percent
agree. Responses to the statement "it is important
that Americans have two major political parties
to choose from" are mixed, with two-thirds
disagreeing or neutral (42 percent disagree,
25 percent are neutral, and 33 percent agree).
The results for the control group are similarly
mixed (36 percent disagree, 23 percent are neutral,
and 41 percent agree). The results for these
items are consistent with arguments that Greens
and their sympathizers have not yet found a home
within the conventional U.S. political structure.
However, in spite of discontent with the
mainstream political choices, 77 percent of the
56


communitarians indicated that they "usually vote
in Federal, state, and local elections," as compared
to 86 percent of the control group. Presumably,
voting is more difficult logistically for at
least those communitarians who live in relatively
isolated areas.
Milbrath1s 1980 and 1982 surveys showed
that Green-oriented citizens were likely to engage
in direct action or interest-group politics because
they do not feel adequately served by the two
major parties. Our questionnaire included several
measures of attitudes towards civil disobedience
and found overwhelming support among communitarians
(and a high percentage of the control group as
well). These results may reflect both the lack
of outlets for communitarians' radical Green
values within traditional ideologies and political
systems, and the general communitarian stress
on the value of tolerance and expression of diverse
viewpoints.
The measures of attitudes towards civil
disobedience included: "breaking the law in the
pursuit of a higher justice is a legitimate form
of activism," supported by 80 percent, rejected
57


by only seven percent(this item was also supported
by almost three-fourths of the control group);
"sometimes laws need to be broken," accepted
by 84 percent of the communitarians and the control
group; and "it is important to obey all our
country's laws," rejected by 68 percent of the
communitarians, and accepted by 16 percent (Here,
the control group was more than twice as likely
to support the statement, with 39 percent agreeing,
30 percent neutral and 30 percent disagreeing).
Sixty-four percent of the communitarians rejected
the statement "when citizens take the law into
their own hands, democracy is doomed," while
16 percent were neutral and 20 percent disagreed.
Results were comparable for the control group.
Two separate measures addressed attitudes
towards pacifism and armed resistance to oppression.
The statement "armed resistance to oppression
is sometimes necessary," drew 52 percent support
among communitarians, with 24 percent neutral,
and 24 percent disagreeing (as compared to 90
percent agreement from the control group). Sixty-six
percent of the communitarians reject the statement
"using force, even in self-defense, is unjustified,"
58


while 31 percent agree and 10 percent are neutral.
Among the control group, 85 percent reject the
statement. Green parties advocate non-violence,
and these communitarians are significantly less
likely to support the use of arms than are the
control group respondents.
Communitarianism as Activism
In some ways, many communitarians also
view living in community itself as a political
act, and as reflecting their concern about problems
in the larger society. When asked "What.do.you
think the future holds in store for communitarian
living generally?" many responded that intentional
communities can aid in social transformation
by offering an alternative model of life, including
sustainable, ecological living as an antidote
to consumer-oriented materialism. Many also believe
that intentional communities will be a place
of refuge in the event of economic collapse or
ecological crisis in the larger society.
59


CHAPTER 6
GREEN TRANSFORMATIONAL POLITICS
Some scholars note that while there is
increasing sympathy among the public for many
Green values, support for the Green vision of
political and social transformation is weaker,
perhaps indicating an unstable time of transition
between two competing social paradigms. Finger
and Hug (1992) note that a majority of people
are now clearly concerned about the environment,
with major differences in opinion found in their
preferred solutions to ecological crisis.
In the present study, both communitarians
and the control group express concern about
ecological and other social issues relevant to
Green politics, but communitarians are more likely
to support one or more features of Green
transformation, such as egalitarianism,
transformation of industrial-patriarchal values,
and fundamental change in social and political
institutions. However, some divergence is found
in preferred solutions, indicating a lack of
consensus about the precise features of a future
60


Green society.
Ecological Solutions
In a closed-ended question, respondents
were asked to indicate "What three or more steps
would best address the environmental problems
facing the world today?" (see appendix,
questionnaire section IV, question 8). The question
is designed to measure the preference for deep
systemic change, of the nature proposed by the
Greens, versus solutions involving specific reforms
within the present system, and other possible
solutions to ecological problems. Items representing
the Green transformational position include
"fundamentally change existing social and political
institutions," "reduce social and economic
inequalities," "transform industrial and patriarchal
values," and "decentralize government." The choices
reflecting specific reforms within the present
system were "change specific laws," "change specific
leaders," and "manage resources better." Two
items could be arguably included in the agenda
of some Greens and some mainstream
environmentalists: "increase personal awareness


and responsibility," and "increase governmental
regulation." There were two measures of the role
of technology in addressing environmental problems:
"use more appropriate technology" and "reduce
or eliminate technology." The remaining choices
were "none of the above is likely to help much,"
and "other."
An overwhelming number of the communitarians
would support one or more of the core
transformational views of the Greens. Eighty-six
percent would support one or more of the following:
fundamental socio-political change, reducing
socio-economic inequality, and transforming
industrial and patriarchal values. However, the
communitarians were about three times as likely
as the control group to stress value change,
or a combination of value change and institutional
change, over institutional change alone.
Strong majorities, representing around 80
percent of both the communitarians and the control
group believe that increased personal awareness
and responsibility" is a key to solving
environmental problems. This response runs counter
to the perception of communitarians as escapists.
62


Communitarian respondents are clearly more likely
than our non-communitarians to favor the kind
of social and political change advocated by the
Greens. In an item-by-item comparison, slightly
more than half of the communitarians cited
"fundamentally change existing social and political
institutions" (52 percent versus 38 percent of
the control group); "reduce social and economic
inequalities" (52 percent versus 13 percent of
the control group) and "transform industrial
and patriarchal values" (46 percent versus 13
percent of the control group). The control group
was more likely than the communitarians to favor
mainstream over alternative approaches. Almost
two-thirds of the control group chose "manage
resources better" (an idea often associated with
traditional conservation-oriented environmentalism),
as compared to 20 percent of the communitarians.
Faith in changing leaders, laws, and increased
governmental regulation as environmental solutions
is low among both groups. Only five percent of
the communitarians and eight percent of the control
group chose "change specific leaders." Thirty-eight
percent of the control group chose "change specific
63


laws as compared to 12 percent of the
communitarians. Twenty-one percent of the control
group chose "increase governmental regulation"
as compared to five percent of the communitarians.
Neither group indicates despair in the face
of concern about environmental crisis. Only four
precent of the communitarians (and none of the
control group) chose "none of the above is likely
to help very much."
While there are major differences and some
similarities between communitarians and the control
group, there also exist differences between
communitarians and some aspects of the Green
transformational agenda. Decentralizing government,
a key (although controversial and not yet fully
defined) aspect of Green politics, was cited
by slightly more than a third of the communitarians
(and only four percent of the control group).
Finger and Hug (1992) argue that the principal
divisions among Greens are between more and less
science and technology, and pursuing and stopping
economic growth. As previously noted, these
communitarian respondents favor environmental
protection over economic growth. In terms of
64


technology, roughly equal groups of communitarians
(43 percent) and the control group (46 percent)
cited "more appropriate technology"
as an important component of solving the
environmental crisis. Only 10 percent of the
communitarians (and 4 percent of the control
group) would "reduce or eliminate technology."
These results do not support the view that those
who hold Green values are anti-technology.
Ninety-three percent of the communitarians
responding to the "Key Issues" section reject
the statement that "the development of science
and technology is incompatible with preserving
the environment," as compared to 73 percent of
the control group. Seventy-nine percent of the
communitarians endorse the view that "The future
depends on our use of appropriate technology,"
as compared to 67 percent of the control group.
Eighty-three percent of the communitarians reject
the statement "appropriate technology is a
contradiction in terms," as compared to 45 percent
of the control group. The statement, "modern
technology has increased our freedom and
independence" drew a more divided response with
65


52 percent in agreement and 48 percent disagreeing
or neutral. The control group was even more divided
with 30 percent in agreement, 35 percent neutral,
and 35 percent in disagreement. This result probably
reflects the view that modern technology has
carried both benefits and costs.
Other Measures
The discussion will now turn to other measures
of support for possible social transformation
as addressed in the "Key Issues of Our Time"
section of the questionnaire (see appendix,
questionnaire section V).
Decentralization. More than two-thirds of
the communitarians supported two measures of
decentralization. Seventy-seven percent of the
communitarians accepted the statement "small
is beautiful," based on the writing of E.F.
Schumacher (1973), an acknowledged inspiration
to the Green movement. The statement was accepted
by only 33 percent of the control group. Eighty-one
percent of the communitarians (and 52 percent
of the control group) rejected the statement
that "because of greater efficiency and economies
66


of scale, bigness is inevitable in both government
and business."
Direct democracy. There was clear support
among communitarians for direct democracy, as
well as some skepticism about indirect or
representative democracy. Eighty-five percent
believe that "society's problems need to be solved
at the grass roots," as compared to 69 percent
support from the control group. Sixty percent
agree that "indirect, or representative democracy
is really not very democratic and undermines
the common good," while 29 percent disagreed
and 11 percent were neutral. Among the control
group, 45 percent agreed, 32 percent were neutral,
and 23 percent disagreed. Fifty-four percent
of the communitarians (and 48 percent of the
control group) reject the view that "the best
way to get good public policy is to elect the
most qualified candidates." These results are
consistent with the skepticism towards traditional
politics evidenced by many communitarian respondents
and the control group. Results among the
communitarians for the statement that "lawmaking
by electronic direct vote of the people runs
67


the danger of mob rule and should be avoided"
are less clear: 29 percent support the statement,
38 percent are neutral, and 32 percent are in
disagreement. Support for electronic democracy
was higher among the control group, with 59 percent
disagreeing that such voting practices would
result in mob rule.
Perceptions of the United States. Ninety-two
percent of the communitarians (and 77 percent
of the control group) believe that "the U.S.
is run by small groups of powerful elites despite
democratic elections." Sixty-one percent of the
communitarians believe that "the major U.S.
institutions are ineffective or corrupt," while
26 percent are neutral, and only 13 percent
disagree. Forty percent of the control group
accepted the statement. Both these statements
are compatible with the Green world view. These
communitarians are reluctant to hold citizens
accountable for perceived problems with officials,
elites, and institutions. Half disagree with
the popular truism that "Americans who complain
about the government should ultimately realize
they are the government and get what they ask
68


for," while 35 percent agree and 17 percent are
neutral. In contrast, almost half of the control
group (48 percent) supported the statement. Despite
noting problems, 76 percent of the communitarians
also agree with the statement that "all in all,
the U.S.A. is a pretty good place to live," as
compared to a 90 percent endorsement from the
control group. In terms of the communitarian
response, it should be noted that agreement with
the latter might relate to comparisons between
the United States, with its perceived liabilities,
and other, less developed parts of the world.
Intentional Communities and Transformation
The discussion will now address the responses
of CCs and PCs to two open-ended questions dealing
with social transformation. In the first question,
respondents were asked "How applicable are your
community's practices to the larger society or
outside world?" The answers were about evenly
split (in the 40th percentile) between those
with a generally positive tone and those with
neutral or qualified answers. Negative answers
numbered about 16 percent of those who responded.
In general, responses ranged from the belief

69


that communal practices could be applied to the
larger society, to the belief that some practices,
such as ecological responsibility and cooperative
ownership, would be applicable while other radical
practices such as income sharing and voluntary
simplicity would not. Others cited "problems
of scale," adding that some communal practices
might be applied in neighborhoods, the workplace,
or perhaps cities, but would not be suitable
for larger social and political settings. "Lifestyle
yes, governance no," wrote one respondent. These
responses suggest that there is not a consensus
that the particular institutional practices of
intentional communities are necessarily applicable
to the larger society.
In the second question, respondents were
asked, "In general, what do you think is wrong
with U.S. society, and how can intentional
communities help to correct these problems?"
Here, the CCs and PCs were very concerned with
interpersonal issues such as isolation, alienation,
and the negative impact of competitive economics
and lack of community on the human spirit as
well as on ecosystems. Some saw an explic.t link
70


between the issues, as isolated and unhappy people
are believed to be more likely to engage in
excessive consumer buying, which has a negative
impact on the environment by encouraging overuse
of limited resources. People want to acquire
"things they don't need," wrote one respondent.
Many CCs and PCs again stressed interpersonal
answers when addressing the role of intentional
communities in correcting social and ecological
problems. It was believed that intentional
communities could model or teach alternative
values, including cooperation, sharing,
communication, self-love, human connection and
friendship. The responses also related this
interpersonal element to the political. Many
communitarians argued that living in intentional
communities empowered people, providing strength
and support for political action.
In the open-ended questions, the respondents'
stress on the importance of interpersonal
relationships and cooperation over competition
is consistent with results from other sections
of the questionnaire that dealt with the
communitarians' reasons for joining an intentional
71


community as well as their perceptions of their
own intentional community and intentional
communities generally.
The main reasons given for living in
communityin order of prominenceare (1)
preference for cooperation over competition,
(2) search for a fuller life, (3) dislike of
mainstream lifestyle, (4) personal idealism,
(5) attraction to an alternative family life,
(6) desire for new opportunities and challenges,
and (7) ecological or dietary considerations.
When asked about the three best features of living
in community, a strong majority, 84 percent,
talked about the rewards of close interpersonal
relationships, sense of belonging, and the "extended
family feeling" in community. Another 34 percent
noted the value of cooperation.
While there was an overwhelming preference
for the use of consensus in governance, the
questionnaire also showed a decidedly mixed
institutional pattern both economically and
politically. Few respondents described their
communities as wholly private, or wholly communal.
Most CCs and PCs describe a mixture of private.
72


cooperative and communal ownership within a
community. Contemporary intentional communities
are distinguished less by their insistence on
any particular institutional patterns and more
by widely shared values such as cooperation,
communication, and close personal ties (the
overwhelming support for consensus can be seen
as supportive of these values). More and more
communities seem willing to experiment flexibly
with whatever political and economic structures
will best nurture these values (Cummings and
Bishop unpublished manuscript).
These responses to the open-ended questions
about problems in the larger society and the
role of intentional communities suggest that
communitarians perceive a link between alienation
and isolation in the larger society and widespread
social and ecological problems. In turn, they
clearly see their widely shared values such as
cooperation and close personal ties as an antidote
to those large-scale social problems. But the
open-ended questions also showed no clear consensus
that the institutional practices of intentional
communities were necessarily applicable to the
73


larger society. These responses are consistent
with the finding that communitarians are willing
to be flexible with their own communities' economic
and political structures to nurture cooperation
and interpersonal relationships. This view is
also comparable with the tendency of the
communitarian respondents to favor ecological
solutions and Green transformation based on value
change, or a combination of value change and
institutional change, over institutional change
alone.
The communitarian endorsement of interpersonal
relationships and cooperation may also explain
part of the disparity between the approximate
one-third of the communitarians who supported
decentralizing government as a solution to
ecological crisis and the more than two-thirds
who supported the more general measures of
decentralization in the "Key Issues" section.
Decentralizing government may be seen as primarily
an institutional solution, while supporting the
aphorism "small is beautiful" and rejecting "bigness
as inevitable in both government and business"
are both very consistent with the values of
74


interpersonal relationships and cooperation.
It should be noted that stemming alienation
and rebuilding community are also a part of the
program advocated by D.S. Green parties. However,
these communitarians, through starting and
maintaining their own counter-cultural
micro-societies, have demonstrated their belief
that cooperation and interpersonal ties are key
to an ecologically sound and humane society.
The analysis will now turn to a closed-ended
question designed to measure communitarians'
goals for living in an intentional community(see
appendix, questionaire section III, question
26). Ranter (1972) has argued that communal
''success is determined by the length of time
an intentional community exists (believing that
"success" required community longevity of 25
years or more). In the questionnaire, her view
was represented by c) a permanent condition
essential to the achievement of members' goals.
Pitzer (1989) has challenged this view, noting
that communal living can serve as an alternative
option, or as an important phase in a developmental
process associated with a social or spiritual
75


movement. His view was represented by a) an
important phase in a larger developmental process,
and b) one of many appropriate options, depending
on the circumstances. Only 37 percent chose (c),
indicative of Ranter's thesis, while 53 percent
chose (a) or (b), which are closer to Pitzer's
conception. These results are again consistent
with the flexible approach to communal life taken
by these respondents, in terms of doing whatever
best supports their key values such as cooperation
and interpersonal relationships. The strong overlap
between these communitarians, and a social movement,
the Green phenomenon, is also supportive of Pitzer's
argument.
a
76


CHAPTER 7
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
The discussion will first address the findings
of the present study as related to the hypotheses,
then address the implications of the findings
for the Green phenomenon and its relationship
to intentional communities and communitarians,
and conclude with suggestions for future research.
The results support H^, which stated that
Green practices and values are associated with
membership in intentional communities. High numbers
of these communitarians engage in radical ecological
practices within their communities, and many
respondents report that their communities are
involved in environmental political action or
community outreach and education about ecological
issues. The high acceptance of consensus among
communitarians is also consistent with Greens'
general philosophy and practice.
Communitarian respondents, and the control
group as well, share many concerns and values
associated with Green politics. Both groups are
highly concerned about ecology and the environment.
77


When asked to define the proper relationship
between humans and the earth, the communitarians
were more likely than the control group to mention
interdependence and a symbiotic or spiritually
based partnership with the natural world that
is also characteristic of many radical Greens.
In addition, many communitarians expressed their
preference for a diverse, holistic spirituality
over organized religion. The preference for
non-organized spiritual practices is comparable
to abranch of the Green movement that some have
dubbed "eco-spiritualism." The control group
was more likely to express a preference for
organized religion. The communitarians held another
central Green beliefthat ecology should be
considered before economic growth. The control
group expressed a similar, but less intense position
for ecology over economic growth. Both groups
also expressed concern about a number of social
issues identified as Green concerns, including
racism, sexism, intolerance, poverty, alienation
and loss of community, and issues of war and
peace. Communitarians, however, were more likely
to be concerned about excess consumer materialism.
78


These findings support Communitarians'
concern about ecology is related to concern about
such social issues as poverty and racism. These
communitarians show a high level of concern about
issues such as poverty and racism, as well as
the environment. Among communitarians and the
control group who reported high concern about
ecology, 79 percent also noted high concern about
racism, or racism and poverty combined. Fifteen
percent of the communitarians and 16 percent
of the control group reporting high ecological
concern, indicated moderate concern about at
least one or both of these social issues. Only
six percent of the communitarians and five percent
of the control group noted low concern about
racism, or racism and poverty while also noting
high concern about ecology.
In noting the biggest causes of social problems
in the United States, communitarians cited issues
such as advertising and consumerism, big business
and loss of spirituality, which are emphasized
within the Green movement as a whole. The control
group shared this concern about the loss of
spirituality, but was more concerned by government
79 -


and the media than by big business and advertising
and consumerism.
The results call into question which
stated that membership in an intentional community
is associated with political isolationism. I
would add a note of caution about these findings.
The questionnaire measures attitudes about political
and social participation by communitarians and
others, and does not measure actual political
behavior. None the less, the findings do strongly
suggest that the popular perception of
communitarians as favoring lifestyle changes
at the expense of activism should be reevaluated.
Virtually all the communitarian respondents to
the "Key Issues" section expressed the belief
that citizens should actively address critical
social issues, and at least three-quarters of
those noted that political involvement is important
to them. Generally, our communitarians report
favoring political and social activism almost
as much, or about the same, as our non-communitarian
control group. About three-quarters of the
communitarians report voting in state, local
and federal elections, although given the
80


respondents' left-of-center political orientation
and radical Green values, there was skepticism
about the two-party system and traditional politics.
The control group also expressed some ambivalence
about the two-party system.
Seventy percent of the communitarians and
half of the control group said they hoped Green
parties were the wave of the future, indicating
the desire for a wider spectrum of political
choice. The communitarians also expressed support
and tolerance for direct political action, including
civil disobedience, as did the control group.
The communitarians and the control group
were also not strictly pacifist. Only about 12
percent of the control group could be classified
as pacifist, as opposed to 31 percent of the
communitarians. Among the communitarians there
was a bare majority that supported armed resistance
to oppression, as opposed to an overwhelming
majority of support from the control group. Many
communitarians also view living in community
itself as a political act and as a critique of
problems in the larger society. Many communitarians
also believe that intentional communities can
81


model an alternative ecological and cooperative
way of life or provide sanctuary in the event
of ecological or economic breakdown in the larger
society.
The findings support which stated that
communitarians' Green beliefs and values will
be associated with support for Green-oriented
social and political change in the larger society.
Political-institutional transformation associated
with Milbrath's conception of the New Environmental
Paradigm, and the Green movement, including
fundamental political-social change, egalitarianism
and. transforming patriarchal-industrial values,
drew 86 percent of the.communitarians, who supported
at least one or more of these core Green ideas.
Communitarians were much more likely than the
control group to support Green transformation.
The control group focused on more traditional
solutions such as resource management. A strong
majority of both communitarians and the control
group endorsed "increased personal awareness
and responsibility" as a key to solving
environmental problems. Few people in either
group indicated a lack of hope about solving
82


ecological problems. There is strong support
for environmentally appropriate technology among
both groups and more than 90 percent of the
communitarians believe that environmental protection
and the development of science and technology
are compatible. In fact, the communitarians were
more positive overall in their attitudes about
technology than the non-communitarian control
group. While only about one third of the
communitarians (and four percent of the control
group) supported the Green prescription of
decentralizing government as a solution to
ecological crisis, more than two-thirds of the
communitarians supported two general, philosophical
measures of decentralization. These two measures
were supported respectively by one third and
one half of the control group.
Among both groups, there was strong support
for direct over representative democracy and
the belief that the U.S. is dominated by elites
and corrupt institutions. Open-ended questions
addressed social problems in the larger society
and the role of intentional communities in solving
those problems. CCs and PCs cited alienation
83


and isolation and competitive economics as the
principal social problems that were linked to
ecological crisisas well as a crisis of the human
spirit. The communal values of cooperation and
interpersonal relationships were seen as a solution
to those problems. However, there was no consensus
among CCs and PCs about the applicability of
particular communal institutional practices in
the larger society. CCs and PCs were more likely
to see communal living as part of a larger
developmental process related to a social or
spiritual movement, or as one of a number of
appropriate options, than as a permanent condition
essential to their goals. These preferences are
consistent with Pitzer1s (1989) theory of
developmental communalism, which argues, in part,
that communal living is an important phase in
a larger.process that has its origins in a social
or spiritual movement. The view that communal
living is permanent relates to Kanter's (1972)
view that communes are "successful" if they last
for more 25 years, and not successful if they
do not. The relationship between intentional
communities and the Green phenomenon, seems
84


generally compatible with Pitzer's theory.
Intentional Communities and the Green Phenomenon
The literature about the U.S. environmental
movement is remiss because of the relative lack
of attention given to intentional communities
and communitarians.
It has been 10 years since Cummings (1987)
argued for an alliance between communitarians
and radical Greens based on their common concern
for ecology, egalitarianism and direct democracy.
Those common values are reflected in the results
of the present study which suggests that Cummings'
thesis is materializing.
The alliances between communitarians and
Greens, and between people of color and Greens
fighting environmental racism, are opening new
doors among the diverse groups represented in
the Green phenomenon. I do not suggest that
controversy is absent, but these convergences
may indicate that Greens are now less restricted
by the fragmentation noted by many scholars.
Many current ecological programs sponsored
by intentional communities, and events within
85


the intentional communities movement as a whole,
support the present study's findings. There is
a synergistic relationship between communitarians
and Greens. Conscious linkages between
communitarians and Greens are taking place such
as the Emmissary communities1 Stewardship Farms
Network which addresses organic farming; Emissary
communities have worked with environmental groups
and have sponsored global media conferences related
to ecological issues. The Farms' pioneering outreach
programs have embraced environmental and social
issues.
The Fellowship for Intentional Communities,
which represents communitarian members from across
North America and overseas, includes
environmentalism as an important part of its
emphasis. The Fellowship for Intentional Community
sponsored the first international Celebration
of Community in 1993, and many of the celebration
events symbolize the current convergence between
communitarians and Greens. During the Celebration,
Noel Brown, director of the United Nations
Environmental Programme for North America, delivered
an address about the 1992 United Nations Rio
86


"Earth Summit" in Brazil. Kirkpatrick Sale, author,
bio-religionalist, and co-founder of the New
York Greens, spoke about "Bio-regionalism, community
and the Future of Our Planet." Debra Lynn
Dadd-Redalia, author and expert on non-toxic
and ecologically responsible products, delivered
an address about "Sustainability and Sustenance."
There were several workshops about the
Eco-Village movement, an effort to model
small-scale, ecologically sustainable communities.
Eco-Villages represented included Findhorn in
Scotland, Sirius in Massachusetts, and Ecoville
in Russia. Other workshops addressed the development
of an eco-village in an urban setting; alternative
energy; sustainable building techniques;
bio-regionalism; Deep Ecology; organic farming;
forest restoration; the role of "appropriate
technology" such as solar ovens in the Third
World; and links between community building and
political change, locally, nationally, and globally.
In light of the important role that intentional
communities play in living out sustainable
ecological practices, I would argue that Ranter's
(1972) 25-year longevity formula for determining
87


the "success" or "failure" of a community seems
arbitrary. As is evidenced by these linkages,
intentional communities are actively involved
in addressing critical issues of our time. If
some number of these communities were to last
less than 25 years, their contribution to ecological
issues would be no less. In addition, as McLaughlin
and Davidson (1985) have argued, communitarians
are "pioneers" exploring alternatives for the
future so the larger society has much to learn
from their "failures" as well as their "successes."
The relationship between Greens and communitarians
is compatible with Pitzer1s (1989) theory of
"developmental communalism," which challenges
Kanter's thesis. This relationship is part of
a larger developmental process rooted in a Green
social-spiritual movement.
The present study's results suggest that,
in addition to communitarians, many of the
non-communitarian control group share radical
Green concerns. This finding is generally comparable
to the concern shown for ecology by U.S. citizens.
In addition, half of the non-communitarian control
group hope Green parties represent the political
88


future. Greens have the opportunity to appeal
to significant numbers of citizens with
environmental sympathies, but have been limited
by internal constraints, such as infighting,
and external constraints, such as an inhospitable
electoral system and culture. Green activist
and author Charlene Spretnak (1991) echoes a
paradox noted by many scholars: high citizen
concern about the environment is contrasted with
a lack of widespread citizen activism. In an
argument consistent with the communitarian
viewpoint, she notes that many people feel
disempowered because they are "atomized," with
a lack of connection to their community, the
earth, and future generations (p. 225). If she
is correct, communitarians and the experience
of intentional communities, with their emphasis
on values such interpersonal relationships,
community, and cooperation, may also bring a
unique and important perspective to the issues
that Greens will need to address in order to
mobilize latent citizen support.
89


Suggestions for Future Research
Additional analysis of the present data
can further compare and contrast respondents
who hold Green transformational views and those
who do not. This further analysis will probe
psychological variables such and open and
closed-mindedness as predictors of attitudes
towards political change. Follow-up interviews
with some respondents could focus on specific
forms of Green social and political transformation
as related to values that this study suggests
are important to communitarians. Other studies
could address the political behavior of
communitarians. Case studies could investigate
specific linkages between intentional communities
and Greens.
In addition, a separate analysis of the
present data can focus on the control group for
comparison with previous studies on the
environmental views of college students.
90


APPENDIX
CELEBRATION-OF-COMMUNITY QUESTIONNAIRE
The purpose of this questionnaire is to help us understand the values, attitudes, backgrounds, personalities, and
visions of people who live in, have lived in, or would like to live in intentional communities. PLEASE
RESPOND EVEN IF YOU DO NOT CURRENTLY LIVE IN AN INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY. We
believe that communities can learn from one another and that the larger society can benefit from the experience
of intentional communities. The information we get from this survey will be shared among interested
communities, the Fellowship for Intentional Community, and the Communal Studies Association. We value your
participation highly. Your answers will not be attributable to you personally unless you choose to identify
yourself on the questionnaire. IN LIEU OF YOUR NAME, PLEASE WRITE THE LAST FOUR DIGITS OF
YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER OF THIS PAGE IN CASE YOU
WANT TO ADD ANYTHING LATER
Introductory Questions:
What do you like most about the "International Celebration of Community" that you are attending? Is there
anything that you don't like?
L BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF
1. Religion: 9. Political party affiliation:
2. Sex: 10. Other affiliations:
3. Age:
4. Race: 11. Hobbies, interests:
5. Annual income:
6.. Occupation: 12. Other (please specify):
7. Marital status:
8. Ages of any children:
EL YOUR EXPERIENCE IN INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES
1. Do you currently live in an intentional community? Y N
If so, please specify for how long.
2. Have you previously lived in one or more intentional communities? Y N
If so, how many? ___ Please identify them and indicate the specific years you lived in each.
3. Are you considering joining an intentional community? Y N
If so, which one(s), or what kind of community?
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NOTE: EVEN IF YOU DID NOT ANSWER 'YES TO ANY ONE OF II. 1, 2, OR 3 (ABOVE), YOU MAY
STILL ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS (BELOW) THAT PERTAIN TO YOU.
4. What are or were your main reasons for joining an intentional community? (You may circle as many as you
want to):
(a) attraction to an alternative family life GO racial considerations
GO dislike of mainstream life style (o) gender considerations
(c) personal idealism GO ecological or dietary considerations
GO loneliness (q) desire to escape the city
00 preference for cooperation over (0 desire to be with friends or relatives
competition GO a whim or lark
(0 alienation G) sense of desperation
(g) desire for new opportunities or challenges GO desire for greater security
GO personal crisis M new opportunities or challenges
G) religion or spirituality (w) boredom
G) economic practices GO search for a fuller life
GO system of governance (y) personal sociability
G) inspiring leader (z) others (please specify)
(m) sexual practices
5. Of the reasons you have indicated, which one was the most important, which was second most important,
and which was third most important?
First______________ Second________________________________ Third_______________________________
6. If you have left one or more intentional communities, what were your main reasons for leaving? (You may
select as many as are applicable.)
(a) personal conflicts with members GO health needs
GO change in an intimate relationship G) boredom
(c) change in yourself G) search for new adventures
GO disappointment with the community 00 needs of children
(please specify): G) desire for greater security
(m) search for a less limiting situation
(e) economic need (n) other (please specify)
(0 one or more relationships with non-
members
(g) educational opportunity elsewhere
Of these reasons, which one was the most important, which was second most important, and which
third most important?
First Second Third
In general, how positive or negative has your communitarian experience been? (circle one)
(a) very positive (d) more negative than positive
(b) more positive than negative (e) very negative
00 evenly mixed
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9. What are the three best features of living in an intentional community?
Best feature
Second best
Third best
10. What are the three worst features?
Worst feature
Second worst
Third worst
11. What three personal qualities are most valuable for living in an intentional community?
Most valuable .
Second most
Third most
12. What three personal qualities are most harmful for living in an intentional community?
Most harmful
Second most
Third most
13. What three conditions (for instance, favorable climate, optimal size, value consensus) are most helpful for
communitarian living?
Most helpful
Second most
Third most
14. What three conditions are most harmful for communitarian living?
Most harmful
Second most
Third most
15. What do you think the future holds in store for communitarian living generally?
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