Essential Characteristics of the Community

Vegan Eco-village Canada

We value participation and cooperation. We value caring, serving, thoughtfulness, and living by love. We value peace and peacemaking. Sanctuary is way of life that respects and honours all through the practice of non-violence.

We value social change activism, those who uplift and empower, those who use hope and optimism to undo the systems of oppression, those who understand progressive equality, and those who try to live a life of empathy, care, courage, and authenticity.

We value those who are loving and radical. Our efforts are not limited to Animal Liberation, but also embrace Earth Liberation, community empowerment and all forms of resilience. We value those who give breath to their dreams, and who give dreams to their breath. We value those who freely give more than they expect to receive in return.

In respecting the sanctuary residents, we value those who add positive energy to the circle of compassion.  We value those who enable, empower, and inspire with cheerful grace. We value consciousness-raising and those who feel the moral obligation to contribute to the happiness of others. We value those who are charitable with their love.

As a self-sufficient sanctuary, we value sustainability. We value artistic aesthetics to create a beautiful world for the sanctuary residents. We value those who add to the spirit of revolution.

These ideas can be represented by:

Empowerment – We believe in a commitment to the empowerment of community members, empowerment of the community as a whole and empowerment of those for whom the community is in service. We believe in collaboration and co-empowered leadership. We believe in means of influence that share power with others rather than using power over others. We believe in non-hierarchal structures. Obviously, we believe that the community will extent this commitment of empowerment to the animal-persons as well.

Communication – Community is communication. We believe in compassionate communication: honest expressions of views, needs, and feelings, while owning one’s own and respecting other’s. We value listening and those who contribute to quietness (concise, meaningful & direct communication). We believe in active reflective listening to one another to increase our ability to live with choice, meaning, and connection — to connect empathically with self and others to have more supportive relationships. We value strong interpersonal relationships. Even in disagreement we believe in being uplifting in emotion and giving of energy.

Community Growth / Change – We believe in the creation of environments which encourage exploration, curiosity, and creativity. If the community is so organized that it lacks room for change or the stimulus of uncertainty then blandness is the inevitable result. We believe in growth and change in the collective processes and activities, based on collective reflection and evaluation — always moving closer to efforts of true Animal Liberation.

Individual Growth / Dialogue – Healthy relationships and communication are the cornerstone of any effective movement that works on transformations. Without a basic level of trust, openness and respect among individuals, the movement becomes fragmented and divided. We believe that when trust, openness and respect are nurtured, the community is more effective, more resilient and happier. So a cornerstone of our vision is that all those living in the community will participate in some form of ongoing personal development that will help everyone to better engage in dialogue and help the community better realize our goals. A continual blending of action and reflection where they each inform the other. This commitment to self influences commitment to community.

Community Organizing – If we want to be actively involved in pushing society towards a revolutionary consciousness we need to move outside our usual circles. We believe in being engaged in the world beyond the immediate community. As a small community living on the same land, we can be well practiced in our methods to better engage the broader community.

Positive Space – We have learned that no revolutionary project can be complete or successful without love. To foster that love, we maintain a positive space. To act to end the suffering of this pre-animal-liberation world is often a disheartening situation to the ethical vegan, therefore sanctuary must be a positive space for all. A space where all work to allow others to have mystical experiences. This means to inspire and empower all to put their energies towards confronting all of the oppressions that stand in the way and not contributing to them. As a sanctuary, we aim to inspire the movement to remain positive and grounded. This positivity will in turn positively enhance the community ecology of sanctuary and make a more resilient positive space.

Liberation – We insist on liberation. As a sanctuary, we most obviously engage for Animal Liberation, but we recognize that all entanglements of oppression and liberation are related. We see a critical connection between the exploitation & degradation of the environment and the exploitation and oppression of individuals and their communities. The liberation and self-determination of animal-persons, humans, self and the environment is inseparable.

Unity – Animal Liberation is a movement of togetherness — so we aim to inspire towards unity. The unity of respecting each other and all. We do this by debunking or bridging the perceptions of division. We show this by living in such a way as to inspire the understanding that our selves are no different than any other species. Our selves are no different than any other selves.

Collective Impact / Effectiveness – As a small community we can be well practiced in effectiveness to better engage the broader community. We can polish the things which bring us together as a loving and learning community. It is crucial to resuscitate and nurture the togetherness that connects people in circles of care, cooperation, and compassion. Elevate and unite community. Working with others means increasing our collective impact — as well a understanding and amplifying each other’s approach to change. We have learned that no revolutionary project can be blooming without proper nourishment. And the best kind of nourishment is mutual.