Gaia Trust Awards Five Ecovillage Activists
By Diana Leafe Christian
On December 12, 2012, Gaia Trust, a Danish charitable organization supporting sustainable projects internationally, awarded five ecovillage activists the Gaia Award 2012 for “Birthing a New Sustainable Culture.”
The award of 10,000 Danish kroner was made to Max Lindegger (Australia), Declan Kennedy (Germany), and Albert Bates (US), who created GEN networks on five continents between 1995-2008; Kosha Joubert (Germany, UK), the current GEN President who helped set up the GEN-Africa organization; and May East (Brazil, UK), who for seven years has directed Gaia Education, offering Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) courses worldwide.
Founded Gaia Trust in Denmark in 1987 by Ross and Hildur Jackson, Gaia Trust has been the primary support for Global Ecovillage Network and Gaia Education. The award amount of 10,000 Danish kroner is about $1,700 US dollars or 1,340 Euros.
“Thousands of beautiful, courageous ecovillagers have been the pioneers of this movement and we want to celebrate them all and thank them all for giving this gift to the world—that it is possible to solve the global problems facing us. Ecovillages are not just theory and good ideas; it is lived experiences,” said Ross and Hildur Jackson about this award. “These five ecovillage activists especially have been important midwives in giving birth to a new global culture.”
Engineer and permaculture designer Max Lindegger of Crystal Waters Permaculture Village, Australia, is a cofounder of Crystal Waters; founder of EcoLogical Solutions, Ltd., an ecological design firm; former director of GENOA (GEN-Oceania/Asia); and editor of Ecovillage Musings. He has taught Permaculture and ecovillage design in more than 60 countries and served as a consultant to ecovillage projects in Asia and the Global South. www.ecovillageresearchgroup.com.au.
Architect and permaculture designer Declan Kennedy of Lebensgarten Ecovillage, Germany, is former vice-president of Technical University, Berlin; cofounder of Lebensgarten (1985); former president of Permaculture Institute of Europe; cofounder of GEN; and GEN’s first Chairperson. He and his wife Margrit Kennedy cofounded an NGO to promote local currencies in Germany. In recent years he has served as Chair of Gaia University. www.declan.de
Permaculture designer, author, and former lawyer Albert Bates of The Farm community, Tennessee, US, has served as both Chairman and President of GEN; principal organizer of Ecovillage Network of the Americas (ENA); former ENA president; founder-director Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology; and founder-director of Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm. One of the first to write about climate change with Climate in Crisis (1990), his latest book is The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change (2010).
Kosha Joubert of Findhorn, Scotland, is current Chairperson of GEN International; former Chairperson of GEN-Europe; EDE trainer at both Sieben Linden Ecovillage in Germany (where she lived for many years) and in several African nations; and co-editor with Robin Alfred of Gaia Education’s anthology, Beyond You and Me (2007), the first of five books designed to accompany the Gaia Education programs. Born and raised in South Africa, Kosha has been instrumental in helping create the new GEN-Africa network.. www.gen.ecovillage.org
May East, of Findhorn, Scotland, is Program Director of Gaia Education, Director of GEESE (Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth) an association of EDE curriculum designers and teachers; and GEN’s liaison to the United Nations, responsible for getting the endorsement of Gaia Education by UNITAR and patronage by UNESCO. Originally a well-known singer in her native Brazil, May has taught EDE courses in many Brazilian cities and ecovillages, and was instrumental in organizing a South American network of Gaia Education in cooperation with the Transition Movement at the UN’s 2012 Rio +20 Conference. For two years in a row has been nominated one of the 100 most influential environmental leaders of the world. www.gaiaeducation.net
Diana Leafe Christian is author of the books Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities and Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community, and editor and publisher of this newsletter. She lives at Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina, US.