Robert and Alisa from Suderbyn went to Paris as a part of UN Working Group of GEN (Global Ecovillage Network International*) and as representatives from ECOLISE — the umbrella organisation for grass-root initiatives in Europe against climate change and for sustainability. Additionally, Alisa went on behalf of REALS which unites Transition Town, Ecovillages and Permaculture movements.
Unfortunately, the Climate March which was to be the main demonstration against Fossil Fuels and Climate Change, was cancelled due to the terrorist attacks in Paris prior to the Conference. Many people's actions moved to the virtual space: to blogs and online exhibitions. Some demonstrations were however hold, bringing together people longing for the change. For different types of change, actually, but in this space all voices were mixed in one massive protest.
Demonstration at Republique brought together all kinds of activists from environmentalists to left-wing anarchists.
Paris and Le Bourget, where ECOLISE and GEN stand was held, were crowded with folks from all countries and social levels, from UN delegates to civil society. A really colorful symphony, although with sometimes too fake decorations and sometimes too exhausting sound.
Why would I wait for politicians to bring the change to my local community?
What we from Suderbyn really loved during those days at COP21 is the "Alternative COP21", the fair of bottom-up initiatives and solutions for Climate Change and other crises the world is facing. A lot of ideas coming from the principles of Permaculture and social and environmental justice. This is where you feel the real change is happening, in contrast to the official Conference.
These are the easiest but functioning steps to the transition from oil-dependence and people's alienation to a new way of economy and society. The transition doesn't start in political negotiations, where half of the parties are lobbied with the corporations. The transition starts here, in the society, when people stop to support the existing wasteful system and give hand to each other. With no consumers, the corporate machines lose their power, with no power they lose their control over political actors. Simple. If you want the change, don't wait for someone to make it, just go for it.
Here is some taste of the Alternative, bottom-up COP.
To finish, we would love to show this picture from Place to B, the hostel and co-working in Paris where GEN delegation was staying during COP21. This map made of greens reminds that each action and choice we do locally and individually is echoed by actions of others. Together we shape what our world becomes.
* Have you known that GEN has the consultative status at the UN-Economic and Social Council?
Warm morning in the end of September, we woke up in Spanish Navarra.
We it is a team of people from 7 various countries, from 7 organisations working for change. We got together here, in a place among Spanish mountains, the same as we got together in Spring in Italy for a great and inspiring goal. Our mission is creating a holistic course for the youth. Our aim is empowerment of the youth to build socially, ecologically and economically sustainable world. Our approaches are fun, engagement, creativity and experiential practices.
This is the international project led by Suderbyn and supported by Erasmus+ program.
Partners from Sweden, Germany, Spain, Italy, Macedonia, Slovenia and the UK have got together for bringing to life the course which will be available for everyone, translated to 7 European languages and provided online for free.
The goal is ambitious — the course will be a set of tools for youth workers to teach the youth about sustainability from different dimensions: society, environment, economy and worldview. The same time the knowledge and enthusiasm of the those involved are strong which makes the ambitios ideas real. Working on the course each person in the team brings in her own experiences of learning and teaching, of engaging and being engaged, histories on personal transition and paradigm shift.
Suderbyn is the lead of the project ft first and foremost we all create the corse together, making sstainability edcation for all real. Here is the projects website and here yo can find more information on who we are and how we got together.
Why do we do it? We believe that youth:
- Are acutually aware that the current system is not working, that we need alternatives.
- Have the energy and potential to bring forth the necessary changes; in how we relate to each other and to our home, planet Earth.
- Need to be empowered in the areas of holistic sustainability, through the learning of actionable skills and knowledge.
And even working hard we never forget to have fun and take care of each other.
‘’But, if your heart really beats in unison with that of humanity,
if like a true poet you have an ear for Life,
then gazing out upon this sea of sorrow whose tide sweeps up
around you, face to face with these people dying of hunger -
you cannot remain neutral; you will come and take the side
of the oppressed because you know that the beautiful, the sublime,
the spirit of life itself are on the side of those who fight for light,
for humanity, for justice!’’
Suderbyn has always had many international friends, close relations, visitors and inhabitants from various countries. And they remember us and send best wishes :)
Here is the article about Suderbyn published on the webpage of Russian Ecovillage Network — a gift for russian speakers about the community's main features, how we live, what value, what difficulties face and how we overcome them. Enjoy if you dear to read cyrillic!
Do you know that our Suderbyn Ecovillage is located 2 km from the sea? Do you know that you can jump on a bike and in 10 minutes enjoy an astonishing sight view?
Beginning of October brought us the series of sunny days while the temperature is getting colder. The air is fresh and crispy and so becomes your thoughts when you watch the waves of the autumn Baltic Sea...
Find some breeze attached ;)
Have you heard about pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PHS)?
The idea is simple - when you have an energy windmill that produces a surplus, you can use this electricity to power a water pump and collect the water in a water tank. When there is no wind, or you have an increased demand, you can release this water though turbines to produces extra electric power. This is also called a "natural battery".
While we had the molds, which we used to build a biogas digester, we decided to put them to use again, and built such a water tower. We look forward to see the results our experiment will give. Whatever happens, we have a good water storage for irrigation! And definitely a new Suderbyn's sight.
What can Suderbyn and a suburb of Berlin have in common ?
Before being immersed into beautiful September in Suderbyn, I went to the 10-day training organized by SCI in Berlin. SCI is an international volunteering organization, founded after the World War I and rooted into the idea of peace for all. Now SCI leads the campaign "Climate for Peace" which focuses on the issues of Climate Change, Climate Justice and the ways of mitigation of the global threat (Tips: Swedish branch of SCI is located in Suderbyn!). I shared some of my impressions from Berlin with the Suderbyn family and we decided it is inspirational enough to be posted here :)
So, what can be common between Berlin and Suderbyn? Two days ago I would say "Nothing". "Inspiring examples of transition" I would say today.
I tell you only one little piece of what is happening around me. Yesterday, for example, we visited the urban gardening project Prinzessinnengarten. A former dump in the city had been turned into a mobile garden in 2009 by two inspired people with the help of tens and tens of volunteers. They started from making beds and growing vegetables but then began internal projects: they gradually built a local organic cafe, bee colony, funny worms composts, soundwall, biking repairing place, social place for work and meetings, little shop for gardening, free shop for stuff, irrigation system, bar for visitors, and much more, and all it is surrounded by the garden. Despite being located in the center of city life, the garden now is blossoming, it uses only organic materials and people from the whole suburb come either for communal work or just to have some coffee with a friend. A lot of young interns and volunteers work here, supporting the garden, making the place beautiful. The organic cafe using products from local farmers and also courses and workshops help to support the garden, pay the rent and provide materials.
I am very inspired when I see how people even in the city space transform the space around, changing their and others' life. Urban gardening is not only about growing food of course. First of all it is about social space, meeting each other, finding your community. It is about trust, people's relations and their inner conditions. And we have much more resources on the countryside for such creation!
This is just one small example, a little piece of transitional processes happening all around, like seeds of the future planted all over. Another time we visited transition neighborhood and our host put in a funny but clear way: we have had the oil age when we relied on the machines work, and it is not bad, it was the time for us to have more time, to do research and learn... now the oil party is over and we need to move to the knowledge-based lifestyle.
What scares me is that the majority of the population remains outside this movement, but what inspires me is how illuminated, creative and right the local initiatives are and how they spread around. People can do amazing things with their hands and hearts! Local initiatives can be seen small if we compare with the global scale, but they create such huge invisible net of awaken people bringing the change. This net penetrates the air: you do not see it but you feel how larger and larger part of the population becomes conscious, how projects inspire each other and how even in the most challenging conditions people do bring the change.
Local projects bring so much meaning into our lives, into our desire for the change of the current production-destruction-consumption circle. Local projects fulfill your inner aspirations, but being tied together in the global net they become the worldwide action. People are realizing it and reproduce examples of more resilient living. Thus, even coming from Suderbyn to Berlin, you can find places where you feel home.
Take your local action.
During the workcamp, we got a visit from reporters who were curious about our Puxin micro biogas digester. You can see the pictures and read the article on the news portal Helagotland.
And here is the article printed by Gotlands Allehanda on July 31.
It has been almost 2 years since the Simone storm destroyed the cover on our Geodesic Dome. Ever since, we have puzzled over how to make a new and better cover, as well as to adapt the Dome for more efficient vegetable production.
Earlier this summer, we launched our new Dome project, which would include restoration of the cover, and a whole set of sustainable technologies: a micro biogas digester - to produce energy out of food- and agricultural waste; Jean Pain compost - to heat the digester during the cold months; annualized geo-solar - a system that would store excess summer heat under the floor and return it back into the greenhouse during the cold winter months; and an aeroponics system for growing vegetables - to utilize the space inside the Dome efficiently.
A group of 8 volunteers invited by IAL and 3 courageous helpers from our sister-ecovillage community Arterra in Spain made a great effort in starting this immense work during a summer workcamp between July 15 and August 4. As a result, we have dug up the floor and filled it with pipe that will carry the solar heat under ground and lose it into the stone floor; built an insulation wall around to prevent heat leaving the greenhouse; and built the digester, which is now almost ready to be used.
During the upcoming months, we will post updates and pictures on the further progress.
We have started a new website! We will be constantly updating and improving it so that everyone could follow what is happening in the ecovillage! Enjoy and engage!
"Green Skills" started as a "Youth in Action" project under the European Voluntary Service (EVS) scheme, but has developed into a consistent programme for Suderbyn's voluntary service work.
The European Voluntary Service (EVS) provides young Europeans with the unique chance to express their personal commitment through unpaid and full-time voluntary activities in a foreign country within or outside the EU. In this way, it seeks to develop solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance among young people, thus contributing to reinforcing social cohesion in the European Union and to promoting young people's active citizenship.
So far the "Green Skills" programme has worked with 3 long-term EVS projects spanning 3 consecutive years, as well as educational courses where the experience of hosting volunteers is spread to other ecovillages and similar projects, so that they can start similar projects themselves.
As a by-product of the volunteer experience, an "Internship Handbook" was made where the most relevant volunteer services for ecovillages was described. The handbook is part of the Ecovillages project and has been presented in several ecovillage workshops around the Baltic Sea. The handbook will be one of the first things to be distributed through the Baltic Sea Region Ecovillage Network currently worked on in the TESTS project.
Green Skills I: Spring 2011 - Spring 2012
- 2 x EVS volunteers (from France) stayed for one year
- 3 x EVS volunteers (from Turkey, France & Italy) stayed for 6 months
- 5 x EVS volunteers (from Italy, Germany & Portugal) stayed for 3 months
- 3 x EVS volunteers (from Denmark, France & Spain) stayed for 2 months
Green Skills II: Spring 2012 - Spring 2013
- 5 x EVS volunteers (from Belgium, England, Spain & Latvia) stayed for one year
- 2 x EVS volunteers (from Hungary & Germany) stayed for 6 months
- EcovillageHost was held between 26th of July and 6th of August at Suderbyn. The project was part of the "Youth In Action" programme, and aimed to educate ecovillagers around the Baltic Sea about how to host volunteers in their ecovillages. Altogether 40 people attended the project, in addition to an IAL work camp about vegetarian cooking with an additional 7 participants.
Green Skills III: Spring 2013 - Spring 2014
- 2 x EVS volunteers (from Slovakia & Portugal) staying for one year
- 1 x EVS volunteer (from England) staying for 6 months
- 1 x EVS volunteer (from Russia) staying for 3 months
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!