GEN International Newsletter June 2013

It takes a whole village to raise a child

Dear Friends of the Global Ecovillage Network On the verge of two major conferences about ecovillages and sustainable communities, the GEN Conference in Schweibenalp, Switzerland, (7-12 July), and the ICSA Conference (International Communal Studies Association) in Findhorn, Scotland (26-28 June), we send you the GEN International newsletter with current information, stories, insights, and experiences from ecovillages worldwide. The movement is going through a strong phase of growth, becoming increasingly interwoven with mainstream society, and having a more visible impact on change processes – while at the same time deepening its own insights and experiences, as some of the stories will show. This time, several contributions are about the next generation in ecovillagers - children and youth. Following Sobonfu Somé´s wise words, many parents are now choosing to live in community. It is obviously easier, in many ways, to raise children together. Children find more intimate friends and caretakers in an ecovillage, and they grow up in a safe and healthy environment, having many more possibilities to learn, share and interact. And then? What happens when they become teenagers and young adults? Do they find the inspiration, the education, and the challenges they are looking for? Is the ecovillage dream of their parents still attractive to them - or do they feel more attracted to the world of fast food, business careers, and anonymity in a city environment? On the other hand: How open are communities - and how attractive are the lifestyles and commitment necessary to create a new culture for young people from wider society? What possibilities do the ecovillage networks offer to the young Occupy movement, that spoke up on the major squares of cities all over the world (and is speaking up in Istanbul right now), searching for a different pathway to democracy and the expression of love for each other and life on this planet? How can ecovillages meet the needs of young adults? These are core questions for the long-term social sustainability of ecovillages, questions that point to changes in the way the concept of ecovillages is being lived and expressed. It appears increasingly that links to the next generation are being forged and strengthened in ecovillages worldwide. The youth of different ecovillages are connecting with each other. They are proud to belong to this movement. They share, travel and visit or work in other ecovillages, and reach out to connect with young people from other cultures. Ecovillages such as Tamera (Portugal), Lebensgarten (Germany), La Cité Ecologique (Canada), and many others are becoming meeting places for young seekers and young professionals, who see themselves as guides to a new cultural paradigm, and satisfying ecological lifestyle. NextGEN is the organizational platform for youth from Ecovillages and communities. We wish you inspiration and ask you to share the newsletter with your network and all interested people. With warm regards, Kosha Joubert, GEN International president Leila Dregger, editor
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The Global Ecovillage Network has consultative status in the UN – ECOSOC.

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