noun, often attributive \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\
1 : a unified body of individuals: as
a : state, commonwealth
b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself <the problems of a large community>
c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location
d : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons>
e : a group linked by a common policy
f : a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community>
g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community>
2 : society at large
3 a : joint ownership or participation <community of goods>
3 b : common character : likeness <community of interests>
3 c : social activity : fellowship
3 d : a social state or condition
No one is an island, as they say. Our connection to our fellow human being can be grouped by geography, interest, activity or anything else. How then do we define who is included and who is excluded? A big part of that is wrapped up in family, but community is bigger than that. It is our recognition of others we’re connected to even if we don’t know them or understand them. Often based on location, my community could be my physical neighbors and the bond we share over property value and safe streets. It could just as easily though be a common history, such as the alumni of my university or those with a similar ancestry.
Community is as tight as you want to perceive it, but a word of caution: a too tightly defined community excludes those who don’t quite fit in. In the sustainability community, this could be the person who doesn’t feel they are good enough or who is turned off by lingo they don’t understand. In the LGBTQ community, that lingo point still applies, as does the idea of majorities within minorities. We are pretty good at wanting to include everyone queer, except that one group we don’t like or understand. Keeping your definition of community loose might make it much more attractive to those you haven’t gotten to include yet.