27 November 2017
I believe there is need once again to unpack the question, can one call settlements of Family Homesteads “eco-settlements”? It is necessary to return to this issue because some forces continue their action no matter what to rename settlements of Family Homesteads as “eco-settlements”. Often it comes from Family Homestead creators’ own lack of understanding that the phrase “Family Homestead” warrants a separate, independent and self-sufficient image. I say “some forces”, but if necessary, they can be named.
You must understand why they need this. Family Homestead and “eco-settlement” are two totally different images which are not comparable with one another. Let’s see what the image is for the name “eco-settlement” and where it originates. You can see what it pulls up in both Russian and English language Internet. So, look: “It is believed that eco-settlements [or ecovillages] originate with the hippie movement in the early 1960s. They moved away from other people to meditate, sing songs and plant vegetables”¹. So, calling Family Homestead Settlements “eco-settlements”, we agree to the fact that our experience is based on the hippie ’60s.
Look further. Another article from the Internet, naming the top 10 influential “eco-settlements” in the world. First place is Auroville². In the fifth book, “Who Are We?” in the chapter “Auroville Dreams”, I wrote about this eco-settlement. Recall the essence of it: the founder of the ecovillage, Mirre Alfasse, also known by the name of the mother, was allocated land and money by the government of India. (However, land was not issued to members of the ecovillage as private property). Land was allocated in 1968, and it was planned to bring the population of the settlement up to 50,000, though it is currently about 2,000 people. Thus, the planned development could not occur, despite a lot of advertising and talk about spirituality. Auroville did not achieve development, nor followers elsewhere in the world.
Meanwhile in Russia, since 2001, four hundred settlements with approximately 37,000 families have been formed. Feel the difference? What’s more, the leadership of Auroville were allocated free land and tools. (Similar to some other so-called “eco-settlements” or “ecovillages”), and significantly more time has passed since the beginning of its creation. In other words, the world movement of “ecovillages” has not developed. If we call the creators of Family Homesteads in Russia and other countries “eco-settlements”, and if they agree, they can be represented in reports which claim the rapid development of eco-settlements in the world. But, as you know, such an initiative was born not in Russia but the West. You can read more about this point in a good article entitled “What is created – Family Homestead Settlement or ecovillage?” ³.
Many readers of the “Ringing Cedars of Russia” books understand the difference between the image of eco-settlements and that which is represented by the phrase “Family Homestead.” Others do not give this sufficient attention, and in vain. But let’s look at the situation: what’s going on when a person who hasn’t read the books of Megre says: “Russia already created 400 ecovillages”? People will enter the word “ecovillage” in the search engine and see the top 10, the first of which is Auroville. And if they want to look closer into the ecovillage movement, where will they go? Of course, to Auroville. Thus, if we call our Family Homestead Settlements “eco-settlements”, it is necessary to go and adopt experience of Auroville, because it is the first among the world’s eco-settlements.
Let’s get back to the image of Family Homesteads created by Anastasia. At the heart of the word “rodovoe” is the root -род. Family line, kin, clan. Homeland. Birth. Native. Familiar. It is this image that inspired people to creation. It gave them the power to see a brilliant future and start their co-creation. The image is the energy lifting people to a spiritual height. A person has this power as a foundation. Each is free to give up this image, and the image will resignedly go away. Without the energy of this foundation, people will fail if the vanished image cannot be instantly replaced by another of equal power. And so far, this cannot be observed.
Maybe we should treat more carefully this energy which has raised us to such a height and continues to raise us? Because all the same, let’s decide together how to answer the question “Are you an eco-settlement/ecovillage?”. I think that it is possible to answer like this: “We treat the environment, our nature, carefully and with understanding. And moreover, we strive to perfect the living environment. We strive to perfect the dwelling land. But we are not eco-settlements, rather settlements of Family Homesteads.”
The official site of the Foundation never talks about “eco-settlements”, but on the Internet appear the names even of the settlement where my Family Homestead is, and the credits of films about them thank Anastasia and me: “Heartfelt thanks: … Anastasia and Vladimir Megre.”
Recently and in official circles, people understand the power born in the Russian movement. For example, in the program for the development of the far East, approved by the President of Russian Federation, there is a section on “Family Homesteads”⁴. Also the People’s Front competition on the best way for the future Russia.⁵ In videos⁶, released about this competition, it says Family Homestead. At Moscow State University there was a conference of scientists and creators of Family Homesteads under the name “International Conference on the role and conditions for the development of Family Homesteads in the socio-economic transformation of Russia”.
Let us understand and take care of our image. Not just take care of it, but to help in its formation!
Sincerely, Vladimir Мегре
See also: Answer of V. N. Megre to the question A. Samokhin about the importance of Terminology
¹, ² Top 10 influential eco-settlements in the world
³ International portal “Ringing Cedars” http://anastasia.ru/articles/detail/2597/?sphrase_id=93276
⁴ Project implementation of state policy with respect to the development of the territory of the far East “Family Homesteads”
http://dv-gektar.ru/rodovye-pomestya/, free. – загл. with экрана.
⁵ The image of the country’s future: competition conditions
⁶ Create your “image of the country’s future” https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=dtc9k4fzzga
Translation by Kemble Dawson Walker
Original article (in Russian): http://vmegre.com/events/38630/
Facebook post with comments (in Russian): https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1845724672159234&id=100001651563808