Ecovillage Voice at the United Nations #HLPF

Ecovillage Voice at the United Nations #HLPF

It was a unique experience this week at the United Nations in New York City. I joined the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) during the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development ‪#‎HLPF. It was reaffirming to hear the world’s governments address our environmental and humanitarian crises. Everyone seems to be on the same page that the situation is dire. We applauded the pledges of millions of dollars to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Meanwhile, I sat with questions. How much of this talk correlates to action? Is a top-down approach really what we should be applauding? Where are the voices of local communities? I questioned the standard format of sessions – a series of panelists, each proclaiming the efforts of their own nation, with little space for dialogue let alone audience questions. Is this the process by which we are meant to create something new?

I was proud to represent one of the few organizations that advocates for community-led action… and I’m aware of how small a voice we had in a room with hundreds of closely-pruned and tightly-clung agendas. Ours is a fundamentally different approach. A notable exception, my favorite session at the UN was on Degrowth, hosted by the Youth Caucus. Degrowth flies in the face of SDG #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth. During the talk panelists encouraged young people to return to the suburbs to grow food, wear second-hand clothes, and join Ecovillage and Transition Town movements. Yes!!!However, another panelist pointed out that when you visit US ecovillages, the majority are home to white privileged Americans. This is also true. We have work to do within our own movement too.

By “degrowth“, we understand a form of society and economy which aims at the well-being of all and sustains the natural basis of life. To achieve degrowth, we need a fundamental transformation of our lives and an extensive cultural change.The current economic and social paradigm is “faster, higher, further“. It is built on and stimulates competition between all humans. This causes acceleration, stress and exclusion. Our economy destroys the natural basis of life. We are convinced that the common values of a degrowth society should be care, solidarity and cooperation. Humanity has to understand itself as part of the planetary ecological system. Only this way, a self-determined life in dignity for all can be made possible.-

Much gratitude to the GEN Team, as well as the organizations we partnered with Ecosystem Restoration Camps, the International National Trusts Organization, and the Commons Cluster. As well as our friends at the neighboring booth, Gaia Education!

Big thank you to the community at 212 House for hosting me in New York!!

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Cynthia Tina

Hi, I’m Cynthia.

I’m the community matchmaker, here to help you find an intentional community to call home. I’ve visited hundreds of communities around the world — ecovillages, cohousings, agrihoods, housing coops…

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