See the original article as posted on the Valhalla Movement website here.
Sirius Community is among the oldest ecovillages still thriving in North America. Timber-framed buildings, permaculture gardens, and sustainability activists have nestled themselves into this woodland oasis in western Massachusetts for over thirty-five years. Although humans have been living in community since before becoming Homo sapiens, the word “ecovillage” is a recent term. According to the Global Ecovillage Network(GEN):
“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 emerged during the 60’s to support a growing movement of groups of people beginning to return to living in communities that seek to care for each other and the earth. Today these ecovillages are often international hubs of activism, learning, and living. Their gardens are some of the world’s most productive sustainable agriculture sites. They are experimentation centers for alternative decision-making processes and economic models. In a way, ecovillages are tiny microcosms of possible future worlds. By achieving sustainability in full-scale human living settlements they serve as powerful models for the rest of the world to learn from. Sirius Community in Massachusetts is one of thousands of these inspiring ecovillages around the global (see www.ic.org for a community directory based in North America).
This April 24-27th Sirius Community will be the location of the 2014Youth Ecovillage Summit. An educational event, the Summit will gather together some of the most exciting activists, educators, and students launching the next wave of the ecovillage movement. The focus will be placed on learning about integrated sustainability, theecovillage model, and how to participate this initiative. Guest speakers will include pioneers from the movement who have founded long-established communities, to millennials starting their own land-based projects. Participants will also have the opportunity to experience first-hand communal life and sustainable design, as they work and dine with the residents of Sirius Community.
The is hosted by NextGEN North America, a youth-run organization committed to empowering young people to build the more sustainable world of the next generation. Founded within GEN International, NextGEN is creating a network of Ecovillage Ambassadors and Sustainability Educators, connecting youth with the ecovillage movement.
You can visit www.nextgenna.org to learn more and to register for the Youth Ecovillage Summit before the April 14th deadline. Help us join the wisdom of the old with the energy of the new – together building the more beautiful world of the next generation.
Nebesna Fortin, a NextGEN Educator in Canada, gives a presentation to youth at a local university. As part of her presentation, Nebesna tells about the ecovillage where she grew up and still lives, La Cite Ecologique outside of Quebec, CA.
(Only in French!)
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A NextGEN Project
(This article was originally submitted to the GEN Newsletter)
It has been an exciting year for NextGEN, the youth movement within GEN. Inspired youth from around the global have been busy connecting young people with the ecovillage movement and empowering them to build the world of the next generation. One of our latest initiatives toward creating this world is focused on constructing a locally owned ecovillage and education center in Togo, West Africa. NextGEN International Representative, Nick Joyce, is the young person organizing the project. “Through engaging visitors and residents in cross-cultural creativity and collaboration,” Nick says, “the ecovillage in Togo will become a thriving model for sustainable community development throughout the Global South.” As a continent marked by the wounds of colonialism and misguided development aid, Africa, as well as the rest of the world, stands to benefit from this powerful model for change and a better future.
Nick’s project is called InTerraTree. The name was derived from the French word “inter-etre,” or interbeing, signifying the interconnectedness of all phenomena that InTerraTree seeks to help individuals better understand. Nick describes how the project was originally inspired by the model of his Togolese partner organization, Centre Des Hommes, the group that will operate the completed center in order to ensure that needs of the local community are the priority.
InTerraTree will consist of two main components:
1. An ecovillage, where the members of Centre Des Hommes can live together in a consciously designed community, continuing to maintain local cultural identity while integrating innovative technologies to make their lives more sustainable, as well as teaching and sharing their practices with the larger local community.
2. An ecolodge, where visitors stay in a culturally immersive environment and are able to experience and learn from the vibrancy of local culture while lending a helping hand and sharing their own knowledge and stories.
Nick Joyce has launched an online crowd-funding campaign to raise money to buy the first hectare of land for the project, as well as to plant a garden and set up Internet and phone access for the site. He hopes to raise $10,000 by the end of January 2014. You can support this important NextGEN project by visiting: valhallamovement.com/InTerraTree. Depending on the size of your contribution you will receive rewards ranging from hand-made traditional African crafts to an ecovillage retreat vacation and personal drum lessons. With a donation of $1,000 you will secure a spot on an educational ecotourism trip to the site in Togo, West Africa. The focus of the July trip will be on cultural immersion, sustainability education, and implementing on-the-ground solutions at InTerraTree.
- Is something inspiring happening in your community?