Eco-villages: Where nature and humankind meet together respectfully
We live in a globalized world where the social development is often seen as incompatible with nature preservation. However, over the last decades, the idea of eco-village has been spreading all over the world, advocating a sustentative kind of life-style. Groups of citizens have been creating many communities where people and nature are treated with preoccupation and respect. Portugal has also its own eco-villages, like the cases of Tamera and Terramada.
The idea of eco-village has a large and flexible concept. In general, these communities search for a perfect relation between Men and Nature. This relation is based in the principle that the human activities should be harmless for the nature and integrated with it. The ideal is to give more to the nature than taking from it.
These communities are intended to be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. This means that most of the resources should be produced inside the community, giving it a large independence from the external world. In fact, eco-villages produce their own food (according with premaculture agriculture measures) and even energy is obtained from renewable sources.
Economically, the independence of the eco-villages tends to be established from taking maximum advantage of the goods which are produced there. Their policy relies in producing not only to the local inhabitants, but also to trade with other communities for other things that may be lacking. This interaction between eco-villages is settled in a fair trade perspective and often allows the creation of a real network in a global level.
In Portugal, there are some cases of eco-villages. The most well known of these projects is Tamera as well as Terramada. The first one is located in Alentejo and has nearly 100 people living there. This project has 25 years and was funded by Sabine Lichtenfelds and Dieter Duhm. The second one is placed in Algarve, a little more to the south than Tamera. Terramada is still in a project phase, but it already has many ideas in practice. It’s supposed to be installed there a permanent living community when this eco-village is totally implanted.
Besides the ecological concern, these communities look for a respectfully human interaction. Eco-villages seek for an harmonious relation between their inhabitants, which is done through the promotion of socialization and also through their policy of consensual decision making.
This spiritual environment allows a huge set of projects and tasks. In the case of Tamera eco-village, an important part of its mission is to create a peaceful kind of lifestyle. Its goal is “healing” not only the nature, but also the Human kind. To achieve it, this community has its own school where everyone can learn about its ideas and the skills for political and cultural interventions.
To spread their values, these communities frequently allow the visit to their villages. In these guided visits, it’s possible to enjoy the beautiful landscape, meet the animals and knowing some details about their mission and work. It has to be a magnificent experience.