Ecovillages are intentional communities whose goal is to become more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Most range from a population of 50 to 150 individuals, although some are smaller, and larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals exist as networks of smaller subcommunities. Certain ecovillages have grown by the addition of individuals, families, or other small groups who are not necessarily members settling on the periphery of the ecovillage and effectively participating in the ecovillage community.
Ecovillagers are united by shared ecological, social-economic and cultural-spiritual values. Concretely, ecovillagers seek alternatives to ecologically destructive electrical, water, transportation, and waste-treatment systems, as well as the larger social systems that mirror and support them. Many see the breakdown of traditional forms of community, wasteful consumerist lifestyles, the destruction of natural habitat,urban sprawl, factory farming, and over-reliance on fossil fuels as trends that must be changed to avert ecological disaster and create richer and more fulfilling ways of life.
Ecovillages offer small-scale communities with minimal ecological impact or regenerative impacts as an alternative. However, such communities often cooperate with peer villages in networks of their own (see Global Ecovillage Network for an example). This model of collective action is similar to that of Ten Thousand Villages, which supports the fair trade of goods worldwide.