Dimensions of sustainability

The Dimensions of sustainability developped by Gaia Education, are systemically organized in their curricula as a mandala of what we perceive to be the four primary, intrinsic dimensions of human experience: Ecological, Social, Economic, and Worldview. Each of these four dimensions, in turn, contains five modules each – thus twenty subject areas total. While the four-fold mandala of over-arching ‘dimensions,’ representing an archetypal structural model, will remain constant, the actual titles and contents of the individual ‘modules’ may evolve and fluctuate over time.

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Sustainability in Action

Eecovillages have taken root all over the world, in north and south, in tropical, temperate and desert regions. Since 1995, with the formation of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), hundreds of ecovillages around the world have come together in order to share and disseminate their knowledge; they are intensely engaged in public education and mutual learning.

Ecovillages are devising the far- reaching solutions to the sustainability crisis, and applying them at the level of lived experience.

Central to ecovillage life is the creation of virtuous cycles, which regenerate the land, enliven the community, and sustain its members in a cohesive whole comprised of integrated human and natural systems. Gray water and kitchen waste are recycled into community gardens; human manure is composted into landscape soil; rainwater is harvested for garden and home use; woody waste from community forests warms the homes of the residents. To the extent that ecovillages are able to generate a local economy based upon community resources, money circulates internally and automobile use decreases. One expression of this holism, underlying the ecovillage movement, is permaculture. Permaculture offers design principles for social as well as ecological sustainability: apply self-regulation and accept feedback; use and value diversity; integrate rather than segregate.

The holistic vision of ecovillages, while focused on sustainable living practices at the individual and community level, is also a globally engaged vision. At all levels, from the individual to global, the focus is on establishing ecologically, economically and socially viable alternatives on the ground, demonstrating the practical viability of a holistic worldview.

In this section we want to show examples in how ecovillages bring alive sustainability in its different dimensions. These experiences/lessons can be applied in homes, neighborhoods, schools and work places.