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Starting 6 Mar 2017 Duration of course 8 weeks  
Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Never has there been a better time and a more urgent need to create a more resilient and participatory future by turning our attention to alternative economic paradigms. If you feel stuck or uncertain about what you can do and yearn to open the door to these new possibilities then our e-learning programme is for you.

Many know that our current economic system is no longer sustainable, yet few are aware of the alternatives? Our aim is to give you a better understanding of those alternatives and the true meaning of economy and wealth. Participants will learn about existing systems and tools that are useful, and redesign those that have proven dysfunctional based on already tested alternatives.

To do nothing is to accept that but a handful of economists and political leaders still believe the answer to our problems is more economic growth – more production, more consumption, more highways, more buildings, more logging, more fishing, etc., ad infinitum. By continuing to collectively pay for this dysfunctional system through our taxes, we are all becoming accomplices in more environmental despoliation and ever increasing debt serfdom as we remain addicted to growth and the way money is created.

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"The Third Industrial Revolution will also bring with it a more democratic economy. The distributed nature of renewable energies necessitates collaborative rather than hierarchical command and control mechanisms. This new lateral energy regime establishes the organizational model for the countless economic activities that multiply from it. A more distributed and collaborative industrial revolution, in turn, invariably leads to a more distributed sharing of the wealth generated." Jeremy Rifkin

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What you will learn

The Dimension is authored by Daniel C. Wahl (Gaia Education) and Jonathan Dawson (Schumacher College).

MODULE 1: Shifting the Global Economy Towards Sustainability and Regeneration

  • Dangerous ideology - Why we need to revisit basic assumptions about economics
  • Unacceptable collateral damage
  • Dysfunctional systems in need of re-design
  • Turing the global economy towards sustainability
  • Signs of hope

MODULE 2: Community Banks and Currencies

  • What money is and how it works
  • Impacts of our current money system
  • Reforming money to make it work for people and planet
  • Locally and regionally-based investment and currency systems
  • Microcredit, microfinance and crowdfunding
  • Local investment: credit unions, cooperative banks, community land trusts and co-ops

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MODULE 3: Right Livelihood

  • GDP as an insufficient economic indicator
  • Alternative national- and international-level indicators
  • Alternative community-level indicators & participatory budgeting
  • Values and ethics in economic life
  • Collaborative consumption and peer-to-peer collaboration
  • The Service Space story – Design for generosity

MODULE 4: Revitalising Local Economies & Social Innovation

  • Plugging the leaks
  • Mapping the history of and potential for regional production for regional consumption
  • How a solidarity economy creates thriving and resilient communities and regions
  • Social innovation and social entrepreneurship
  • Supporting social innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Identifying opportunities for social entrepreneurs
  • Ecovillage economies: opportunities, challenges and lessons
  • Regenerative enterprises

MODULE 5: Legal and Financial Issues

  • Running a social enterprise
  • Designing sustainable business models
  • Types and sources of finances
  • Choosing legal structures
  • Preparing feasibility studies and business plans
  • The cooperative path
  • Learning the art of commoning
  • ‘Open Source Everything’ enables a collaborative commons
  • ‘Earth Rights’ are the legal basis for a sustainable and regenerative future


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“Thirty plus years of research and analysis have convinced me that true political democracy cannot prevail until economic democracy has been achieved, and economic democracy cannot be achieved without transcending the global, central-banking, interest-based, debt-money regime and the debt-growth imperative that is built into it.” Thomas H. Greco, Jr

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What you will receive

  • You will acquire have the confidence, understanding and ability to take active steps in this vital area of sustainability
  • Faculty bios, methodology, course background, administrative details, and guidelines
  • A training document in the form of a textbook, with readings, latest research, examples, links, handouts, and additional resources
  • A Student Guide's description of each dimensions' learning outcomes, objectives and timeline, plus a set of activities for each module of the learning journey
  • Access to the virtual campus, where you join our classrooms, forums, design teams, direct communication with tutors, sample materials, all learning materials and activities for certificate, and social media related to the course
  • Orientation to the virtual campus, e-learning tools and the Moodle platform
  • Full technical and academic support to go through the virtual course and achieve all the learning outcomes
  • Access to specific course community in Facebook
  • A Certificate of course completion from Gaia Education
  • Earn credits to continue onto our flagship certificated programme in Sustainability & Design

"Transformative innovation applied to redesigning the human presence on Earth requires global cooperation in the process of building circular and regionally focused economies in support of resilient communities and the regeneration of their ecosystems. Thriving regional economies, supported by scale-linking collaboration and global solidarity, are the basis for collaborative abundance for all." Daniel Christian Wahl

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Why people joined

I am an Agricultural Engineer and Aquaculturist. The subjects of self-sustainability and ecovillages have been on my mind for the past eight years. It's time for me to start my ecovillage.
- Wissam Taleb, GEDS 2014 

After completing a Masters degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, I began a 13-year-long career in the Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Industry. My vision is very clear on supporting sustainability through the development of ecovillages worldwide.
- Nalini Ranjan Nayak, GEDS 2015

I am a 38 year-old student of permaculture from the USA, but, professionally, I work as a pilot. From having lived and worked in several countries across Europe, Asia and Africa, I have acquired an understanding of different cultures. This has affected my perspective of how we live on and with our planet and each other. I enjoy my profession, but dislike the meaninglessness of my duties and how it keeps me stuck in an economic, social, spiritual and ecological dead-end status quo. So I have long looked for ways to shift my efforts to more meaningful, beneficial work.
- Benjamin Webster, GEDS 2013 

I am a civil engineer and have been working for rural based voluntary organisations for the past 16 years in Land and Water development programs. I wish to broaden my knowledge through training, networking, exchange, education, support and solidarity at a global level. I have a vision of participating in creating a positive future by working & living together, supporting sustainability for both our planet and us.
- Sokkam Raghunath, GEDS 2013

I am a current PhD student at Sofia University, formerly known as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Born and raised in China, I studied politics at university and have a MBA in management. After working in the business world in several countries, I started my study of Transpersonal Psychology, with a focus on Ecological Consciousness, in 2013. I would like to apply spiritual ecology and help to make China, my home country, and the Earth, my home planet, better places.
- Sylvia Wen, GEDS 2015 

My community in Northern California has become an example of heated water rights issues due to severe drought. It is also struggling with economic depression and widespread drug abuse. I hope to create an institute here for learning and developing sustainable strategies that address our global planetary needs and, at the same time, can fit within the framework of the needs of this local community.
- Carrie Campbell, GEDS 2014 

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"A simple story lies at the heart of our current economic system. It is a story of separation between humanity and nature. This story creates alienation, lack of belonging, fear and the need to control. Living this story ultimately makes us see through a lens of scarcity and competition for limited resources. Instead of living well within planetary boundaries and in collaborative abundance shared between all of humanity and life as a whole, we have chosen a path of trying to predict, control, manipulate and exploit nature as if we were somehow separate from life’s life-sustaining cycles that maintain this planet in habitable conditions for complex organisms like us." Diana Leaf

More information

This dynamic programme commences on the 6th of March 2017 for a duration 8-weeks and comprises 80 hours of study time. It will equip the participant with the understanding and abilities to become more confident within this crucial field.

Your investment for our Economic Design Dimension is £297. This can also be taken as an integrated module within in our 10 month certificated program in Sustainability and Design. Additional modules covered here are worldview, social design, ecological design and design studio. The investment for the full programme is £997.

Our graduates have gone on to contribute to sustainability projects, build communities, become social entrepreneurs, partake in permaculture projects & bio-dynamic farming, support transition movements and much more.

Please contact us if you are interested in our longer programmes or visit this page.

We will be accepting admissions to this Dimension in early 2017. Should you have any questions please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.