Ecovillages Policy Proposal
submitted by Genny Carraro (GEN-Europe/ECOLISE) & Mauge Caniada (RIE Iberic Ecovillage network)
The whole emphasis of ECOLISE and its member networks and organisations, including GEN-Europe, is on supporting citizens to work together locally to build sustainable communities. An integral part of this is the development of common projects and assets, which are owned and managed by the community. This includes community gardens, community energy facilities, community supported agriculture, shared mobility schemes and so on. This type of community-led action helps to build stronger ties between local people and to create a framework to address a whole range of issues, from climate change to social exclusion, immigration, citizenship, unemployment, etc.
The challenge, is that the role of communities in building a more sustainable and just society is not recognised by policy makers, and therefore, is not integrated or supported as part of the institutional response. The main obstacle met are in regard to legislation, trans-national/national/local regulation practices or lack of knowledge sharing and coordination between authorities, decision makers and policy actors.
We believe that if this proposal is welcome and implemented by the European Union these feasible, low impact and high quality-life solutions would become much more widespread, would support Europe in responding efficiently to the factual needs of citizens, would support a much better use of the already scarse resources available, would diminish the climat change impact and would render Europe a much more sustainable and resilient continent, as well as a pionieristic model to be inspired by.
As ECOLISE and the community led initiatives and the ecovillage world and its various networks, we recognize ourselves as part of the movement of care and recognition of the "commons".
We are connected to the practical aspects of communing; we explore ways to live in common that are not based only on personal property and individual actions. The trend is to create collective properties and local community actions.
We're looking for the legal recognition of the community as a "legal" entity. There is a concrete initiative by the RIVE (Italian network of ecovillages) to carry and work on this specific topic in parliament and it is a specific goal of the whole ecovillage movement, seeking recognition for these vital options such as:
building legislation, forms and practices of agriculture, availability of funding or access to / utilisation of decentralized energy solutions and waste water management.
Our commitment to sustainability leads us also to the territory of the ‘ commons’ , recognising that the problems are global (climate change, loss of biodiversity, resource depletion, CO2 etc) and are its consequences on the common space; the necessary transition involves recognizing the planet and its resources as the common house of those who live here, and future generations too. There is an initiative coming from traditional ecovillages peoples, for the recognition of the RIGHTS OF THE PLANET at legal level. We maintain and support this proposal.
Ecovillages, transition town movements, permaculture movement etc, gather in networks, but we act through local led initiatives which reinforce local traditions of the commoning, streamlining and supporting initiatives in each environment. Or develop innovative approaches towards the common with our environments (car sharing, bike sharing, edible forests in the village, gardens and collective gardens etc).
We want / we ask Europe:
* As ECOLISE and in specific as GEN (global Ecovillage netwowk), we have a long set of reccommendation that we would like to present at the European Parlament, which are based on experiencial and practical local led initiatives throughout all Europe. Extensive researches have been carried out by Transition Town movement, ecovillage movement and other local led initiative networks demostrating the validity of these approaches, their positive impact on the social/ecological/economical level throuout all Europe in rural as well as in urban areas. Here bellow just few of these reccommendations.
There is an EU initiative called Community-led Local Development (CLLD), which recognises the role of community-led action in supporting development in rural and fisheries areas. However, the size and scope of this initiative needs to be greatly increased, on a scale to match the potential contribution of community-led action; should be of easier use, reach, understanding and definitely more available also for small scale local actions.
-More Funds for various local initiatives, land care and sustainability as an important part of rural development. With special emphasis on supporting councils, districts, and municipalities for a commitment to the community and the ecological, social and economic sustainability.
enable establishment & functioning of eco-communities;
Change legislation to allow Ecovillages to use decentralized local infrastructure;
Amend building legislation and special planning to support eco-logical design-ing & construction Status for Ecovillages;
- Legislative initiatives to prevent the privatization of natural resources (water, plants, seeds, etc ...) and rather facilitate access to them. Natural resourses are a common good, freely offered by the planet and available to all. Privitising them, limiting their use, prohibiting the natural reproductions of plants and therefore nutritional values, only and simply enpoverish and disempower citizens creating social disgragation, poverty, dependence, fight for survival.
- More support for rural development on sustainable communal lifestyle, More funding for
a) alternative sustainable (small-scale, non-industrial) agriculture,
B) More co-funding for eco-projects (tech, services & produc-tion) at different scales, Supportive environment for eco-entrepreneurship & initiatives;
C) Support projects to develop eco-areas & self-provision territories