News

The Community Biogas Wave - an Offer to European Ecovillages by Thomas Culhane

In 2012, Thomas Culhane - who prefers to be called TH - was invited to Tamera to teach the building of small scale biogas digesters to participants of the Global Campus. Since then, the digester in Tamera has been used throughout the years, to provide energy every day for cooking for a large part of the community. The enthusiasm for biogas has spread to other places such as: Favela da Paz (Sao Paulo), the Peace Community San José de Apartadó in Colombia, and OTEPIC (Kenya). During this year's GEN Europe conference, TH made an amazing offer: he will donate the Puxin biogas steel mold system to be used in all interested ecovillages - firstly within Europe. This amazingly generous offer will begin with a teaching session, possibly in the spring of 2015.

Announcements and Events: GEN Events in Fall 2014

Oct 31 - Nov 7: Global Ecovillage Network Oceania & Asia (GENOA) International Conference
"Ecovillages for Sustainable Development" - A Model for Climate Change Adaptation.
We will be hosting our first international conference in India this year “Ecovillages for Sustainable Development - A Model for Climate Change Adaptation", from October 31st ~ November 7th, 2014, in Orissa, India.

Germany: Giving Birth in the "Tribe of the Likatians"

The Tribe of the Likatians ("Der Stamm der Likatier"), is a intentional community of some hundred people in the city of Füssen in Southern Germany. Due to their philosophy, the love between mother and child is a role model for all relations amongst people, and in the community. This is why birth- giving, and the raising of children, is regarded as the most significant event in tribal life.

NextGEN-Europe: Youth projects are Flourishing and Taking Shape

The process that started with the NextGEN-Europe Conference of 2014, has been moving forward ever since, leading to the development of multiple new project ideas. It has been a repeated pattern in our group that, after being highly inspired in events such as the amazing NextGEN-Europe Conference, the level of inspiration and commitment then slowly decreases over time after the young people return to the reality of their daily lives . However, so far it seems that this time we have crossed the borderline to change this pattern. Ewa Clausen and Arturs Polis report.

My Ecovillage Homebirth Experience: With Huge Help from my Friends

The Danish ECO-village, Fri og Fro, was established in Egebjerg in 2004, and the plots contain 16 very different houses as well as a common house. The houses are constructed from sustainable materials such as recycled wood, straw, clay and shells. The village also has its own willow, wastewater treatment. This is the place where single mother, Poula-Line Schmidt, experienced the help of her community.

In the Ecovillage Arca Verde, Brazil: The Natural Miracle of Birth-Giving

Bruna Barella is part of the Ecovillage Arca Verde (Green Ark), since 2005, and in this time she became a mother and midwife. In their rural community, 11 women have gone into labor and 10 babies have been born. Countless female, personal, family and community rebirths have been witnessed at the ecovillage. They consider childbirth to be a natural miracle, a spiritual event that promotes deep healing on all levels. Translated by Cristina Mattos from CASA Brazil.

Giving Birth in the Holy Land: Birth of a New Woman

Nothing is holy in the Holy Land. Dina Awwad has learnt this early. As a Palestinian woman in the Westbank, she faced the two layers of occupation: from Israel and - as a woman - from the patriarchal society. In the age of 30, she married a Palestinian from Israel, and moved to the other side of the separation wall. With her marriage not fully accepted by the authorities, without permission to work, to drive a car or to study she found herself to be "only" a housewife. However, Dina discovered that there is indeed something holy in the Holy Land: the sheer force of a woman during birthgiving, when she is supported by her community. She found out: a birth is not only the birth of a new child; it is also the birth of a new mother on earth. By Dina Awwad, Bethlehem/Eilaboun, Palestine

Japan: Spiritual Birth-Giving in the Konohana Family

In the ecovillage Konohana Family, in Japan, women give birth to children in their homes, in maternity centers, or in the hospital at the Konohana Family, depending on their wishes, physical condition, and advice from other members. As there are many experienced parents at Konohana Family, mothers-to-be are able to learn and master how to become parents very naturally. Members of Konohana Family consider all the children as their own and raise them as the children of the society. Yoko Oki shares the basic philosophy of creating new life.

Siebenlinden: Sport is Fun! Fitness and Games for a Healthy and Happy Lifestyle in Ecovillages.

Sieben Linden ecovillage (Germany), can be proud of the number of inhabitants practicing a healthy and active lifestyle, starting with yoga and finishing with barefoot jogging, and hard-core fitness. Yet, there is a great space for improvement in terms of community infrastructure and awareness levels.
In this article, Arturs Polis and Nadine Koch are interviewing Nadine Koch, in order to explore the importance of a physically active lifestyle in the ecovillage context, drawing from the experience of Sieben Linden and her experience with community living.

Middle East: Birth-giving in the Global Community; Putting a Footstep into a New Era.

Soraya El Hag from Egypt compares the transition process in the Middle East with the birth-giving of a baby. The principles needed during these, often, painful times of change are the same that are applied in the founding process of an ecovillage.

Unattended Birth-Giving in the Philipines

Pi Villaraza´s wife, Daniw, performed two unassisted water births in their own home, in the midst of community, without the need of a midwife, a doctor, hospitals and medical apparatus. In their stress-free environment, her only real expenditure for both births was a plastic kiddie pool from Toy Kingdom. In the last four years, Pi and Daniw have also guided extended members of their community to follow a similar process in their own spaces. Pi from the Maia Earth ecovillage in the Philippines reports.

Kenya: 57 Year Old Woman Quits 35 Year Long Service as TBA (Traditional Birth Attendant) for Skilled Delivery Advocacy.

This newsletter is full of praise for natural birth, outside of hospitals, in the protecting atmosphere of family or community, accompanied by a midwife or doula. However, in Africa, facing HIV and other risks, governments, and NGOs are trying to stop home deliveries by encouraging the Traditional Birth Attendants to quit their work. Victor Odula, program officer of the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), describes the work of Mama Penina, an experienced TBA, and how she was convinced to stop her work.

USA: The Farm Midwives; 30 Years of Teaching Natural Births

The Farm in Tennessee, USA, is one of the oldest and most famous ecovillages worldwide. Even before there was a place called The Farm, the seeds of community began to grow when the first babies were brought into the world by the women - later to become known as The Farm Midwives. The babies who were born on the road during the long journey from California to Tennessee, brought forth a wave of energy, which established a bond, not only to their immediate family, but to the group as a whole. The Farm member, Douglas Stevenson, wrote several books about the Midwifery Project, and also contributed this article.

Ecovillage Excellency Award, 2014; Aurora Community, Romania

Aurora Community is an intentional, eco-spiritual community and a learning center actively working to be an example on new models of living, sharing the best practices for sustainability, supporting a lifestyle with low impact on the ecosystems of the planet, and spreading a more simple way of living, with grace, beauty and meaning. By Filipa Simoes.

Italy: Giving Birth in Damanhur; The Community as a Social-Spiritual Uterus

Birthing is a challenging process that can take a woman out of her physical and psychological balance. The capacity to hold her in this condition, and be her 'social-spiritual uterus', is a valuable skill that communities can develop. Damanhur is composed of about 20 so called 'Nucleos', core families of 10-30 people. Capra Carruba gave birth to her first daughter 6 years ago, and now she waits for her second child to be born.

Ecovillage Excellency Award, 2014, About the Taneeb Farm and the Global Campus Palestine

As a Palestinian, coming from a Bedouine family in Israel, Aida Shibli has had the role of bridging cultures from early age. As a peace worker, Aida has been involved with the Peace Research Village initiative, and the initiative to found GEN Middle East, for many years. By Leila Dregger

Ecovillage Excellency Award, 2014, Goes to Taneeb Farm/Global Campus, Palestine, and Aurora Community, Romania

Since this year the Ecovillage Excellency award is split into a European and an international project, with each of the projects receiving 1500 Euros. The international project will be awarded at the Ecovillage Summit in December, in Senegal, Africa. The audience of the GEN Europe conference this year decided to award the European prize to the Taneeb Farm in Palestine, and Aida Shibli´s initiatives for the Global Campus, Palestine. However, since the fresh and thriving Aurora community in Romania came a very close second, Ruth Andrade donated the same amount of money from Paulo Mellet´s legacy. So we can say that this year we have two awarded projects in Europe.

The Ecology of Birth - in the Hurricane of Hormones

A fundamental part of a peaceful culture is to have peaceful women, peaceful wombs and peaceful births. The “Círculo Matríztico” is a large women’s network in Chile - and the World - that was founded by women who wanted to celebrate being connected to the feminine power of the moon. It began as a space for women to meet, gather and sing as sisters, seeking a connection with the feminine energy, and the importance of giving birth. This song and prayer echoed out and was heard and repeated in ever widening circles, becoming part of a global movement of women that seek to heal, connect with their feminine power, and gather together to pray, in their own groups and personal circles, in a way that is intimate, instinctive, and intuitive.

Urban Ecovillages in North America: Three “Organized Urban Neighborhood”

Diana Leafe Christian reports about intentional communities in North American cities. She believes creating community in your existing neighborhood is a growing trend. In a few years we may have more organized-neighborhood projects to report on.

Editorial GEN Newsletter: Giving Birth in Community

Is there a more crucial, more powerful and more challenging moment in a lifetime than giving birth? The way that we are born into this world, the way our parents conceive, give birth, and raise us, forms and influences us our whole lives.

Pages