Ecology has become a passionate topic in today's world. A practical ecological utopia is made by young people. It's Ecotopia.
Ecotopia is an international gathering of young European activists involved in social and environmental issues from all over Europe. It is not only a camp or a festival, but an extraordinary creation by about 500 activists to form their own ideal society for two weeks.
Ecotopia is trying to be an eco-utopia in practice: non-pollutive, egalitarian and just. People from all over Europe come to the camp to learn, link and think, and have fun. It is much more than a simple summer camp: it is their dream village where they try to practice living in harmony with nature and themselves. It has taken place in a different European country annually for ten years, for example, in France and in the Czech Republic, in the Neatherands and in Hungary.
Those who come there can learn about an environmental-friendly lifestyle, about communities, environmental problems, experience other cultures, and make friends. It is a process, a place created by the co-operation of all participants: its characteristics are defined by the people who are part of it.
Ecotopia is an example of ecological living-composts and compost-toilets are used. Delicious "vegan (vegetable)" food is cooked using the ingredients grown by local ecological farms. Equality at the camp means that every participant is supposed to take part in every-day tasks like chopping the vegetables or cleaning the toilets. Everyone has an equal possibility to take part in the decision-making in the camp. There are discussions in the morning and evening circles until a decision everyone will accept is agreed on.
Ecotopia is organized every year by an international youth network, European Youth For(est) Action (EYFA). EYFA was started in 1986 as a campaign to save the last remaining forests of Europe. In the years that passed since then its focus became much wider. Nowadays it works on many different environmental issues; it links up local struggles and gives them international support. Another important aim of EYFA is to raise awareness among young people about the graveness of ecological problems and to draw their attention to its wider, cultural, social context too. Besides it also tries to show alternatives and ways to lead a different, sustainable life.
This August Ecotopia (8/1~8/16) took place on a beautiful island of Maisaari off the south-west arcipelago of Finland, near the city Turku. Ecotopia had nearly 2000 ha of woods, cliffs and fields to use, not to mention the sauna and a pier.
The main theme of this year's gathering is globalization. The main point is to encourage people to influence on the problems of globalization by one's own choices and small acts. Each day there were workshops, presentations, debates and discussions about all kinds of topics--from building solar cookers to treeclimbing, anti-genetic engineering campaigning to juggling! Within the subtheme of alternative /globalised culture, Ecotopia turned into a night-time festival with bands, theatre, circus, performances, poetry and an open stage.
The endpoint of Ecotopia is the BikeTour, a summer university and youth festival that takes place every year in a different country. Once upon a time there was a little Ecotopia 1989 at Cologne, where the participants came by bus. They weren't happy with that unecological arrival and searched for an alternative. Coming by bike was obviously the solution. Nothing has changed the fact that the bike is the most ecological method of transport and it뭩 the most exciting way of travelling. Biketours have been travelling to Ecotopia since 1990. They were always created by volunteers and with one-year break (in 1997) it has happened every year till now.
This year they had again an opportunity to experience this amazing adventure. From Krakow (the South of Poland) to an ecological dream-village Ecotopia in South Finland, cycling over 1500 km they was going to raise the public awareness for environmental problems with transport and traffic.
Ecotopia has also been held in Korea since 1999. It is also a meaningful gathering, although the scale and history is small and short compared to Europe's.
Ecotopia 2000 was hold in Kanghwado at Manisan elementary school during six days and seven nights. About 100 young people took part under the sponsorship of Korea Ecological Youth (KEY) (a Korean civic and student environmental group). They showed us "man and nature can be one. "Ecotopia hopes to challenge and break the industry-centered culture and also demonstrate an alternative way to live," said Kim En-young (a representative of KEY).
Kim Young firstname.lastname@example.org
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