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Our vision - Gaia.org

Our Dream – The Grand Ecovillage Vision

We are one undivided whole on Earth and the healing of Mother Earth is a joint responsibility of all Humankind. The song tells us how we need to redefine our western worldview into a more holistic one and find a new vision for the future.

The vision is for all people to live in settlements containing all elements of society much like a holograph, where every part contains the whole. Plant and animal systems reflect this manifold/variety. Everything in the larger society and in nature may be experienced within walking distance by children, the aged and the weak, so that they may live full lives. It is a place where God feels at home and where you would like to return in you next life. It is a place where we live according to the values of the major world religions of love, peace and solidarity with all. Where we celebrate and respect 4 billion years of evolution on the planet.

As more and more fully featured ecovillages appear, we hope that the idea will quickly spread all over the planet as a morphogenetic field and restore the circulatory systems on all levels both in people and in nature. The ecovillage vision has its roots in civil society, in the subsistence economy, in the informal economy. It is thus a feminine utopia and a community utopia, saying: this is how we want to live with each other, our children, the elderly and the handicapped; this is how we want to live with the natural world, plants and animals. This is how we want to reinvent ourselves as humans. “We are not a collection of objects but a community of subjects” with the words of Thomas Berry. Economics and technology must adapt to that – not the other way round. In this way society can be structured to reflect spiritual and natural laws.

This grand vision contains three partial visions as follows:

The Social Partial Vision

What people most long for in the North is community. In the South 60 % still live in villages and have their social structure intact, but they are threatened by globalisation and urbanisation and in need of modernisation. A local community should be no larger than that we may all know each other personally. Participatory democracy and an open decision structure are critical. We want more, not less democracy. A place where being a kid is fun – where children may roam all over, without fences, without danger from fast-moving vehicles; where they may learn from just being, watching and participating. Cars are parked on the periphery. It is a place where you are an active participant throughout your life. Less may here mean better quality.

The elderly are highly appreciated for their knowledge wisdom and love, the mature for their strength and experience, the young for their enthusiasm and new ideas, the children for fun, play and hope for the future. It is a place for four generations. Couples will have better chances here for unfolding relationships – no guilty conscience about leaving the kiddies with an extended family nearby. There will be time enough for love, and plenty of jobs in the vicinity. Divorces will be less frequent and less of a catastrophe for those involved.

The Ecological Partial Vision

What people most long for in the North is community. In the South 60 % still live in villages and have their social structure intact, but they are threatened by globalisation and urbanisation and in need of modernisation. A local community should be no larger than that we may all know each other personally. Participatory democracy and an open decision structure are critical. We want more, not less democracy. A place where being a kid is fun – where children may roam all over, without fences, without danger from fast-moving vehicles; where they may learn from just being, watching and participating. Cars are parked on the periphery. It is a place where you are an active participant throughout your life. Less may here mean better quality.

The elderly are highly appreciated for their knowledge wisdom and love, the mature for their strength and experience, the young for their enthusiasm and new ideas, the children for fun, play and hope for the future. It is a place for four generations. Couples will have better chances here for unfolding relationships – no guilty conscience about leaving the kiddies with an extended family nearby. There will be time enough for love, and plenty of jobs in the vicinity. Divorces will be less frequent and less of a catastrophe for those involved.

The Spiritual Partial Vision

What people most long for in the North is community. In the South 60 % still live in villages and have their social structure intact, but they are threatened by globalisation and urbanisation and in need of modernisation. A local community should be no larger than that we may all know each other personally. Participatory democracy and an open decision structure are critical. We want more, not less democracy. A place where being a kid is fun – where children may roam all over, without fences, without danger from fast-moving vehicles; where they may learn from just being, watching and participating. Cars are parked on the periphery. It is a place where you are an active participant throughout your life. Less may here mean better quality.

The elderly are highly appreciated for their knowledge wisdom and love, the mature for their strength and experience, the young for their enthusiasm and new ideas, the children for fun, play and hope for the future. It is a place for four generations. Couples will have better chances here for unfolding relationships – no guilty conscience about leaving the kiddies with an extended family nearby. There will be time enough for love, and plenty of jobs in the vicinity. Divorces will be less frequent and less of a catastrophe for those involved.

A Global Civilisation in Harmony

Gaia a world in harmony

A global perspective is the starting point of defining our vision about the future. What kind of global civilisation do we wish for Humankind? Our response is that we wish to see a global society of independent free peoples in harmony with nature and each other, but with a diversity of cultures, races and religions that honor and respect the diversity of our common heritage. We ask ourselves, how can this be achieved in a society, which is moving in exactly the opposite direction – a society that is destroying the environment, diversity, harmony among people and local communities in the name of a misunderstanding of “progress,” as if the human condition can only be measured in terms of material things, and as if we had infinite resources to satisfy infinite wants. Today, we create massive poverty in some parts of society and massive wealth accumulation in other parts, which is unacceptable from a moral point of view since we are all interconnected parts of a single planetary organism. Under such circumstances, we asked ourselves how we could best contribute to a transformation of society in the desired direction.

We observed that vibrant, harmonious local communities are the basic building blocks of any healthy society, the very essence of what it means to be human. But such communities are being destroyed all over the world by the current economic system that ignores the negative environmental and social effects of its ideology. We observed also that our politicians will never be able to take the necessary decisions because their time frame is too short, and their obligations are to the same people who are causing the problems in the first place, and the people who elect them are for the most part concerned with their own, often formidable problems of survival, and not with the problems to be faced by their great grandchildren. Who does that leave?

It is at the grass roots level we must look if we are to expect revolutionary change to occur. The only real solutions always come from the bottom and work their way up. Fortunately there is a small minority that has the right priorities, the right understanding, and the courage to act in opposition to the dominant culture. They are many and they are found in all walks of life and in all countries.

One part of this minority in particular, we felt, deserved our support, because they were truly agents of change, and were getting almost no support, financial or otherwise from anywhere else. These were the grass roots people who not only shared our vision, but also were already actively working on the ground to create the models for such a new culture – the ecovillagers who are adapting their lifestyle to the needs of future society, living lightly on the Earth in tolerant harmony of all other beings. They were walking their talk, putting their lives on the line as they build a new foundation for a new culture.

Permaculture

Gaia Trust - Living and Learning

Permaculture is a very important design principle in a sustainable world where Humankind lives in harmony with nature. Permaculture design utilizes the naturally available resources on any given site optimally, and is relevant in all kinds of climates.

For these reasons, Gaia Trust has encouraged the proliferation of these principles throughout the world by sponsoring the first permaculture course in several countries in a “Teach the Teachers” program using experienced teachers from different parts of the world. In most of these countries, the teachers who were trained have carried on permaculture teaching locally.

Countries included in the program were: Peru, Belarus, Kenya, Senegal, Turkey, Cambodia, Cameroon, Hungary, Philippines, Ghana, Iceland, and the Bahamas.

For more in-depth information about permaculture, consider a visit to the websites of two of the ecovillages with the most experience with this design technique, including extensive bibliographies – Earthhaven in the USA and Crystal Waters in Australia.

See also the Resources section on this site.

The Vision is Manifesting

Gaia vision

That our vision is not pure utopia can be illustrated by much of the information on this site and related links. The vision is, in fact, slowly manifesting all over the world with millions of participants and with the wind of inevitability behind it.

Read, for example, the history of The Ecovillage Movement, the story of the Global Ecovilllage Network, more detail about the question, “What is an ecovillage?” and about the people who are making it happen in the illustrated book Ecovillage Living; Restoring the Earth and Her People. New educations teach how to establish ecovillages.

See more in the Gaia Education section of this site.