Socioecological Resilience at Céu do Patriarca Ecovilage – South Brazil

Landscape around Céu do Patriarca Ecovilage, South Brazil. Photo: Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger

Socioecological Resilience at Céu do Patriarca Ecovilage – South Brazil

Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger, Gustavo C.M. Martins, Alexandre Paulo Teixeira Moreira, Cristian Curti and Cristiana Simão Seixas 

The full text is available for download using the link below / right.

Abstract: This manuscript analyses the social-ecological resilience of Céu do Patriarca ecovillage (Florianópolis city, Santa Catarina state, Brazil). Initially, we describe the motivation and main events guiding the intentional self-organization process of the community in the past 23 years. We then provide a descriptive analysis of the main attributes – technological, knowledge and skills, social structures and relations, behavioural, psychological and belief systems, adaptive policies and management – related to its capacity to manage social and ecological disturbance in the present, past and future. We have also analysed the response measures demonstrated by the ecovillage to 8 of the main local socio-ecological disturbances. The analysis enabled the identification of 33 characteristics within the ecovillage that are indicative of its resilience. We also illustrate the presence of adaptive co-management features, and argue they have shown a high level of transformability across their 23-year trajectory. Before all the advancements and experiences accumulated by the Céu do Patriarca ecovillage, we conclude that it does not only offer an outstanding and insightful case study to think about the various facets of social-ecological systems resilience. Above all, it may well serve as a reference to other communities and people in search of concrete social-ecological systems trajectories that have shown significant progress in pursuing sustainable development.

About the authors: Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger is a Phd student in Environment and Society at the Centre for Environmental Studies (Nepam), University of Campinas (Unicamp) in Brazil. Gustavo Martins has a Bsc. in Environmental Engineering and is an associate of the Ecovillage for the past 6 years, where he is working with several aspects of permaculture.

Download Gerhardinger-et-al-2012-42.pdf

Resilience Through Relocalisation: Ecocultures of Transition?

Energy Saving Show, Richmondshire Eco Week, Yorkshire. Photo: Transition Richmond Yorkshire.

Resilience Through Relocalisation: Ecocultures of Transition? Transition to a post-carbon, post-consumer society: new, traditional and alternative ways of living in the ‘adjacent possible’.

Stephen Quilley 

The full text is available for download using the link below / right.

Abstract: The paper provides an overview of the Transition movement, exploring the relationship between the positive bottom-up approach to capacity building and the ontology of civilizational collapse.  As a vision of the good life, Transition is seen as an attempt by typically liberal, cosmopolitan and connected individuals to parachute into smaller, face-to-face, place-bound communities with greater capacity for resilience in uncertain times. The psychological structures and belief systems characteristic of complex ‘gesellschaftlich’ societies are contrasted with those implied by the project of relocalisation. The ‘peverse resilience’ of existing food provisioning and manufacturing systems is explored as an obstacle to the emergence of more resilient systems at lower spatial scales.  Using the evocative phrase the ‘great reskilling’, Transition successfully articulates the kind of technologies, knowledge and skills which will have value for a post-fossil fuel, more localised economy – a world made by hand. The Transition skills agenda also taps into a wider current of disaffection with meaningless consumerism and a resurgence of interest in both traditional crafts and the ‘maker’ approach to technology exemplified by the culture of ‘hacking.’   However, this counterculture not withstanding, the ‘prefigurative’ Transition skill-set  is miniscule relative to the overall scale of the economy  and the prospective needs of relocalized economies. There are real challenges to re-creating it from scratch, particularly in advance of any structural collapse, in the absence of local demand and in competition with the conventional economy. The paper goes on to discuss the social, political and cultural obstacles to the project of  resilience through relocalization, the problem of scale in constructing Transition communities and the tension between mobilising effective we-identities without abandoning liberal and cosmopolitan emphasis on diversity and tolerance. Finally it is suggested that given the degree of systemic interdependence, the vision of local, community-level resilience must be married with a broader strategy for transforming global production systems.

Stephen Quilley

About the author: Although Senior Lecturer in Environmental Politics at Keele University [http://www.keele.ac.uk/spire/staff/quilley/] Stephen Quilley is technically a sociologist, having worked previously at University College Dublin (1999-2005) and the ESRC Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition in Manchester (1997-1999). With academic research interests ranging from the historical sociology of Norbert Elias to the long term dynamics of human ecology, Stephen is also working on policy-related projects relating to sustainability, urban regeneration, food systems, resilience and social-ecological innovation. Working closely with colleagues in Canada, Quilley has Associate Faculty status with Social Innovation Generation (SiG) at the University of Waterloo and is an Affiliate Researcher at the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. A sponsor ofOpen Source Ecology [http://opensourceecology.org/], he is also interested in education as a vehicle to create a society of proactive makers, menders, bodgers and builders – a vision he is trying to integrate into a new model of university education (www.oneplanetinstitute.com).

Download Quilley-2012-1.pdf

Ecocultures 2012: Keynote address by Paul Wimbush

Paul Wimbush

Paul Wimbush will deliver a keynote address at Ecocultures 2012, entited The Lammas ecovillage project – Redesigning the human relationship to resources.

Paul Wimbush was the driving force behind the creation of the Lammas project in Pembrokeshire. Having studied Architecture, he went on to live in a wide range of alternative communities throughoutWest Wales. In 2005 he co-founded Lammas and spearheaded a 3 year campaign to win planning permission for the Tir y Gafel ecovillage. The replicable model is pioneering in its grass-roots approach, empowering people to generate their own solutions to the challenge of sustainability. He has been influential in shaping both local and national planning policies and is actively involved in supporting the emergence of a low-impact movement inWalesthat seeks to promote an alternative rural lifestyle model that is productive, affordable and attractive.

Paul’s talk will describe key issues in rural sustainability, land productivity and understanding human impacts. It will set out the the core concepts of the Lammas project, which combines a conventional social model with an alternative ethos. The talk will cover the importance of harnessing creativity, the role of research and academia, opportunities provided by the media, political and policy process, and appreciating and negotiating key obstacles to the design and creation of intentional communities.

More information on Lammas is available here, and here are some wonderful images sent by Paul of the low-impact housing in Wales …

Hay-bale workshop, plot 1, Lammas Ecovillage, Tir y Gafel. Photo: Paul Wimbush

Roundhouse/ workshop, plot 2, Lammas Ecovillage , Tir y Gafel. Photo: Paul WimbushPhoto: Paul Wimbush
Earth sheltered dwellinghouse, plot 7, Lammas Ecovillage, Tir y Gafel. Photo: Paul Wimbush

Registration for Ecocultures 2012 is available online here, and full details on the programme of events as they evolve are here. We look forward to hearing what you think and meeting you in April!

Upcoming Event: New Knowledge for Resilient Futures

TRN Plymouth Feb 2012

See the attached for details of the second meeting of the Transition Research Network, to be held on the 29th of February 2012, at the Transition Hub, Armada Way, Plymouth.

To book a place, please go to: http://researchingtransitionplymouth.eventbrite.co.uk

The event is free to attend, and open to all interested. For more details, please contact Tom Henfrey (t.w.henfry at durham.ac.uk) or Michelle Bastian (michelle.bastian at manchester.ac.uk)

Alternative Agri-Food Networks in the Colchester area

Biodiverse meadows used to graze cattle for local markets near Maldon, Essex

Alternative Agri-Food Networks in the Colchester area and their contribution to  resilient communities

Ambra Sedlmayr [ambracsedl [at] gmail [dot] com] 

Background: Local and sustainable food sourcing initiatives in the Colchester area were surveyed to gain an understanding of the main opportunities and challenges to the development of alternative food sourcing strategies to build local resilience. A diversity of initiatives were identified and key informants were interviewed for each type of initiative. It was found that Alternative Agri-Food Network (AAFN) organisers perceive that lack of time and financial resources are the main factors limiting the promotion of AAFNs. They also believe that insufficient consumer awareness is a constraint to the spreading and deepening of AAFNs. Nevertheless, the recent development of a number of initiatives and the growing interest in local and sustainable food is promising for the future development of alternative food sourcing in the area, which is essential for developing more sustainable and resilient communities.

Ambra Sedlmayr

About the author: 

Ambra studied Biology at the University of Coimbra (Portugal). From there she moved on to conduct her postgraduate studies at the University of Essex (UK). At Essex she first completed the Masters degree in Environment, Science and Society, followed by a doctorate in Environmental Studies, focussing on the subject of agricultural marginalisation in Portugal.

Ambra’s research interests focus on the political, economic, social and psychological frontiers of conflict and tension, emerging between different ways of conceptualizing and realizing development. Her main research interest is on the maintenance and development of sustainable forms of agriculture and sustainable agricultural livelihoods in the context of  long standing and continuing pressures that drive agricultural industrialisation. Her research is intrinsically transdisciplinary and solution-orientated. Ambra is currently working for an international charity in the promotion of sustainable agriculture. She is still connected with the Centre of Functional Ecology at the University of Coimbra and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex.

Further publications: 

  • Sedlmayr, A. (2011). Agricultural marginalisation in Portugal: Threats and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society, University of Essex, Colchester. PhD Thesis.
  • Sedlmayr, A. (2009). How does agricultural marginalisation come about? Presentation of a research paper at the Essex & Writtle “Sustainability and the Environment” Conference, Colchester.
  • Sedlmayr. A. (2008). The flooding of the foodshed. How cheap imports undermine local food systems in rural Portugal. Proceedings of the VII Iberic Conference of Rural Studies, Coimbra.
  • Sedlmayr, A. (2005). Factors affecting the Ecological and Economic viability of organic farming in central Portugal. Implications for the development of sustainable agriculture. Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society, University of Essex, Colchester. Master’s Dissertation.

Social-ecological resilience at Céu do Patriarca ecovillage, Brazil

Landscape around Céu do Patriarca. Photo: Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger

Background: This case study describes research undertaken at Céu do Patriarca, an ecovillage in Santa Catarina, south Brazil. It describes the motivation and main events guiding the intentional self-organization of the community over the past 23 years.It then provides a descriptive analysis of the main attributes – technological, knowledge and skills, social structures and relations, behavioural, psychological and belief systems, adaptive policies and management – related to its capacity to manage social and ecological disturbance in the present, past and future. The study analyses the response measures demonstrated by the ecovillage to 8 of the main local socio-ecological disturbances.33 resilience-enhancing traits are identified and described. The findings also illustrate the presence of adaptive co-management features, and the authors argue that they have shown a high level of transformability across their 23-year trajectory.

Overall, the study shows how Céu do Patriarca ecovillage offers an outstanding and insightful case study on the various facets of social-ecological resilience and may well serve as a reference to other communities and people in search of concrete social-ecological systems trajectories that have shown significant progress in pursuing sustainable development.

Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger

About the authors: 

Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger is a Phd student in Environment and Society at the Centre for Environmental Studies (Nepam), University of Campinas (Unicamp) in Brazil. He hold a Bsc in Oceanography (Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Santa Catarina, Brazil,  2004) and a Msc in Conservation (University College London, 2008). He is also also affiliated to the marine conservation NGO, ECOMAR, with whom he engages with various facets of coastal and marine governance in Brazil either through research or environmental activism in designing and delivering marine conservation projects at various levels (Goliath Grouper Marine Conservation Network – www.merosdobrasil.org). His general research interests ranges from marine fish ecology and ethnoecology to the theory and practice of governance. His PhD tackles multi-level coastal-marine governance with a focus on the communicative processes in marine protected areas.

Gustavo C. M. Martins

Gustavo Martins has a Bsc. in Environmental Engineering and is an associate of the Ecovillage for the past 6 years, where he is working with several aspects of permaculture. He also works in the offshore oil and gas sector, inspecting submarine structures to ensure operational quality and environmental safety.

Further publications: 

  • Gerhardinger, L.C.; Godoy, E.A.S.; Jones, P.J.S.; Sales, G.; Ferreira, B.P. 2011. Marine Protected Dramas: The Flaws of the Brazilian National System of Marine Protected Areas. Environmental Management, 47:630–643.
  • Gerhardinger, L.C.; Godoy, E.A.S.; Jones, P.J.S. 2009. Local ecological knowledge and the management of marine protected areas in Brazil. Ocean & Coastal Management, v. 52, p. 154-16