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Enjoy Compost Toilets, 'Free Range' Children, and Lots of Sharing at the 'EcoVillage'

     Looking for a way to absolve yourself of environmental guilt and turn over a new leaf? Want to reduce your carbon footprint significantly? Well, Time magazine has found a place for you.


     Imagine a place where all the houses feature “passive solar design, with densely insulated walls and multipaned Fiberglas windows that save energy.” Your light bulbs would be squiggly compact fluorescents ones.


     You and 160 of your neighbors would eat several meals a week together, prepared by volunteer cooks. You would share laundry facilities, televisions, automobiles and a variety of other things. And if you’re lucky, your house would have a compost toilet to save water.


     Sound like paradise? The place is called the EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI), and it is located in upstate New York. But bring your checkbook, because wholesome green living comes at a price.


     “EVI's group-hug 1969 atmospherics do not come at a 1969 price. Ranging as high as $300,000, the houses aren't cheap, in part because of rising land prices in the Ithaca area,” Time's Brian Walsh wrote in the September 17 issue of the magazine. “Draped in vegetation and occasionally sporting solar panels, the homes are Norman Rockwell meets Al Gore.”


     Construction of the 175-acre “ecovillage” began in 1995 and the goal of the development, according to a paper written by Andy Kirby, a student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, was “to create a socially harmonious, economically viable and ecologically sustainable settlement that will demonstrate that human beings can live cooperatively with each other and with the natural environment.”


     In EVI, “parents allow their kids to go free range, trusting that other villagers will be there to look out for them,” the Time article said. Unlike M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Village,” however, these children are allowed out of the village and attend local public schools.


     In addition to higher-than-average home prices (the median home price in Ithaca is $228,300), membership dues are $100 and a “structured learning process” is required prior to moving to the EcoVillage.


     "Each villager is expected to contribute regular service to the community," the article said, and there's a waiting list to get in.


     Although green living has its costs, someone has to make up for global-warming alarmist Al Gore’s enormous carbon footprint created by his use of carbon-based fuels as he travels around the globe to tell everyone how to live eco-friendly.