By Philip Snyder
Over the past decade, the ecovillage movement has spawned a number of ecovillage education centers that promote a broad spectrum of sustainability skills programs. The experience gained through places such as the Ecovillage Training Center in the USA, Crystal Waters in Australia, Auroville in India, Findhorn in Scotland, among others, are the base upon which GEN is building a new program, called Living and Learning Centers that will take this work to another stage. Living and Learning Centers are dynamic experiments in sustainable community, which will provide hands-on training in developing green technologies and regenerative systems that are integrated with traditional culture and wisdom. GEN's two initial partners in this venture are Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka, IPEC in Brazil and EcoYoff in Senegal.
The new Living and Learning Centers in Sri Lanka, Brazil, and West Africa will be linked together in a South-South exchange network, and, in turn, with Living and Learning partners in the North. This will create a learning web of shared resources in an evolving, collaborative system of experience, education and research to develop sustainable systems on the ground around the world.
The orientation of the Living and Learning Centers is both global and very local. Closely connected with an existing or new ecovillage, each new center will be developed to model a comprehensive set of sustainable systems designed for its specific social and environmental conditions. This will create a very real and practical base for whole-systems educational programs.
Rich in experiential opportunities, the Living and Learning Centers' (LLC) interactive learning community will embody a 'learn by doing', partnership pedagogy. Here, the traditional skills and knowledge of each society will be woven together with permaculture methodology and related appropriate technologies, forging workable solutions to the problems faced in each culture.
Living and Learning throughout the world: