IzReaL is redefining working, living and learning by synthesis of corporate, community and campus components.
If we at IzReal.eu take a look at the world we see a system based on infinite growth in a finite world. This is an obvious impossibility which has motivated us at IzReaL.eu to come up with a sustainable and social business model. Since the beginning of time mankind has lived in a system of scarcity, searching for means of survival. Over time humanity has learned the benefits of cooperated effort and has adopted technology to build a world where abundance is possible. This world is today, a world of plenty if only its fruits were to be distributed more equally.
The 5 hectare grounds IzReaL.eu purchased are located near the town of Molėtai (Pop. 7500) on the east side of Lithuania (EU member since 2004), 60 kilometers north of the states capital Vilnius. The site is located approximately 25 kilometers from the geographical midpoint of Europe.
Globally, interest in how to boost human wellbeing is growing. This is partly driven by an increasing awareness of the need to understand future progress beyond conventional metrics of material wealth. This growing interest is also in recognition of the legacy of the recent past; over the last forty years living standards have steadily increased in the western world while our wellbeing has flat-lined.
Instead, hierarchical systems based on scarcity and fear have lead us to believe our lives are merely valued by our projected productive lifespan and our consumer spending instead of our ability to tend to need and many other intrinsic social values. IzReaL strives to build a society based on abundance and trust, a complex adaptive system. These systems have many interacting parts and are in constant creative dialogue with their enviroment. (Zohar, 1994) IzReaL is redefining working, living and learning by synthesis of corporate, community and campus components.
How is this possible?
IzReal values trust and responsibility greatly which is visible in the way the organization is structured. Each and every participant is owner of the cooperation. Profitability either financially or socially is dependent on the capabilities of the participants and their ability to cooperate effectively. Since cooperation requires the efforts of more then one individual to be established, a natural dependency according to IzReal is beneficial to its success. As it is a reasonable assumption, productivity increases if cooperation is enhanced. Increased productivity translates into less time involved in labor activities and more time to live life or a possible increase of the combined social or financial capital (wealth/well being).
This requires every participant to be fully aware of their capabilities as well as the capabilities of other participants. It also requires them to be fully aware of their responsibility and accountability. Each participant is a member of the board although there might be variations in capability and each recognizes the need for the other to be successful. Leadership at IzReaL is defined by the acknowledgement of responsibility of those involved and the acceptance and utilization of these combined capabilities.
Izreal believes individuals should realize they may or even must expect from others a willing effort equal to their own for cooperation to succeed. This is why an important pillar in the IzReal structure is the constant dialogue. A quintessential aspect. Since IzReaL is a new way of working, living and learning it is of great importance for the participants to be able to communicate openly, to reflect and listen while being critical and criticized. The ability to openly communicate expectations and experience allows for a constant modification and alteration of the group dynamics to its optimal form.
The Community Aspect
A community is much more than its physical form. A community is composed of people as well as the places where they live; it is as much a social environment as a physical environment. Thus, communities must not only be environmentally sustainable, they must also be socially sustainable. Of course, social sustainability cannot be created simply through the physical design of the community but then neither can environmental sustainability be created by physical design alone. Physical design cannot ensure that individuals, families and communities will lead environmentally sustainable lifestyles, although it can help to make such environmentally sustainable choices easier and more obvious.
As there is no fair or equal distribution system in place at this time there will be a transitional period in which IzReal will need to sustain itself within the present economic structures and models. For this reason the primary focus of IzReaL is to be independent and self-supporting in matters as housing, water supply, food and energy production. This is to ensure the cost of living is brought down to a minimum and available resources can be utilized to innovate or produce to create greate value for the community as a whole. This implies that IzReaL starts out as a closed community. Participants are selected on self-reliance, knowledge, experience, creativity, communication skills and a suitable plan with a will to match. In such a challenging environment the ability to maintain a constructive dialogue is the single most important attribute of any participant, crucial to create a meaningful understanding of the expectations and the necessities in making IzReaL successful.
The Campus aspect
IzReaL is designed to be basically modular. IzReaL.eu is a complex adaptive system, a moral philosophical foundation. An underlying structure enabling a variety of projects and communities. The IzReaL project in Nosenai is a pilot project, its findings will be researched, published and made available in an online open source database. The goal is to accumulate and share relevant knowledge which may be utilized in various contexts. A similar project is the ” open source ecology ” group based in the United States of America. Open source does not mean everything is for free, to IzReal it means to share, test and research knowledge. We aim not to make as much money as possible, but to create as much value as possible. It is a collective effort to better ourselves.
The Corporate aspect
As a corporation, we make social investments and we have a “stock” of social and human resources. Economic development can either contribute to or deplete those social resources. At IzReal.eu we believe that the form of economic development in its current form of has been socially unsustainable, depleting human and social capital and resources in addition to the damage it has brought to the natural environment.
The concept of socially sustainable development has received less attention than the concept of environmentally sustainable development. IzReaL takes from the cooperation business model where all participants are rewarded equally for their labour regardless of their position. For Izreal labour is definded by; ‘What is your potential in regard to the needs of the society’.
So what would constitute socially sustainable development?
According to IzReaL.eu it is development which: meets basic needs for food, shelter, education, work, income and safe living and working conditions; is equitable, ensuring that the benefits of development are distributed fairly across society; enhances, or at least does not impair, the physical, mental and social well-being of the population; promotes education, creativity and the development of human potential for the whole population; preserves our cultural and biological heritage, thus strengthening our sense of connectedness to our history and environment; promotes conviviality, with people living together harmoniously and in mutual support of each other; is democratic, promoting citizen participation, responsibility and involvement.