Ecovillages in times of global pain

A reflection from Aida Shibli, founder of Global Campus Palestine

For the last 10 years the community of Tamera, Portugal, has been supporting the emerge of local and decentralized models in the Holy Land: groups and communities that long to live according to the laws of nature, where the guiding principles are cooperation, unity and sharing. The Holy Land has been for a long time one of the extreme stages where the global pain is presented; one easily can lose hope and perspective when sides are fighting over land forgetting the holiness of life itself.

The core base of the system of war and violence is activating the illusion that resources are limited, and that therefore competition and fighting is needed. And here in the Holy Land we tend to believe this artificial scarcity, and play the roles of victim and perpetrator to the extreme. What can be the role of growing ecovillages in such times of global pain?

Ecovillages and resilient communities are places where we can model abundance, where the human being can slowly get out of the grip of the artificial scarcity that is imposed by the capitalist system, the system of fear and dehumanizing the other. The ‘othering’ disease is what allows us to create islands of happiness when the rest of us live in endless ocean of misery. What help is it to the world if another Israeli or European ecovillage is born, if only few kilometres from it there are places like Gaza with no access to drinking water and where the land is declared by the United Nations as not appropriate for the living of human beings?

Yet I believe that when people really create more ecovillages, then they will very soon come closer to the understanding that mother earth logic is beyond the human made borders. Automatically they have to move away from the othering phenomena and work toward unity. That unity has no duality in all aspects of life.

Farkha is a traditional Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank that made the move in the last two years with the help of the community of Tamera and the GEN movement to become the first ecovillage in Palestine. Now it is becoming a role model in Palestine for this change.

A team of 5 experts from Tamera had accompanied the annual Farkha voluntary youth festival this year and had the chance to work with 150 youth from across the West Bank who wants to know about regenerative lifestyles. Another 40 internationals were there to support the process and it was, as every year, a celebration of joy and conscious work towards a life that is worth living. We were able to build devices for sustainability, and demonstrate permaculture methods of growing food and harvesting rain water. In Palestine there are so many local knowledge carriers and there is a huge need for this knowledge to be passed to the younger generation. In the case of the villages in the West Bank, each field that is revitalized means another family growing in dignity in front of the machine of war and separation.

We invite you to join us in this work and visit us , rise for the sacred, and stand for what you love in life.

We are in times that growing hope and faith is the most needed quality of contemporary peace workers. Stay faithful to that vision, Faith is the active transformation of negative expectations into a positive vision and well-founded perspective.