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The Green Group B.C 2009 > Gaviotas- A Village to Reinvent The World

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message 1: by M (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments The eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia, known as the llanos, are among the most brutal environments on Earth, an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, more than twenty-five years ago, an intrepid visionary named Paolo Lugari set out to create a village that could sustain itself agriculturally, economically, and artistically. He reasoned that if a community could survive in the Colombian llanos, it would be possible to live anywhere. The new village was named after the graceful river terns common in the area, los gaviotas.
The early inhabitants of Gaviotas soon realized that if they wanted even basic necessities, they would need to be very resourceful. So they invented wind turbines that convert mild breezes into energy, super-efficient pumps that tap previously inaccessible sources of water, and solar kettles that sterilize drinking water using the furious heat of the tropical sun.
They even invented a rain forest! Two million pine trees planted as a renewable crop have unexpectedly allowed the rain forest to re-establish itself. Paolo Lugari and the Gaviotans, in their quest to create a model human habitat, serendipitously renewed an entire ecosystem.


message 2: by Grégoire (new)

Grégoire | 18 comments There are many interesting things in this experience, including the fact that it happens in Colombia, where a kind of civil war is destroying the country for decades.

It seems to show that the most important thing is the will, as technology is already available. Err, not the will to go live in a Colombian rainforest of course - i mean, not necessarily. In fact, many eco-cities are ploping here and there around the world.


message 3: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments I think your right Gregoire, we've had quite a few so called eco towns spring up here in the UK, including one recently in west Wales that is going to be entirely self sufficient and sustainable that has been based on the more traditional ways of farming with small mixed plots and families working small areas of land for themselves rather than big companies working it for profit.

There was a similar issue addressed on Countryfile last night concerning wind farms and the many many protests that have gone with them. A lot of people seem to support green energy in principle but don't want it near them (the whole not in my backyard issue) and this has been holding up dozens of proposed wind farms both large and small scale, which shows how much people power (either for or against) can effect change.


message 4: by Grégoire (new)

Grégoire | 18 comments Have you ever visited such an eco town, Sam?


message 5: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Unfortunetly I havn't had the opportunity as yet but once the one down West Wales is up and running I hope to go down and have a look and see how successful it is. Are there any eco towns in your area Gregoire? If so have you ever visited one?

In my hometown there is a small alternative technology centre that demonstrates some of the techniques used in eco towns but obviously on a much smaller scale. That's good and as it's close to the town centre it's usually pretty busy too and it gets local schools to visit as well.


message 6: by Grégoire (new)

Grégoire | 18 comments I don't know any official eco town, but some places are quite famous for being alternative. These aren't really towns, rather some small communities of environmentalists and new age people with Elven names.

The most eco town I know lies in the Chapada Diamantina, a national park here in Bahia. It's called Lençóis and lives essentially of the eco-tourism. Unfortunately, I'm afraid its electricity comes from a dam or a coal plant, and its garbage just goes to some waste around...


message 7: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments They sound like quite interesting places, I think that's what a lot of people still image when they think of eco towns too lol

That's not good, especially if they're getting their money off eco-tourism. Do the tourists know this or are they led to believe that everything is eco-friendly there?


message 8: by Grégoire (new)

Grégoire | 18 comments I think they know it's not entirely eco-friendly and, as the city is not a big one, its impact isn't significative.

I heard about another project near Brasília, the capital, where they work with permaculture. I don't know about the community around, I'm not sure if they are all eco-oriented.


message 9: by M (last edited Oct 29, 2009 03:03PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Hilsner fra Kobenhavn !
Hi all from Copenhagen! Bonjour de Copenhague !

I have visited yesterday the Ecovillage of Hjortshøj. Ecotown is a reality in Denmark .






message 10: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Well it's good to hear that there are ecotown or sustainable projects going throughout the world, even if they not completely eco-focused its better than nothing.

I'll have a scout around about the one near Brasilia Gregoire and see if I can find anything about it and what they're doing.

Great info Michelle, I'm looking forward to hearing more about it :-)


message 11: by M (last edited Nov 08, 2009 04:57PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments The 250 residents of the ecovillage Hjortshøj, Denmark, have one goal: finding a sustainable lifestyle. Founded in the early 90 near Aarhus, and organized into groups of houses, the ecovillage follows the evolution of construction techniques, production and saving energy with a good dose of creativity.

In Denmark, in the eco-village of Hjortshoj near Aarhus, people are using new technologies and working together to carve out a sustainable life style. It all began in the early 90s.

In the 90s the eco-village concentrated its attention on building materials, but now it’s more about saving energy and energy consumption.

Two new groups of houses are being built in the village, including the first so-called passive house: it’s all green. The insulation uses woodwool up to 60 cms thick, and even the paint is organic. Annual energy consumption is drastically reduced.
They are hoping to achieve consumption as lew as 15 kilowatt-hours per square metre per hour, and are carrying out tests to see if they have got there yet.

The trees are felled every three years to provide heating fuel for the village and soon electricity will be co-generated too. Rain water is gathered and used in the communal laundries.

Pierre Lecuelle, one of the founder of the Eco-village says “The main thing is insulation. Here it is 30/35 cms on the roof, and 20 cms thick on the walls. Then there’s passive heating, I mean we must use the sun’s energy, and we have Trombe walls, which means that fresh air is pre-heated (by the sun) before it enters the house. And in the summer we heat all our water with solar panels.”
Pierre Lecuelle’s house in the eco-village uses 30 to 50% less heating energy than normal houses. It was built using rammed earth dug up as the foundations were laid, nearly 20 years ago. Energy consumption per square metre is around 60 or 70 kilowatts-hours a year as opposed to the 130 kilowatt-hours consumed by an average house.

Hjortshoj isn’t only a collection of eco-houses however. It is also a collective lifestyle. Everyone contributes what they can and and everyone reaps the benefits.

Furthermore this oasis of green living isn’t only for the elite. Everyone can join in. There’s a choice of building a property, or renting – privately or state-aided… since the beginning the village has been open to all social groups.




message 12: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Michelle wrote: "The 250 residents of the ecovillage Hjortshøj, Denmark, have one goal: finding a sustainable lifestyle. Founded in the early 90 near Aarhus, and organized into groups of houses, the ecovillage foll..."

Thanks for this Michelle, it sounds brilliant and is certaintly something we could all look to as an example of what to do and how to do it and the difference that a little community effort can make.

Can you give us an idea of the time involved in all this work, do they have 'outside' jobs as well or do they live off the land? Obviously they wont need as much money as they're not using as much power, water etc but it would be interesting to know whether they have community allotments and the like or where they get their food from if they don't.


message 13: by M (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Of course, Sam. I will report and ask all your relevant questions next weekend. I'll add some materials about the birth and history of eco-villages in the world.


message 14: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Brilliant, thanks very much Michelle. It will be interesting to see your response :-)


message 15: by Grégoire (new)

Grégoire | 18 comments I read an article in the Brazilian edition of Le Monde Diplomatique's Atlas of Environment, talking about an eco-city near Shangai, China. I'll translate it.


message 16: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Fantastic, thanks Gregoire :-)


message 17: by M (last edited Nov 06, 2009 04:14AM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Awesome Grégoire!!!
Sam, Grégoire, it seems that we are on the road at "The Green" group to create a village to reinvent the world:-)
But......What name could we create for that village?

Needed a Thread???





message 18: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Michelle wrote: "Awesome Grégoire!!!
Sam, Grégoire, it seems that we are on the road at "The Green" group to create a village to reinvent the world:-)
But......What name could we create for that village?

Need..."


That's an idea Michelle, I'll set one up and see what ideas we get back :-D


message 19: by M (last edited Nov 08, 2009 05:20PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Sam wrote: "Michelle wrote: "The 250 residents of the ecovillage Hjortshøj, Denmark, have one goal: finding a sustainable lifestyle. Founded in the early 90 near Aarhus, and organized into groups of houses, th..."

The ecovillage of "Hjortshøj" is a collective lifestyle, everyone contributes with its own skills, do what they can and everyone use the benefit. They live off the land and organize work groups.They have their own cattle ( cows, chickens) and organize works group like group's garden or else and produce their own food.
As I wrote in the report, this ecovillage, in the 90s, concentrated its attention on building materials, but now it’s more about saving energy and energy consumption.
I don't think that we could talk about the ecovillage "Hjortshøj" as a " community allotments". When I have visited it, I have discovered a village like a lot of rural villages that we all know but this one is an eco-village. All that they want is to live ecofriendly, saving energy and energy consumption.
And what I have seen is the basic principle of an ecovillage: " to not turn the Earth more than we can return it ", to respect biodiversity and humans as one of the dominant values of living in Ecovillage.
If you read the materials that I have added at the thread "Green Development", you'll discover the History of Ecovillage, the project and its values.





message 20: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 86 comments Thanks for this Michelle, it's good to hear they are living off the land as well. When I mentioned community allotments I was mearly using this as an example of how they may be producing food (used in other sustainable communities I've heard of) not implying that this it what it should be regarded as. It goes to show that with a bit of community effort a lot can be achieved.


message 21: by M (last edited Nov 09, 2009 02:57AM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) | 337 comments Sam wrote: "Thanks for this Michelle, it's good to hear they are living off the land as well. When I mentioned community allotments I was mearly using this as an example of how they may be producing food (use..."

"It goes to show that with a bit of community effort a lot can be achieved". I totally agree with your thought, Sam:-)
You made my day, thanks!


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