ECOLISE, the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability, is a coalition of organisations engaged in promoting and supporting local communities across Europe in their efforts to build pathways to a sustainable future.
The members of ECOLISE include international networks of community-based initiatives such as the Transition Network (representing over 1200 Transition initiatives), the Global Ecovillage Network (15,000 ecovillages), the Permaculture movement (3 million practitioners globally) and ICLEI, the association of local governments for sustainability; national and regional networks; and other specialist bodies engaged in European-level research, training and communications to support community-led action on climate change and sustainability.
By bringing these organisations together, ECOLISE seeks to establish a common, Europe-wide agenda and a platform for collective action. ECOLISE is registered as an international non-profit association under Belgian law (AISBL). It has 38 member organisations, registered as legal entities in 17 different EU member states and Switzerland. The activities of the members extend to all EU member states, as well as internationally.
The organisation comprises a general assembly, which meets annually and sets overall strategy; a council (currently 11 members) and presidency, which are elected for a two year term and oversee the implementation of the ECOLISE strategy; an executive board, comprising the president, vice president and executive director; and a secretariat, which includes the executive director, three thematic coordinators and two research advisers.
The work of the council and secretariat is also supported by a number of working groups, focusing on: policy development; communications; knowledge and learning, and resource mobilisation and outreach. The working groups include council members, representatives of other member organisations and, where relevant, experts drawn from outside the network.
Robert Hall (President)
Originally from California (USA), Robert immigrated to Sweden in the 1980s during his studies in international relations and economics. He later went on to complete a Intl MSc in environmental engineering and sustainable infrastructure. Since the 1980s Robert has worked for the Swedish government, UN, EC and OSCE in a number of countries mainly in international development cooperation, internationalisation of education and strengthening democratic institutions. He is also currently an elected member of the regional ‘parliament’ on Gotland. Robert has been active in the ecovillage movement since 2008 when Suderbyn Permaculture Ecovillage, which he co-founded, joined Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Europe. He has served two terms on its Council from 2010-2013 and again from 2015 when he was elected president of GEN-Europe. From 2014-2015 he served as GEN-Europe managing director and since 2015 has served on the GEN international board. Robert was involved in the foundation of ECOLISE from 2013-15 and was elected president in March 2017.
Ana Huertas (Vice-President)
Ana is the current president of Red de Transición, Transition Spain. She has a BSc in international relations from the University of Plymouth and a first masters degree in international aid work and disaster management. After working for two years in different countries in development projects (Morocco, Nepal, Bolivia, Argentina), Ana returned to university to deepen her knowledge about agriculture and undertook a masters in ‘sustainable agriculture and rural development’ at Montpellier SupAgro. She has been involved in community-led projects since 2011, taking part in the European permaculture teacher’s partnership, Transition Towns initiatives and ECOLISE. She currently supports the work of Jillian Hovey on regenerative systems design.
Eamon O’Hara (Executive Director)
Eamon initiated and co-founded ECOLISE and is the current executive director. Eamon has been managing EU projects and initiatives in the fields of local development and the environment since 1994. Having managed a LEADER local action group (LAG) in Ireland, he moved to AEIDL in Brussels in 2001 to work as an expert and journalist with the European LEADER Observatory. From 2002, he also contributed to communications and information activities on EU regional policy, within the framework of a contract also managed by AEIDL. Between 2003 and 2007 Eamon established and managed an EU advisory service for Ireland’s regions and local authorities in Brussels, focusing in particular on the areas of the environment, regional policy and rural development. In September 2007, he returned to AEIDL to lead the external communications team for the EU LIFE programme, with responsibility for coordinating the activities of 15 experts in communications and the environment. Eamon holds a bachelors degree in environmental science, a masters degree in climate change and sustainable development and post-graduate qualifications in business administration, project management and rural development. Eamon is also an experienced native English editor and journalist and a published author.
Genny is managing director at Global Ecovillage Network Europe. With a professional background in international relations and humanitarian assistance, Genny is experienced in managing international philanthropic NGOs and has been professionally active in raising awareness of environmental and social issues for many years. An experienced facilitator and educator, she has organised and runs a number of courses and workshops related to facilitation, sociocracy, deep democracy, societal change and environment. She is currently involved in several European educational projects for social and environmental sustainability, including Bridgedale360 on youth and sustainability, and Sociocracy3.0 on governance and decision-making.
Tim was elected to the ECOLISE Council in 2015 as a representative of GEN International. He retired in October 2013 after working for over three decades in a wide variety of positions for European institutions, including as EU ambassador /head of delegation in Africa for eight years. He now does pro bono work for a number of NGOs. An ecologist by training, he has a particular interest and expertise on governance, community-led development, the fight against injustice and inequality, climate change and the environment, food security, inter-cultural dialogue and eco-innovation and eco-development.
Katy is a social anthropologist and educator passionate about social and cultural transformation. She founded CELL, the Centre for Ecological Learning Luxembourg in 2010, an underground mycelial network for nurturing transition projects and a laboratory for permaculture. She situates her thoroughly transdisciplinary work somewhere between systems theory, ecology, political economy, social science, permaculture design, art and radical pedagogy. She is particularly interested in putting resilience research into practice, participatory workshops, methods of collaboration for bringing about change and is currently developing the ecosocial consulting branch of CELL as well as designing a modified earthship (Äerdschëff).
Andy is chief executive of the Permaculture Association, the national charity supporting people to learn about and use permaculture through education, events, networking and research. He advises both urban and rural projects and is currently working on two international network building projects – the European Permaculture Network and the Permaculture Co-Lab – an action learning project that seeks to enhance the coherence and effectiveness of the global permaculture movement. Andy lives in Leeds, Yorkshire, and is an active teacher and designer in the Leeds Permaculture Network and a Board member of Feed Leeds and Leeds Love it Share it CIC.
Born in 1963 in Pula, Nenad now lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia. He completed the permaculture design certificate course (2012, 2014) and the ecovillage design education course (2014) and is a member of the Croatian Permaculture Association and Transition Hub in Croatia. Nenad works as a practitioner in the development of high trust collaborative networks for systemic change at local, regional and global level. He is currently an active member of Transition Hubs group as co-guardian of the organisational co-design working group role and Transition Network REconomy project international coordinator role. Rooted in earth care, people care and future care, Nenad feels an inner calling to contribute towards ECOLISE becoming a highly effective peer-to-peer network of practitioners that is influential at the European and global level. His relevant skills in that context are virtual teamwork design and facilitation and, particularly, effective network collaboration practices. Before becoming deeply involved in the Permaculture, Ecovillage and Transition movements, Nenad translated from English a dozen or so non-fiction books published in Croatian, including a poetry book by Rumi.
Sarah is the delivery director for Transition Network (transitionnetwork.org), a UK-based charity which works to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities all over the world as they self-organise around the Transition model. Sarah coordinates the Transition Network team and is working closely with the emerging international network of Transition Hubs to design innovative governance models and practices which encourage and enable the sharing of power, resources and information. Until 2012, Sarah was a senior civil servant with the UK Government and has had a varied public service career in rural development, criminal justice and housing.
Nara is a writer of 6 books and 300 articles, lecturer, translator and internationally active facilitator of group processes, practising luxurious simplicity and barefooting everywhere he goes. He was one of the key initiators and coordinators of the one-day-cleanup of Slovenia, which mobilised 13.5% of the population in cleaning up illegally dumped waste in 2010 and 2012. He now supports the global coordination of the Let’s do it! World Cleanup 2018 campaign, and mentors its national teams. Nara also co-founded Sustainability Park Istra and Network for Revival of Istria, and cooperates closely with permaculture and ecovillage networks.
Davie has been an advocate for sustainable communities in Ireland since 1996. In 1998, he was a founding member of FEASTA, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability and in 1999 a co-founder of Cloughjordan ecovillage, Co. Tipperary, Ireland where he is now based. His main work now is with Cultivate Living and Learning, the coop that he co-founded in 2000, designing and delivering events and courses and facilitating groups working on collaborative approaches to help their localities flourish. In 2005, he was one of the original catalysts of the Transition Towns process, and has created and delivered many learning programmes on the theme of community resilience. He conceived and directed a 10 part TV series on community responses to climate change called the ‘Powerdown Show’, which was developed into a 10 module training course. From 2009 to 2011, Davie sat on the board of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and is currently engaged as a mentor in GET INVOLVED, an Ireland wide awards scheme run by local and regional newspapers that recognizes community action. From 2014 to 2016 he developed and piloted an education project for teenagers called Schools for Resilience (SfR) with five European partners. Since 2017 Davie also works on engagement and communications for GROW, a 3-year European citizen’s observatory project on soil.
Emilia is a project coordinator and facilitator for Permaculture Sweden, working with projects in the Baltic region; an educator and project coordinator with Transition Sweden; and a board member of GEN Sweden. She is also a member of a farming-community south of Stockholm and combines lots of ‘cognitive computer work’ with gardening and other farm tasks. Emilia has also been involved in the setting up of the One Year in Transition (1YT) course in Sweden.