Ecovillages - Models for Sustainability

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Ecovillages - Models for Sustainability

  1. 1. ECOVILLAGES Models for Sustainability Presented by Pham Thuy Duong Hue, 17.05.2016
  2. 2. Outline 2  Introduction  The Holistic Approach to Sustainability  Ecovillages - Sustainability in Practice  Challenges to Ecovillages  Conclusions
  3. 3. Introduction
  4. 4. 4 • Ecovillages are communities of people drawn together by the common goal of living more sustainably. • Ecovillages are exploring sustainable life styles not only in environmental but also in social, economic and spiritual terms. • “An ecovillage is an intentional or traditional community using local participatory processes to holistically integrate ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability in order to regenerate social and natural environments” (GEN). What is Ecovillage?
  5. 5. Background • Eco-centered communities started forming in the 1960s and 1970s (environmental movement).  The choice and commitment to reverse the gradual disintegration of supportive social/cultural structures and destructive environmental practices on our planet. 5
  6. 6. Background • 1991: Robert Gilman and Diane Gilman wrote "Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities" for Gaia Trust. • 1995: the first ecovillage conference took place in Findhorn, Scotland.  After that conference, many intentional communities began calling themselves “ecovillages”, giving birth to a new movement: the Global Ecovillage Network. 6
  7. 7. Ecovillages around the World 7 (Source: GEN)
  8. 8. The Holistic Approach to Sustainability
  9. 9. 9Source: GENI
  10. 10. 10
  11. 11. 11 “In order to understand what’s behind our sustainability challenges, we need to step back and look at the big picture, see the connections, identify the root causes of our problems and find the leverage points for change.” (Baxter et al. 2009).
  12. 12. 12 Systems View of Life
  13. 13. All is One Our interconnection & interdependence 13 • Life itself is made up of complex and interdependent systems. • When one key element of a system in our lives changes, it simultaneously affects many other elements in our lives. • Unity through Diversity “We are merely a strand in the web of life. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves”
  14. 14. Whole Systems Vision • Appreciation of Nature as a symbol of Integrity, Stability and Beauty. • Celebrating Complexity and respect Diversity. • A holistic approach encourages us to see the “whole” - the bigger picture, so that we can structure more effective, efficient and creative system solutions. 14
  15. 15. Whole Systems Vision • At the system level, the overwhelming force in nature is cooperation (symbiosis), not competition. • Seeing the big picture helps us to understand and act upon the interconnectedness of all things and to operate in harmony with others and with nature. 15
  16. 16. The Earth Charter Values and Principles for a Sustainable Future  Respect and Care for the Community of Life  Ecological Integrity  Social and Economic Justice  Democracy, Nonviolence and Peace Earth Charter Initiative: http://earthcharter.org 16
  17. 17. Dimensions of Sustainability 17 GEN embraces a holistic approach to sustainability encompassing the Social, Cultural, Ecological and Economic dimensions of human existence.
  18. 18. Spiritual Values 18  Spiritual values are essential as an inner guiding light which helps us: • to develop our worldview, • to seek wisdom of truth and wholeness, • to find meaning of our existence • to connect with a greater transcendent reality. “Justice and compassion spring from the hearts of people who recognize our profound interdependence and interrelatedness with one another and the Earth” (Lamborn).
  19. 19. Spiritual Values 19 • Spiritual connection is the basis for love, compassion and community. • Our desire to deeply connect can be the most powerful force for good. • The virtues of justice, service and compassion can motivate us to address our social and environmental challenges and to build a world of peace and harmony.
  20. 20. Ecovillages Sustainability in Practice
  21. 21. The Social Dimension Ecovillages are communities in which people feel supported by and responsible to those around them. They provide a deep sense of belonging to a group. 21 • A common goal • Trust arises through Transparency • Free expression • Social inclusion • Providing mutual aid • Respecting Diversity
  22. 22. The Social Dimension Leadership structure and grassroots democracy The role model for decision making in a community is no longer the Pyramid, but the Circle.  Participatory decision making 22  Grassroots democracy requires mature people with leadership qualities, so that responsibility can truly be shared.
  23. 23. The Cultural/Spiritual Dimension Ecovillages respect and support the Earth and all living beings on it; cultural and artistic enrichment and expression; and spiritual diversity. 23
  24. 24. The Cultural/Spiritual Dimension  Cultural and spiritual vitality means: • Shared creativity, artistic expression, cultural activities, rituals and celebrations • Sense of community unity and mutual support • Understanding of the interconnectedness and interdependence • Creation of a peaceful, loving, sustainable world 24
  25. 25. The Ecological Dimension Ecovillages allow people to experience their personal connection to the living earth, enjoying daily interaction with the soil, water, wind, plants and animals, which provide for their daily needs - food, clothing, shelter - while respecting the cycles of nature. 25 Organic farming in Plum Village, France
  26. 26. The Ecological Dimension Ecology means: • Growing food as much as possible within the community • Creating homes out of locally adapted materials • Using village-based integrated renewable energy systems • Protecting biodiversity, nature & wildlife • Preserving clean soil, water and air through proper energy and waste management 26
  27. 27. 27 Symbiotic Development Model in Govardhan Ecovillage, India
  28. 28. The Economic Dimension 28 (Source: http://upstreampolicy.org) Fair, Just, Regenerative Economy
  29. 29. The Economic Dimension Economic Vitality means: • Promoting sustainable local economy • Social enterprises and society profit • Sharing and collaborative consumption 29
  30. 30. Challenges to Ecovillages
  31. 31. Challenges to Ecovillages • Lack of land and high land price • Lack of finance • The trend towards greater globalization  Limiting community access to and control over land, water and food • The trend towards greater individualism • The commonality of interest may not be sufficiently strong to make it effective as a collective body 31
  32. 32. Conclusions
  33. 33. • Grassroots initiatives. • Value and practice community living. • Not overly dependent on government, corporate or other centralized sources for water, food, shelter, power and other basic necessities. • Have a strong sense of shared values, often characterized in spiritual terms. • Living manifestation of a philosophy of voluntarily simplicity and greater self-reliance. Ecovillage - Living Models for Sustainability 33
  34. 34. 34 Creating a culture of sustainability which cherishes values of tolerance, love, care, respect… is essential in empowering and transforming community towards a sustainable future. Ecovillages – a Vision, an Ideal, a Goal
  35. 35. References • Collaborative Consumption http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com • Ecovillage – 1001 Ways to Heal the Planet - GEN • Ecovillage Newsletter http://www.ecovillagenewsletter.org • Earth Charter – Values and Principles for a Sustainable Future http://earthcharter.org • Fellowship of Intentional Communities http://www.ic.org • Findhorn Ecovillage http://www.ecovillagefindhorn.com • Gaia University http://www.gaiauniversity.org • Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) http://gen.ecovillage.org • Govardhan Ecovillage http://www.ecovillage.org.in • Jonathan Dawson, 2006, Ecovillages: New frontiers of sustainability, Schumacher Briefings • On the Commons http://www.onthecommons.org • Shareable http://www.shareable.net 35
  36. 36. Thank you for your attention! Questions & Discussion

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