GEN International Newsletter December 2016

GEN @ COP22: Reflections from the Climate Conference in Morocco

Dear Friends of Ecovillages Worldwide,

The eyes of the world have been on the United States of America in the past months. The election of a president who undermines basic democratic and human rights, denies human impacts on climate change, threatens the expulsion of refugees and immigrants, and comes into office without previous political experience, has shocked and disheartened many. As humanity works through increasingly challenging waves of change one possible response is a shift to conservatism and protectionism. Another is to reconnect to our role as caretakers of the planet and each other, to come together globally and form a strong alliance for a humane future. 

In front of a crowd protecting the sacred First Nation´s land at Standing Rock, USA, Bernie Sanders repeated the words of Winston Churchill on the eve of the second world war: "We will not go silently into the night." Future generations, looking back on these times, might decide that the protests at Standing Rock constituted a more meaningful expression of civil rights and democracy than participating in the US elections. 

More than 200 indigenous nations have joined the protest camp on the Dakota lands, where an oil pipeline threatens to destroy not only ancient burial grounds but the clean water reservoirs on which millions of people depend. The pipeline does not only constitute a drastic breach of contract, it puts  life in jeopardy. 

The voice of the First Nation peoples is calling out with renewed unity and strength: ‘We will never allow this.’ 

These are not 'protestors', but 'protectors'. Together, we ‘defend the sacred’, and know that ‘water is life’. When so many dedicated and wise people come together to fearlessly protect what is sacred - our water, our earth, our climate, life itself - the door to new opportunities for collective wisdom and solutions opens again. Despair and hope live in close vicinity of one another.  

The actions at Standing Rock were also supported from the UN climate conference, COP22, taking place from 7-18 November in Marrakech, Morocco. Here, a delegation of 20 GEN representatives from around the world worked as ‘protectors’ in a different way. After years of preparation, GEN is maturing from a purely bottom-up organisation, to one which puts communities at the heart of the process while collaborating across sectors. Today, GEN is inspiring governments to include ecovillage programmes in their strategies for implementation of the SDG’s and Climate Agreements. We see enormous possibilities and interesting challenges arising from intelligent building of alliances – seeking out those organisations and leaders that care. 

Information about the Pan African Ecovillage Development Programme (PAEDP) was spread throughout the African Union and meaningful links made with interested government representatives from 19 African countries, as well as from the Philippines, Mexico, Armenia and Palestine. GEN signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Morocco and Zimbabwe for the implementation of ecovillages. The President of Burkina Faso announced a programme for the implementation of 2000 ecovillages in the coming 5 years. The newly formed GEN Consultancy will coordinate worldwide expertise in order to support and guide implementation. 

Back to Standing Rock: On December 4th, the Army Corps of Engineers announced to halt construction of the pipeline. This is a huge success for the movement, but it is not a victory yet. The government merely wants to reroute, but not stop the pipeline. For this struggle – and those in countless other hotspots around the world – to succeed in the long run, the ‘protectors’ of Standing Rock ask us to make every day of December a day of action:

The Global Ecovillage Network is part of a global alliance of protectors and caretakers - for a humane world, for cooperation with nature, decentralized solutions, and peace. Stay connected, share our messages with friends and partners, and find your way to being the change we wish to see in the world!

In community, 
Kosha Joubert, Leila Dregger Edited by Jenefer Marquis

GEN International GEN-Europe GENOA GENNA CASA GEN-Africa

Global Ecovillage Network · The Park · Forres, Scotland IV36 3TZ · United Kingdom
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The Global Ecovillage Network has consultative status in the UN – ECOSOC.

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