GB No. 1(16)/95
ECOTOPIA is a summer university and youth festival that takes place every year in August, each time in a different country in Europe. Approximately 500 people from the East, West, North and South gather together in our dream village. We make day-to-day policy through direct democracy at the daily circle and exchange knowledge through workshops. Ecotopians try an alternative of environmental friendly life, use alternative sources of energy, eat biological & vegetarian food, make music and party. We participate in regional actions, try to get local people interested in ecological problems and empower local organisations.
Ecotopia is organized by EYFA. EYFA is a European-wide network of young individuals and youth organizations. It originated in 1986 as an initiative to "Save the Forest of Europe". Since then the organization expanded and nowadays we are busy with all kind of environmental and environmental related topics.
EYFA spreads information, organizes camps, actions, seminars, trainings, biketours and other events all around Europe. We try to draw the attention of youth from East and West, South and North to the environmental problems, and to get them active in this field. We organize non-violent direct actions, which become more and more important as political leaders refuse to act.
More information about Ecotopia you can find in The Verge, our eco-lifestyle and direct action magazine. It spreads also up to-date information on environmental and social justice issues, publishes alternative poetry & eco-art. It's a complete source of information what is happening within the EYFA network - the projects: SNEEEZ (Stop Nuclear Energy in the Eastern European Zone), Sustainable Communities, Young Musicians Europe, Women's Project, Non-violent Direct Actions, Spiritual/Environmental Project and EYFA structure: national co-ordinators (NC), Annual Meeting at Ecotopia, International Co-ordination Team (ICT) & International Office.
One of our most important projects - EEEP (Eastern European Exchange Programme) brings Easterners to our various projects and Westerners to the projects in the East.
EYFA wants people from all over the continent to be able to participate in its activities. A person from Central or Eastern Europe couldn't afford to pay e.g. 15 DM per day of Ecotopia. So we invented the ecosystem, alternative to unfair bank exchange rates. The basic principle is that e.g. for the food at Ecotopia you should pay the same amount of money you would pay for food at home: a Dutch person in the Netherlands, a Russian in Russia.
If any oral communication is needed during Ecotopia activities (e.g. circles, spoken workshops) the English language is used.
Women and men, kids and adults, local people and those from other countries all have the same privileges and responsibilities on the camp.
Examples: Women can dig holes, Men can take care of children
All decisions are taken by the participants at the daily gatherings - circles, using consensus (=everyone agrees). Organizers have special responsibility for specific areas (kitchen, office, storage), but they are not bosses.
Example: If you have an important issue to be decided on - bring it up in the circle, instead of going to the organizers & asking them to decide.
People in the camp share responsibility for solving problems, creating the program & for parts of the camp. All duties are done by the participants themselves.
Examples: If you see a problem - fix it yourself if you can, don't run for an organizer. Want to give a workshop ? -just plan it, find a good time & announce it.
As much as possible we try to live here in a way which takes care of the earth. To be a model for the future.
There are lots of places to go for vacations of lazy fun & and taking it easy - so we want Ecotopia to be something different. A place for learning & action, working together & fun.
Examples: Please do something more than just swimming & lying in the sun all day. Go to a workshop, play music or dance, meet people from other places & talk about their ecoexperiences at home. Or help cut vegetables.
Many of us bring ideas & appearances from other countries -we should be careful, especially outside the camp not to overrun the locals. Don't be an "ugly tourist".
Examples: Avoid being naked in view of neighbours 8 visitors. Be patient 8, friendly with village
people especially when trying to communicate across languages.
The event will be held in Wolimierz, in south-western part of the country (district Jelenia Góra), close to Izerskie Mt. This area where the Polish, Czech and German borders meet, called the Black Triangle has faced the ecological catastrophe of dying forests
In preparation of PERMANENT Ecotopia'95, Wolimierz, August 1 - 18, 1995 EYFA co-operates with Support Foundation for Alternative and Ecological Cultures - Interplanetary Kingdom of Art -' Klinika Lalek (Puppets' Clinic)' theatre.
It's a community whicn is working to change me empty village of Wolimierz into an eco-art village, full of life and activity.
The centre of activities will be 'The Station Wolimierz' Featuring:
The area around the old railway station will be provided with compost toilets, solar showers and biological sewage-farm.
The Centre 'Station Wolimierz' will start hosting summer camps of eco & art youth, conferences & trainings (on ecology, Tai-chi, herbalism, horseriding...), theatre workshops, open-air painting and sculpturing, big holidays and smaller feasts.
Long-term plan is to provide all houses with ecofacilities and wind-generated electricity. Wolimierz will create spaces friendly to all willing to work and rest in contact with nature, offering them an Education-Information Centre, library, Gallery, kindergarten with fairy playground, guest-complex,...
Ecotopians will eat food produced organically. That's thanks to the European Centre for Eco Agro Tourism Poland which promotes organic agriculture and organizes sustainable tourism -'Holiday on an organic farm'. ECEAT PL is willing to contact the organizers with local organic farmers who have a certificate of Ekoland - the Polish Association of Food Producers Using Ecological Methods.
The Ecotopians themselves will create the programme. We strongly believe that all of us are experts in some fields. Every person can give an interesting workshop, performance, or presentation. For example on environment, lifestyle, gender issues, direct democracy & consensus decision-making, email, culture, non-violent direct actions, etc, etc. We're waiting for your new ideas. Of course fun and music will accompany the programme!
Two special events must be mentioned: 'The Green and the Colourful' &'Colours of Life, Forms of Existence'.
We want to bring together people from different regions of Europe & confront their artistic performances with each other, challenge the participants to recognize the value of their own culture. Naturally we hope that this event will create many contacts between artists, participants and the co-operating organizations.
Finally: Ecotopia is not an island, it happens in a certain place, in the Black Triangle. We'd like to inform you about the environmental situation of this area & its ecological problems. We believe that this knowledge will stimulate you to organize non-violent direct actions! Grassroots initiatives will be very welcome!
The event as big and as complex as Ecotopia requires an extreme organizational and financial input. This year renovation works & construction of permanent facilities demand additional effort.
Therefore we ask you to help us with:
Any questions left? Get in touch with:
EYFA - Ecotopia'95/Karol
1090 GC Amsterdam
IKA - Ecotopia'95