Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Colombian Book Review: "Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World"

Alan Weisman’s book, Gaviotas: A Village To Reinvent the World, is a firsthand account of a true Colombian treasure. Gaviotas is a village in eastern Colombia that originated in 1971 when a group of Colombian visionaries set out to design a self-sustaining community that was both environmentally sound and promoted peace and prosperity in a place that was affected by war and conflict. The simple concept behind Gaviotas was to determine if people could thrive in one of the most environmentally challenging, barren savannas on earth, and promote peace for all Colombians during a time of political and governmental turbulence.

The visionaries, Paolo Lugari and Jorge Zapp, set out to determine if "utopia" could occur at Gaviotas. If this were attainable, it would be possible to cultivate a sustainable environment anywhere in the world.

Weisman details both the inception of Gaviotas and the brilliant Colombian visionaries that have inspired biologists, scientists, environmentalists, and activists worldwide. For more than 30 years, Gaviotans have invented sustainable living with items such as windmills that convert energy, solar collection pumps for water, and the planting of renewable crops to regenerate an ancient native rain forest.

Gaviotas and its founders have been recognized by the United Nations, summits for the World Conferences, and deemed an inspiring model of Utopia for the developing world. The book details the political history of Colombia, the beautiful diversity of Colombian artists, scientists, professors, native Indians, and the common people, and the passionate cultural influences that led to the creation and success of Gaviotas.

"Gaviotas isn’t a utopia," Lugari explained. "Utopia literally means 'no place'. We call Gaviotas a topia, because it is real. We’ve moved from fantasy to reality. From utopia to topia. And therefore changed the way you see the world." --Paolo Lugari
--Review by Erika Kohn of OR, waiting family for Colombia


No comments: