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Ecovillage Design Education

The Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) is more than just a course. It is a transformational landmark or watershed for those who participate in it.
I spent five weeks in the spiritual ecovillage Findhorn in the beautiful Northern Scotland in October and November. I and 15 other participants from all over the world got insight into the core values of the ecovillages worldwide and their principles for sustainable living, both in worldview and practice. Findhorn was a magical place. We sang, meditated, wrote poems, read poems, told stories, made drawings, laughed, cried, hugged trees, plucked apples, plucked flowers, brewed wine, climbed mountains, sailed, looked at green buildings, dreamed, made huge plans, developed design projects, and celebrated.
We experienced on our own bodies and souls the central values of designing and living in eco-villages, and why it today – in light of climate changes and the overconsumption of the Earth’s resources - is more urgent than ever for humanity to make an inner and outer transition towards a more sustainable and resilient lifestyle. One solution is to move into an eco-village or to start up a new eco-village.Other solution is to show new ways to live, new lifestyle to other people.A renewable, sustainable life.
During the course, we went through the four dimensions of a model for sustainability developed by eco-villages all over the world: the social, the ecological, the economic and the worldview dimension. We developed design projects and got tools for participatory leadership and empowerment. We received transition training, about transition principles and methods for starting up new transition initiatives locally. Within the social dimension, we tried out how to create optimal ways to organize and manage communities based on sustainable structures for organization and decision making, as for instance sociocracy.
The ecologic dimension was about reconnecting with nature as a human being: about cultivating and living of the soil, with care for the Earth and all its creatures; about green design and green architectures; about creating change from the point of departure of one’s local community, where regeneration and conservation are core principles. This can e.g. done by social enterprise, a topic that was addressed under the economic dimension, which was also about localization, among other things: how to create local businesses, local food, local energy, local identity and knowledge, resilient local currencies etc. – how to change the economic systems so that they meet human needs, while simultaneously giving Nature’s ecosystems time to regenerate.
The worldview dimension was among other things about socially engaged spirituality. The EDE course in Findhorn foster, nurture and build up spiritual and socially engaged activists. In light of the recent COP22 climate negotiations in Marrakech, the eco-villages of the world are living proofs that the UN Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved. The EDE and the eco-villages grant hope to humanity, with their practical solutions to the enormous challenges we are facing as humanity, and with tested strategies for sustainable and resilient lifestyle in the antropocene era. So what are you waiting for? Join the global movement for a more sustainable future and participate in an EDE in a city or country near you!
Check out Gaia Education and the Global Ecovillage Network.

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