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  • Geese informationGaia Northern Summer/Southern Winter 2011 education Together We Fly Further – Celebrating 13 Years May East, Programme Director Gaia Education’s originating impulse was given wings in Denmark in a 1998 gathering of ecovillage educators from across the globe. This group later on called themselves GEESE– Global Eco- village Educators for a Sustainable Earth. Over subsequent meetings of the GEESE Gaia Education and the EDE curri- culum were developed. Since then, 97 programmes have taken place in 22 countries and over 2,500 EDE alumni from 61 countries across all continents have emerged, being the wind and carrying the wisdom of this global education for sustainability movement to new heights. What We Need Is Here From 25-27 June 2011, new and old GEESE will be gathering again, returning to Denmark after 13 years for a 3-day Geese appear high over us, sharing, this time in Duesomegaard, the new farm-house pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, as in love or sleep, holds and centre of Hildur and Ross Jackson. them to their way, clear This issue of the GEESE InFormation Newsletter is dedicated in the ancient faith: what we need to the many alumni who continue to inspire Gaia Educa- is here. And we pray, not tion to further develop its programmes responding to the for new earth or heaven, but to be urgent issues of our times. quiet in heart, and in eye, clear. What we need is here. From organising and assisting new EDE’s, to starting your From Wendell Berry’s Poem The Wild Geese own communities, sharing the wisdom of green building (submitted by Maddy Harland) and working with the youth; from following your own crea- tive impulses to reviving humankind’s traditional wisdom and translating EDE concept into strategic government poli- cies; from bringing innovation to mainstream organisations and re-designing the human presence in cities and towns. Thank You to the many, many alumni from around the world for flapping strongly your wings and for your dedica- tion to a Sustainable Earth. Together we fly further!
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2GEESE TestimonialsAlumni from all over the world After EDE I advised someone making a housing development and spoke at a ‘Green Economics Institute’ con- ference about housing. Some friends and I met with ‘House of Fairy Tales’ to discuss making a children’s project inspired by EDE. Since I participated to the EDE They gave us their building to organ- in spring 2008, I’ve given more ise an ecovillage festival. time to engagement to promote innovation around me: mainly I bumped into the Green Econom- innovation in the fact to think ics Institute again, who invited me differently anytime that a prob- to work on a book about education. lem, regarding to people or the On the EDE course I felt confident planet, is arriving in myself and was excited by what might be possible for the world. In facts this commitment was I have met up with EDE friends since, done through two actions: so the fun continues. • I’ve taken the role of president of an environmental and sus- tainable development com- Helen Long, UK mission and I’ve created andThe 2009 EDE at Wongsanit Ashram in Thailand amazed me with its vibrant managed some concrete pro-community of participants and facilitators. Since then, I’ve focused less on jects for my little town.societal problems, and more on creative solutions. • I’ve created an option intoFor most of the past two years, I’ve been at Acorn Community in Virginia, a business economic schoolUSA ( We cooperatively own Southern Exposure called ‘Manager 21’ based onSeed Exchange (SESE), a social enterprise specializing in heirloom seeds. the ability to manage a sus-In addition to working in the SESE office, our gardens, and our communal tainable developement and tohouse, I’m helping annually with the Communities Conference at neighbor- discover and promote othersing Twin Oaks Community ( Representa- economic models.tives of communities attend to network with each other and with seekersof community. The conference includes elements from all four EDE dimen- Thanks to May and all the teamsions, with greater focus on social and ecological dimensions. My work for :-))the Conference is largely in publicity; however, I also hope to bring more ofwhat made the Wongsanit EDE so vibrant. Jean-Pierre, Switzerland Irena Hollowell USA 2
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 Bem!!! foi e está sendo muito bom participar e apli- Sometimes car o conhecimento compartilhado, entendendo the heart is as facilidades e dificuldades, minhas e de todos, o stronger and que me faz recordar que estamos aqui para nos ca- all you can pacitar a ver com olhos mais amplos e elevados, de do is laugh forma a beneficiar o maior número de seres com os at the crazy quais entramos em contato. Foi muito bom aspirar way things participar do curso em 2008, e ele acontecer em turn out… 2009 e 2010 na comunidade onde vivo. Sigo no caminho, cultivando as amizades e expandindo os conteúdos discutidos e vivenciados em outros Have been ambientes, tecendo essa rede e fortalecendo as conexões. “Vinho novo busy with em garrafa velha”!!!!! Adorei a analogia!!!! Permaculture – teaching courses – Taís Fonseca, Brazil transition towns, Over the past few years I’ve been working hard to create a residential affordable centre where we give youngsters aged 14 to 18 an exciting education in housing, sustainable living. The course is run on a remote and uninhabited Scot- sustainable tish island and the program combines a variety of adventurous activities food...Community gardens, seed saving, with a practical experience in sustainable living. One of the most valuable things that the EDE course gave me was a con-sea shepherd, yoga, meditation, nection with a network of fun and like minded people. We share ideascommunity living + food with and give each other the support and encouragement that we need to helpfriends; sharing the heart, being make great changes in the world!the strongest force, sharing theheart, building and deepeningunderstanding and connection. Ben, ScotlandThe EDE is no longer a As a result of the EDE course in Findhorn I got really enthusiastic andmemory and group of friends inspired to work on the conceptual and graphical optimization of thesomewhere else in the world. EDE course content. It is my personal mission to inspire people towards insightful sustainable action in creative and relevant way. I did alreadyEach time I connect with some conceptual and graphical design work in co-creation with GAIAFindhorn and the spirit of Gaia education.Education, it uplifts me, it isgiving me encouragement tocontinue walking my path. Dominique Weemaes, BelguimMathew Cook, Australia 3
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 Há cerca de 20 anos venho estudando a questão da dinâmica ambiental, a social e suas repercussões na saúde do homem. Como médico, me especializei em saúde … quando o Programa de Educação Gaia foi trazi- do para o Rio de Janeiro, graças a articulação feita pela ong Terra Una, não pensei duas vezes em fazê-lo. …. Senti então que meu DNA estava sendo reprogramado e que as minhas ações, em todos os sentidos ganhava novas cores. Atravessei um portal sem volta, a minha configuração mudou eSince EDE 2010 in Sieben Linden I agora, percebo que as pessoas param pra me escutar sobre estas questões,founded with other women Atelier que querem se envolver, conhecer mais e realizar mudanças individuais eFamous, a creative transition atelier coletivas. É como se uma chave tivesse sido ligada. Mas não é um milagre,for recycling & fashion. We work acho que o EDE permitiu que eu vislumbrasse uma nova maneira de abordarwith other volunteers to make beau- o problema e por isso as pessoas estão mais receptivas. Esse fenômeno eutiful creatures from waste materials considero divisor de águas na minha vida. …Junto com o EDE, veio o cursoand fabric. We join in events and do de Cidades em Transição e este realmente abriu as portas para uma novaworkshops on craftwork like spin- dimensão. A dimensão de que temos que encontrar um caminho de resil-ning, knitting, crouchet and dying iência nas cidades, comunidades, bairros, etc. E é aí que eu tenho a minhawool with herbs. We now have two melhor participação. Estou tentando implantar o movomento de Transitionbranches for this working place, em Petrópolis/RJ, na perspectiva de realmente contribuir com a grande mu-where people can join us, without dança. Viva o Gaia!! A minha vida mudou a partir dele e sou muito grato aoany money involved. universo por isso. Paulo Sá.I also developed a workshop which Paulo Klingelhoefer de Sá, Brazilcombines permaculture and usesDragon Dreaming dreamcircles for He participado en el EDE de Barcelona año 2007-08. En general la in-making designs. It includes many ex- luencia del curso Ede a sido muy positiva, me ha hecho concretar mejorercises I took home from EDE. las ideas sobre ecoaldeas y como llevarlas a la practica, también ha sido muy util en el respeto a la diversidad ya que me lo hizo mucho mas evi- dente. En Tenerife hemos hecho algunos intentos de concresión de una ecoaldea pero de momento no ha llegado, aunque si trabajamos en red Chatharina varias fincas intentando asociarnos en proyectos conjuntados. Tambien de Bruin, hacemos todo cuanto esta en nuestra mano para difundir esta maravil- Germany losa idea de las ecoaldeas a traves de talleres en nuestra finca renacer y de la pagina de nuestro proyecto: Un saludos a tod@s y buena caminada. Efrem Scarmatto Ibarburu, Tenerife 4
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 EDE for me I could get a lot was such as a of knowledge terminal sta- and wisdom to tion or hub build commu- airport. In nity from the the EDE, I got programme know about but I was also Permaculture so inspired by and I started to other partici- take a course pants of EDE of P.C. Also, by who are now listening about my friends. Ithe Transition Town (TT) in the Mr. Hide Enomoto’s also got a clearer vision for future, and have a stronglecture in the Social dimension, I started to join the conviction about my thoughts. There were things that ITT seminar and established the TT Kamakura where could put on practice at home soon after the EDE pro-I lived, and helped to introducing a local currency sys- gramme ended, and that helped me to change my ac-tem and building a eco-house with natural materials. tions. These experience that embedded deeply in me became a base of my thought to make a sustainableI became a good friends with the EDE staff, Etsuko and community for my future.Fumimi, and we visited ecovillages and communities inDenmark, Italy, Swiss, and Sweden last year. That I have I live in Tokyo without job right now. I plan to take anever imagined before, but it gave me a huge inspira- job-training from a Not-for-Profit Organization, Com-tion and shock. munity Building Centre in Chiba. I am also working to promote the macrobiotic & health program in order toThe biggest change was quit my job that I worked for restore the traditional Japanese food-culture, and en-last 30 years and decided to live in a community. As a vironmental education in order for the city to shift toresult, I moved to country side for that purpose. Leav- more sustainable from Tokyo area was also not expected. Lookingback the last two years, I am so surprised the degreeof change of my life since my friend who asked to join Ms. Saori TotsukaEDE and friends in the professional coach circle andthe Permaculture circle still remain where they are.Tohru Suga, Japan 5
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 EDE受講の体験はあなたにとってどのようなもので、 あなたの人生にどのように影響を与えたでしょうか? EDEでの体験は、コミュニティにすばらしさと難しさの両方を感じる ことが出来たことが一番の体験でした。 木の花ファミリーでのリアルなコミュニティとEDEコミュニティとの 対比も大変興味深いものでした。 EDEが私に与えた影響は、まさに今後の人生の舵を示してくれるもの でした。 実家が大きな変化の最中、次の時代のモデルプランとして大いに勇気 づけられました。 EDE参加したことで、何か変化はありましたか?資本主義や今の体制からの脱却、次のステージへの道しるべを得たことで、迷うことなく、エコビレッジ建設を選択する後押しをしてくれました。現在、どこにいますか(働いていますか)? 何に関わっていますか?地元豊橋にいます。今年の夏から本格的なエコビレッジ用の建物の建設が始まろうとしています。来年には、形になったものがみなさんにお見せすることが出来ると思います。ただ、それもスタートであるのでしょうが・・・Mr. Kazuhiro Sano The experience with EDE was the one with the reality. Full of motivations, know-how and hints for the next step that inquiring how I relate myself to the world and live for future. The interaction with various practitioners was exciting and content of the EDE led my awareness to the conviction. Since I wanted to have my own field, I moved to Koganei-city where the Transition Town movement is active. I live in a shared house in Mitaka-city. I work for a delivery company in order to earn money. I joined the Eco-housing project of the Transition Town Koganei and established a working group for screen image and create visual archives of various kind of activities, lectures, and interviews that are related to the Transition Town Japan. I also joined the experimental garden of the “Millenium City Kichijyoji” and the “Future Village”. Mr. Yoichi Kajima 6
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2As a Project Manager and Permaculturist from South Africa, and, with fairly Some 5 years after my EDE, andcompetent holistic design skills, I was blown away by the holistic and inte- a journey of continued learning, Igrated approach towards sustainability imparted at the 2006 Findhorn EDE. am now confidently teaching EDEI very soon adopted these newfound EDE concepts in my development pro- principles within my Permaculturejects, ranging from grass roots community development type projects to pro- courses and embedding the samegramme management of government capital development projects. Some of within my project work where evermy EDE applications include: possible. However, one never stops learning, especially about sustain-• After seeing “The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” ability – the final frontier! on the EDE course, I visited Cuba and cycled around the western part for 3 weeks visiting numerous “organoponico” projects and meeting two of the main characters in this documentary. Upon returning to South Af- Ezio Gori rica, I gave several screenings of the Cuba DVD followed by a talk on my experiences in Cuba and the relevance to Peak Oil, Climate Change and Transition Initiatives.• Translating EDE sustainability concepts into strategic policies and plans for rural / peri-urban development projects for various government en- tities, which included a framework for an agri-village model to stimu- late economic livelihoods in rural areas and also for the rehabilitation of farms handed over to communities arising from South Africa’s Land Reform Programme. and• The formulation of a “Strategic Framework for Sustainability”, which is an ongoing research project that uses ecological footprint data in a strategic framework designed to show how Humanity needs to curtail its ecological footprint in order to sustainably contain the soon to be 9 billion people by 2040. This ongoing research project has been shared with some like minded people, but it will hopefully be developed fur- ther as teaching material, a paper, a higher educational qualification.• The co-establishment of my home base, Wirikuta New Moon Centre in Durban, into a teaching centre that practices the emergence of sustainable living within community.• The EDE teachings culminated in my website designed initially as my Permaculture portfolio for the award of a Diploma of Applied Perma- culture Design at the 2010 UK Permaculture Convergence, but also as a body of knowledge for Permaculture and sustainability. 7
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 Joining the Ecovillage Design Education To keep things short, we started and Training of Trainers courses helped our own eco homestead next to me build up the knowledge, skills and self- awareness to care, love and be responsible, a future eco village with a B&B using critical thinking and taking action in called Tuwa The Laughing Fish. society - on national or international levels. Through these lessons, practicing and shar- We are off the grid with a fully ing, my understanding of the personal, com- automated gasifier system. We munity and institutional levels deepened. have biogas for cooking and our ponds are full of happy Ta- In the EDE, I learned how to understand my- self, others and the environment in order to lapia fish which our guests can connect and communicate with the needs, catch and then we serve during willingness and skills in me and around dinner in numerous prepara- me. It helped me see and reflect more on tion possibilities. the life aspect of society and the world and how to change and be a change or supporter We celebrate food and our gar- for others. Starting from knowing there is a problem, to understanding the den is lush with a variety of cause of the problem and possible solutions, to knowing how to bring these tropical and sub tropical veg- solutions to all four dimension of life - the worldview, social, economy and etables and we are blessed with ecological dimensions. a lovely orchard with trees like In the worldview aspect, I learnt how to understand and analyze the value of mango and lychee. the paradigm or belief system that shaped me. We are currently working with In the social aspect, I learnt about living in community by building relation- the [surrounding] community ships, non-violent communication, self-awareness, involving process and having common goals. In the economy aspect I learnt how to build up the in the transition town move- foundations of a community with spiritual values, stability and sustainabil- ment to unite and retrofit with ity in eco-friendly production systems, counter-balancing consumerism and other local initiatives. capitalism. In the ecological aspect, I learnt about introducing biodiversity in farming and about permaculture vs. monoculture, creating sustainable and John Vermeulen, Philippines regenerative systems. The EDE inspired me to integrate and build connections to what I’ve learned to walk in my life. I learnt that I can make my dreams happen. With commit- ment to learning, practicing and sharing, and the confidence to facilitate and raise other’s awareness, these experiences can be transferred into action among family, friends and community. [Editor’s Note: John has now also co-organised and facilitated in the Philippines EDE] Eka Ratawit, Indonesia 8
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 Hello to All from Estonia! The EDE course gave me many I participated in 2006, EDE for trainers in Findhorn. ideas, resources and confidence Wow, almost 4 years ago. So for me the EDE training in my work with conservation gave the impulse to search more in this field, gave me volunteers and ecology students. confidence to speak up and after course I have been We have run a workshop on practicing mainly on ecological module :) So what have sustainable living in Pucon and I done so far to create a better World in few words. the EDE course has been a great inspiration for our participationI have built several strawbale houses (biggest is over 100 m2), rocket stove, in our Transition Town Initia-also some smaller structures with natural materials. I have been giving lec- tive in Pucon, Chile, with plentytures on EDE topics in Universities and also abroad in Baltics. I have lead of ideas to help enrich meetingsseveral workshops on building with local materials, straw and clay. I in- and group actions.vited foreign specialists (USA, Denmark, Australia) to run a workshops andseminars here in Estonia about different uses of natural building materials Jerry Laker, Chile(two projects were supported by EU funds).This year I have composed a curriculum of “Sustainable building and Resto- Since November, old friendsration”, that is for teachers skill conversion in vocational schools in Estonia. have been gathering from allCurriculum is approved by Estonian Ministry of Education and Research over France. We are elated toand first trainings will start in autumn 2010. tell you all we will be starting in March to re-shape an old farmToday me and my lovely wife are creating a training centre for healthy life- in the Gers, besides the Abbayestyle and self development. We are working on two fields - Horse Therapy of Flarans. Four families, in two(Equine Assisted Learning) and sustainable living condition (permacul- houses and two apartments, willture). All buildings in this area (18 hectares) are from straw and clay or be re-connecting with animals, afrom reused materials. We have currently 10 horses and 4 children and huge community garden, cerealsome smaller domestic animals like dogs, sheep, cats, hens. and hay fields, and generally the forest and the elementals. CloseI can add to my today’s work with gratitude a “logo” – Inspired by GAIA to an old Templar site above us,Education. Thank you all for your work and deep bow to founders of this we endeavour to connect the ele-curriculum! mentals, and recreate with them the sacred landscape.With lots of Love, Eve Camolli, FranceSven Aluste, Estonia Further testimonials can be found on the Gaia Education’s NING site: 9
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2The EDE’s Place in our Changing WorldMichiyo FuruhashiThe world is changing! The Lehmanshock, mega earthquakes in NewZealand and Japan and the explo-sions of nuclear power plants – allthese incidents are indications thathuman beings need to awaken ourconsciousness.I strongly feel the concept andpractice of ecovillage living leadshuman kind to live in harmony withall others on this planet and the EDE holds a very important role in raisingawareness of this kind for all. Many participants have changed their life styleswhile others have started actual communities.As for the coming GEESE meeting, my hope and expectation is to know eachother, to deepen our relationships as leaders of the countries we represent,furthering collaborations and confirming the importance of understanding theworldviews that have been introduced in the EDE curriculum. I think it is a verybasic component of community living.I translated the EDE curriculum into Japanese with members of the Japan Eco-village Promotion Project three years ago. I was first introduced to the curricu-lum by Hildur Jackson in June, 2006. I read it and felt an urgency to translateit because natural disasters were increasing drastically and ecovillage livinghelps affected people re-establish their lives in ways that are healthier thanbefore these disasters. That was the first motivation of the project, confirmedafter Japan’s recent mega earthquakes, tsunami and the nuclear power plantexplosions. I now intend to approach Government, introducing them to theEDE context. Advice and information from other members will be a great help.With the growing discrepancy between rich and poor in many countries, albeitto different degrees, the application of the EDE in societies affected by socio-economic poverty is another exciting area. 10
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 I started to live in an actual ecovillage, the Konohana Family, in January 2007. Through actual ecovillage life, I felt the importance of having and sharing certain worldviews, helping us pursue a genuine purpose within community life, in harmony with oth- ers. The EDE is really needed to help societies appreciate and feel this. I recently read out the curriculum of the EDE to my community members at our daily community meeting. We all shared our thoughts and feelings around it, deepening our understanding and con- firming the importance of practicing this kind of life, a life which models a new society.I am looking forward to meeting you physically and spiritually in order to expand thisvaluable lifestyle for a sustainable future.Gaia Education Welcomes Michiyo and Potira to the BoardGaia Education welcomes Michiyo Furuhashi and Potira Preiss to its Board of Directors. Michiyo from Japan, and Potira fromBrazil, join the existing Board of Jane Rasbash (Scotland/Thailand), Jonathan Dawson (England) and Ross Jackson (Denmark). Profile: Michiyo Furuhashi Profile: Potira Preiss Michiyo is a member of Kono- Potira is a biologist with a hana Family, a leading ecovil- wide experience in the field lage in Japan. Here she is in of sustainability education, charge of ecovillage education socio-environmental projects and is also a vocalist in the and consultancy. She has been Konohana Band. Her other roles involved with the Social Forum include being a board member of the Global Eco- in Porto Alegre and is active in many international village Network (GEN), where she is also a country movements. She is currently taking her master de- representative for Japan, and vice-president of the gree on Rural Development at the Federal University GEN Oceania & Asia (GENOA) region. Michiyo organ- of Rio Grande do Sul, while her SME 2P focuses on ized the first EDE in Japan from 2008 to 2009 and sustainability and cultural education. Potira has been as a co-representative of Ecovillage Japan Network involved with Gaia Education since 2006, from a stu- (EJN), collaborates in leading the ecovillage move- dent to EDE course coordinator and facilitator, and ment in Japan. now member of the Board of Directors. 11
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2Mexico EDE: Huehue Ecovillage, February 2011Arnold RicaldeHuehuecoytl (Huehue) Ecovillage hosted its second EDE course in February2011. Located in the small town of Santo Domingo Ocotitlán, in the state Mo-relos, Huehue makes a perfect setting for the EDE: an ecovillage surrounded bybeautiful mountains, presenting the perfect opportunity to pursue many of thegoals set by the EDE. Circles, living amongst nature, healing, theory, field trips,music and a connection to earth and each other were all present in the course.The first EDE held in Mexico took place in 2005 through a collaboration of NGOsincluding Organi-K and members from Huehue, with Max Lindegger leadingfacilitation. It was a time during which rich seeds were sown. Subsequent tothe EDE, the Mexico City Institute for Housing requested a course on best prac-tices for their architects and engineers. A total of 120 participants completedthese 72 hour courses, which although emphasised design, included all fourEDE dimensions. Further collaborations between Huehue and the Governmentof Mexico City have resulted in fairs & festivals promoting ecovillage wisdom(ecotecnias), sustainable housing programmes and tax benefits to individualsand businesses alike who implement ecotecnias best practices.Registrations for this first and the two subsequent EDEs at Huehue have beenhigh. Once again this year we had to turn down participants in considerationof our capacity and available resources. Both Huehue’s 2008 and this year’scourse had an attendance of 35 participants.One of the most rewarding gifts of the EDE course is the family that is beingcreated through this type of learning. Participants of this and prior courses arethirsty for more information and attend many of the year round social, culturaland environmental events. They become part of the ecovillage family in anorganic manner.The EDE courses have also been a great pillar on the Eco-barrios courses thatwe are implementing in Mexico City. Alberto and Odin Ruz, together withOrgani-K and the support of the Delegación Coyoacan, are working in 5 barriosof the city, implementing the ecovillage principals and raising awareness totransform the social, environmental and awareness view. 12
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2Elders in the EDE: Beatriz Vera Pozzi Redko –Being an Elder in Contemporary TimesBeatriz Vera Pozzi Redko, EDE São PauloTo be an elder in modern times is a continuous challenge. Contemporarysociety contains much bias and prejudice against elders, something I as anelder am constantly up against.The young generations either seem to find it difficult to accept or do notrealise that we currently have four generations living together on Earth, allfour of which are equally responsible in re-constructing a better world.For us elders to be accepted we need to speak in the language of the youth.Our wisdom is heard when it is communicated through the right channels andin the right way. I am learning a lot with my grand children: if I share withthem something in their own language, like a strategic computer game, theyopen their hearts and we communicate better. We elders need to re-inventourselves every day, and we have all the tools if we want to do it.The main challenge is to get the over 60’s enthusiastic to participate in the re-construction of a better world. A good number of them have low self esteemand believe nobody wants to talk to them. To transmit the enthusiasm of theEDE is to construct a better world for all citizens. This is a major mission, onewhich goes hand in hand with engaging everybody living in the crusade for abetter, more just and more sustainable planet. Have you been an elder in the EDE and would you like to share your story? Or perhaps you are not an elder but would like to share your case studies and/or experience of the EDE and GEDS programmes? What has changed for you since attending these courses? Whatever your angle, we would like to hear from you and possibly publish your article in this newsletter! Send us your story by sharing it on the Forum pages of Gaia Education’s NING website: 13
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 Japan EDE: September 2010 – July 2011 Deepening Community amidst Natural Disaster Etsuko Hayashi and Yoji Kamata Japan’s second EDE started in September 2010 with monthly three-day work- shops held by the EDE’s steering committee, co-sponsored by the Atelier for Development and the Future (ADF) and the Japan Eco-village Promotion Pro- ject (JEPP) and supported by alumni of the first EDE. EDE Japan: Atelier for Development and the Future: The EDE was due to complete on 2nd April 2011 when the East Japan great earthquake disaster struck. Final dates for the EDE were shifted to May, and now July, as the nuclear accident unfolds. The Asian Rural Institute (ARI) is the venue of the second EDE. A community based learning centre, it provides practical training on organic farming and servant-leadership for rural leaders in Asia and Africa. EDE and ARI are sup- porting and learning with each other. The 20 participants, aged from 27 to 64 years, include NGO staff, professors, regional development consultants, government officers, organic farmers, and so forth. Japan’s second EDE has a unique programme and application for participants: 1. The participation fee practices an economy of sharing – set by a sliding scale, students are empowered with the choice to select an appropriate fee based on their income. 2. Adjusting to Japanese living conditions, the period of the learning is set over a span of 9 months (now 11 months due to postponement), with monthly three-day programmes. 14
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/23. We created a dimension of “Health and Food” in addition to the four di- mensions and placed “Orientation and Introduction to Ecovillages” at the beginning of the programme and “Total Ecovillage Design” at the end of the programme. During the eighth session, participants will decide where their upcoming fieldwork will take place: ecovillages, transition towns, permaculture sites and organic farms are options.4. Wisdom from intentional communities has been complemented by the traditional wisdom of existing, non-intentional communities of Japan. Transition Town training has been included in the social dimension.During Worldview, Shugen-dou (‘nature worship’), a traditional Japanese spir-ituality similar to tantric Buddhism and Shintoism and which was prohibitedduring the modernization of Japan, was practiced. Students found this veryenriching, concluding that more should be enjoyed and learnt from Japanesetraditional wisdom for community living. Additional topics of this dimensionincluded the earth-based psychology of process work, council of all beingsand the composition of an EDE community song.The Environmental dimension contained new ecovillage design elements ap-propriate to Japan (e.g. the Japanese mountain ecovillage) and adjusting toJapan’s unique bioregional and living conditions.The Earthquake disaster was a huge event in the lives of all participants andstaff, producing an environment which has changed our lives and psychologyalike. Our connection as a community has become deeper by sharing ourhearts with each other in meetings held independently.While revival of community, society and economy in Japan is on the fore-front everywhere in Japan, how the EDE presents the necessity of commu-nity and keeps answering the needs of society, in areas suffering and siteswhich need revival, is one of the big topics challenging us as we come tocompletion of this EDE. 15
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2 Italy EDE: 2nd April – 1st May 2011 Italy’s First EDE is hosted by Damanhur Ecovillage Macaco Tamerice This year the first ‘Italian’ EDE was held at Damanhur from April 2nd to May 1st, 2011. It was a truly international course with 27 participants coming from 18 different countries, including Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, China, Russia, Morocco, Ukraine, Canada, USA and many other European countries. The diversity was enriched by the different age groups represented. Ten participants were under 27 (the three youngest being 19 years old), while the oldest participants were over 60. The course was facilitated by two EDE veterans (Kosha Anja Joubert and Martin Stengel) and myself. Many Damanhurian guest speakers and facilitators came in to share and inspire, amongst which was Lemming Cactus for the economic dimension. The course offered a great and very holistic learning adventure. Living together with 26 other people for four weeks in a confined environment accelerated social learning opportunities. The good organic food cooked by loving chefs helped to keep positive energies high while the weather and exploding spring flowers added their part: the sun was shining almost throughout the course with temperatures for April unusually summery. The four dimensions were interwoven, as was theory and practice. Participants had the opportunity to visit Damanhur, the Temples and different nucleos (the more intimate Damanhurian communities in which 15-25 people live). There was a field trip to showcase Damanhurian social 16
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2and political interaction with ourdirect environment (bioregion); asocial experiment in the woods;hands-on growing of organic food;and the building of a strawbalehouse, grounding what participantshad learnt.Meditations, singing, dancing andsharing were an integral part of oureveryday group process, creatingthe platform for a dense emotionallearning experience where newknowledge and personal growthwent hand in hand.Thanks to the inspiration of thecourse, many participants intendto implement their own projects intheir countries. A mailing list and afacebook page were created to stayin contact and continue our fruitfulexchange. During the course a com-mon project (GEN4EST) was createdand a group will come to the GEN-Europe conference in Tamera in July2011 to present it. Several of theparticipants are hoping to run EDEsin their countries next year. 17
  • Gaia education Geeseinformation 2011/2Upcoming EDEs Certified and Re-certifiedAround the World ProgrammesThe 2010/2011 UOC Online Pro- y Céu do Mapiá, Amazongramme and Gaia Curitiba EDE com- y EDE Lilleoru MTÜplete at the end of June. & Estonian Ecovillage NetworkIsrael’s Kibbutz Hukuk, Spain’s Son y EDE BahiaRul-lan and Brazil’s Terra Una Eco- y EDE Findhornvillage and Gaia Brasilândia EDEsare currently under way. y EDE Huehuecoyotl y Living Routes – Lotan, IsraelThe final sessions of the Japan EDE Céu do Mapiáhave been postponed and the EDE y Living Routes – Auroville, Indiawill now complete in July. y Living Routes – Findhorn, ScotlandEcoaldea Huehuecoyotl, Tepoztlán,Morelos, México9th – 24th July, Ecobairro Salvador22nd July 2011 – 4th December GaiaBrazil, Gaia Rio education4th August – 27th November 2011 The Park, Forres IV36 3TZ Morayshire, Scotland United KingdomGermany, Sieben Linden administrator@gaiaeducation.net12th August – 11th September 2011 phone: +44 1309 Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in Scotland No 353967Scotland, Findhorn Scottish Charity No SC0408391st – 28th October 2011 18