Challenge: empower & connect local communities. Objective: systemic change through active and responsible citizens. Approach: Establishing Ecotopias as eco-cultural educational participatory projects which 1) educate eco-conscious citizens in dynamic governance (sociocracy), permaculture and compassionate communication, 2) act as community centres which host experiences that build neighbourhood circles, connect local citizens and create local projects to propel the evolution of the local area.
Various towns and rural areas across Greece
> Rural and small-town residents lack a holistic worldview, critical thinking, collaboration skills, creativity and initiative & most think that the government/municipalities are responsible for making their life interesting, creating jobs & solving their problems.
> Areas lacks organisation, meaningful community projects, cultural cohesion, activities & job prospects.
> People are coming from different locations and have no way to connect to the commons, their local web and their local environment (beach, mountain, etc).
> Local farmers cultivate with chemicals, rely on migrants for labour, have no generational renewal and are disconnected from the local community, travelling to cities to sell their produce & discarding surplus.
Beneficiaries of our Ecotopias are the members of Evolving Cycles & the neighbourhoods/communities around each land-based project around Greece. With our activities, we aim to engage people of all ages, however we foresee that those aged 20-70 years-old will most actively participate, decide and get involved in local actions. This will appeal to our elderly population who have much to share & are often left alone. Our focus are the residents around each ecotopia, with town populations less than 15000 and rural populations less than 1000. The populations in rural areas are primarily involved in agricultural activities & agriculture-related businesses, so our Ecotopias will serve as educational centres around ethical and environmentally friendly agricultural practices such as permaculture.
- Establish Evolving Cycles as a sociocratic organisation with working circles which harness our collective intelligence to support our mission of “creating ecotopias where culture evolves in harmony with nature”.
- Train our members as multipliers in sociocracy (participatory, democratic, dynamic governance method that enhances cooperation, commitment and empowerment), permaculture (designing regenerative ecosystems) and compassionate communication.
- Exchange possibilities, challenges and best practices of sociocratic neighbourhood circles through the Erasmus+ program that we are part of with 9 European organisations and create a manual for establishing sociocratic neighbourhood circles.
- Support existing and new ecotopias to host community building experiences that invite, train and engage the local community in establishing neighbourhood circles that are connected with the local municipalities.
- Build community directories with specific information which give us a holistic picture of our communities’ needs and offers and a strong foundation to propose community projects that are relevant to all.
There are changemakers - who are equipped with the tools and experience of compassionate communication, community building and ecosystems design - in various areas of Greece. They take responsibility in their neighbourhoods & create feedback for municipalities on how to be more proactive. We envision tha our streets are buzzing with activity. People know each other by name, improving their local community by setting up community projects and exchanging goods. We gather at ecotopias to participate in community building events and have sociocratic meetings to solve local issues. Farmers are enjoying richer soils, have help available, are sharing an abundance of organic food with the community . We are sharing resources in the neighborhood, such as tools and machinery. We’re having fun!
Ecotopias are community centres where people come together to meet, eat local, seasonal organic food, have fun, learn, act. Our educational programs are focused on ways to connect to each other and the earth. Using Sociocracy as our main tool to strengthen solidarity & our ‘response-ability’ (our ability to respond), we provide a “container” for local changemakers to lay the groundwork for change and a meeting space to build well facilitated neighbourhood circles which meet regularly with structured meetings, clear aims, agendas and roles.
We host discussions on: How can we meet our needs: municipality or self-organising?”, “How can I earn a livelihood? Look for a job or convert wasted resources into opportunities?” and ultimately: “How can we co-create self-empowered local communities?
Evolving Cycles are an expanding network of people driven by their heart’s desire to live in communities of abundance. Our 4 initiators have been on this path for 10 years, have created and/or lived in various ecotopias globally, are trained in permaculture, sociocracy, compassionate communication, have hosted events & workshops for thousands of people and worked with hundreds of volunteers. Tina is a known advocate of permaculture in Greece who wrote the Kompostopia musical. Christos has been involved in civic and activist movements. Constantinos has been active with councils and collaborative initiatives. Athina-Maria co-founded an organic food market and emerging community. We are all passionate about sharing tools to live in a way that’s fun, meaningful, creative and harmonious.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Project management, training & group facilitation (personnel costs) 20,000
Community directory establishment & maintenance 3,000
Community Building Experience pilots 3,000
Travel and accommodation 5,000
Office expenses 2,000
Public Relations 2,000
All improvement ideas are welcome!