We strive to fulfill the purpose of Twin Oaks as stated in our bylaws:
- to serve as one example of a cooperative social organization...
- to maintain natural resources through ecologically sound production and consumption...
- to be self-reliant by producing goods and services necessary for the community...
Our Relationship to Each Other - We strive to treat all people in a kind, gentle, honest, and fair manner, without violence or competition. We place a high value on resolving conflict. We work towards eliminating attitudes of sexism, racism, and ageism.
Economic Cooperation - By pooling and sharing resources we are able to reduce our expenses and the subsequent impact on the earth. We provide a basic net of physical and emotional security for our members. Our labor-credit system serves as an alternative economy within our community, with an hour of work (instead of a dollar) serving as the basic unit of value.
Food production - By growing and producing a large proportion of our own food we reduce our impact on the Earth (including the energy needed for transportation and refrigeration) and provide healthier food for ourselves. Using organic methods, we reduce the level of toxic materials released into the environment.
Building Methods and Materials - Each new building we build is more environmentally sound than earlier buildings, both by reducing energy requirements and making maximum use of renewable energy sources. We utilize passive solar heating, thermal mass, superinsulation, thermal curtains & shutters, maximum natural lighting, and other proven superefficiency techniques. We incorporate the use of cellulose (recycled) insulation, natural wood siding, and high performance windows.
Energy and Water Conservation - We utilize superinsulation, energy efficient appliances and heating devices, low-flow shower heads, compact fluorescent bulbs. We make a conscious effort to turn down and turn off lights and other appliances not in use. We strongly discourage the use of electric space heaters and do not heat our hot water with electricity.
Renewable Energy Resources - We are pursuing the development and use of renewable energy sources to meet our energy needs. Many of our buildings are designed for passive solar heating. We have solar heated hot water in most of our buildings and use some photovoltaic electricity. We heat our buildings with central woodheat, burning wood cut selectively and sustainably from our own land and wood scraps from our casual furniture manufacturing business.
Land Planning - We pursue the development of our land and resources with a whole systems approach. Site planning now in place includes clustering of dwellings. We cultivate gardens and orchards for our own food. We protect local endangered species, and strive to protect our land from any toxic chemicals.
Transportation - We share a fleet of around 15 automobiles among about 100 people, a significant reduction from the average number of cars owned per capita in the U.S. We keep our cars well tuned-up in our own auto shop in order to maximize fuel efficiency and prolong the life of our cars. We encourage car pooling. We assign one person at a time to do the shopping for the whole community, thus requiring only one vehicle for the task. By supporting ourselves through cottage industries, we have no need to use cars to commute to work. Similarly, we provide much of our own health care and recreation on the premises. We provide bicycles for public use.
Like other existing ecovillages, we're by no means ecologically perfect. There's still a long way to go and lots to be done. We didn't start out in 1967 with the idea of becoming an ecovillage. But as time goes by, we're placing more and more emphasis on our need to live harmoniously with the natural world as well as with one another. We welcome assistance from those with expertise in sustainable systems design, and anyone can help by joining the community and working with our Ecovillage Committee to improve our environmental practices.
Thanks to Sirius Community Ecovillage for guidance in producing this page.