The journey of a thousand kilometres begins with a single step… or two… or twenty?!
And sometimes it needs a leap of faith!
The journey begins…
Our journey started 20 years ago in Brazil when we decided to create an ecological centre called Ecocentro IPEC.We realised that there was an importance of creating ecocentres that promoted reachable sustainable solutions as catalysts for change. The centres could serve as educational hubs for technological development and social organisation.
This vision is now demonstrated by the widely successful experience at Ecocentro IPEC. Many people from 5 years old to 80 years old have experienced the pleasures and challenges of visiting and living sustainability at the ecocentre.
Ecocentro IPEC is a space where people can use a composting toilet for the first time, collect food and experience solar powered building, all in a safe space. The success of our educational program has taken us to many continents hence the name Planet Schooling. Learn a little more about the team here.
Planet Schooling – The Book
Many parents and educators wanted to take the experience they received at Ecocentro IPEC closer to home, encouraging life long learning with family members. We realize that a lot of work is involved in preparing a program for a greener future and we wanted to make the process as simple as possible for parents and educators.
This book ‘Escola Sustentavel’, or Sustainable School was published in 2004 with the objective to support educators. After three editions and 10,000 copies, the book is in the process of being published in English as Planet Schooling.
The book Planet Schooling invites parents to create a living laboratory in the backyard or patio. A place where children can create their own organic garden, worm farm, recycling area, all whilst learning mathematics, science and technologies.
If you are wondering whether your child would be interested, watch the ‘feel good’ video that was taken in the PBCinho, which translates, to Permaculture and Bio-construction for little ones for inspiration. The video is in Brazil (Portuguese) but you will get the general idea of how children can re-design their future by planting trees, participating in communication circles, making colourful bread and stomping on mud to make adobe bricks and cob structures.
Our educational program for adults is known as Ecoversidadeor Ecoversity. This program appeared on government agenda as a consequence of the success with UN sponsored first year PDC courses. Ecoversidade functions as a model of viable rural settlement, incorporating realities of appropriate technologies, living systems and sustainable community life from a holistic perspective. It has several branches.
- A program which connected Living Routes and University of Massachusetts where university students from the USA participated in permaculture, organic agriculture and natural building courses. The syllabus offered a unique opportunity for students from the economic north to gain understanding and knowledge working with people from the economic south. Students gained inspiration necessary for adopting appropriate ideas and techniques for their own climates and cultures. Watch an evalution of the program here.
2. A second branch was a successful program, which supported community leaders from Haiti, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Ecuador, and El Salvador and from all regions of Brazil and other countries of Latin America. Community leaders would converge at Ecocentro IPEC and live and learn for months at a time experiencing all aspects of the principles. The method of inter-cultural communication was based on a community-oriented movement called the constructivist approach. More specifically, the strategy is to offer opportunities for disadvantaged people to reflect upon their place in the wider social system, realise the structures of oppression that may be present and build these problems into solutions. The issues are understood from many viewpoints. Solutions are sought and built into the premise of practical sustainability.
We always encourage a ‘hands on approach’ to learning so students would gain ‘muscle memory’ of the learning experience so when they returning home, they remembered all that they experienced and it wasn’t just a distant memory or pleasant feeling.
The third branch is a powerful branch as it’s you! The individual taking a leap of faith and looking for solutions to change their life. Whether you take a course, research new books, create food gardens or support community projects, be sure, you will make a difference.