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Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World (1998)
by Alan Weisman
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This is the book mentioned by webfarmer in ref. to Red Trueque and the Tomas in Argentina & the movie The Take (about the takeovers by factory workers of abandoned factories -poor translation...) ( )
This is the book mentioned by webfarmer in ref. to Red Trueque and the Tomas in Argentina & the movie The Take (about the takeovers by factory workers of abandoned factories -poor translation...)
Gaviotas is a village in Columbia, established in 1971 with the vision of establishing a self-sufficient community in the harshest environment in that country. The closing sentence (of the Acknowledgments) explains why I loved this book: "...the only job worth doing is making our dreams come true." That goal is what leads me to change jobs so often and to live rurally in relative simplicity. I loved reading about the ingenious solutions created by Gaviotas: the bicycle powered casava grinder, the seesaw water pumps, buldings designed to cool from the gentle variable breezes of the savanna. I praise Gaviotans for their humanitarian efforts.
One chapter near the beginning focuses on Columbia's political history--particularly relevant because of violence by guerillas and paramilitary is an ever-present factor in relationships outside of Gaviotas itself, and because of the support given by one president.
This book is only loosely linear. However as Pepe Gomez learned "Life is not just a linear experience" (p. 143) Each time a new person was brought into the story, there was some backtracking to cover that person's connections and role in the community's development.
I do wish Weisman had put more focus on HOW Gaviotas developed its unique governance system, where everyone has a say in decisions that affect them, and where are empowered to make positive changes. Also, there is little said about the lives of the women in the community--understandable, perhaps, for a documentary written by a man. We do hear of some women who were influential in the community, and we are also told of years when Gaviotas was primarily composed of bachelors and some wives in the beginning who left because they couldn't tolerate the situation. It isn't until sometime in the 1990's that the men of the community took over women's work for a day and realized that the kitchens lacked many conveniences and ergonomic improvements that had been implemented in the male work sphere (p.211).
I recommend this book to anyone who wonders how our world is ever going to make it thru the impending hard times.
I enjoyed this book very much.
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Wikipedia in English (1)
Los Llanos--the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia--are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country's growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world's most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas. In the absence of infrastructure, the first Gaviotans invented wind turbines to convert mild breezes into energy, hand pumps capable of tapping deep sources of water, and solar collectors efficient enough to heat and even sterilize drinking water under perennially cloudy llano skies. Over time, the Gaviotans' experimentation has even restored an ecosystem: in the shelter of two million Caribbean pines planted as a source of renewable commercial resin, a primordial rain forest that once covered the llanos is unexpectedly reestablishing itself. Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez has called Paolo Lugari "Inventor of the World." Lugari himself has said that Gaviotas is not a utopia: "Utopia literally means 'no place.' We call Gaviotas a topia, because it's real." Relive their story with this special 10th-anniversary edition of Gaviotas, complete with a new afterword by the author describing how Gaviotas has survived and progressed over the past decade.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)338.9861Social sciences Economics Production Economic Development And Growth South America Colombia; Ecuador; Panama; Panama Canal
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