IBSA Foundation Covid19
Benedetta Di Ruggiero Diego Sartorio
This project has been carried on to document Ecovillages in Italy, focusing on people who are approaching these realities as a reaction to the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020 we have visited some communities in central/northern Italy and we have focused on those people who, driven by the psychological consequences of the period we are experiencing, are approaching these communities to evaluate an alternative to a model of society considered unsustainable and alienating.
Covid-19 has led people to immerse themselves in what is called "stream of consciousness", that is an infinite and unfiltered stream of thoughts, prompting them to re-evaluate and retrace steps and decisions taken in pre-virus life, as if this experience of confinement and distancing, this social and economic uncertainty, may represent a kind of rebirth.
The need for a closer contact with nature has been strongly felt, and also for an escape from individualism and from a sense of isolation, made even worse by the restrictive measures implemented. Many have expressed the desire to change their lifestyle to divert it towards more sustainable choices, capable of combining scientific and economic progress with the health and well-being of people and the environment that hosts them.
Some have found the answer to these needs in the reality of Ecovillages, that are eco-sustainable communities already present all over the world since the 1970s, which constitute territorial laboratories to experiment lifestyles alternative to the most widespread socio-economic models. The intention is the creation of a broad community aimed at self-sufficiency and at the development of the individual as part of it. Here, forms of direct democracy are applied and there is the will to preserve local differences and natural resources for future generations, living in harmony and reciprocity with nature and opposing the process of individualization taking place in capitalist society.
Since 1996 in Italy is present the association Rive, who bring together the Ecovillages of the peninsula in a network where individual community experiences are shared. Today the Ecovillages associated with Rive are thirty-two, some of which are in the planning stage or under construction. The number of Ecovillages in the area is however greater and it’s constantly growing.
This work has led us to know the experience carried out over the years by the Ecovillages present in Italy and to meet those people who, pushed and encouraged by the consequences of the current pandemic, are approaching these realities or want to give life to their own community project.
However, the transition from a city life to a more isolated reality, less frenetic and in harmony with nature, requires a strong spirit of adaptation and the questioning of one's priorities and needs. In recent months, many have therefore approached existing communities, experimenting periods of coexistence, and immersing themselves in experiences already consolidated by others to adapt and make them their own.
Covid-19 has awakened hopes for change in many societies, mainly those that have fought the most against the virus and has made people more aware of the value of shared humanity, strength of local communities and bond with nature.
Offering new possibilities to those who want to rediscover these values, could Ecovillages represent a solution to deal with the problems that afflict modern society, giving life to a real feasible alternative?