There are many things to be worried about at this moment. Many things are to blame for the state of the world. There is endless economic growth that is eating up the resources of our planet year by year. There are hungry corporations that don't care how people and animals are treated just how the profit margin is going to be bigger next year. Advertising is trying to sell to you no matter what, at least you need to keep consuming. We in the western world live in too much. Others have too little because they feed us and our neverending hunger for new sparkling things.Than there are other powers that want that we eat unhealty food. Not to talk about all the gmo and pesticides that are used in todays agriculture. People are worried about so much. Instead of fighting against all those unjust things that are ruining our future, we think it is better to invest our energy and time in a positive alternative.We belive that an ecovillage is such a positive alternativ. Where the inhabitants have the possibility to be their own boss, not make a difference between work time and free time, because the work that you do makes sense to you. Where you can live in harmony with nature, take care of her and respect the laws of nature. You can eat healthy organic food, that you planted with your spirit. Instead of living isolated you live communal with other people. You share the food, the work and the joy. There is no need for superficial things, because everyday you are touched deep within your soul because you start to realize what really matters in this world. Like this we make our peaceful revolution. We show that another world is not only possible. But that it is also more pleasurable. Of course it is in a way a harder live. Because it is more honest. You need to take responsability for your own live. But you can have a clear conscience. Because there are no people somewhere else far away that live in factual slavery for your newest item. Or soils far away that being ripped of their live and starved to death with “modern agriculture”. There is a way forward. But this way needs to start with yourself. And afterwards you realize automatically which games are played by the power and money elite. Instead of taking a weapon to do revolution, take a spade and go and work in your garden. Everything that we need is already here. We just need to realize it.
Who are we?
The association “I ribelli della montagna” (the rebels of the mountain, the title of a song of the partisan movement against fascism in the second world war), is already in charge of a hostel in the Valley Veddasca with the aim of promoting environmental education and a sustainable tourism. This association wants to put in practice with this project the philosophy outlined in the introduction. To do this the association signed a contract “comodato d'uso” (free to use in retur for maintaining) with the commune of Maccagno to maintain the structures, farm the land, care for the forest and rebuild the two houses in to communal spaces.
Organization of the association:
-President of the association, signed the contract with the commune: Musci Giuliano
-momentary directory: Musci Giuliano, Luca Di Leo, Federico Parini, Flurina Marugg, Emanuelle Machi
-Residents of Monte Venere: Flurina Marugg, Savino Armaterra e Marco Panariello (responsible for the permaculture/agriculture experience)
-responsible of the hostel in Lozzo: Luca Di Leo
Project Ecovillage Monte Venere
The project was born of the meeting of a group some time ago who was interested in the reality of ecovillages and the “ribelli della montagna”. The association engaged in the aim of ecological, social and economical sustainability and the project is a research and experience laboratory towards alternative styles of lives instead of the momentary socio-economic model of society.
The ecovillage is a place where people live based on the maximum of selfsufficency, in the way of fulfilling from the inside the needs of the members (food, education, work, artistical expression, spirituality, friends, relation with nature and animals). In this way the ecovillage wants to be a sustainable model, at the economical, social and ecological scale also with the use of renewable energy and appropriate technology, promoting the defense of nature and the local economy, biological agricolture and farming, responsible tourism and re-valorizing traditional activities which otherwise run the risk of being forgotten.
The participation of the components of the project is important in the decision making. The method used is the non violent communication method, where it is not the majority that decides but every decision taken should point towards unanimity. The social aspect is important in this project since it is an experience how to live more communal instead of isolated from each other.
The project is to found an ecovillage, with the aims already mentioned, in the locality of Monte Venere of the Comune of Maccagno, and with this the locality returns from being abandonad to being seen and lived by various elements, inside and outside of the village, realizing the opening of lands and the coltivation of the lands, the restructuring of rustici (traditional houses build of stones) which are at the moment not livable towards livable and usable spaces, the cleaning of the already existing trails and preserving Monte Venere from degradation and but it to live. It is more than a simple project since it involves also the lives of the people living in the ecovillage. And more than just a showroom because people are actually living like this.
Obviously the previous is a summary and in reality much more complex, but this will be seen in the practice. This experiment is born of the conviction that an other style of live is possible. A style of live that walks out of the logics of compulsive consumerism, proposing an alternative set of values and favours happy, gradual, programmed and non-traumatic de-growth. As well as growth in the quality of live, participation, interpersonal relationships and the possibility of becoming a complete human being living in harmony with nature.
Programmed activity of restructuring infrastructure
The two houses, owned by the comune of Maccagno, which are given to use for ten years, will be the focal point of restructuring. The restructuring will be modest and in the respect of the original state of the buildings. The outside appeareance will be maintained. Wherever possible technics of re-use, recycle and biological building principals will be used. It will be a mix of respect towards traditional building technics with the construction of modern technologies for the production of renewable energy (solar panels, fotovoltaico, etc). For these interventions the permission will be asked by the authorities in charge. Also to proof with a concrete example, that it is possible to live with a very low economical and ecological impact.
Agricoltural actitivities towards selfsufficency
In the first period already small agricoltural activities have been undertaken. With special attention towards the traditional local plants and coltivating with simple and natural methods (biological agriculture combined with permaculture, with only ogm/hybrid-free traditional variety of seeds that are otherwise lost in future and of course without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbizeds, pesticides, monocultures).
There will be gardens, small fields, fruit trees and a greenhouse for also producing in the invernal period. The residents educating themselves how it is possible to reach complete/maximum possible selfsufficency of nutrition, also using food that provides the forest (like nuts, wild herbs, etc). There will be also a space to conservate and trasform the fruits/plants to make them lasting also for winter. Selfsufficency is important because it creates an understanding what effort it is to be responsible for ones own needs instead of buying from a low paid worker in the south of this world who is being ripped of a multinational company that cooperates with the chemical industry and making soils all over the world infertile. For the needs that at the moment can not yet be met the residents will buy from the local GAS (contract farming with local farmers), to respect the “km zero” approach. Minimizing most possible transport of food and supporting local farmers.
There will be educational, artistical and cultural projects. With educational campagns for the schools that could bring children to Monte Venere to bring their attention towards the tradition of their territorys and to the environment in an interactive context. In particular it is already a “school in the woods” planned, in which there are various acitivities, that include various scolastic disciplines:
-local history: to promote the development of a correct knowledge of the territory and of the traditional ways of live, etc
-sciences: to know the area of forest through stimuli of the senses like rumors (sounds of animals, water, wind), smells, tactile (structure of leaves, stones), taste (products of the wood, e.g. Chestnut), to know the balance of our eco system, risk factors and what we can do to prevent the degrading of the environment (sustainable behaviour, organization of a day dedicated to forest cleaning, etc)
-ingeneering/architecture: in this part the buildings made by the project will be showed and explained like the self-construction of a compost toilet, a greenhouse, how to clean the trails, how to build a stone scale, reuse of water, washing machine chained to a bycicle, composting and the ecovillage in general.
The activities of the project “school in the woods” will be accompagnated by courses of ambiental educational for adults and a school of knowhow that has for the aim to initiate people at the discovery of professions that are being forgotten and show that in a country of longlasting crisis there are still things than can stimulate curiosity of many.
Regarding the artistical and cultural activities, there will be a special attentions towards the technic of mosaic thanks to mosaics made in the ecovillage. Mosaics can be made with natural materials or materials of recycling. At the same time Mosaics amplify the messages of the one and of the mulitude, like a choir that is made of various voices, like this mosaic is organized of more elements that together form one body.
Actitivities to promote a sustainable and responsabile tourism
Respecting the values of the project there is the wish to attract to Monte Venere a responsible and sustainable tourism that tourists and locals of the valley can emerge themselves in the story and the traditions of the agricolture of the mountains of this region. There will be signs and information in various languages to attract and difuse between them a spirit of love towards the soil and nature that nurtures us. Also the possibility exists that there will be a space where people that have the need to link themselves with nature and to experience the benefices at the psychological level as form of therapy. To attain those aims there will be constructed the necessary services in the ecovillage like shower, toilets, a communal and a sleeping room. Always in mind the core values of respect and love towards nature, economical de-growth, but personal, social and spiritual growth and a life in harmony with nature.
Time and ressources necessary
the project will be put in practise over the next years. The first step will be to reach selfsufficency of the food (agriculture, gardens, animals) and of energy of the ecovillage. Since the association is in charge of a non-profit hostel in Lozzo the funds collected by the hostel will be put in the materials used to rebuild the houses and infrastructure. The project is realizing itself basically thanks to the voluntary work of the residents, sympathisants and helpers from outside of the ecovillage.Slowly slowly there will be other productive, educational, artistical and cultural projects. Everyone will put his/her proper talents to realize the various activities. The principal aim of the project is the demonstration that the process of happy economical de-growth is possible.
Favorite sayings by some of the components of the project:
Be the change you want to see in this world. (Mahatma Gandhi)
A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality. (John Lennon)
This we know; The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know, all things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. (Chief Si'ahl, Namesake of the City of Seattle)
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. With a pink hotel a boutique and a swinging hot spot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charge the people a dollar and a half just to see them. hey farmer farmer put away the DDT now, give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees, please. Dont it always seems to go that you dont know what you've got til its gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. (Joni Mitchel)