In early July Integral City attended the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) European Conference 2018, The Wisdom of Conscious Communities, in Lilleoru Estonia (near the capital Tallinn).

We participated in several uses of the Ecovillage Playing cards and mandala, facilitated by GEN ED Kosha Joubert and Education Director, Anna Kovasna.

This card-set has been co-designed by Gaia Education and GEN to enable a group of ecovillagers to quickly discover core dimensions that need to be addressed in designing ecovillage practices for sustainability and success.

Three core practices that most ecovillages embrace are:

  1. Engaging local participatory processes.
  2. Integrating social, cultural, economic and ecological dimensions within a whole systems approach to sustainability and regeneration.
  3. Co-creating conditions for restoring and regenerating social and natural environments.

The playing cards unpack these practices into an (integrally-informed) mandala that enables participants to map out the assets and needs of each of the 4 dimensions, and the system as a whole:

  • Cultural
  • Social
  • Economic
  • Ecological
  • Whole System

We witnessed how easy it was for participants to use the integral map to assess assets and needs with local “voting” tools like sticks and stones. The picture that emerged then allowed for a discussion of the ecovillage situation and create a story shared by all. That provided a strong platform from which to design intentions, agreements and strategies for ecovillage operation.