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Climate Change

Restructuring our Communities may be the Key to Fighting Climate Change

The real estate market of the future is bound to be impacted by the effects of climate change. Though no one can predict exactly how climate change will change the way we buy, sell, and live in houses, it’s likely that efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change will play a role in transforming our home lives. One proposal for adopting a more sustainable lifestyle involves rethinking the way we conceptualize our communities, and creating towns that are entirely self-sufficient, where the town generates its own food, electricity, and other commodities. Building communities in this way has a number of benefits: a town that is self-sufficient is resistant to changes in global and economic forces, and locally-grown food often tastes better and creates jobs for the community.

James Ehrlich, entrepreneur and founder of RegenVillages, intends to create communities of this nature in order to lay the groundwork for the sustainable living of the future. Unlike most typical real estate developers, Ehrlich has a love of farming and a deep concern for the environment, and the communities he envisions helping to create are nothing like the communities of today. Ehrlich envisions small, self-contained villages with abundant farms and fishing opportunities, and solar panels on the roofs of all of the houses. In these theoretical communities, residents do not drive vehicles, which pollute the atmosphere; rather, residents walk or bike, and taxis and autonomous cars serve as transportation. These communities are intended to be built on the outskirts of cities to which residents commute, and a specialized piece of software called “Village OS,” which will connect regenerative infrastructure to smart houses, is in development.

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Achieving sustainability is an essential component to adapting to life under climate change and mitigating its worst effects. Because of the environmental costs of manufacturing goods in factories and shipping goods by plane, boat, and truck, many environmentalists believe that a transition towards locally-sourced resource consumption will become increasingly necessary as time goes on to cut down on carbon emissions. Producing electricity locally also has environmental benefits, as the efficiency of energy production via solar panels or windmills near the source of consumption is greater than using electricity over long distances. Because Ehrlich’s communities are designed with walkability in mind, the houses do not even have driveways, and the communities’ design is meant to encourage environmentally-friendly means of transportation to the greatest possible extent.

Ehrlich is already planning to construct one of these communities on a 61-acre plot of land near Amsterdam. This community is planned to have 300 units, and the plans feature a number of greenhouses and other amenities for residents to enjoy. Ehrlich intends for his communities to allow residents to get back in touch with nature and develop a more grounded relationship with their environment and the resources they consume. As far as Ehrlich is concerned, urbanization is a trend that will begin to fade as people start to desire more quiet and peaceful lifestyles. Ehrlich has invested most of his life savings into the project, and has had difficulties with securing investors and managing land rights. Ehrlich considers the ultimate commitment to be one in which you invest your own resources in an idea that you believe in, and he has done exactly that, due to his conviction of the necessity of transforming the way we live in the face of climate change to allow prosperity for generations to come.