My visit to ‘0asis de 7 Cercles’
In 2011 I visited one of the projects of Oasis en Tous Lieux in France, to get a better understanding of the philosophy and work. This network of sustainable projects is one of many of Pierre Rabhi’s initiatives over the past 40 years.
I helped Catherine and Laurent in their Oasis de 7 Cercles project, as they were setting up their activity of workshops on Biodanza alongside their organic farm. They built everything themselves and I helped as volunteer where I could: painting the bathroom, taking care of the animals, dealing with compost, the vegetable garden, fruit harvesting, etc. The encounter was very enriching and of great human warmth. I admired their perseverance, belief and courage to develop this project from scratch and turn it into a living space to welcome people and have meaningful exchange.
These are true examples for our future and I felt that more people should know about these initiatives and the people that create them. These ‘oasis’ can inspire others to take action themselves.
My love for journeys, encounters and philosophy
I have had the privilege to live in different countries, to travel quite a bit and meet people of all walks of life. This has been most enriching and nourishing and helps to understand that we are not that different. We all want quality of life, a healthy environment to live in, decent shelter, good and healthy food, meaningful occupations to prosper in society, and warm and respectful human relationships.
Since a child I love reflections about the bigger picture, about our ‘raison d’être’ and philosophy is very much part of that. I read two little books in a French series called ‘Petite philosophie du voyage’. Julien Leblay: “Le Tao du vélo” and Patrick Manoukian: “Le temps du voyage”. They describe the almost transcendental experience of being on a journey and the special relationship one develops with time, space, and people.
The idea for Cycloasis, a bicycle journey visiting sustainable ‘oasis‘ in France, was born!
And I decided to be the change I want to see in the world. (Ghandi)
Why then Cycloasis?
Working for over 10 years in the field of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility with public authorities, business, etc., made me understand that the current ‘F-crisis’ in Finance, Food and Fuel shows how interconnected these issues are and how disconnected we have become! This profound socioeconomic crisis confronts us with enormous challenges that often provoke fear. Fear, that prevents us from opening up, thinking outside the box, truly connecting with others, and finding alternatives.
We need innovation at all levels of our societies and we need pioneers and inspirational people that show new ways of thinking and acting. There is a need to (re)connect people, ideas and inspiring examples beyond languages and frontiers!
Pierre Rabhi, an inspirational person, hardly known abroad
Thanks to my profession and language knowledge I met many inspirational personalities and truly innovative concepts from all over the world. Such as:
- Cradle to Cradle, by the American architect & designer William McDonough and the German chemist Michael Braungart,
- Blue Economy and Zero Emissions Research Initiative, by the Belgian entrepreneur Gunther Pauli,
- Transition Towns and Transition Network, by the English Rob Hopkins,
- Terre et Humanisme and Colibris movements, by the French bio-agriculture and philosopher Pierre Rabhi.
They all have in common to create valuable societal and ecological systems, products & services that provide future living conditions for humans and nature.
The inspirational social innovator Pierre Rabhi is hardly known outside the French language community – language barriers still do exist. It became clear to me, that I could do something about that through Cycloasis and this English blog.
For every societal change we need good practices and inspirational people. The people of the projects visited in Cycloasis show a wealth of diversity, creativity, and positive change, while respecting earth and humanity.
Or as La Rouchfoucault said: Rien n’est aussi contagieux que l’exemple!