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"Gaviotans live in peace surrounded by narcotics dealers and guerillas. They live without guns, without pesticides, willing to serve and teach all comers. They count their wealth in sun, water, and community."
-- Paolo Lugari, founder of Gaviotas
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Elsewhere, they're tearing down the rain forest, but I've come to a place where they're actually putting it back, even as they create more livable space for people. I remember asking Paolo Lugari back in Bogota if Gaviotas is really Utopia." Mr. Lugari replied, through a translator, "Not Utopia, but Topia. In Greek, the prefix "u" signifies 'no". Utopia literally means "no place". It s just an idea; but Gaviotas is real. We've gone from fantasy to reality, from Utopia to Topia."
Lugari recruited engineers from universities in Bogota to develop technology for the rural tropics. Their marvels are found all over the village. The Global Citizen writes "The technical and architectural triumph of Gaviotas is its hospital, cooled by the wind, heated by the sun. The sun also provides hot water, boiled sterilized water, and the heat for six pressure cookers in the kitchen, plus enough electricity for the lights. By the time the hospital was built, Gaviotas had several hundred inhabitants, including the only doctors, nurses, and teachers for hundreds of miles around. People came there for medical care and sent their children there to school."
Alan Weisman adds: "For years, Gaviotas has been a non-profit foundation, a model for the United Nations development program; but to finance themselves, the Gaviotans must also market their technology. That isn't so easy, Gonsalo says, since Gaviotas refuses to patent their inventions, preferring to share them."
The phone numbers of the Gaviotas office in Bogota:
Their FAX numbers: 281 18 03 or 342 97 21.
They have no e-mail.
Their postal address:
Bogotá, DC, Colombia, S.A.
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booksgaviotas on the webrelated sites
Friends of Gaviotas -- "a nonprofit organization established to further an exchange of ideas, knowledge and resources with the community of Gaviotas. It also aims to stimulate creative thinking and action among people who want to capture the 'spirit of Gaviotas' in their own lives, work and communities."
Related Web Sites
"Tree of Life" -- A brief essay about a successful pilot reforestation scheme in Algeria.
Essays & Excerpts collected by John Filiss for his Post Technology Project -- "A number of writings which serve, in various ways, to question the dominant paradigm of technology in relation to human well-being."
Los Angeles Eco-Village in California is a similar community.
Utopia on the Internet
A related publication from Chelsea Green publishers is the lovely book The Man Who Planted Trees, by Jean Giono.
Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure --Daniel Quinn. A new approach to saving the world that involves deconstructing civilization.
Natural Capitalism -- Paul Hawken, Amory B. Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins. Leading-edge companies are practicing "a new type of industrialism" that is more efficient and profitable while saving the environment and creating jobs.
Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered
E. F. Schumacher (25th Anniversary Edition, 1999)
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Revised on April 15, 2003
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