Rachel Carson EcoVillage
Values & Governance

We base our community governance on the principles of sociocracy.  

In order for the Rachel Carson EcoVillage community to govern itself effectively as well as equitably, authority for decisions is distributed functionally rather than concentrated in a single governing committee or board.  Becoming a member of RCE community means accepting responsibility for acting in the best interest of the community and trusting that  others throughout the community are doing likewise.  Differences in perspective are welcome and treated respectfully. 

The basic unit of governance is the group, which is a subset of the community membership.  A group is a set of people who work together to accomplish a specific purpose (called their aim).  Groups make policy decisions by carrying out their responsibilities (called their domain).  Policy decisions are made by consent.  Group meetings follow the design outlined  in the Meeting and Decision Guide (see Appendix 1). 

Our sociocratic governance is based on three principles: Groups, Consent, and Ongoing  Improvement. 

1.   The Principle of Groups: Our organizational structure consists of semi-autonomous  interlinking groups as shown in the diagram on the previous page. Because decision making authority is vested in groups, the process of approval by consent is critical. 

2.   The Principle of Consent: Policy decisions are made by consent, including selection of  people for group roles.

3. The Principle of Ongoing Improvement: The community as a whole, as well as each group in particular, is committed to ongoing feedback and ongoing learning about  governance, communication, and the content of the group’s work.

The governance of our community strives to address the following aims: 

1. making high quality decisions in an efficient manner 

2. ensuring that all voices are heard 

3. distributing and decentralizing decision-making authority 

4. developing leadership and consent-building skills of our members 

5. supporting broad participation by members in both governance and operational work 

6. managing community work effectively

7. fostering a positive sense of community and connections among community members 

8. supporting the accomplishment of the community’s aims in the context of its visions, mission and/or values 

Below is a diagram of the current governance structure of Rachel Carson EcoVillage. Our governance process is “dynamic”, meaning that our structure evolves to meet our changing needs as a developing community.

Sociocracy Resources

Intentional Communities Using Sociocracy