In ways obvious and subtle, Albert has provided a golden compass in identifying, creating, and promoting key technologies, both new and ancient, necessary to the survival of species in the coming Post Anthropocene era. GVI is a nonprofit focused on appropriate technologies that are as low-tech as possible, using local materials and labor, durable, multi-tasking, cost-effective, and with the lowest ecological impact. As such, AT embodies the ideals of permaculture at its core. As an amateur tinkerer in this kind of AT, GVI has been a home for my soul for several years. There I have found comradeship, guidance, help, and a sounding board / laboratory with kindred spirits. In particular, Albert Bates is a world-class polymath, one of the most brave and generous people I have met. Albert doesn’t dispense millions of dollars which have an effect today and are gone tomorrow; his tireless efforts for decades are dedicated to the natural rights of the planet and its less fortunate inhabitants, through the Ecovillage Training Center and frequent travels teaching and exemplifying permaculture, natural construction, solar and biomass technologies, conflict resolution, ecovillage design, and sponsoring the creation of myriad ecovillages worldwide. One thing I have learned by associating with GVI-AT: beyond merely surviving, we can recreate a paradise on Earth, one piece at a time. Indeed, that’s the only way we could make it, because the Earth is reverting to paradise, with or without us.
My first connection to GVI was when I was co-coordinating a project in South America beginning in 1996. GVI was totally supportive of our work and several times donated much needed money to enable us to organize workshops, conferences and large gatherings for people who were hungry for knowledge and experience but short of economic resources. GVI acted as the fiscal sponsor for the first Women's Peace Village gathering in Ecuador, bringing together 40 women leaders from every corner of the country. GVI was an early supporter of Gaia University, now in its 5th year with both financial support and mentoring. Now as a member of the Board I can testify to the excellent work and leadership of GVI in the fields of the development appropriate technology, the building of authentic community and the dissemination of the important information contained in permaculture design. Top of the charts!
Global Village Institue for Appropriate Technology is on the path to helping save the world. It encourages the development of appropriate technology that will cause positive changes to our environment and our world. The Eco-Village Design course is one of my favorite courses and the most enlightening courses I have taken. It opens the mind to many ecovillage design possiblities that will benefit the earth.
I have visited the Ecovillage Training Center on the Farm, which shares space and facilities with the Global Village Institute for Approriate Technology twice. The second visit lasted for several weeks, and in that time I came to a deeper appreciation of the unity and integration of the site planning. The GVIFAT provides a much-needed standing example of community design principles that will allow for an increased quality of life for people living in a future marked by contracting access to energy and the economic and industrial activity that cheap fossil fuel energy makes possible. The value of this tangible exemplar cannot be overstated.
My long background in energy, going back to the early 1970s, allows me to appreciate what "appropriate technology" is or should be. The other part of the name of any group recognizing the need for villages globally, while we are all connected, also reveals the worthwhile vision of the organization. My direct experience with GVIAT is that of a supported nonprofit leader who needed understanding and assistance. This is exactly what has been provided, and I hope I have provided support and positive exposure in return.
As a co-founder of this organization, I can only say why it has stuck around for more than 35 years -- because it continues to stay relevant to changing circumstances. Our original vision was "Out to Save the World." That has never changed. What has changed is our strategy, tactics, and how we comprehend the non-linear, transgenerational, trans-species lifeform we call "the world." It ain't about us, the humans, any more. It is about the existence of life in this corner of the Universe. What stupidity could make much worse, could, with intelligence and creativity, be made much better. As we say in Permaculture, "the problem is also the solution." GVI is solution-oriented.