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Asunto:[redanahuak] GEN - 10 años / Red Global de Ecoaldeas
Fecha:Miercoles, 4 de Enero, 2006  04:17:20 (-0600)
Autor:Ricardo Ocampo <redanahuak @...............mx>

To: Foro Nuevas Comunas <comunas@...> 
Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2006 20:46:38 -0600 
Subject: [comunas] GEN - 10 años / Red Global de Ecoaldeas 
 
Robert Gilman: The Future of GEN 
http://gen.ecovillage.org 
 
 
Robert Gilman is one of the midwives of GEN. In 1991 he, and his late wife, 
Diane, wrote the report for Gaia Trust, "Eco-Villages and Sustainable 
Communities," and then worked with Gaia Trust to lay the foundations for 
GEN. A former astrophysicist, in the mid 70s he decided that "the stars 
could wait but the planet couldn't" and shifted his attention to global 
sustainability, futures research, and strategies for positive cultural 
change.  
 
In 1979 he and Diane founded the Context Institute to focus on these issues. 
Between 1983 and 1996, with Robert as editor, Context Institute published 
the internationally acclaimed journal, IN CONTEXT, A Quarterly of Humane 
Sustainable Culture. 
 
 
 
In 1999, Robert was invited by the Findhorn community to help them create 
the New Findhorn Association. 
 
Today, in addition to his ongoing work with Context Institute, he is 
translating ecovillage concepts to the mainstream as a City Councilman in 
the small town of Langley, Washington. 
 
He and his new wife Lianna are also among the co-founders of the Langley 
Community Forum, an innovative face-to-face and online "open space" that is 
changing the character of governance in their town. 
 
Robert began by looking around the room, appreciating all the participants 
and fellow pioneers. He invited participants to take the time to "absorb 
what's in the room - we have a week to process it." 
 
Robert's topic for today was, Where is GEN now and where could it be going? 
First, however, he shared intimately about his late wife, Diane Gilman, 
appreciating her willingness to step into the new, to change, and to keep 
true to the essence but keep moving the form. 
 
He then moved on to addressing present day and the strengths of the 
ecovillage movement, some of which are that hundreds of settlements now 
describe themselves as ecovillages, the movement is better networked, and 
has accumulated a great deal of knowledge and skills. 
 
 
He referred to corporate globalisation and its coming collapse. He sees an 
opportunity for GEN to facilitate the new at a time when many people have 
lost faith. Some of the obstacles he sees are that the threshold to become 
involved in the movement is huge. Most ecovillages are based on new 
construction when the world actually needs retrofit. He also feels people 
are unclear about who they are in the ecovillage movement. 
 
 
 
Robert shared and challenged his own initial ecovillage definition which 
describes an ecovillage as a: 
 
*    human-scale 
*    full-featured settlement 
*    in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural 
world 
*    in a way that is supportive of healthy human development and can be 
successfully continued into the indefinite future. 
 
He began to tease it apart and suggested that we consider altering the 
definition in an effort to be more expansive. He looked at sustainable 
community scales: eco-communities/neighbourhoods; ecovillages/towns; 
eco-cities/regions. He looked at the middle level made up of: human-scale, 
full-featured settlements with fundamental yin supporting yang expression of 
its members, complex enough to be a microcosm of society yet small enough to 
be a seed point of a new culture. Robert emphasised the mutually supportive 
nature of yin and yang organisations. Yin organisations focus inward, 
supporting and empowering their members; yang organisations focus outward, 
accomplishing tasks in the wider world. 
 
Robert urged us to begin seeing ourselves clearly. Most GEN members are at 
the eco-community scale. Many are better described as centres of research, 
demonstration and teaching than as 'villages'. GEN itself is not a network 
of ecovillages, but a network of people with varying interests in the 
ecovillage movement, some of whom do live in ecovillages. 
 
 
 
 
He went on to describe his work in the USA in the small town of Langley, 
Washington. He admits he is in the 'belly of the beast,' but he's working 
with what is and effecting change from within the mainstream system as a 
member of local council. Robert pointed out that the civil society is weak 
because its citizens are self-absorbed. He is opening up the town government 
to more community involvement. And what he is doing by working with the 
people is welcoming forth the hidden ecovillage potential. Robert feels that 
improving the flow of communication, through face-to-face and online forums 
in a content-neutral way, reduces fear and builds the fabric of the 
community. His spiritual warrior has come out to deal with the archetypes. 
 
 
What's next for GEN? As Robert sees it, we need to broaden our scope without 
losing our focus, let go of 'ecovillage' as a defining concept and replace 
it with the term 'sustainable living in community'. He's suggesting what 
we've been calling the ecovillage impulse is limiting. We need to lower the 
thresholds for people to become involved and retrofitting makes it easier 
for more people to become involved. He sees a network that enables a 
diversity of approaches. He encourages a yin/yang network which requires 
those who understand how powerful yin organisations can be, quietly but 
rapidly accomplishing change on the ground. 
 
 
 
In closing, Robert invited us to celebrate the past 10 years by being as 
bold today as we were then and continuing to carry the spiritual impulse. 
 
I must say, by the end of this presentation I was feeling unsettled without 
quite knowing why.........I seemed to have more questions than answers and I 
certainly didn't feel any bold moves were being struck. What I also noticed 
was a distinct lack of young people among the participants and I had to ask 
myself who exactly was going to take this movement forward? In fact, is this 
what the younger generation wants and who will mentor them into the 
future?..........Perhaps all will become clearer as the week unfolds.... 
 
 
 
 
Recent Reports:  
 
7 October 2005 
GEN + 10 Closing Ceremony 
 
7 October 2005 
Young People's Coalition 
 
6 October 2005 
Ross Jackson: The Economy - There IS an Alternative 
 
6 October 2005 
Helena Norberg-Hodge: The Impact of the Global Economy 
 
5 October 2005 
Declan Kennedy: Urban Ecovillages and the Global Future 
 
5 October 2005 
Max Lindegger: Emerging Education in Ecological Design 
 
4 October 2005 
Ina Meyer-Stoll: Building Trust in Communities 
 
3 October 2005 
Will Keepin: Uniting Science and Spirituality 
 
3 October 2005 
Pracha Hutanuwatr: Asian Worldviews and the Ecovillage Movement 
 
2 October 2005 
Robert Gilman: The Future of GEN 
 
2 October 2005 
Gaia Education Launch 
 
2 October 2005 
Looking Back  
 
1 October 2005 
GEN+10 Opening Ceremony 
 
 
 
 
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