A 3 years journey to find a sustainable lifestyle in harmony with nature
I was 24 when it all started. Tired of working full-time in a busy-business oriented-not human scale city like Paris, having the “normal” life – almost married with the stress of a 50 years old dad with 3 kids even though I didn’t have any, I decided to quit everything and start a new life with my loving partner. First I traveled to Australia, then to Brazil: amazing experiences and meetings that brought me to the ecovillages fascinating world.
My interest for the planet and environmental organizations was not new. While studying, I started working at 19 years old for international environmental NGO’s that i was seing at the time as THE solution to build a better future. This was before i realized the unfriendly impact on the environment the big cities where the NGO’s are usually located were having.
Ecovillages offered me not only knowledge but also time to think about the world. Time, this human concept invented by and for us to be aligned. Living in the mainstream system, working 5 days a week almost full time, uses all our human brain capacity. There’s no space to think beyond mainstream concepts and feel what is our nature, what is it that we really like, what is it that we’re good at. We are limited to a very small amount of habits and views, programed by the main newspapers, TV channels, and school programs. We become machines serving a system based on economy which profit people that actually don’t need anything.
I started to realize the negative impact of many activities from the big cities on human development and its environment. Probably worse than doing nothing — that at least has a neutral impact. Fast food, fast fashion, fast friends… Studies say that average young people in cities spend each week 40 hours watching TV and movies, 15 hours playing video games and phones and more than 2 hours watching porn. Add to that 30 to 40 hours of work and/or study and calculate how much more there is for time to breath, feel the body, connect to nature and relate to other humans and views with peace and compassion. Isn’t this permanent workflow to make more profit what’s creating stress, violence, misunderstanding and war between people?
In big cities, it is also easy to feel disconnected from our body needs. Even thought I was vegetarian for ethical and health reasons since almost 10 years, I didn’t know where the food I was consuming was coming from. Looking back, i think i wasn’t even aware of what kind of nutrients i was in need of and what I was giving to my body. Buying the products that are the most advertised, the recipes that are the most sold, became a norm, far from the natural cycles of the seasons that provide specific ingredients at specific times.
I’m glad ecovillages experiences changed my perspective and actions on those topics. Also thanks to activities like yoga, meditation, fasts, workshops about raw food and instinctive nutrition, I reconnected with my body needs. I also decided to work less and stop running after unnecessary money and consume less.
From 5 years behind a computer to the experience of 100 eco-communities in Europe
After a year, I realized ecovillages were everywhere in the world and all specialized in different topics. I started to want to discover as much as possible, focusing first where I come from: Europe. Being French and Portuguese, I felt the need to reconnect to my roots and my ancestors in order to understand better my past and the traumas I was carrying. I also felt I could share this information on the web where it was not so easy to find. As a Digital Project Manager, I created a website and social networks to do some story telling about my journey: www.eco-villages.eu and reach citizens and politicians looking for sustainable living in global and local scale.
My main focus at the beginning was the ecology. Then while visiting ecovillages like Zegg in Germany or Tamera in Portugal, focused on social interactions and relationships, I realized how Ecology had no sense if not seen in a social and cultural context, as nature doesn’t need humans and knows how to regenerate by itself. When I understood this, I started to focus more on the social and cultural pictures of our global system as well as the new culture developed in ecovillages with tools like permaculture.
While noticing how complementary and harmonious ecovillages could be when they find the balance between innovative solutions and traditional wisdom, spirituality came on my way and opened my thoughts about some universal laws. I had to deal with my trauma from religion to realize that spirituality was something else: less limited, more personal, open and inclusive, and that it was not about following the same rules but more exploring our infinite differences that creates the beautiful biodiversity we have on our planet.
Today I visited almost 100 eco communities in more than 20 countries from West South to North East Europe. I’m trying to get the mainstream media more interested in this subjects while developing communication projects like a book, a series of documentary videos, online presence and events more on the ground.
I want to root myself here, enjoy the nature, feel the different seasons, learn to embrace and be more conscious about my shadows and the patterns of my life and make my light rise. I want to take the time to develop authentic relationships with an all year community and face the intensity of living together as not only neighbors or co-workers, but also family and close friends.