Friday, June 28, 2013

Communal Pathways to Sustainable Living

The three days of this conference on Communal Pathways to Sustainable Living has flashed by.  I have never been so inspired by the stories I heard and the people I met that during these 5 days.  I had wondered what it would be like to come to a conference where I knew no one and worse still, where no one knew me J!  I need not have worried.  By the time Day 1 of our Findhorn Taster had finished, we had already made friends with about a dozen people.  By the time the conference finished we had invitations to visit transition towns, eco-villages and co-houses across Europe. 

If all goes to plan, we hope to reconnect with Pam and Mark at the co-housing project in Lancaster, Kariin in the eco village of Sieben Lieden near Berlin, Jonathan, from Penzance in Cornwall where he is involved in the Transition Town movement, Freya in Vienna who is looking to inspire her fellow city dwellers, Nikos in Athens who has connections to the communitarian movement in Greece...the list goes on.  Yes, the connections we made were probably some of the most valuable outcomes of this week.  What is more, we have made friends with Karen, a professor from the US who will connect us with many involved in the eco-village movement in Sri Lanka where she spent two weeks conducting intensive research.  Lua may get us connected to the eco village movement in Senegal.  We are excited to have made these personal connections and friendships and looking forward to where the road will lead…

I have always believed that if you are on the path that leads to your destiny, things work out for you in ways that you might never have imagined.  There would have been close to 200 people at this conference and of course it was impossible to meet everyone, which makes this extra special.

The conference was very different to any other I have been too.  Perhaps that is particularly because of the spiritual energy, which also binds much of this group.  There is a strong belief in a collective consciousness that is imperative for change.  It is impossible for me to blog about everything I learnt and felt.  We’ve heard presentations on ‘Being the Change’ , the process of social change attributed to Gandhi.  I attended a workshop of Transition Towns where the 7 principles of transition to a life with dramatically reduced energy consumption was discussed.  We talked about the numerous ways in which local economies could be encouraged.  We watched a movie where a young couple from the US travelled for two years in search of their utopia.  I hope that as Steven and I travel to eco villages, transition towns and co-housing projects around Europe I can talk more about the detail as well as the challenges and wins of each of them. 

The conference concludes with a panel discussion.  The conference organiser is Graham Meltzer, a New Zealand born researcher who has spent most of his time in Australia.  Bill Metcalf, Steve’s supervisor was also Graham’s supervisor.  We had spent a bit of time with Graham during our Findhorn Taster experience as we volunteered to spend half a day helping him stuff conference satchels.  He has lived at Findhorn for 8 years now and his speech at the end of the conference was inspiring.  He has worked hard for 3 years to bring people from over 40 countries and speakers from about 30 countries to this place.  He puts up a picture of his newborn grandson and asks us to think about the future we will be leaving the generations to come.  I know everyone will leave Findhorn with a renewed pledge to continue working toward a more sustainable future.  

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