Ecotopia is the "summer camp" of EYFA, European Youth For(est) Action. Every year it is held in a different country. This year (1994) it was in Romania, near Tasca. The whole premise of Ecotopia is to coexist in nature for three weeks out of every August by building a sustainable community with such environmentally friendly things as composting toilets, solar showers, vegetarian cuisine, etc. Environmental organizations from all over Europe (and some from the US) have representatives who attend. I made many friends from all over (especially Germany, as there was a high German attendance this year) and proceeded to visit them all later in my travels. At Ecotopia there are workshops on various things, from massage to how to grant-writing for environmental projects, as well as Paxus's famous "jealousy workshop." Anybody can teach a workshop--they just announce it at morning circle. One of the most important facets of Ecotopia is the method of making decisions by absolute consensus, not just majority rule, which is carried out in the daily business each morning in the circle. Daily business includes things like organizing teams to do certain chores that day such as gathering firewood. There are no leaders. There are facilitators for the circle--a volunteer position which changes each day, and various people volunteer daily to organize the tasks appointed (ie gathering firewood.)
This is an example of the circle--or at least one section of it. In protest against the bickering by more conservative cultures over the women going more scantily clad, some of the men stripped down to just underwear and "clothed themselves" in mud.
|This is me, playing my recorder against the rustic countryside. What I really appreciated about Romania was it's undeveloped wildness, a far cry from the "neatness" of France and Germany, or the industrialized feel of Czech cities (though they still had some wild countryside). There was usually only one phone in each city or village. The mayor would have one, and possibly the post office. When I tried to make a phone call to Budapest from Romania, I tried to communicate in French, and when that failed, wrote the numbers down. The operator plugged the wires into the correct sockets and waved me down the hall to a booth with a receiver, where the number had already been answered on the other end by a machine.|
|Frodo here is one of the Germans I met at Ecotopia. We taught a massage workshop together.||This is Melitta, who worked at REC, in Budapest, Hungary.|
|Music was in high demand out in the wild at Ecotopia. We had this band out of England for starters, who played alot for fun and taught a workshop or two, performing once as well.|
|This is one of the music workshops taught--a percussion workshop on found sound objects such as sticks or spoons. Here I've gotten a close-up shot of Martin, a tree-planter from Ireland.|