Irresistible Community Builders, LLC presents: Critical Mass, Achieving a Pandemic of Plenty

Dunbars Number

By Tom Braford

Critical mass is the minimum amount of something required to start or maintain a project or venture. It begins a chain reaction and follows the same laws of contagion as communicable diseases, but what if we actively pursue it to create a positive social movement!?

According to British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, there is a predictable healthy social pattern for optimum performance. He says we all need 3 to 5 confidants, intimate friends we can talk with about anything that’s going on with us. Then, we need 12 to 15 best friends, third, 50 good friends, and finally, a committed community of 150 to 200 friends. 

Cohousing and Ecovillages make it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy community, as long as we share many levels of commitment. In our case, these include achieving a carbon negative lifestyle, racial reconciliation, environmental regeneration and less economic disparity.

We need a shared mission and a commitment to a democratic process like Sociocracy that both balance individual agency and initiative with accountability. This makes us virtually unstoppable as social change agents, and it opens up the possibility of positive contagion – a pandemic of plenty like our planet has never known.

To create one Ecovillage, we need a group of 5 intimate friends who invite their good friends to be the first core group of 15 to form a community of 35 to 50 friends that is part of an Ecovillage community with mission aligned collaboration of 2 or 3 other 50-person communities for a total of 150 to 200.  

There is new evidence of another level of critical mass we must now achieve if we’re going to transform civilization and the planet in time. 

In our case, this network level may be as few as 3 to 5 Ecovillages; the key is to reach 17 to 20% of a given housing market or population in a well-defined geographic area. 

This ‘social tipping dynamic’ makes it possible to go from social contagion to endemic in a region in a short period of time and then of course, as we now know from Covid, this opens up the possibility of becoming pandemic in the world, which, unlike Covid, is a good thing if it means shifting to a healthier, more sustainable culture and economy.

To learn more and see how you can get involved, contact us at: