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27.10.2015

The 4th Festival of Ecotechnologies

It was already the 4th time when the Festival of Ecotechnologies was organized by Russian Ecovillage and Eco-initiative Union (former Eco-village and ec0-initiative Network). This time it took place from 7th to 10th August 2015 in Rodovoe kin domain village which is in Tula region not far from Borshevka village.

Traditionally the Festival was lasting for 4 days full of diverse workshops and happenings. The event  gathered together people interested in ecological lifestyle and green technologies, those who are conscious about their present life and the future of the planet, practitioners in natural building and alternative energy systems, organic agriculture and reforestation. It brought together people from countryside and ecovillages and urban citizens striving for more ecological lifestyle. Participants came not only from different parts of Russia but also from Belarus, Ukraine and even Cuba. During 4 days of the festival it was visited by over 370 people. 10 strands were holding around 100 workshops, seminars and other activities.

It is nice to note that the Festival was noticed by the local authorities. Natalia Tacheva, the consultant of the division of environmental protection and reforestation of the forest department by the regional ministry of environment and ecology, took place in the opening of the Festival. In her speech she warmly welcomed the participants and told about local initiatives for planting and reforestation.

Creation and development of small-scale sustainable communities became the underlying topic of the Festival. Each day the game “Creating community” was held at the main strand in order to give the participants a chance to try out community building process, which is not simple by far. What is the common goal of the community? Why do we need it? How to make decisions in efficient way? How to prevent and resolve conflicts? These and many other questions were answered during the seminars and trainings.

The theme of natural building was also very well presented. For example, straw houses practitioners disclosed their technologies. How to build ecological houses, how to create a toilet not hurting the environment and ecosystems, how to live close to nature without harming its harmony but rather making it better with our presence. Evgeniy Shirokov – “guru” of eco-building, vice-president of International Academy of Ecology, director of Belorussian UN centre “Habitat”, expert of Euro-parliament red-green party for housing – also visited the Festival. Evgeniy had 5 hours presentation about natural building and eco-housing; separately the workshops about house building were held. For those who wanted to try practical things, the playground became a construction side to make swings and climbing walls for kids, by using simple available materials. Super-strong ropes for the swings were made right at the place with – you would not believe – plastic bottles. Workshop about upcycling and recycling of the waste materials was run by Alexey Shirshov.

Practicioners and researchers shared their experience in planting trees. Cedars were planted right at the festival and Ivan Kulyasov held a practical workshop during which participants created an unconventional high beds with bushes and herbs.

A separate role was played by events about alternative education. A round table brought together teachers and parents from communities for the discussions about questions of education in ecovillages. A specialist from “natural school” run a practical trainings  with kids for English language.

The same as in previous years, everyday morning gatherings were continued. The first day all participants had an opportunity to get to know each other, the second day there were quick presentations of various projects, and the third one started with the open space, where the participants were discussing in smaller circles different topics relevant to the festival. There was not enough time however to present all variety of projects and ecovillages present at the festival.

Excursions in Rodovoe became one of the most favourite activities for participants. Local inhabitants were happy to share their knowledge regarding natural building and organizing of living space. And there was a lot to share! During its 12 years Rodovoe ecovillage gained experience in building and permaculture with Sepp Holzer. Also traditional log houses brought a lot of attention.

The participants found it very interesting to visit the place of Michail Kuzikov, who is Russian merited coach in Wushu. Mickhail was glad to share his knowledge about building high beds and straw houses, and later, as many were interested, he conducted workshops about physical trainings with the youth.

Each evening was continued with culture events. Dances of Universal Peace with Vlad Kirbyatiev and traditional roundelays with Katusha Rogacheva, bard songs and children groups performances and later fire circles under star sky… This year it was the first time when we set up a stage with sound and so culture program expanded to day time as well. “Sunshine Bards” were singing their songs which brought nice diversity into traditional setting of the Festival without microphones.

We also managed to address the topic of garbage and recycling in a good way – additional gratitude to Pasha Brens. Participants learned by doing how to sort garbage and care about the environment. “Trash” topic was also supported by a game for children about sorting garbage.

In parallel with the Festival the annual meeting of the Russian Ecovillages and Eco-Initiatives Union took it place in Rodovoe. Its participants discussed the results of the previous year and plans for the future. The Chairman of the Network was re-elected, now it is Ed Bychkov from Yasnoe Ecovillage, Leningrad region.

All participants noted the general atmosphere of unity and happiness at the festival. Especially we would like to thank the volunteers who put their efforts into creating and holding the event, its infrastructure and friendly, even family, atmosphere. The organizers showed themselves what “sustainable community” means.

The 4th Festival of Ecotechnologies became a new chapter in the development of the Network of Ecovillages and Eco-Initiatives. It showed how much we need such events and gatherings, it inspired many for new actions in favour of mother-earth, her present and future. 

Materials: GEN-Russia

Translated by Alisa Sidorenko

 

 

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