Looking back at the National Networks Meeting in Pourgues, 18-21 Jan

Attendance & Trends:

10 National networks: Ukraine, Germany, Loes, RIE, RIVE, Swiss, Oasis, BelgEco, Sweden, Slovenia
3 Transnational networks: BEN, SEEN, WE
2 Meta networks: NextGEN, YTS

Many young and new faces as well as some elder network weavers, that have been somehow distanced from the network lately, were sitting in the circle in the newly refurbished attic of Ecovillage Pourgues’s main building. In the opening circle participants expressed their ”feels like coming home” feelings. It is always inspiring to reconnect with like-minded souls from the international sphere, and renew the feeling of purpose and belonging to a bigger movement.

The constellations exercise confirmed what we’ve already noticed:

GEN Europe is in a rejuvenation process and generational switch.

What are the needs of new coming generations? How can the network best serve the world at this moment?

News from the Network:

In the ”news from the networks” session we asked how many people are actively engaged in the network, whether there is any paid staff to maintain the network activities, what are the main funding sources, and what are the main activities the network does. We heard about the thriving and expanding of GEN NL, active and well-organized LOES, sleepy but awakening ERO, and dormant, almost non-functional RIE networks. Ukrainian representatives told us about how important the work of GEN Ukraine was during the war and expressed their need for more financial support. The land in Ukraine is now very affordable, and an invitation was shared in the circle to fundraise and buy the land so it will be available to people after the war is finished.

What was Alive during the Meeting:

After the initial mapping, and reports from GEN Europe with a presentation from Carolin about the new membership scheme and Dario about GEN EU projects, many collaborative open space and small groups were formed around different topics.

An idea of a GEN EU fund, based on the Cooperative Oasis model was presented by Johannes from GEN Switzerland. A working group was formed, that will explore further the legal options on the European level as well as map existing similar models in Europe. A small-scale partnership was formed to get this research funded. The results of this research will be a foundation for further development of the idea.

Another topic that caught a lot of attention was post-collapse abundance and resilience in ecovillages. The topic of collapse is delicate and needs to be addressed with care. How to address it without creating resistance or fear. We somehow agree that collapse is not about to come, but is already happening. It is important to talk about it and offer tools to face the consequences of it. Robert Hall offered to form a working group that would explore the role of GEN Europe in communicating this topic to wider audiences. Anna Kovasna shared about the Resilience 2.5 project, that is addressing exactly these topics and is soon going to start the second round. Click here to read more about the project.

Matteo who wore four hats (BEN, ERO, NextGEN, and YTS) held an open space table about the first NextGEN gathering, that will take place in Damanhur this October. Another area of interest was homeschooling in ecovillages, and legal regulations in different countries.

Conclusion & Invitations:

Overall we left the meeting with a renewed feeling of purpose and continuation in the younger generation. The network is kept alive through an exchange of information and communication. For this we need your input. Please make sure, that the information flow from you to your members continues, and don’t forget to let us and other networks know what exciting is happening in your country.

You are also welcome to join the monthly National Networks working group meeting every first Thursday of the month or to initiate your own working group. For more information on how to get involved, please write to membership@gen-europe.org

Article by Manja Vrenko & Pictures by Guillaume Couarraze and Monique Wijn

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