After 5 months of online meetings with the You(th) for Climate Ambition Delegation, it was finally there:: The European Youth Event at the Parliament in Strasbourg. On June 1 & 2 I was honored to represent Suderbyn, Ecolise and CAN Europe to speak up about sustainability and climate change. For 11 days I had been traveling from Suderbyn to Strasbourg. Our delegation challenged each other to have a low carbon footprint going to the event. So to reduce my carbon footprint, I avoided flying and went by ferry from Visby to Stockholm, by Flixbus to the Netherlands, and for the last 600 km I biked 8 days to arrive on May 31 in Strasbourg, France.
Pizza and getting to know each other
It was magical to meet everyone in real life since we only had been in contact online before. Sharing stories of the organizations we all represent while having (in my case vegan) pizza: a great pre-start of the event. Next day at 7:30 we had to check in our group: 20 young people from 17 different European countries and representing organizations on climate change and sustainability. Together with more than 8000 young people and 400 activities, the EYE was about to start!
The You(th) for Climate Ambition Delegation!
The dry toilets outside of the European Parliament made me feel like home in Suderbyn ;)
SDG Quiz, Burning Question and Battle of Ideas
The first activity I joined, together with Niall and Laura from my delegation, was the Sustainable Development Goals and young people: Time to change the world! Having been involved in Erasmus+ the youth exchanges Yes To Sustainability as a participant and as a youth leader, I was curious to hear how the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) was dealing with challenges to engage young people in sustainability. Their experience: make it fun! We were mixed and put in teams of 5 to test our knowledge in a UN Sustainable Development Goals Quiz via www.kahoot.com, indeed a fun way to involve young people with SDGs.
In the afternoon it was time to get on stage during the poetry slam. Battle of Ideas: Man vs Machine. At first, I felt quite confident about my contribution, but when I saw the quality of poems from the other participants I was feeling a bit shaky. Truly well written poems and great performances. In my view, the best poem from a British artist, won. Soon they will all be online to read. I felt humbled to be among many talented young people. It was awesome to share my poetry in front of an intimate audience of about fifty spectators, including support of my delegation.
After the poetry slam, our delegation gathered at the discussion around “The Burning Question: Should Europe take the lead on Climate Action?”An audience filled with young people passionate about sustainability, the answer in this room was a clear YES. To what degree, and in whose mother tongue we should speak wasn’t that clear and that it is important to motivate people less engaged with the topic, was applauded loudly. All ideas were written down by the EYE reporters for the final report going to all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). A great deal of our delegation was joining the discussion and stayed around for the science slam to support Rosaria Pileci, an Italian PhD in Environmental Chemistry of our delegation who shared her scientific findings on air pollution.
Left: “Sustainable Development Goals and young people: Time to change the world!”, organized by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)
Right: “the Burning question: Should Europe take the lead on climate action?”
Sustainable cities & Facebook live
During my morning workshop on sustainable cities on the second day, a participant from Turkey told me he knew me from the Instagram post on the @EP_EYE account. It felt good to receive feedback on my bike trip and my day couldn’t get better when I received a button saying INSPIRATIONOF THE DAY from a German youth organization that also joined the sustainable cities workshop.
In the afternoon, together with Zanna, Elias set up a Facebook livestream to report live from the European Parliament. AFter that, we were interviewed by the Forum Of European Muslim Youth And Student Organisations for a project Humans of the EYE.
Photo taken by Forum Of European Muslim Youth And Student Organisations
The closing ceremony in the Hemicycle was an awesome finish of the intense two-day event. After a Mexican wave and some singing, the Vice-President of the European Parliament Ramón Luis Valcárcel held a passionate speech: “You are the children of a modern, democratic and open Europe”. Equally passionate were the burning questions to the Vice-President from the young people in the MEP seats. Questions on hot topics such as the situation in Catalunya, Brexit, Trump, the refugee crisis and the power of multinationals. The Vice-President in turn, shared his views and the views of the Parliament on these challenges for Europe.
After a last glimpse of the Parliament, our delegation continued with our own closing ceremony. This started with vegan burgers at Velicious, which I would definitely recommend if you are ever in Strasbourg, and developed into a fun Karaoke night. “I bless the rains down in Africaaa” and “I’m walking awaaay”, were still singing in my head the next day!
To conclude, it was a unique event. I was impressed by the diversity, inspired by the bright ideas and questions of fellow participants and fellow delegates taking serious climate actions. Overall, I am grateful for the new connections with young Europeans passionate about sustainability and concerned about the future of Europe.
წარმოუდგენელია მიდიოდე ასტრიდ ლინდგრენის სამყაროში და შენი თავგადასავალი არ გავდეს ზღაპარს. ყველაფერი თბილისის აეროპორტშივე დაიწყო ავია კომპანიამ თითქოს სპეციალურად ჩვენთვის განსაკუთრებული თვითმფრინავი შეარჩია. ფრენაც შესაბამისი აღმოჩნდ
ხანგრძლივი მოგზაურობის შემდგომ, დავეშვით სტოკჰოლმის მახლობლად არლანდას საერთაშორისო აეროპორტში, სადაც ჩვენი მენტორი ლარში გველოდებოდა. დანიშნულების ადგილამდე ჯერ კიდევ ბევრი გზა და დრო გვქონდა. სანამდე კუნძულ გოტლენდზე გავემგზავრებოდით, ძველ ქალაქში - გამლა სთანში გასეირნება გადავწყვიტეთ. ბავშვობაში, კარლსონის წყალობით, სახურავებიდან დანახული სტსტოკჰოლმის მიმზიდველი ქუჩების და ყოფის გასანობად.სანახაობებმაც არ დააყოვნა. გადავაწყდით საინტერესო ადამიანებს, რომელბიც ცეკვავდნენ და კრიშნას სადიდებელ სიმღერას ასრულებდნენ. ვეწვიეთ შუასაუკუნეების და ხმელთაშუაზღვის კულტურების მუზეუმებს. აღსანიშნავია ის ფაქტი, რომ ორივე მუზეუმი დამთვალიერებლებისთვის უფასო იყო. შეუძლებელია არაფერი თქვა ორღანის კონცერტზე, რომელსაც წმ. კლარას ეკლესიაში მისულები დავემთხვიეთ.
ემოციებით და თავგადასავლებით სავსე დღის დასასრულს ბორანით გავემგზავრეთ კუნძულ გოტლენდზე ეკოსოფელ სუდერბინში, სადაც გველოდებოდნენ ჩვენი მასპინძელი სუდერბინის ოჯახის წევრები.
რთულიამოკლედაღწეროყველაისგანცდა, რაცთანახლდაამპერიოდს. ახალიგამოცდილება, ახალიცოდნა, ახალიურთიერთობები, საინტერესოადამიანები, თვითშემეცნებაესისმცირეჩამონათვალია, რაცუკავშირდებაჩენსთავგადასავალსდაცხოვრების დაუვიწყარეტაპსსუდერბინისთბილოჯახში, მსოფლიოსსხვადასხვაქვეყნისწარმომადგენლებთანერთად, რომლებსაცაერთიანებთერთიმნიშვნელოვანისამყაროსადასაზოგადოებისმიმართღიაობადასიყვარული.
თავგადასავლის პირველი კვირა გარემოს გაცნობის და სუდერბინის ოჯახში საკუთარი ადგილის პოვნას დაეთმო. ამავე კვირაში გვქონდა ქართული საღამო, რამაც მოგვცა საშუალება წარგვედგინა საკუთარი თავი და გაგვეცნო ჩენი კულტურა სუდერბინელებისთვის.
ამავე კვირაში აქტიურად ჩავერთეთ ძირითადი საქმიანობის პროცესში. გავეცანით მუშაობის პრინციპებს. განსაკუთრებით უნდა აღინიშნოს ორშაბათი დილის შეხვედრა, სადაც ოჯახის წევრები უზიარებენ ერთმანეთს თავიანთ განწყობებს, გეგმავენ კვირას, კონკრეტულ დღეს და ინაწილებენ პასუხისმგებლობებს ოჯახში მიმდინარე პროცესებზე. იქნება ეს სასათბურე მეურნეობა, ინჟინერია, მებაღეობა, საოფისე საქმიანობა, სოციალური პროექტები თუ ორგანიზაციის მართვა. სუდერბინელები ამ საკითხებს ინაწილებენ სურვილის და კომპეტენციის მიხედვით. ასევე მნიშვნელოვანია საოჯახო საქმიანობა მაგ. სადილი, რომელზეც ყოველ სამუშაო დღეს ერთი ადამიანია პასუხისმგებელი იზრუნოს დანარჩენების კვებაზე. ეს ის მომენტია დილის შეხვედრის შემდგომ ყველა სუდერბინელი ერთად, რომ იყრის თავს და გემრიელად შეექცევა მადისაღმძვრელ და დაუვიწყარი არომატების მქონე ვეგანურ კერძებს.
განსხვავებული და ნაკლებორგანიზებულია შაბათი-კვირა. ერთადერთი რაც გაწერილია, ესაა კვირა დღის ტრადიცია, საუზმეზე უგემრიელესი ბლინები ჯემით.
გოტლენდზე ყოფნის პირველი შაბათი-კვირა დავუთმეთ ექსკურსიას ბალტიის ზღვის სანაპიროზე მდებარე შუასაუკუნეების ქალაქ ვისბიში. ვიხეტიალეთ ძველი ქალაქის კოხტა და ფერად ქუჩებში, დავტკბით ულამაზესი ხედებით. ვესტუმრეთ ასტრიდ ლინდგრენის სახლმუზეუმს. ადგილს, სადაც დაიბადა ამბავი ჭორფლიან პეპიზე. ვეწვიეთ მუზეუმს, სადაც გავეცანით კუნძულ გოტლენდის ისტორიას. განსაკუთრებულად შთამბეჭდავია გრავირებული ქვები და ისტორია, რასაც თითოეული მათგანი გიყვება. სავსე დღის დასასრულს ვესტუმრეთ სუდერბინის ოჯახის წევრს, ინგრიდს და ულამაზესი ხედების ფონზე ერთად მივირთვით უგემრიელისი ვახშამი.
შემდეგი შაბათი-კვირაც თავგადასავლებით დატვირთული აღმოჩნდა, გამოვცადეთ საკუთარი თავი ველოსიპედსა და სკეიტბორდზე. გვქონდა საღამოს ფართი. შევიგრძენით ვიზბის ღამის ცხოვრების რიტმი. კვირა დღეს გემრიელი ბლინების შემდგომ კვლავ გავემგზავრეთ ვისბიში ამჯერად უკვე დამოუკიდებლად. ვცადეთ სტოპი, თუმცა მცდელობა უშედეგო აღმოჩნდა. მიუხედავად უშედეგო მცდელობისა ქალაქში მაინც ჩავაღწიეთ ვიხეტიალეთ ქალაქის ქუჩებში და მაღაზიებში. საღამოს ქალაქის მთავარ ბიბლიოთეკაში დავესწარით არაჩვეულებრივი აღალგაზრდა შემოქმედების კონცერტს. არ გამოვტოვეთ ბოტანიკური ბაღში და ბალტიის ზღვის სანაპიროზე ხეტიალი. ავივსეთ ფილტვები სუფთა ჰაერით სხეული კი ახალი ენერგიით. ეს, ძალიან მოკლედ ჩვენი თავგადასავლების შესახებ.
რაც შეეხება,უშუალოდ ჩვენს საქმიანობას ეკოსოფელში. სამი კვირის განმავლობაში,ჩართული ვიყავით ყოველდღიურ საქმიანობაში, რამაც შესაძლებლობა მოგვცა გავცნობოდით ახალ მეთოდებს, რომლებსაც იყენებენ სათბურებში და ბიომეურნეობის მართვის პროცესებში. გავეცანით სხვადასხვა სახის კომპოსტის მომზადების და ნარჩენების მართის ადგილობრივ მეთოდებს ნულოვანი დანაკარგის პრინციპით, ასევე გადამუშავების გზებს. განვივითარეთ უნარები, როგორ შეიძლება დაგეგმო ღონისძიება და სისრულეში მოიყვანო შენი ინიციატივა. ასევე, არ შეიძლება არ აღინიშნოს, საინტერესო ვორქშოპები და ფილმის ჩვენებები, ინგლისური და შვედური ენის გაკვეთილები და ვეგანური სამზარეულოს გაცნობა, რომლებიც ცოდნის გაღრმავებას, გაზიარებას და ახალი უნარების განვითარებას ემსახურება. შეუძლებელია არაფერი თქვა სუდერბინის ოჯახის თითოეულ წევრზე, რომლებმაც ინდივიდუალურად თუ ერთად უმნიშვნელოვანესი წვლილი შეიტანეს ჩვენს განვითარებაში.
ჩვენი სუდერბინში ყოფნის პერიოდი გავს ჩვენს მიერვე დათესილი ყვითელი პომიდვრის ზრდის პროცესს, რომელმაც სულ ახლახანს გაიღვიძა და ისწრაფვის ზრდისა და განვითარებისკენ.
As a part of the project "Growing leaders, growing change: Green city youth “, we had three unforgettable weeks at Suderbyn. Suderbyn is an intentional community, ecovillage and NGO involving open-minded people from various countries and cultures, located on the island Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea, working internationally for environmental and social regeneration.
It’s impossible to go to Astrid Lindgren’s world and not have your trip look like a fairytale. It all started at Tbilisi International Airport. The plane which was waiting for us was colorfully painted. Flying was full of emotions, because it was our first flight.
After a long flight we arrived at Arlanda Airport near Stockholm at noon. There we met our mentor Lars. We had a long trip ahead from the main land to Gotland. Since our ferry was in the evening, we had some hours left for museums and sightseeing.
Stockholm is a very interesting place for us. We met Krishna prayers, they were singing and dancing in the street. After walking through the old town Gamla Stan, we ended up in the Medieval Museum. An underground museum showing everyday life in Medieval Stockholm. Second, the Museum of Mediterranean culture. Here we enjoyed the treasures of ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. Interestingly, these museums were free for tourists. The most pleasant was an organ concert in the Saint Clara church. In the evening, we had the ferry trip to Gotland, where our Suderbynian family members were waiting for us.
It’s hard to describe these three unforgettable weeks. There were people from all over the world. They were connected as open-mind beings. During this phase, we got new experiences, knowledge and relationships. Here is a short summary of our journey.
First week was about getting to know Suderbinians and Suderbyn. To know our self, our place in this community. On Friday, we had a Georgian traditional evening with music, food and dancing, a good opportunity to introduce our self and our culture.
From the first Monday we took part in daily activities and workshops. Monday is a special day at Suderbyn. During the Monday morning meeting Suderbynians plan
their whole week. The meeting starts with sharing their feelings. In what mood they are, why they are feeling the way they do. Family matter is also important. They go over what is left from past week and what kind of work has to be done during this week. This is work such as: the building of a green house, gardening, social projects, office work and organization management. Then, these areas are divided into responsibilities according to competences. Every working day there is at least one person responsible for the lunch which takes place around noon. In the weekends this is less organized although every Sunday morning start with a delicious breakfast with pancakes and jam.
During our stay in Gotland, the first excursion was to Visby. It is a very nice town from the medieval era with colorful houses and modern shops. We visited Astrid Lindgren’s House Museum, where the story about Pippi Longstocking was born. We made a trip to the Gotland Museum and saw the fantastic exhibitions and history of Gotland. At the end of the day we visited our family member Ingrid and had a delicious dinner at her apartment.
The next week was full of adventures. We were challenged to ride a bicycle and a skate board. We experienced a night out in Visby, feeling the rhythm of Visby nightlife. On Sunday we decided to go to Visby hitchhiking. It seems that Swedish drivers are not as easy going as Georgian drivers, but still we made it. We took some photos and closed the day attending a concert in the Almedalen library.
During these three weeks we have been actively involved in the community life. Taking part in organic farming and green house management were new experiences to us. We gained knowledge on composting and about recycling, upcycling, workshops and vegan cooking. Pati hosted an Acro-Yoga workshop. And we improved our skills in English, project management and many informal guidelines, that will be helpful for the implementation of our project.
These three weeks are a bit like the growing of tomatoes, which we have planted here. It was sprouted and has enhanced the desire of growing and improving skills.
Looking at that photo I am thinking about fancy and trendy term of 'personal empowerment' and what it actually means.
Just a few days ago our beloved interns came back from a training with interns from other places. Our 1-year program is to build up a long-list of their competences and skills – including meta-competences such as leadership, creativity, critical and system thinking, etc, and that sophisticated 'personal empowerment'. In formal applications for grants we describe it as 'young people learning to be active agents of their own life and of local and global society'. But in fact we do not speak about it much on a daily basis. We "just" live, work and build the community in a way that young people are encouraged to take the responsibility, to initiate, to feel accepted and loved as they are, to unfold in their qualities –
the qualities which have been often pressed down by the society's boxes. Unlike in other places, it is not residents telling volunteers what to do, but us together walking the path. We might be doing mistakes on that path, but it will be our collective mistakes – bringing us closer. We might slow down the development of the place – but on the way discover so many new things, our weaknesses and strengths, and learn how to accept them and bring to the world around. This is what for me 'personal empowerment' is.
Young people come to us from so many different countries, under different programs, scholarship and personal initiatives. Many come through financed by Erasmus+ program EVS – European Voluntary Service, which is worth to explore for all under 30. In Sweden it is supported and managed by Myndigheten för ungdoms- och civilsamhällesfrågor, MUCF. This year the EVS training where our interns went was especially cool as, besides our EVSs, even two of volunteers in other places also firstly have walked "Suderbyn path". Big extended family, taking responsibility for their life.
After Robert and me arrived at Tbilisi Airport in the afternoon on the 4th of January, we went to the International Scout Centre Rustavi (ISCR). First thing that impressed us positively were the number of solar panels that have been planted right in front of the airport’s entrance. Secondly, a bit more disappointing was that the traffic was quite a bit more interactive from what we were used to, as in a less clear division of driving lanes causing us the shivers. After we were assigned to our room, we went to the main building where the Contact Making Session was kicked off with information about Georgian Youth for Europe (GYE) and the ISCR, name games and getting to know each other.
The International Scout Centre Rustavi (ISCR)
Friday it was presentation day! Presenting Relearn and Suderbyn was fun and it was challenging to put it all on one paper. But even more challenging, the candidates had to present themselves and their municipalities in a pitch. Within the Kvemo Kartli province, there are 7 municipalities that the candidates represent. Next to Rustavi, there is Bolnisi, Marneuli, Gardabani, Dmanisi, Tsalka and Tetri Tskaro. Such diversity! Similarly, in the organizations. For example there was the Latvian organization Radi Vidi Pats that takes initiatives to make bicycling more attractive by making so called FreakBikes. The other organizations Bison, from Latvia, Sende from Spain, Grüner Grasshalm and Trial&Error from Germany all had an interesting story and a clear connection to sustainability aswell.
Friday night, there was the Tasty Quiz! In this quiz, a couple consisting of a Georgian and a foreigner could taste typical food and guess what and wherefrom the food was. The evaluation showed us the difference and similarities in food culture. For example, the interesting discussion whether Apple juice is typical German or that it could be considered typical Georgian too. To our delight, the Swedish foodstuff was popular too. The Finnerödja Tranbär juice, Salto Råg Knäckebröd, home-made äppelmos and hazelnut-cacao paste were all received very well.
Lars and Robert presenting Relearn & Suderbyn
Saturday, we started off with the matchmaking interviews. The first interview was with Baiko and Pati. Although we had some other pleasant matchmaking interviews afterwards, we were happy that Baiko and Pati chose NGO Relearn & Suderbyn! During the evening out in Tbilisi we enjoyed a Christmas dinner in a restaurant with a singing and dancing show included. After dinner, we went up to the top of a hill and had a stunning view of Tbilisi by night.
To celebrate the matchmaking, the following morning, we went to the municipality of Tetri Tskaro and were treated with a tour in and around the area. We went to see some projects that Baiko and Pati had been working on, such as painting their bus stops and planting trees. Furthermore, we went to the history museum of Tetri Tskaro, took a jumping picture by the Algeti reservoir nearby the Trialeti National Park and had a delicious lunch at Baiko’s home, with home grown veggies and Jon Jolie! When we got back to the ISCR, we got some more information about the Erasmus+ program and non-formal education. Also, we were introduced to challenges and basics in conflict resolution. The day was closed with a nice game called Sustainability Passion in Action. Guessing what passion goes with who, was a fun way to test just how good we know the other teams.
Flying by the Algeti reservoir
The next day was all about sharing ideas on the exchange and planning the coming weeks before the exchange would take place. In the evening, interesting videos and clips were shared, such as clips by young Ukrainians taking sustainable action by the initiative Active YouKraine!
The last day was about sharing best practices and tools for easy communication and online sharing. After the final closing circle, it was time for the farewell! To conclude, I would say that it was a rather intense 6-day visit. It was just enough time to get an impression of Georgian culture, see some of Tbilisi, Rustavi and the Tetri Tskaro region. And of course, make plans for the three weeks exchange to Suderbyn in the first three weeks of March, which we are looking forward to a lot!
To be continued...
By Lars van Dorsselaer
GOTLAND - From 17 to 20 August Suderbyn hosted the No More War Festival. The Swedish newspaper Landets Fria Tidningen wrote an article on the festival.
Read the full article here
How can we build more social inclusion in the Baltic Region? How can we deal with challenges and struggles the society faces and how can we help each other?
SIBREC project funded by Swedish Institute and led by non-profit organisation Relearn Suderbyn brings together practitioners and researchers, community-builders and universities from Baltic Sea Region in order to explore together models and methods of social inclusion in communities and ecovillages. We bring closer to each other the community life and academic research, we collect information of needs and opportunities in the region, we connect people and facilitate the birth of further initiatives. Our question is how various communities can help marginalised groups to become an active part of the society and how we can mainstream methods from ecovillages to the broader society. We believe that the eco-communities have an immense potential to help socially-excluded groups, those who are often left aside. Our focus areas are wide: people with physical and mental disabilities, immigrants and refugees, children with learning difficulties, rural youth, burnt-out employees and other groups whose voices are often not heard.
We do not try to protect marginalised people from the society by building shelters.
A few of us from Suderbyn went for "winter holidays" as volunteers to the Greek island of Lesvos to help refugees and support other volunteers and NGOs working for that mission day and night.
We were part of RefuGEN -- the project of Global Ecovillage Network -- volunteering at two different camps: Pikpa (or All Together village) and Moria.
We share with you Leila Dregger's article as an example of why people move and how difficult their way is.
Two people from Suderbyn recently took a part in the UN Climate Change Conference, so-called COP21, the main global climate event of 2015 and perhaps of the decade. This post will not tell you about COP negotiations and the final agreement between the countries, as there is a lot in the media already — from twitter to BBC. This post will tell about our experience at COP21 and alternative COP which warmed our ecovillagish hearts.
>> The demonstration on 29.12: Police and Environmentalist
They stayed for the first week, setting up the ECOLISE stand, networking in Le Bourget and participating in a range of events: from demonstration at Republique to presentations by indigenous people in Climate Generation Area. Beyond official negotiations and unnecessary noise and crowd of COP21, Paris was hosting many wonderful guests and initiatives.
<< Suderbynians at COP21
What's happening in the ecovillage? What projects are we running at the moment? Here you can follow our work and find out about exciting news and events!
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