The Resilience Project is a project carried out by the Global Ecovillage Network to gain insights into how ecovillages and their current practices might look under the scenario of a 2.5+ degree change in global temperature. What are the strengths, and weaknesses of ecovillages, what needs to be replaced and adapted, and what ecovillages should look like in 2040 are some of the questions that are explored together in this process. The project started in October 2022 where they have gone through a process of sensing, systems scoping, and diving deep into thresholds and potential concerns. Now they are moving to the third phase of forming visions and pathways.
One of the community collaborators from GENOA is the Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS). They are a non-profit organization focused on community-based development that is committed to maintaining ecological balance and harmony between humans and nature. In 2015, they worked with the local community at Dacope to establish an ecovillage. They have been actively working with local communities in the Sundarbans Coastal Region that are vulnerable to climate change in applying regenerative practices through different outreach programs.
We invited them to share about their experience being a part of the project by asking several questions. Here are their responses:
What have been some realizations (or AHA moments) in the learning journey of the project?
Ecovillage Resilience is such a platform where we got the chance to learn about ecovillages all over the world. It’s a platform where we communicate with each other, and share our ecovillage-related facts, problems, and the solutions also. From the journey of the project, at first, our connection was made with all the eco-villages, and from the workshops and different tasks, we focused on several untold aspects of our ecovillage and the workshops with the community has become like education programs where we act as a media to share the voice of the ecovillage community members globally.
What tools and pieces of information from the project that you think deserves to be shared with the whole network and how?
From the project, we learned about various tools and shared the tools with our community. Our community has also participated in different workshops. The people in our community have found the system-sensing activity more interesting and innovative. Because when they take part in any type of group work, they use to have a presentation or guideline to perform the group work and after that, they are engaged in finding the result. System sensing activity gave people the chance to explore well-known places in a different way and observe the beauty, happiness, problems, and issues in a relaxing mind. This activity also helps to refresh one’s mind as well as give a deep thought on the surroundings issue.
How was the community activities that you did in the project went for your community? Any interesting implications, findings, or experiences you have?
At first, when we started the activities, it was quite difficult to hold the concentration of the community people for this long time and get their input. With the series of workshops, the knowledge of the community people has been enhanced. The community people only knew about climate change and its vulnerability. When we introduced the problem tree (a problem mapping exercise) with the people in the community, they were very much active in the activity and new different problems have been found which were not properly addressed before. All the activities were quite interesting and different from each other to conduct at the community level. There was also excitement when the final output of the workshop was prepared.
Through the series of workshops, the community in Sundarbans has properly learned about the effect of climate change and how they will be affected by it. The climate tipping point was a totally new term for them and now they are thinking about what will happen 20 years later. The workshops and the knowledge of the workshops help to change their point of view and it has created a broader sense of thinking. I think those activities have built their capacity to take decisions by themselves and also portray the importance of togetherness, and cooperative work to build a better future.
What are the things your community is looking forward to as this project continues?
Through the series of workshops, the community people have perfectly learned about their submerged future due to the effect of climate change. It’s an appeal from the vulnerable community of Sundarbans coastal region to do something for them so that they can cope with the upcoming effects of climate change. We are already trying to raise funds for the local community through different fundraising platforms. We wish this project will continue and in the next phase of the project, we will be able to work for the betterment of this vulnerable community.