Solidarity by sustainable living
“LIVE MORE SIMPLY, SO THAT OTHERS SIMPLY LIVE”
This is the basic idea underlying most decisions how things are done at Commune Niederkaufungen.
The wish for more ethical consumption habits finds its expression in sharing cars and other vehicles with each other, including bicycles and farming vehicles. Can you imagine: the entire group of 80 people gets along comfortably with only three washing machines.
There are various workshops with all kinds of tools that are shared. When new items are bought they prefer things of a sturdy quality, and people are taking good care of them so that they last long. They typically acquire second hand furniture and use recycled or environmentally friendly materials for building purposes.
Three meals are served every day at the large community and dining room. About 35% of the ingredients that are used come from the communes own organic farming, and they also use fair trade and organic products. To minimize packaging material they like to purchase in bulk.
The buildings are centrally heated by two wood burning stoves, and electricity is generated by solar panels on the roofs of the buildings. As the solar power plant produces more electricity than the commune needs, the excess electricity is an additional source of income.
The university of Kassel did a study in 2004 that showed that the average CO2 emission of commune members amounts to only 37% of that of the average German. Today it the percentage might be even higher through new technical achievements
See: http://glww.cesr.de/ in German
I find it quite inspiring what this group of people has developed through their cooperation. They are an example of what is possible with the right attitude.