We say that we live sustainably, but what does that actually mean?
If we don’t measure it and study it, how do we really know?
If I live like a Rabbit, would it actually be better for the Earth? What would my carbon footprint be?
At Dancing Rabbit, we don’t just want to throw around lofty terms for what we aspire to do or be- we want to actually embody our ideals, and be able to prove that we are embodying them. In showing and sharing, we aim to spread our “contagious hope & down-to-earth methods” so that other humans see how sustainable, cooperative living makes a difference.
One of our biggest village wide research efforts, known as the ‘Eco-Audit’, measured the resource use of our ecovillage members and compared them to the average American. The results were very exciting! Find the report from this research, conducted by Dr. Joshua Lockyer and K. Brooke Jones, below:
Research at Dancing Rabbit:Research on more cooperative, equitable, and sustainable ways of living on the earth is an important part of the vision and mission of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and its nonprofit organization, the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture. Research is how we discover whether we are actually doing what we set out to do! In addition to the inclusion of research in Dancing Rabbit’s mission statement, the articles of incorporation for the Center for Sustainable and Cooperative Culture indicate that the organization was formed in part for the purpose of creating a “full scale demonstration of a sustainable society as an educational and scientific forum on the social and technological issues involved in creating a truly ecologically and socially sustainable society.” To this end, Dancing Rabbit has hosted researchers from around the world resulting in a number of published research projects. Many of the following works are freely accessible through the embedded links:
- Lockyer, Joshua. 2017. “Community, Commons, and Degrowth at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.” Journal of Political Ecology 24: 519-542.
- Lockyer, Joshua. 2018. “Community, Commons, and Ecological Restoration at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.” Rootstalk: A Prairie Journal of Culture, Science, and the Arts | Volume V, Issue 1, Fall 2018
- A Whitney Sanford. 2017. Living Sustainably: What Intentional Communities Can Teach Us about Democracy, Simplicity, and Nonviolence. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.
- Boyer, Robert H.W. 2016. “Achieving one-planet living through transitions in social practice: a case study of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.” Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 12(1): 47-59.
- Schelly, Chelsea. 2017. Dwelling in Resistance: Living with Alternative Technologies in America. Rutgers University Press.
- Schelly, Chelsea. 2018. “Bringing the Body into Environmental Behavior: The Corporeal Element of Social Practice and Behavioral Change.” Human Ecology Review 24(1): 137-154.
- Schelly, Chelsea. 2016. “Everyday Household Practice in Alternative Residential Dwellings: The Non-Environmental Motivations for Environmental Behavior.” Pages 265-280 in The Greening of Everyday Life: Challenging Practices, Imagining Possibilities. Edited by John Meyer and Jens Kersten. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Schelly, Chelsea. 2016. “How Policy Frameworks Shape Environmental Practice: Three Cases of Alternative Dwelling.” Pages 185-203 in Putting Sustainability into Practice: Advances and Applications of Social Practice Theories, edited by Emily Huddart Kennedy, Maurie J. Cohen, and Naomi Krogman. Cheltanham, UK: Edward Elgar.
- Schelly, C. and Banerjee, A.* 2016. “Soft Energy Paths Revisited: Politics and Practice in Energy Technology Transitions.” Challenges 7, 16, doi:10.3390/challe7020016.
- Rubin, Zach. 2019. “Ecovillagers’ Assessment of Sustainability: Differing Perceptions of Technology as a Differing Account of Modernism.” Sustainability 11(21):6167.
- Rubin, Zach. 2020. “‘A Not-So-Silent Form of Activism’: Intentional Community as Collective Action Reservoir.” Humanity & Society (Forthcoming).
- Rubin, Zach. 2020. “‘Group Held Values’ as Legitimate Domination: A Critique of Weber’s Typology of Authority in an Intentional Community.” Max Weber Studies 20(2).
- Rubin, Zach, Don Willis, and Yana Ludwig. 2019. “Measuring Success in Intentional Communities: A Critical Evaluation of Commitment and Longevity Theories.” Sociological Spectrum 39(3):181–93.
- Rubin, Zach. 2021. “‘We Do This at Dancing Rabbit’: Recruitment and Collective Identity Processes in the Ecovillage.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 0891241621994651. doi: 10.1177/0891241621994651.
Want to help expand and deepen our research?
Dancing Rabbit is interested in cooperating with researchers from various disciplines. Potential research projects could include:
- Monitoring our efforts to restore prairie ecosystems including reforestation, soil microbiology, and species inventories
- Analyzing the impacts of our efforts at dense, mixed use urban development
- Analyzing the energy and life cycle impacts of our multiple experiments in natural and green building
- Examining the outcomes of our waste recycling programs and helping to design recycling systems to meet the needs of our expanding village
- Tracking the nature our growing internal economy including its impacts on surrounding communities
- Analyzing the outcomes of our systems of participatory governance and nonviolent conflict resolution
- Examining the long term impacts of our place based education programs beyond our borders
We consider ourselves a living laboratory for sustainability within which there are many other possible areas for research, design, and collaboration. Please get in touch with us by emailing dancingrabbitic.org if you are interested in proposing a research project. Please keep in mind some of our expectations of potential researchers including:
- Full conformation to standard expectations for informed consent
- Time for the community to review and negotiate the terms of research
- The ability of researchers to cover the overhead costs involved in hosting researchers
- Respect for and participation the norms and processes that are part of life at Dancing Rabbit
To help us work with potential researchers to ensure that future research projects at Dancing Rabbit are mutually beneficial to all parties, we have formed an advisory board composed of scholars who have previously conducted research at Dancing Rabbit. You are encouraged to contact the members of the advisory board if you are have questions about conducting research at Dancing Rabbit. Research advisory board members include:
- Joshua Lockyer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology at Arkansas Tech University; [email protected]
- Zachary Rubin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology at Lander University – South Carolina; [email protected]
- A. Whitney Sanford, Ph.D., Professor of Religion at the University of Florida; [email protected]
- Robert Boyer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; [email protected]
- Chelsea Schelly, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology at Michigan Technological University; [email protected]