Nothing Personal: A chance to meet inspiring people from around ECOLISE

Please introduce yourself by telling us your name, where you come from and where you live?

Soy Mauge Cañada. Naci en Bilbao que en el 60 era una ciudad industrial. Me fui en los 80 al proyecto de comunidad Lakabe, siendo desde el principio parte de este proyecto de vida alternativa. Después de mucho saños en Lakabe, algunos años en Villanueva de Yerri ( pueblo de 40 habitantes en Navarra) , en la actualidad vivo en la Ecoaldea/co-housing Arterra Bizimodu, de la que soy Co-fundadora; También en Navarra y cerca del muy querido Lakabe.

I’m Mauge Cañada. I was born in Bilbao which was an industrial city in the ‘60s. I left in the ‘80s to Lakabe community – from the beginning I was part of this alternative living project. After many years in Lakabe, and a few years in Villanueva de Yerri (a village of 40 inhabitants in Navarra), now I live in the ecovillage/co-housing project of Arterra Bizimodu, which I co-founded. It’s also in Navarra and close to my dear Lakabe.

What are you working on?

Muy diversas labores componen el mosaico de mi cotidiano. Profesionalmente soy Terapeuta ( psicologa Clínica y Social) y Facilitadora de Grupos. Experta en Sciocracia, Gestión de conflictos y Género. Soy hortelana, y es una de las labores que mas aprecio. Soy madre, abuela, amiga, hija , hermana y compañera, Vivir en comunidad es tambien una labor.. con muchas facetas! Constructora, a veces fontanera. Ahora indagando en la producción de Biochar. Formo parte de la Red Iberica de Ecoaldeas , y es como representante de esta Red que participo en ECOLISE. En esta Red hemos desarrollado la Incubadora de ecoaldeas en el 2009 ( acompañar nuevos proyectos), es una mis funciones coordinar este grupo.

Many diverse tasks make up my daily mosaic. By profession I’m a therapist (clinical and social psychology) and a group facilitator, as well as an expert in sociocracy, conflict management and gender. I’m a gardener, and it’s one of the activities I enjoy most. I’m a mother, grandmother, friend, daughter, sister and comrade. Living in community is also a kind of job…with many aspects! I’m a builder, sometimes a plumber…now I’m also researching on biochar production. I’m part of the Iberian Ecovillage Network (RIE), and it’s as a representative of this network that I participate in ECOLISE. In the network we developed the Ecovillage Incubator in 2009, which supports new projects, and one of my tasks is to coordinate this group.

Why are you doing this work?

Todas mis labores me dan algo; mucho mas que dinero. Me gustan, me apasionan, disfruto, y me sientocone ctada a una percepción de sentido . Me siento solida desde esa percepción. Todas mis labores llevan implicitas el mismo proceso, curar, transformar, mejorar, facilitar, acompañar, arreglar… Comprometida con una visión del mundo que sé posible en mi interior, y la que voy dedicando toda mi vida. Un mundo en paz, en femenino, en sostenibilidad, de escucha…las manos en la tierra. Una soñadora muy práctica, necesito concretar , materializar. Eso es lo que hago: materializar.

All of these tasks give me something, much more than money. I like them, I’m passionate about them, I enjoy them and I feel connected to a sense of meaning. I feel solid from this feeling. Implicitly, all my work is a part of the same process of healing, transformation, improvement, facilitating, supporting, fixing… I’m committed to a vision of the world that I know inside is possible, and that I’m dedicating all my life to. A peaceful world, a feminine world, one of sustainability, of listening … with our hands in the soil. I’m a practical dreamer, I need things to be concrete, to materialise them. That’s what I do: I materialise things.

What are your biggest challenges?

Personalmente mi mayor desafio es verficar mis limites, a veces no estar tan presente. Me siento parte de un desafío colectivo vinculado a ese otro mundo posible. Y en este desafío para mi se resume en transformar el sistema de dominación que esta devorando la vida ( guerra, patriarcado, explotación, muerte y destrucción de la naturaleza) , en un sistema de colaboración. En ello estamos.

Personally my biggest challenge is knowing my limits – sometimes they’re not so present. I feel part of a collective challenge linked to this other possible world. And for me this challenge can be summed up as transforming the systems of domination that are devouring life (war, patriarchy, exploitation, death and destruction of nature) into ones of collaboration. That’s what we’re doing.

What lesson or lessons have learnt from this work?

Innumerables!!!! La principal es que juntas podemos, vivir lo colectivo o comunitario como una esencia irrenunciable del ser humano, de los seres vivos.
La maravillosa capacidad humana de superar, de atravesar el dolor, de crear en medio del caos. Que las personas podemos vivirnos con una energía y poder enormes… una vez atravesado el encantamiento del … “no puedo”, “no es posible”, “nadie puede”.

Countless! The first is that together we can, that living in community is an undeniable part of what it is to be human, to be alive. Also that humans have a marvellous capacity to overcome, to break through pain, to create in the midst of chaos. And that as people we can live with immense energy and power … once we have broken the spell of “I can’t”, “it’s not possible”, “nobody can”.

What are your hopes for the future?

Dejar el mundo mejor de como me lo he encontrado…. Anclar una cultura de colaboración, paz y respeto por la vida por y para el presente y las generaciones futuras. Que se sumen mas personas a sostener este sueño y esperanza, sin dejarse aplastar por el miedo a un futuro indeseado; a ver si puedo cogerme una vacaciones de verdad en un futuro cercano!!!

To leave the world better than I found it … to ground it in a culture of collaboration, peace and respect for life, for the current and future generations. And that more people come together to hold this dream and hope, without being crushed by fear of an undesired future … Let’s see if I can take a real holiday in the not too distant future!

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Please introduce yourself by telling us your name, where you come from and where you live?

My name is Marco. I am Italian. After 10 years of living in UK, I moved back to my hometown. While I was living in the UK, I discovered one of the things that changed my life: permaculture. At that time I was doing something else. Nothing related to sustainibility, ecology, regeneration. So, one day I went to the London Permaculture Festival and the following day I handed in my resignation letter. My journey had just begun!
Since then life has been incredible: Permaculture Design Course, Transition Launch, International Permaculture Conference UK2015, forest garden, community building, social allotments, facilitation, sociocracy, Permaculture Teacher Training, Dragon Dreaming etc

What are you working on?

Training and Information. Part of my job is to run permaculture training courses. Also, I founded an online magazine called Permacultura & Transizione. It’s basically a blog. On one hand, we aim to give more visibility to Italian permaculturists, people involved in Transition initiatives or ecovillages. On the other hand, we have been translating and publishing articles from many international permaculturists, transitioners and people working in the global sustainability movement. In this way, we hope to meaningfully contribute to the creation of a sense of belonging to the international permaculture movement.

Why are you doing this work?

One of my favourite mottos at Permacultura & Transizione is ‘bring permaculture to people, bring people to permaculture’. Although the problems of the world are enormous, the power of individuals and communities is even bigger if we give them a chance to shift consciousness with small, simple solutions.

That’s permaculture – a simple tool to solve complex problems. Beyond the stories we publish there is a bottom line: And you can too! You don’t need to be a scientist or an environmentalist to understand permaculture and you don’t need to have skills to start. Just do it!

What are your biggest challenges?

One of the biggest challenges in this work is to make people understand that permaculture is not just a way of making an organic vegetable garden. In my talks and workshops I say ‘permaculture is revolution disguised as organic gardening’.

What lesson or lessons have learnt from this work?

Permaculture is a shift in consciousness. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We must be patient, use small and slow solutions to carve out a new sustainable life, just like a spoon whittler!

What are your hopes for the future?

Anyone can make positive changes in their lives and become self-reliant, even without access to large amounts of money. The future is already here, we just need to design it.

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Please introduce yourself by telling us your name, where you come from and where you live?

My name is Ana Huertas. I am from Madrid, Spain and I am living in Cardedeu, Barcelona.

What are you working on?

I am working with Red de Transicion, Transition Spain, the national Transition Hub and am the coordinator for the Municipalities in Transition project. I am also the vice president of ECOLISE. Those are the three main things. If I had to list everything it might take up too much space!

Why are you doing this work?

Bearing in mind the current situation in the world and our systemic crisis and the responsibility of human beings in that situation and their capacity to respond to it, for me there is no other choice. I want to work towards a world where we regenerate the resources around us. I think it’s important that we regenerate the connection between us humans and the rest of the world around us.

What are your biggest challenges?

I think the first is being 100 per cent coherent in my lifestyle and how I work. So much of my work is online and I travel as well and even though I think it’s for a good cause it’s not completely in line with what I preach.

One of the biggest challenges is to engage people in this work. The message we carry in the Transition movement is one of hope but it requires people to look at a reality that is quite grim and to become conscious of it. This is not the most welcome in a culture of consumerism and individualism.

The other challenge is of getting more people to work together. This can be difficult and challenging. There are always issues around power and access to resources.

The third big challenge in this work is getting the message through to that power – policy makers and those who have control of scare resources and getting them to change their mind about how we are operating as a species and that we could do better.

What lesson or lessons have you learnt from this work?

The first lesson is that we need to find effective spaces for collaboration between movements. It might be that we each have our own methodologies but even if we can’t collaborate all the time we need to find the space to do so.

The other lesson is that coming from the grassroots it’s always difficult to have meaningful conversations with those collectives that do have power – policy makers, businesses.

What are your hopes for the future?

For the more immediate future I would like to see us put care at the centre of the way we do relationships between humans and the rest of the world, not money or personal gain. I would like to see care in the centre of politics and as community. This includes integrating more feminist values and diverging from the kind of patriarchal, capitalist society that we know.

And that as a species we dare to do what needs to be done, to increase our connection and empathy and reverse the harm we’ve done so far.