‘I learnt that science and local wisdom align with each other. Most young people in my town only believe in science, and unconsciously we ignore the wisdom of our elders. Now I trust more deeply how natural history and local wisdom complement each other.’
This Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) was integrated into a longer course called Awakening Leadership Training that took place 3 September 2017 – 25 January 2018 at various locations in Thailand. These included stays in an indigenous Karen community, Wongsanit Ashram, Pun Pun Centre for Self-reliance, Bornok Beach run by social activists and an exposure visit to traditional Muslim fishing communities in Southern Thailand. The course expanded the EDE content with increased emphasis on self cultivation and social transformation. Fourteen students completed the full journey with over 116 more joining various modules. The five areas of learning were:
Interpersonal dynamics: Power sharing and compassion (Social Dimension EDE)
Self-discovery, healing and cultural integrity (Worldview Dimension EDE)
Ecology & Design (Ecological dimension plus Design in EDE)
Eco-political Economy (Economics Dimension of EDE)
Skilful means for Social Transformation (Including Training of Trainers)
‘We can see climate change, limited resources, we are pushing things too fast, too extreme. On the other side we have regeneration. It’s been empowering to see viable alternatives. Design was powerful, when we look at design it’s not just about structures and buildings, but it’s all embedded into ecology and social systems.’
Whilst delving deeply into the four dimensions of sustainability the participants took a journey grounded in critical self awareness. Different forms of mindfulness and reflection were embedded in the daily rhythms of the programme. From this they learnt to be present, to understand themselves as a way to understand others and vice versa, and they gained the confidence and grounding to find their way forward. They had time to spend time in nature, to explore their own inner healing, and practise diverse forms of inner inquiry. This all helped to bring awareness to a sense of interconnectedness, and the potential of many paths. They learnt together and from each other, strengthened by their diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences. Through time together they built their own community of good friends and care, and had the time and space to practise the possibilities that community can offer and experience its potential to transform society.
‘What contributed was that it was a safe space. And two things bring safety: diversity of opinion, and how the facilitator deals with conflict, so I could be heard and still be loved in spite of my opinion.’
You can download and read the complete EDE Report here.