"Imagine a revolutionary group would spread a message around Maidan Square and over the Internet calling out to the youth and students, workers and activists, "Let's continue fighting on the streets, comrades! But above all, let's move to the countryside and start building the new culture." -- by Martin Winiecki
The first meeting of the national GEN networks in Europe was successfully held last January, with the participation of more than twelve networks. The discussions were conducted and brilliantly facilitated by Lucilla, from the hosting community Torre Superiore. Lucilla has been working in the secretariat of GEN Europe for many years. Alfonso Flaquer Carreras reports.
The project “Ecovillages for Sustainable Rural Development” financed by the EU’s Baltic Sea Region Programme, 2007–2013, which started in February 2010, is approaching its completion, delivering a number of significant results. Aimed at fostering the development of ecovillages as a more sustainable way of living in rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region, the project has been implemented by project partners from Lithuania (the lead partner), Finland, Latvia, Poland and Sweden.
The annual GEN Europe Conference is more than a meeting place for GEN Europe members. As the ecovillage movement is merging with other movements for decentralized solutions and applied sustainability - such as Permaculture or Transition Towns - it is a place where the most interesting developments are shared, discussed, further developed, and presented to an interested public, to community seekers, founders, and change makers of all kinds.
Crystal Waters Permaculture Village in Queensland, Australia, was established in 1988, following Permaculture principles and practices. Robin Clayfield has been a member from the beginning, emphasizing the meaning of social permaculture. She believes in community and lives it. Shane Schmidt, GEN Member, Australia, met and talked to her.
Normally, the voice of the poor and extremely impoverished - in particular indigenous people - is not being heard by government departments, and after 66 years of independence in India, these excluded groups are still struggling for their livelihood. The grass roots democracy and empowerment process of Gram Sabha and Palli sabha is not well recognized, and the planning process has not been put into operation effectively.
Words and actions between people of different colour, gender, or religion are often charged with unconscious racism or sexism. GEN is creating communication tools to become aware of old patterns to be able to change them. Some people are our helpers by making us aware of our automatic prejudices. One of them is Elena Ball from Next GEN.
The region Alentejo, Portugal, is in an economical and ecological crisis. Alternatives are needed to create a way for people to return to the countryside, heal the landscape and create abundance in cooperation with nature. However, the legislation does not support alternatives - yet.
Many ecovillages overstep regulations with the hope of not being caught out. However, when ecovillages obtain official permission for ecological innovations, similar projects in their areas will benefit, for they create precedents in their countries for other ecovillages to apply to local authorities for permission.
When the city of Eugene broke up the Occupy camp in December of 2011, they promised to give the homeless another piece of land. Dan Bryant, a minister who wears a leather jacket and drives a motorcycle; Jean Stacey, a fiery lesbian advocate for the homeless; and Andy Heben, a young urban designer who wrote his thesis on homeless camps that he visited around the country, went around touting the idea of Opportunity Village. Alex Daniell found out that "If you give a homeless person a home then they’re no longer homeless". This is the opportunity of Opportunity Village.