The spirit of our ecovillage network comes alive through collective learning and community building. In 2021, the members of NextGEN, the youth branch of the ecovillage network, set out to host virtual fireside chats together with the GEN Elders to celebrate this spirit.
These calls were a space to nurture and expand our intergenerational connections at the heart of GEN (Global Ecovillage Network), and to bridge the past, present and future of the ecovillage network. The youth were invited to meet, ask questions and learn from the rich experience of GEN Elders. The elders, in return, could explore and enjoy the freshness, enthusiasm, and creativity of the younger generation.
We had people join from all over the world including Bangladesh, Brasil, Mexico, Germany, Vietnam, USA, Spain, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, France, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Italy. It was amazing to get closer to this big family of changemakers and earthkeepers, to get to know each other and to hear about ongoing impactful projects and community living. It gave us hope and reinforced our wish to contribute to a more regenerative world.
A small NextGEN team organised and facilitated four calls with diverse formats and contents, from one-on-one deep sharing, to open space, from offers-and-needs market to project-idea-building. Some of the questions and themes explored were:
- Personal Transformation: How do or can communities encourage personal development of consciousness?
- Climate Emergency: What is the unique role and work of ecovillages in the current climate and ecological crisis?
- Economic Resilience: How can we become financially self-sufficient and build livelihoods in the regenerative movement?
Click here to see the harvesting boards of these 3 themes.
We enjoyed the space of love and wisdom with open-hearted sharing, mutual respect, songs, inspiration, celebration and so much learning
By the end of the 4th call, both elders and youth were building on two ideas that could soon become intergenerational projects inside of GEN:
- Building an interactive, digital timeline of GEN’s rich history since its start in 1995 where people can discover the backstage of the creation and development of GEN with stories, interviews, pictures, resources, etc.
- Launching a mentoring program, to create more bridges for learning, support and collaboration between the multiple generations and to truly empower young people to engage in ecovillage living, regeneration and community building wherever they live.
We have built an initial project development canvas for each project idea, which you can view here.
May the fresh start of 2022 bring lots of energy and aliveness for making these project ideas become real and strengthening the intergenerational connections already formed. We look forward to further collaborative action and learning in the future so that people of all ages join hearts, heads and hands to – and find the courage, humility and wisdom to walk strongly on the path of cultivating regenerative communities around the world.
Listen to what people shared about GEN Elders & NextGEN Calls:
Alex Marqués, Spain, GEN Europe
“I joined 3 of the GEN Elders and NextGEN calls. I found this an opportunity to meet some of the people who have been working in the ecovillage movement for many years now as well as youth who are currently working in topics I’m also interested in. It’s been a way to connect with the group and explore future collaborations. In particular, I decided to start working together with a fellow youth, on a project that could make available some of the memories that the elders have from their years in the ecovillage movement. It also was an opportunity for me to learn from both Laura and Kin since their work in the preparation and facilitation of the calls made things so much easier and effective. I’d like to remark on the Needs and Offers market, which unveiled many opportunities to work with each other and channel our energies.”
Daniel Greenberg, USA/Canada/India, GENNA, GENOA and GEN Elders
“As a (young!) elder, it has been wonderful to reach across generations and connect with the youth of the movement. Their maturity, wisdom, and dedication provide immense hope for the future. I am particularly excited about youth interviewing elders both within and and across communities to capture important events and start a GEN timeline that can evolve into a very useful resource and inspiration for us all.”
Who is NextGEN?
NextGEN is the youth network of the Global Ecovillage Network. NextGEN works to empower, educate, connect, and inspire youth to participate in the ecovillage movement, and contribute to community-led change for eco-social Regeneration.
There are five regional NextGEN networks: NextGEN Africa, NextGENOA, NextGEN Europe, CASA Latina & NextGENNA.
To find out more about NextGEN and how to get involved, please visit https://nextgen-ecovillage.org/