Irresistible Community Builders, LLC presents: Creating Safe Zones in an Increasingly Risky World

By Tom Braford

When our first cohousing community group at Arizmendi Ecovillage created a statement of who we are, we included safety as a word that resonated for our members on multiple levels.

It included physical safety, of course, but also things like an assurance that this is a safe investment for members’ housing and cooperative business dollars, and that it is a socially safe place where we can be fully self-expressed in a mutually respectful way. Also, would the community be safe for the environment and climate, both now and in the future?

We are committed to preserving and enhancing habitat for wildlife, especially endangered species. This has even more resonance for us now. This summer, hundreds of big water birds, small blue herons, snowy egrets and night herons, which are listed as endangered, chose us as a safe place for their seasonal rookery. This changing world is ever more dangerous for them.

Cohousing and Ecovillage communities ironically create safety for their members in many of the same ways observed in the rookery. We look after each other and create a higher density, more diverse yet socially connected design to better meet our needs and look after vulnerable members of our population. It’s a security that comes from strength in numbers, relatedness and eyes on the common space, which results in quick Intervention if something is amiss. 

In the rookery, night herons are the watchdogs. If an unfamiliar person or animal enters their common space or comes too close to the juveniles, they spring into action and do a paired flyover. With their shorter necks, they look and maneuver a lot like hawks.
We are choosing to be a limited access, gun-free, safe zone without uniformed security, so having the night herons looking after the place in warm weather gives an extra level of comfort.

Besides being an ecovillage developer, Tom Braford is a candidate for President of the United States and is letting what he has learned as a Community builder inform his policies. His policy paper on gun-free safe zones will be available soon on line.

Contact: braford@sbcglobal.net