"Blueprint" Meeting in Tamera:
For Sustainable Aid in Areas of Crisis
In April, a group of specialists, entrepreneurs and representatives of aid organizations came together in Tamera to discuss the possibility of creating a "Blueprint" for coordinated aid measures in crisis and disaster areas. They were invited by Ruth Andrade who called on the friends and cooperation partners of her late husband, Paulo Mellett, to form a team that would continue his work.
Many aid organizations know the problem all too well. Emergency aid after natural disasters and wars is necessary. However it often slows down the mechanisms of regional social and ecological regeneration. What does aid mean and what should it look like to support sustainable structures? How will the essential elements of autonomy, such as natural water cycles and traditional knowledge in areas such as regional food production, renewable energy sources, local economies and craft industry, be sustained rather than further destroyed? How can we help the recovery of refugees and damaged regions?
Recently some aid organizations have tried to integrate the experiences of ecovillages and communities in their work. This makes sense as these communities have been called "laboratories for the future." Through lived models they are testing simple, economical, decentralized systems in cooperation with nature. Their most important resource is social knowledge. The experience of many aid organizations shows that ecological and technological knowledge alone do not create sustainability. An understanding of group dynamics, conflict resolution, social sustainability, the significance of gender roles and communal decision-making processes is also needed for the success of a project. With all this experience, the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), is currently creating an "EmerGENcies Protocol" program for responding to crisis situations.
What is the Blueprint?
The concept of the "Blueprint" is a similar approach. It incorporates tested technologies and techniques into a modular design for a village. Bernd Müller, Director of the Global Ecology Institute in Tamera explains:“The Blueprint is a master plan for regionally autonomous, regenerative community development. It is designed to be adapted to many different situations and climatic conditions.”
Creating such a master plan for human settlements combines social, ecological and technical knowledge. Each settlement will include modules which demonstrate best practice in these areas. Examples of such modules are: solar cooking devices and mini biogas systems, natural water and waste water systems, compost toilets, buildings made from locally-available materials, decentralized, sustainable food cultivation and energy production from renewable sources. Combining these modules according to the master plan makes regional autonomy in cooperation with nature possible.
The first models can be built as pilot models for demonstration and experimentation. The experimentation phase will mainly not take place in crisis areas; the model should be first developed by an experienced community situated within a more stable region. There the overall system can be tested, allowing important conclusions to be made before they are included within the blueprint. These experiences can then be used to help in post-disaster areas, refugee camps and other crisis points in the global south. From the beginning, the models will be educational and training centers which facilitate the integration of holistic principles in daily life.
The Blueprint meeting was hosted by members of Tamera's Autonomy Council: Barbara Kovats, the coordinator of the Solar Village Test field; Christoph Ulbig, a core carrier of the Ecology Team and Bernd Müller. Among the participants of this first "Blueprint" meeting were Simon Constantin, son of the founders of the natural cosmetics company Lush and co-initiator of the Sustainable Lush (Slush) Fund; solar inventor Jürgen Kleinwächter, Sibylle Culhane who, with her husband Thomas, builds biogas systems in slums; engineer J C Abrahams who develops natural waste water treatment plants; Magnus Wolfe Murray and Bee Bowen who are involved in post-disaster work in Pakistan and Peter Mellett, Paulo´s father. For Ruth Andrade the calling of the first "Blueprint" meeting together was a logical continuation of Paulo’s work.
This film shows the second meeting of the blueprint team at Tamera and explains what its about.