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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ecosystem restoration camps: John D. Liu's new take on saving the planet

 
Justin Jones
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I agree with John, I think this is something that needs to happen all over the world.  As a young person with almost no capital, I've been wrestling with the very vexing problem of how to get into permaculture and ecosystem restoration.  These camps can make this kind of education available to those who need it most.  Seems like this is the sort of thing that has the most potential to get us to the tipping point of regenerative action.  So help us get the word out!  Young people interested in earth healing need to know that this is going to be an option.

Join the facebook discussion: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1206960359323785

Here is a webinar from Sustainable Design Master Class that aired just two days ago, wherein John further elaborates his vision:
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I am bumping this important topic to the top.  Hey Y'all!  Watch the first video all least.
 
Tyler Ludens
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This is the exact thing I would like to do on our land.  We have the beginnings of a camp, with a composting toilet and a meeting site which were developed for a different camp idea which fell through when the organizer became seriously ill.  But we don't have any buildings.  I'm not a people person or a teacher, so I can't actually do anything about organizing the camp, I can only offer a patch of land.  I don't know if it could be a permanent thing, because the land is small, but it could be a testing ground, if anyone in this region is interested.  Our region is severely degraded - the carrying capacity of the land has been reduced to about 1/5 of its historical level, so there is a lot to do in this part of the world.  We're also likely to be vulnerable to climate change because it is a brittle environment subject to extremes of drought and flood even without climate change.

So if anyone reading this, who is in this region and does not have access to a piece of land to camp on and restore, here's a possibility.  It could be the beginning of a regional movement, perhaps.



 
Roberto pokachinni
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You might not think that you have the temperament for being a teacher, but you have a lot to share, especially for what you have accomplished on your land, Tyler.  Your focus on bio-intensive systems as well as erosion control are very important.  Interestingly on the point of the bio-intensive approach, Liu states outright at around minute 36 of the second longer film, perhaps counter-intuitively for the farmer, that we increase productivity by reducing our area in cultivation.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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The latter statement is in regards to ecosystem restoration outside of the agricultural use areas which makes the agriculture that much more sustainable/productive, increasing the potential of the better agricultural practices.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks!  I signed up for the group but I do not understand the application question "field of activity."  I answered "kitchen garden" because I have no idea what that question means....my primary activity on the land is in my kitchen garden...
 
Tyler Ludens
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It looks like the idea is to wait until 1000 people join the cooperative before dues are collected.  Dues will be 10 Euros per month or 120 Euros per year.  As of now over 700 people have joined, so the goal of 1000 will be easily met.  I hope lots of permies will join!  I will probably pay my dues in a lump sum.


 
Gail Moore
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Thank you for posting this. am signing on this week!

I am not a social media person. can anyone show us how to link to some way to join this program ?
 
hans muster
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Great idea.

However, I see some ways of doing it which could be interesting:
There are existing youth organisations (scouts...) where people already have the experience of doing camps. And scouts, for example, often want to do something for others.
If, with the money, a part of a camp is financed for a group, with the condition to work for a few hours a day, the existing knowledge could be passed on to other participants.

Example: maybe someone sees a place which could use reforestation, like Costantinos Karoubas. His way, throwing seeds, is great for huge areas with little manpower. However some other techniques, like "Zaï Pits" would work faster but have a much higher workload.

In a 2 week long camp many pits could be dug, even with only a few hours a day of work. And the young people digging the pits would have a nice place to come back to a few years later.

https://permies.com/t/14353/Reforestation-Growing-trees-arid-barren

I have been planting trees in many places, in projects or just like this, and 2 things are nice:
-to know that the trees will be taken care of, not just eaten by goats
-to have some social reward, like being invited to eat/not having to pay for the expenses.
 
hans muster
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@Gail Moore: you can join here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScORDhbbFfkRc9moKEbdLg4PSCkSChTOtnMkUioLKsu4gwPPg/viewform?c=0&w=1

I am also not a facebook guy, refuse tu sign up. Does anyone know what is happening with the project? Is there a place where we can see how many people signed up? I really liked Liu's movies "Hope in a Changing Climate" and "Green Gold".
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm not on Facebook either.  I've received updates via email:


Dear Friends:

Dear Founding Members of the Ecosystem Restoration Cooperative and Camps:

I hope that this finds everyone well and happy.

I don’t want to ramble so I’m reporting as succinctly as I can what has been happening and where I believe this leads.

My wish and I believe I speak for all of the members is that we are able to efficiently, effectively and joyously act to mitigate and adapt to climate change in a way which sequesters carbon in the soil and biomass, re-regulates the hydrological cycle, reduces surface and ambient air temperatures, and protects and promotes biodiversity worldwide while training the largest number of people in this direct action to ensure our common future.

The vision of creating the Cooperative and the Camps has exposed a mass pent-up energy where people wish to act but alone are constrained. We need to work together in order to ensure that everyone can do their part to mitigate and adapt to human induced climate change.  In a little over 2 months the public site has over 7,810 people discussing the idea. We continue to grow the founding membership and at this moment have 836 pledged founding members. That means 164 more till we launch and that if each of us finds 1 new member we will have reached critical mass. There have been active discussions on many topics and a vision is coming together for the first camp, the governance, the growing cooperative, where more camps can be and many other topics. From these discussions it is possible to see to some extent what people hope for and what troubles them. We have many highly experienced permaculture designers and trainers, we have some members of large cooperatives, we have many enthusiastic students and young people. There are people from more than 40 countries around the world, all ages and many backgrounds. We are building a movement that is going to be quite representative of humanity.

There seem to be various thoughts on organizational theory and practical implementation. Biologically minded members seem to talk about nursery systems, seeds, soil creation, plant out, water retention methods, and biodiversity. Practical members are discussing woodworking / metal working shops to fabricate the camp, craft works like ceramics which can break the connection with plastics / petroleum, there are interesting ways to build and use solar energy, biogas digesters, cooking facilities, showers, laundry, saunas, grey water systems, and composting toilets. Process oriented members like to discuss governance, communications, policy implications, organizing, fundraising and administrative issues. Culturally minded members are discussing meditation, health and healing, conflict resolution, spirituality, and peace building. Some people are worried about class differences and a few have strong feelings about ethnic differences. While there are many thoughts there also seems to be a type of consensus that we are all joining to collaborate to bring all these systems into harmony to serve to restore the Earth and create functional human relations. I think this is a healthy process but also a long one.

I have been strongly in favor of putting the first camp in Spain. We have been told that there are 3 to 5 hectares on the farm of Alfonso Chico de Guzman where we can build the first camp. The local authorities have suggested that as long as we don’t build permanent structures we don’t need further permissions. This is connected to a larger project by Commonland foundation that is working to transition the traditional agriculture to organic and create sustainable markets for the organic food while stimulating large-scale ecosystem restoration in the region. I am working to ensure that there will be an agreement for at least 5 years so that we don’t have to pack up and leave too quickly. If there is mutual satisfaction I think we can extend the period beyond 5 years but I would like to have that proven rather than just hope it to be true. This should give us time to identify many places that need and want us to set up camps and to grow the cooperative so that more camps can be built. With the experiences gained and the ability to manufacture the camp infrastructure we should be able to reduce building camps to a fine art. We also expect that the Cooperative membership can continue to grow. Once we are at 1000 we will be headed for 2000 and when there, for 5000 and eventually we should grow the cooperative very large.

We have not requested any funds from the members yet. We are working to create an interim council of members willing to serve in a limited capacity to lead in two main areas. First to build the first camp.  Second is to register the cooperative. We are also seeking qualified people to join voluntary treasury committee that must be in place before we accept any funds. We have some help from our fiduciary trustees / fiscal sponsors World Permaculture Association (WPA) a non-profit registered in Italy and Regeneration International (RI) a non-profit registered in the United States. As the Cooperative and the Camps grow we may need to move to paid staff but I hope we can go without spending money as long as possible. The less we rely on the existing economic system the more we are able to be free and to represent our sovereign rights. The issue of paid staff is one that will have to be discussed and decided in the council and with the members consent. When these initial goals have been achieved the Interim council will resign en mass and the membership will be asked to help create a new governance council. The members could choose some members who have served on the interim council to return if they wish or install entirely new council members.

So far we have from membership over 100,320 Euros pledged to this cause. I’m working so that the people will be in control of this effort. I think when we are able to build the camp without asking for other funds we will have the ability to access other funds without giving away the control. If we ask for funds before we build the camp and prove the concept of People Driven Direct Action we might be “big footed” by monied institutions.

I think things are going pretty well.  More than 20 founding members joined the day I wrote this.  I can watch the numbers grow and have contacted everyone who has joined. I’m sending this to all of the founding members so far to keep you updated. If there is anything on your mind there are now many forums to use or write to me if there is something I need to know or be doing differently.

Please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Especially contact me if you feel that you would have the ability and the time to help lead in either the interim council or the camps.

There is much to do … I hope that you are yours will be well and happy … and that very soon we can go camping together.

In Love, In Peace, In Service,

John
John D. Liu
Director, Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP)
Visiting Fellow, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO)
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
Ecosystems Ambassador, Commonland Foundation
johndliu@icloud.com
john.liu@commonland.com
+86-13911-565016

<https://knaw.academia.edu/JohnDLiu>   
 
Tyler Ludens
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I truly hope many permies will join the cooperative.  I believe this is the real deal.  Anyone who has watched John Liu's films sees that these techniques do work.  The cost is so low to join.  Please join! 
 
Michael Holland
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As an apartment dweller I don't (yet) have hands on experience of permaculture or ecosystem design. Joining a cooperative like this seems like a great way to contribute something even now.

Fingers crossed that I can also join one of these camps when things are up and running. What I lack in knowledge and skill I can make up in enthusiasm
 
Tyler Ludens
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I hope people understand that you can join the cooperative now, and that they can not create the camps unless enough people join the cooperative.

 
John Weiland
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A bit of a "pie in the sky" idea for a Sunday morning.  I'm wondering if down the road some hybrid concept of "military conscription" and the WPA would not be a great way for pretty much ALL youth to get their hands wet in permaculture.  It seems as if all of the original implementation in the past was "top-down" with the organizations already having the projects lined up for construction or repair.  But if there were a sub-program within a new WPA that was directed at permaculture implemetation and education, the youths doing the work would be getting the best education possible while simultaneously installing permaculture centers nationwide.  The newly constructed centers could continue into the future with a role as research and education centers.

WPA:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration
 
Michael Holland
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I hope people understand that you can join the cooperative now, and that they can not create the camps unless enough people join the cooperative.


Yes, Good point! To be clear, I'm all signed up.
Also, would like to point out that it's not just for young people. From watching the videos it looks like the aim is to get people of all ages involved.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Update about the cooperative and the camps
In July 2016, when John D. Liu started this initiative, he proposed that when we reached 1000 members we would be in the position to move decisively forward. The good news is that we are today (January 23, 2017) at 842 members and more members are joining each day! This means we are very close now to achieving this first target, so it is time to get in touch with you through this newsletter.  We will inform you about how we are organizing ourselves and invite you to become an active participant in our people based community.



Message from John D. Liu
Dear Friends

I’m writing to all those who have joined the Ecosystem Restoration Cooperative as founding members.

The path to the creation of the cooperative and first camp is now becoming clear. A legal non-profit entity is in the process of forming to make it possible to accept and disperse funds to build the first camp.  We can see that the group has the energy and will to take on the important and urgent task of restoring the Earth. And, we believe that we can access the resources we need to build the camp from private donors.

The situation is evolving and there is room for everyone who wants to participate and to lead. There will be steps and missteps. Compassion, collaboration and clear communications are very helpful. We hope that everyone will approach this collaborative work with a light heart and trust in our mutual goals and values.

It is possible to see that the first camp in Spain will be realized in a few months. Within this camp we can each day collaboratively study and learn to restore the Earth’s basic ecological systems that have been degraded worldwide by our human ancestors. We are experimenting with self-governance and with building a new culture of joy, friendship and purpose.  We are engaged in “The Great Work of Our Time” to restore the Earth so that our children, grandchildren and future generations can survive and thrive on a fully functional planet.

We cannot do this in isolation or alone. Restoring the Earth is a big task that requires that we are all engaged. Healing the Earth requires that we open our hearts and learn to work together in collaboration. I would recommend that we realize the enormity of our task. This group is preparing for a marathon and not a sprint. So, I’ll let others explain what active members have been doing to move the project forward.

I hope to see you at the first camp soon and at many more camps around the world as soon as possible.

Let’s go camping and do our best to Heal the Earth and the Human Spirit.


Filmmaker, soil scientist and environmental activist John D. Liu


John D. Liu on Eco-Restoration Camps
How do we organise ourselves?
One of the great challenges of being a group by the people is how you organise the work. We are experimenting with Sociocracy and have temporarily organized ourselves into 6 main circles. We discuss the work and invite new active participating members to contribute their time and skills, communicating through a Slack-like platform called Discord,. From there people will be invited to form part of a more formal circle, with a maximum of 10 people currently responsible for decisions in the following areas. As we grow and evolve more circles will be formed around key tasks:

Administration and Legal issues
Communication and Fundraising
Camp Organization
Ecosystem Restoration Design
Education and Training
Evolution and Transformation

The first three circles are very active now: we are in the process of becoming a foundation, we start up our communication channels and a third group is very busy deciding what is necessary in our first camp in Spain and beyond. The last three groups are still forming themselves, which is logical. They have to wait for the first three to come up with their results.  At the moment around 50 people are actively spending 5 to 10 hours or more of their time per week on this work. We need more people to help us, and also want this process to be a bit more organized and transparent from now on.



https://vimeo.com/198124062
 
Ann LeFebvre
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Tyler Ludens wrote:This is the exact thing I would like to do on our land.  We have the beginnings of a camp, with a composting toilet and a meeting site which were developed for a different camp idea which fell through when the organizer became seriously ill.  But we don't have any buildings.  I'm not a people person or a teacher, so I can't actually do anything about organizing the camp, I can only offer a patch of land.  I don't know if it could be a permanent thing, because the land is small, but it could be a testing ground, if anyone in this region is interested.  Our region is severely degraded - the carrying capacity of the land has been reduced to about 1/5 of its historical level, so there is a lot to do in this part of the world.  We're also likely to be vulnerable to climate change because it is a brittle environment subject to extremes of drought and flood even without climate change.

So if anyone reading this, who is in this region and does not have access to a piece of land to camp on and restore, here's a possibility.  It could be the beginning of a regional movement, perhaps. 


Can you explain a bit more about your situation?  How much land?  In your earlier vision of a camp, how many people did you anticipate being involved?  What aspects of John's project do you believe your land could contribute to the most?  (the logistics of camping/ the logistics of certain restoration techniques? etc...)  Do you believe that there is any chance that your land could become the camping spot for restoration efforts that extend to other privately owned spaces in the region?  Or is that unlikely?  What is the native ecosystem and plant community types that would be found in central Texas if the region was ecologically healthy?  What sources of financing do you anticipate?

Thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
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It's all very unlikely because this is a small piece of land and I am an uncharismatic hermit.  I have no source of financing, only the land.  The "camp" area of land is only a couple of acres.  Our total parcel is only 20 acres.  Periodically I wish to be able to share the land somehow, but it seems pretty implausible at this point.

Also, my post above is really off-topic for this thread and I should probably delete it.

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Tyler Ludens wrote:It's all very unlikely because this is a small piece of land and I am an uncharismatic hermit.  I have no source of financing, only the land.  The "camp" area of land is only a couple of acres.  Our total parcel is only 20 acres.  Periodically I wish to be able to share the land somehow, but it seems pretty implausible at this point.

Also, my post above is really off-topic for this thread and I should probably delete it.


Please do not delete it Tyler! Maybe (just maybe) your place is not fit for those camps, but your offer is a good example for others, who might be the right ones for John D.Liu's camps
btw 20 acres seems like a lot of land to me .... It is not the quantity, but the intention that counts
 
Ann LeFebvre
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Tyler,  I agree, your idea is worth keeping visible.  Land like yours could offer up experiments in "how to camp well",  and one powerful version of your idea would be to facilitate restoration beyond single ownership boundaries over time. Your post is valuable as an idea to expand/ diversify upon what Liu has begun.   I only saw your response today; thank you!
 
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