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Forgot password? Chelsea Green Publishing, Inc. Weisman credits home-schooled visionary Paolo Lugari with founding Gaviotas and inspiring its evolution. Touring the harsh savannas of eastern Colombia, Lugari saw an opportunity to demonstrate the potential of appropriate technology and effective social structures. As Weisman presents it, the results are nothing short of remarkable. Weisman does not go into detail about the architecture, except to describe the combination of ancient and modern technologies that keeps the buildings comfortable in this equatorial climate.
Some of the technologies developed at Gaviotas are now seeing widespread use in Colombia, such as solar-thermal collectors that heat water effectively in conditions with little direct sunlight. Engineers at Gaviotas also refined wind turbines for the less-than-ideal wind conditions and developed water pumps powered by pedals and children on seesaws.
Perhaps most remarkable is the unexpected revival of the rainforest in this land that has been barren for centuries. The Gaviotans planted Caribbean pine—one of the few species that could survive in the acidic and depleted soil—in the hopes of selling the pine resin for income. The resin crop has been successful, but even more valuable is the fact that under the pines many species of long-dormant rainforest trees gradually sprouted, to the point where the pine plantations are now seen as a transition to a diverse forest.
In this way, the Gaviotans are literally reversing the deforestation taking place elsewhere in South America. The Gaviotas story is indeed remarkable, and Weisman tells the story well.
This minor complaint aside, anyone who is seeking models of sustainable human community should read this book. Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World. To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership free or login to your existing profile. Skip to main content. Log in. E-mail new password. Go to LEEDuser.
Search form. Search Search form. Gaviotas is a community in Colombia that exhibits, in many respects, what sustainability might look like. Add new comment To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership free or login to your existing profile.
Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World
Four decades ago, a group of South Americans joined together to create an ecological utopia. The village, called Gaviotas, was based on the idea that they could use limited resources to create a sustainable community. In , journalist Alan Weisman wrote a book about the Colombian experiment. Weisman talks with host Steve Curwood about his recent visit to Gaviotas and how the community is faring. They named their ecovillage Gaviotas, and hoped it might serve as a model for sustainable development in the tropics.
Las Gaviotas – A Village to Reinvent the World
A Review of Alan Weisman’s Gaviotas, A Village to Reinvent the World