The settlement Osada is a living experiment. It is an expression of our desire to participate in human evolution in times of socio-climatic change. We see that the old social stories about how to live don't work and our intention is to get out of them and discover new ones - more relevant to the situation we are in and giving more joy to life. Therefore, all the activities we want to undertake, we want to do in deep cooperation and relationship with people.
Our aim is not to rebel against the system, to escape the system, or to prove that we are right. This initiative is not driven by fear of the future, survivalist instinct or prepperism - the current accelerating changes are a beautiful moment to take the next step in exploring how humans and nature can live together. This is one of many possible evolutionary directions - everyone does another, neither better nor worse. We choose to take one and it is an expression of our humanity. It is an expression of what is important to us as people living here and now - what moves us.
We assume that this project is inherently a research project, an expedition into the unknown, because we are on a bridge between the old order and the new reality, which will require new social and technological solutions.
The interpersonal context
Recent decades have seen individualism and isolation in most societies deepen. An increasing number of people live alone without close partners, friendships or family relationships. This often goes hand in hand with a reduced sense of belonging, emotional security and meaning in life. The percentage of people requiring psychological and pharmacological support is growing dramatically.
In Osada we rebuild a sense of meaning by experimenting with belonging in the ecosystem and developing community between people. This means experiencing a large part of life in proximity with others, when a sense of security comes from being part of the settlement as a larger organism. Community is understood here as a space of unique respect and acceptance with encouragement of diversity and openness to constructive conflict. We treat the community as part of a living ecosystem, accepting being in a process of evolution, transformation and not knowing.
Osada is a place where it is okay to feel and be human with all the beautiful and shameful aspects of this. Experience shows that in situations of building closer relationships in a group we naturally touch our deep fears, wounds and limitations in our relationships with others. By being part of a community we can heal these places in ourselves.
An important aspect of this project is to create conditions and support for the personal and spiritual development of the participants. What unites us is the openness to radically responsible participation in this meeting of adult people with the awareness that participation in this project is a challenge and an invitation to personal growth.
Our challenge is to free ourselves from a mentality of scarcity and competition. One of the key aspects of this transformation is to understand the limitations of the narrative of separation that has informed who we are for too long, and to reconnect with our fundamental co-existence with the very fabric of life.
Awareness and attentiveness to the group process and the individual processes of participants are essential elements of a regenerative culture. We intend to create and practice conscious forms of community development and positive interdependence based on the experience of the participants and external experts and mentors. We wish to share the experience thus gained with external individuals and organizations.
The settlement will be part of a rapidly growing international community of Intentional Communities and Eco-villages (like GEN) and regenerative initiatives. At the same time it will be in lively contact with existing NGOs and institutions that support the regenerative context.
The regenerative approach context
Western lifestyle means that most people are disconnected from nature, their natural daily rhythms and their sense of connection with the ecosystem as a place to live and a source of food. We are living in times of ecological and climate crisis, with mass extinction of species, environmental pollution and soil degradation occurring before our eyes. We are threatened by social collapse and climate catastrophe. An increasing proportion of the Earth's ecosystems are being destroyed and degraded.
Going beyond the current patterns of thinking and acting has never been as important as it is now. The idea of sustainable development (understood as striving for our neutrality towards nature and not harming it) and focusing only on the restoration of degraded nature are necessary but not sufficient, because they will not bring about the change we now need and have a different purpose.
This is why we are opting for a regenerative approach, which sees humans not as intruders and pests in the ecosystem, but as an active and co-creative part of the evolution of life on Earth. To make this approach a reality, changes are needed at the level of the system, the community and the individual life of the individual.
We draw inspiration here from the thoughts of Buckminster Fuller, Bill Reed, Daniel Wahl, among others. Fuller described the Universe as "eternally regenerating". He saw humanity on the threshold of an evolutionary transition that would align our human patterns with the patterns of regeneration and renewal observed in natural systems. Reed and Wahl expand on this thought. According to them, regenerative cultures are unique expressions of the potential inherent in the people and places of a bioregion. They bring value and health to the whole - from local and regional to global.
According to the regenerative approach, the missing aspect to achieving planetary health is how we specifically heal the damage we have caused and how we develop a healthy interdependence with living systems. The healing process requires ongoing, thoughtful and caring engagement. It engages and focuses on the evolution of the whole system of which we are a part. Bill Reed says that creating regenerative systems is not just a technical, economic, ecological or social change: it must go hand in hand with a fundamental shift in the way we think about ourselves, our relationships with each other and with life as a whole.
According to Daniel Wahl, "sustainability alone is not an adequate goal. The word sustainability itself is inadequate because it does not tell us what we are actually trying to sustain. What we are really trying to sustain is the underlying pattern of health, resilience and adaptability that keeps this planet in a state where life as a whole can flourish." Designing for sustainability is, ultimately, designing for the health of people and the planet. A regenerative human culture is healthy, resilient and adaptable, caring for the planet and caring for life.
Through our life in Osada, we want to be a bridge to regenerative culture by adding value to the world with our presence and discovering how our lives depend on a healthy ecosystem. We will explore these relationships by communally creating a perennial, edible and bio-diverse ecosystem.
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Map of regenerative approach
The economic and political context
Over the past few years, albeit with dramatic delays, public opinion and governments have gradually begun to pay attention to the climate-environment crisis. Social and political climate awareness is growing, and with it comes the will to look for new social solutions. Innovative models are being sought for cities, human settlements and agricultural practices that protect biodiversity, are free of toxins, and restore the soil. Economic models that assume infinite growth and view GDP as a determinant of quality of life are finally questioned.
We are committed to economic approaches based on social values, regenerative approaches and the commons. We have therefore decided that the land we will live on will be owned by the Osada Możliwości NGO we have established. This gives us hope for the sustainability of this project for years to come and generations of Settlers to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought "normal" life and the operation of the economy to a halt, which gave many individuals and organizations the opportunity to reflect on the ways in which they have operated to date. This opened up the need to find a better model than a return to the 'old' normality. The decade that is beginning has been declared the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration by the United Nations (www.decadeonrestoration.org), and the European Union, as part of its work on the European Green Deal, has announced strategies for protecting and restoring biodiversity and for healthier and sustainable food production (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_884).
This means that initiatives such as Osada cease to function on the periphery of the system and even become an essential element for exploring new solutions. This creates new opportunities to fund projects in Osada and build international collaborations with other pioneering initiatives. There are currently more than 100 eco-villages in Europe alone, affiliated to the Global Ecovillage Network, and this number is growing rapidly. More and more initiatives are emerging as a bridge to regenerative culture. This is the moment when such projects stop being a revolution and become a necessary and exciting part of the evolution of life in the 21st century.
Tools, ideas and thoughtmaps we use:
Organizational and financial model of the settlement:
a dozen people (eventually up to twenty including children) permanently settled on a dozen hectares of land encompassing a biodiverse ecosystem
private spaces combined with community spaces and buildings (natural, innovative architecture)
location in western Poland in a place with favourable climatic conditions
each Settler is responsible for the basis of his/her income and pays a fixed amount each month into a common budget, leaving the rest of the income at his/her independent disposal
the settlement generates as much income as possible to its budget from its own activities - running a centre for regenerative practices (hub), services (trainings, workshops), small-scale manufacturing/processing, projects and grants,
the goal and intention is to create as many opportunities as possible for the Settlers to earn money by working in the settlement and on projects the settlement is involved in
each person spends unpaid part of their time (e.g. 1 day per week) working for the benefit of the settlement and other Settlers
In March 2021 we established the Osada Możliwości NGO. It's mission is to realise a vision of a world where people experience deep community with each other and creative, sustainable coexistence with nature in the context of environmental and social change.