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.
"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
Don't you mean Baltic? No, despite Suderbyn's long-standing work in the Baltic, now we are as well working in the Mediterranean. "Let's Do It" is a virally-spreading global initiative that started in Estonia 2008 and thanks the the Global Ecovillage Network began to spread and now encompasses 100 countries. Having got 96 countries and 7 million people to make waste clean-up actions in 2012, the movement turned its sights on more complex tasks. The visionary Rainer Nölvak, one of the founders of Skype, felt that Let's Do It could unify the 25 countries of the Mediterranean in a one-day action to clean up the sea and beaches of waste, particularly plastics, before they are broken down and get into the food chain. RELEARN Suderbyn was involved in the discussions and because only Suderbyn had links to the Anna Lindh Foundation, Suderbyn was asked by Let's Do It! to apply for funding from ALF to coordinate the Mediterranean clean-up 2014. The Anna Lindh Foundation based in Alexandria, Egypt has now granted 30 000 EUR support to the 37 500 EUR project. But the campaign is bigger than the project and its blog can be seen at www.letsdoitworld.org/mediterranean.
The campaign will encourage spontaneous bottom-up initiatives around the Mediterranean to clean the sea and beaches on 10-11 May 2014. A practice clean-up is planned for 13-15 September 2013 to test the interest and gain experience. The main event for the Suderbyn-led project will be to train NGO trainers from all Mediterranean countries in Alexandria in October 2013 in the methods of organizing huge participatory clean-ups using smart phone apps, internet-based mapping and web page registration of groups.
Transnational Ecovillages for Societal Transition to Sustainability (TESTS) is a project under the Nordic Council of Ministers NGO programme for cooperation with Northwest Russia and the Baltic States. The project is indirectly a result of the Ecovillages project and the common situation and needs realized by the partners and an effort for further cooperation.
An objective of the project is to create an umbrella organisation of the national ecovillage networks in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The national networks have started to grow and become formalized in most countries in the region. The idea of a transnational network has emerged from the recognition of the cultural, geographical and climatological similarities of the Baltic countries. With such an outlook its easy to see how increased networking and cooperation would be beneficial for the parties involved and in the end for the ecovillage development in the region.
Through creating such a network, the following are likely to be achieved:
-Increased sharing of knowledge and expertise specific to the region, boosting development and helping to prevent the repetition of mistakes
-Creating of a sense of unity and progress through the sharing of information
-The ecovillage movement of the region would have a unified voice and thereofore a greater chance to participate in international decision-making, especially in environmental issues regarding the Baltic Sea
-Increased possibilities for future joint-projects between partner countries
Suderbyn believes that the TESTS project has a great potential for ecovillage development in the Baltic Sea Region. The network could provide an infrastructure that increases exchange and mobility for information and knowledge between ecovillages. The Baltic Sea Region Ecovillage Network should be seen as laying the foundation to help the ecovillage movement expand and thrive.
Suderbyn has been a member of the Swedish Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) National Network since the ecovillage was founded. ALF offered Suderbyn a way to do outreach in the Mediterranean and work with sustainable lifestyle issues as well as peace-building in a conflict-prone region. Having presented Suderbyn at the ALF Forum of 2010 in Barcelona, RELEARN came in contact with the Jordan NGO Institute for Leadership Excellence (ILE). After many years of sporadic contact between RELEARN and ILE, the two NGOs finally succeded in getting funding for a joint project. The Swedish Institute granted 100 000 SEK to develop a Creative Force application. The RELEARN-ILE idea was to make a film about the environmental concerns that face both NGOs. It was originally thought it would be about water shortages in Jordan and on Gotland. In June 2013, Suha Ayyash and Iyad Al Jaber of ILE visited Gotland and Suderbyn to discuss a possible film project in 2014.
Currently the two NGOs are agreed to shooting catalytic film footage on Gotland regarding "community living" at Suderbyn in Summer 2014 with the ecovillage summertime and interviews of inhabitants focusing on the reasons for seeking community, the diversity of community, handling conflicts in community. Following this the catalytic film about "value of and diversity in community" would be created in Amman with sub-titling in Arabic. This film would be screened at diverse locations representing different audiences in Jordan and filming their reactions immediately afterwards. The final production with post-screening discussions and flashbacks of catalytic film would be screened in Jordan, Egypt and at an international film festival A return visit of Suderbyn to ILE and Jordan towards the end of November is expected to clarify remaining details before more funding is requested.
Suderbyn is partnering in the project Ecovillages for Sustainable Rural Development, an initiative stemming from the EU’s Baltic Sea Strategy, particularly its Action Plan for environmentally sustainable ways of living. The Ecovillages project is part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fun and European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument).
The project aims at helping our society to get closer to nature again and to develop new ways of living together on the land in a genuinely more sustainable way. This is especially important given the climate crisis and resource shortages that we face. The ecovillage concept is an innovation offering solutions to many resource, climate and social life problems societies of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) face.
Ecovillages are an alternative to the individualistic, consumerist and commodified systems that many urban areas represent.
The overall objective of this project is to develop more sustainable ways of living in the rural areas of the BSR by offering a toolkit for initiators and developers of ecovillages. An effective model for planning and implementation of ecovillages is also in development. The purpose is to disseminate knowledge between different communities living within the Baltic Sea Region.
The project results foster environmental sustainability simultaneously at local, national and EU levels. Through creating examples of organisations and intentional communities that are working and living in an environmentally friendly way, information and knowledge can be transferred to other locations and implemented by other organisations.
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!