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SEPTEMBER 2008 : 1st year GreenFriends-France. G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008 Content Presentation | 02 Our approach | 07 Our actions.

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Presentation on theme: "SEPTEMBER 2008 : 1st year GreenFriends-France. G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008 Content Presentation | 02 Our approach | 07 Our actions."— Presentation transcript:

1 SEPTEMBER 2008 : 1st year GreenFriends-France

2 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008 Content Presentation | 02 Our approach | 07 Our actions | 09 Participation | 21 Contact | 22 1 | Supporting the ecological development of the Amma Centre in France | 10 2 | Improving one’s ecological consistency in our daily life | 13 3 | Meetings and workshops to support ecological inspirations| 15 4 | Ecological proposals & services | 18 5 | Reflection on how to promote the creation of ecovillages as a new way of living | 20 01

3 02 Presentation Who are we ? GreenFriends-France is a non-governmental organization whose action is to preserve the natural environment and working for an harmonious relationship between Man and Nature. The organization was created in June 2007 and officially launched during a special week-end in September 2007. The main goal is to help each one of us to develop the consciousness of Unity between Nature and humanity and to realize actions helping us to live in a greater respect of Nature. GreenFriends-France wishes to awaken Love and Respect of Nature but also the feeling of our personal duty in its protection. To live in harmony with Nature is essential for the future but also for our personal well-being. GreenFriends is a movement born in India in November 2001. It is an initiative from Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma), a great Indian humanitarian and spiritual leader. Originally This movement was oriented towards the youth but is now broaden to everyone, on a worldwide scale. In India it is linked to the M.A. Math organization, an NGO with an ECOSOC consultative status with the United Nations. Amma has inspired the creation of GreenFriends-France. Nevertheless to serve ecology in India and France does not require the same actions ; although they do have a lot of common points, the 2 organizations can work on different types of actions. G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

4 03 Presentation Our place The Plessis Farm is located near Chartres, widely known for its cathedral, which is located at a 120km from Paris. It was bought in 2002 by Amma’s French organization called Maison Amrita in order to create Amma’s French Centre. It is a large farm, a former nobleman manor built partly in the 13th century with 1300m2 riding stables. Lots of outbuildings – stables – sheepfolds – sheds – offer large development possibilities. The whole represents almost 3000 m2 indoor on 6 hectares of land. This place has become an active, dynamic and living institution able to welcome many kinds of programs. Since 2002, its residents and visitors restore the buildings in the local traditional style. All the combined efforts to work in harmony contributes to transform this place into a peaceful haven for everyone. Touched by this approach, GreenFriends-France decided to be involved to the life of this Centre and the Plessis Farm naturally became the headquarters of the organization. It is on this location that most of the GreenFriends-France programs and activities take place. This cooperation between the 2 organizations happens to be mutually beneficial G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

5 04 Presentation The founder of the GreenFriends movement : Amma Born in 1953 in Southern India, in a small coastal village in Kerala, Mata Amritanandamayi or Amma realised from early childhood that the purpose of her life was to help the suffering humanity. Compassion, love, service and meditation are the foundations of her teaching and her commitment to serve others. She initiated a large network of charitable activities and Amma’s ideal of service and tolerance has inspired a large number of people all over the World. Her example and her tireless energy inspire millions of humans beings all over the World, from the former President of India who gave the 10 first months of his income to the M.A. Math, lots of scientists, medical doctors, university academics, to simple fishermen from her native background and to the most destitute ones, whose life has been changed by her. Our organization is part of a large network of humanitarian and ecological organizations initiated by an Indian woman widely known as Amma and is considered as a "Mahatma" in India. Her life G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

6 05 Presentation Humanitarian and charitable NGO Since 2001, the M.A. Math, Amma organization, has intervened after several natural disasters (like the tsunami which left South-East Asia as a wreck), bringing first aids and establishing long term programs of reconstruction For most destitute people, the organization finances free shelters, food, medicines and pensions, an orphanage, wedding ceremonies, free legal assistance and residence for the eldest.Concerning healthcare, the organization founded AIMS hospital in Kochi which is recognized as one of the best hospitals in Southern Asia. The hospital includes one thousand beds, thirty different medical services and ten specialized laboratories. The institution offers free cares to most destitute ones. Amma is also at the origin of the creation of universities, training centres, development projects, schools and specialized schools, research centres, etc.… The founder of the GreenFriends movement : Amma In the ecological field the GreenFriends movement exists in India and in other countries and acts for similar goals but following each country’s needs. For her contribution in humanitarian action and the way these actions are done, Amma has been acclaimed by a very large number of political figures all over the World. In 1993, she is a main speaker in the World’s Religions Parliament in Chicago and in 1995 for the 50th birthday of United Nations. In 2002, she received the Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence and Peace, after Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, at “le Palais des Nations” in Geneva. In 2003, 2 millions people, including the President of India, celebrated her 50th birthday. On 24 July 2005, The United Nations offered to Amma’s organization the special consultative status at ECOSOC, in recognition for her humanitarian activities. To know more about Amma : (India) or (Europe) International recognition G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

7 06 Presentation Some Greenfriends Michel Dombre is the chairman of GreenFriends-France and is coresponsible for the landscape projet concerning the surrounding green spaces Involved in organic farming and he’s been active in many environmental organizations for 35 years, having held high responsibilities in industry, Michel is particularly interested by shaping the Amma Center’s natural surrounding spaces into a place of Beauty and Harmony in the respect of Nature. Claire Carrat is the treasurer of GreenFriends-France, an “ecological cook” and initiated the use of many ecological techniques at the Center. A teacher, Claire is getting actively involved in bringing more ecological consistency. Supporter of a life of simplicity, she particular likes to cook with solar ovens, test ecological ways of preserving food and enjoy preparing the delicious organic bread made at the Amma Center. Bri. Dipamrita Chaitanya is the vice-chairman of GreenFriends-France et in charge of Amma Center. Moved since childhood by a thirst to learn and understand, amazed by Nature’s beauty, intelligence and mysteries, she got the chance to live strong experiences of communion with nature. Dipamrita wishes to develop a living ecosite at Amma Center, a place of ressourcement, a place of discoveries, in harmony with the laws of Life and Nature. Mathieu Labonne is a member of the Board of Directors of GreenFriends- France and is the driving force behind several projects Basically a space engineer, formerly a researcher on climate changes for the French government and now an expert in carbon auditing, Mathieu keeps on moving on its path to consistency thanks to the organization ; He has initiated diverse projects using his engineering skills, his love for Nature and because he believes deeply in the values of the organization. Dorian Spaak co-manages the BABEL project and organised the 1 st youth retreat in Amma Center. An engineering student in Land and Environment Management in UTC and EPFL, graduated from a journalism school in India and passionate by ecological, constructions particularly made in earth clay, with the organization Dorian has found a way to live more deeply his relationship with the World, with others and with Nature. G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

8 07 Our approach The serious ecological problems that threaten the future of the Earth and its inhabitants are the result of our behaviour towards the World and Nature. In our opinion, they reveal the current relationship that the modern world lives with the environment. For those who feel intimately the link with the natural environment, the willingness to get involved in order to preserve Nature becomes obvious. It’s by encouraging one’s awareness so that one will become active for one’s own change, thus we could hope to embrace the fundamental and needed stages of evolution. It implies to take a different approach of our environment and a reenchantment of our way to see the World. This understanding of our interaction with Nature, starting a new communication, will create the space within us for an inner ecology that would nourish a consistent outer ecology. Actually the reasons of today’s crisis are much deeper than just economical or technological. They take roots in our inner relationship with Nature and Life. GreenFriends-France has been created to serve a right relationship between Man and Nature..In order to create a new way of living which would be more respectful towards nature, the organization is proposing a certain number of actions G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

9 08 Our approach This new vision needs the example made by persons and places. The only effective and right approach to create a more sustainable and respectful way of living is to remain consistent and to set an example. And that’s how has been slowly created a model ecosite in Amma’s French Center, the farm which is the headquarters of our organization. This model place must demonstrate that living places which are deeply respectful of Nature are more favourable to our search for happiness. The perception of harmony which emanate from this site helps us to deepen our link with Nature. We wish that this site will serve ecology beyond all sort of ideologies, beyond any kind of activism, and simply incarnates this consistency and peace that we’re looking for in our life. Ecology is actually a path to consciousness and leads to consistency in our actions and in our relationship with the World. In today’s World, this consistency is not always easy to set up. But it is a path, which is to be walked step by step, and if we are truly committed, with sincerity, but also with rationality and awareness, supported by Amma’s message of love, tolerance and service. G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

10 09 Our actions Supporting the ecological development of Amma French Centre Improving the ecological consistency at Amma’s centre but also in everyone’s life Workshops and events to encourage one’s initiative to act Ecological services and actions Preparing the creation of ecovillages as new ways of living The board of Directors is the bearer of the values and the approach chosen by the organization. During the GreenFriends-France founding event it has defined 5 main axis of action for the organization which are more or less a priority : 1 2 3 4 5 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

11 10 Motivations GreenFriends-France is involved in the ecological development of Amma’s French Centre. It concerns both buildings and natural spaces. The motivation is to create a model and educational ecosite, a reference place for one’s ecological path. Today this central axis in our activities includes : Help the ecological development of Amma French Center On old buildings The Plessis Farm is a set of buildings of great historical and architectural value and is getting renovated to welcome more and more people. GreenFriends-France accompanies this ecological renovation in the respect of the local traditional style and by using ecological materials On natural spaces The Farm includes 6 hectares where lives a fauna and a flora which are mainly wild. In the respect of the balance between nature and culture, we’re progressively setting up these spaces and supporting Nature’s blossoming. This project includes an ecological consistency and a search for harmony with Nature’s laws. On new places to live Many new buildings could be built on this site. It would particularly be wooden houses, bungalows for retreat in solitude and a residence for elders. For instance a straw-clay bungalow has already been built. Our actions 1 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

12 11 Our actions Some realized or on-going projects Extension of the organic garden Since Maison Amrita arrives in the Plessis Farm, an organic garden has been set up. In 2008, the voluntary work of Gilles Penin, an organic farmer, helped to double the size of the garden which now occupies more than 1000m2. A large part of the vegetarian food eaten at the Amma Centre comes from this organic garden. A straw-clay small house A small house including 2 “retreat rooms" is now completed. The frame is mad from wood (oak) collected in the old buildings of the Farm and the walls are made with straw and clay. The construction of this site gave the possibility to many people to learn ecological building basic techniques. An ecological apiary With the help of the famous beekeeper-poet-sculptor Maurice Chaudière we introduced in 2007 many beehives at the Amma’s Centre. Their survival in a context of chemical farming is a day-to- day challenge. The first honey harvest, in august 2008, was very encouraging. The restoration of the traditional bread oven The Farm’s old bread oven has been restored in the respect of the traditional style and is now used to prepare the bread, with local organic wheat flour, but as well pizzas, cakes and other “delights of the Farm”. 1 Help the ecological development of Amma French Center G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

13 12 Our actions Some realized or on-going projects BABEL European youth project The BABEL project (“Bois, Abeilles et Biodiversité pour une Ecologie Locale”) bas been initiated by a group of young members of GreenFriends-France in the frame of the “Youth in Action” European Union program. The positive support from European Union came in Summer 2008 : 9000 Euros to realize the project. This project, which will last from end 2008 to end 2009, aims at implementing the ecological technique of Rameal Chipped Wood (RCW) in Amma Centre and to build an original architecture piece, a small retreat ecological house where the walls will be inhabited by bees. This project focuses on soil fertility, biodiversity and bee preservation. The project will also include a social dimension, with the participation of young people from poor areas near Paris and handicapped people, and will have as well an artistic dimension. This “bees house” will be unique and completely ecological, including wood, straw, earth, stone and a vegetal roof. A movie will be shot to follow the inner path of the participants and will be show in cinema festivals. This project integrates sustainable and inclusive activities mixing ecology, historical heritage, social inclusion, creativity and knowledge and know-how transmission. Thermal solar In Summer 2008, two engineering students from prestigious French Engineering schools have studied the possibilities to install solar thermal panels to produce hot water. This project was the start of a large on-going thinking process regarding the installation of renewable energies in the Centre, respecting the architectural heritage of the site Plantation of a little woodland and a bigger orchard In December 2008 and February 2009, more than fifty trees will be planted in Amma Centre in addition to those which are already there. This long-term initiative will create a place of quietness and retreat by the creation of a little woodland. These trees will be blessed by Amma during her programs in France and sponsored by voluntary which will be encouraged to take care of them in the future. More than thirty fruit trees are growing in an organic environment. A large apple-tree orchard will be added during this plantation. 1 Help the ecological development of Amma French Center G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

14 13 Motivations As we create a model ecosite, we also need to think about the best ways to maintain it on a daily base in order to be consistent. It means a day-to-day organization on site and a careful maintenance. It also means that one has to learn how to behave ecologically and to awaken awareness in one’s actions. This approach serves more consistency on everyone’s life. Some realized or on-going projects Hep to improve ecological consistency in one’s life and in Amma Center Cooking ecologically, in particular with solar ovens. Claire and Marie cook deliciously in Amma Center. After a workshop with the Bolivia Inti organization, Claire has started to use solar ovens to prepare candied fruits, jams and a solar parabola to cook meals in Summer. Healthy and ecological solar energy in our plates ! Claire also uses many ecological techniques to preserve food. That way, we can benefit from the garden’s gifts, all year’s around Maintaining the garden and the apiary The garden is maintained by the help of many voluntaries with more or less skills and supervised by Gilles, the organic farmer of the Centre. A group of amateur beekeepers takes care of our pollen-gathering inhabitants ! Our actions 2 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

15 14 Some realized or on-going project Help to improve ecological consistency ine one’s life and in Amma Center Dry composting toilets several dry toilets have been installed in Amma Centre in order to save water and turn our excrement in useful compost for the flowers. We encourage visitors to discover and use this simple way to save lots of a water. A training workshop is planned at the Amma’s Centre at the end of December 2008. Compost All organic waste are separated from other wastes and used to create compost to fertilize the garden. Ecology in each one of our acts We started to place many little inspiring cards in the Centre to awaken ecological consciousness in our day-to-day acts, in particular regarding light, heating and water consumption. The set of these cards is under progress and should help us to integrate all these small acts that make a difference wherever we are ! Our actions 2 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

16 15 Motivations GreenFriends-France proposes diverse kinds of activities to encourage one’s path to ecology. Actually we think that promoting an easy access to ecological techniques will help more people to move on the path to individual consistency. Lots of people wish to move on this path but feels unmotivated by a feeling of loneliness having to cope with unusual choices. Our training workshops and meetings are to set to guide one’s choices. These events are actually grouped under 3 main categories : Propose workshops and events Our actions Eco-trainings will learn us techniques for a better alliance between practice and theory Forums, bigger events, help us to think about outer or inner ecology. Youth retreats are mixing practical ecology, artistic workshops and sharing moments in order to open youth to ecology as a path to oneself, to others and to Nature. Eco-trainings Forums and meetings Youth retreat 3 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

17 16 Some events during our first year ! Propose workshops and events Our actions Launching week-end On 21, 22 and 23 September, the organization celebrated its birth during a special week-end, rich in workshops and meetings. It was the occasion to present the work axis of the organization and to welcome everyone’s ideas. It was also the occasion to share joyful moments together with different workshops,in a natural surrounding including a “inner meeting with the trees”, an introduction to solar cooking, a botanical walk to discover edible and medicinal wild plants and fruits and followed by a qi-gong workshop. To celebrate the birth of the movement, an oak has been planted. This act was carried by a special atmosphere and a very strong meaning : trees are symbols of self-sacrifice and oaks are symbols of longevity and strength. This oak is placed at the entrance of the little woodland that will be planted at the end of 2008. This was also the occasion to listen the very famous “nomad- piano player” Marc Vella on the International Day for Peace and to share our ecological approach with the Karma Ling Buddhist monastery by an inspiring talk from Lama Sengue. 3 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

18 17 Some events during our first year Proposer des stages et des rencontres Nos actions Forum on “CSA” A community supported agriculture (CSA) is based on a local partnership between a group of consumers and a local farm, set on a distribution system of “baskets” composed with seasonal farm products. Ecotrainings to learn how to grow organic food, to learn bees ecology and alternative beekeeping, to learn how to cook with the Sun… … Different training events took place during this first year, in particular because of the venue of Bolivia Inti organization, which is expert on solar ovens, and Maurice Chaudière on beekeeping, fruit trees grafting and wild resources. A whole cycle around the way to cultivate one’s own organic garden and orchard (fruit tree pruning, soil natural fertilization, seeds preservation and seed-bank management, the basis of organic farming …) occurred between March and June 2008. First youth retreat : « ecology, a path to oneself, an openness to the World » In July 2008, took birth the GreenFriends-France youth retreats with eco- workshops during the morning like organic gardening or eco-building, artistic workshops during the afternoon and lectures at the end of the day. The reason of these meetings is to propose to young people who are at the beginning of their professional life or during their studies, means to discover a deeper relationship with their environment and to be active in their day-to-day life to create a way of living that respects Nature. On 2 and 3 February 2008 a GreenFriends-France forum on CSA occurred at Amma’s Centre with a good energy sharing nice moments and inspired presentations by a bunch of French and International experts, all involved in social, economical and ecological questions related to agriculture. 3 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

19 18 Motivations It is GreenFriends-France wishes to propose step by step its services outside the framework of the Amma’s centre and to spread the work done at “la ferme du Plessis” and to participate with humbleness and modesty to the creation of a world that would be more respectful of Nature. Some realized or on-going projects Propose ecological services Our actions Reducing year after year the ecological footprint of Amma’s programs in France and Europe Every year in October and November,Amma the founder of the GreenFriends-France movement and our source of inspiration travels all over Europe to meet people that are touched by her example and her message. Very large manifestations gathering tens of thousands of people take place. GreenFriends-France tries to make these peaceful events as ecologically exemplary as possible by proposing a vegetarian food, partly organic, by installing dry composting toilets, by sorting out waste for recycling… 4 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

20 19 Some realized or on-going projects Propose ecological services Our actions Carbon auditing of Amma’s Tour in Europe and off-setting Mathieu Labonne, member of GreenFriends-France, is recognized by the French government to realize official carbon auditing in order to count greenhouse emissions taking place directly and indirectly because of an activity. We’re actually thinking of doing the carbon auditing of Amma’s venue in Europe, mainly in order to off-set the emissions with renewable energies projects and reforestation programs in France and India. Educational visit of Amma Center for schools From September 2009 we wish to propose to primary schools many workshops to be chosen from, thus allowing them to discover the ecological realizations of the ecosite. It can be ways of discovering the natural environment, learning basic techniques of organic farming and beekeeping, playing in Nature, building one’s own solar oven… Many members of GreenFriends-France, including teachers, are actually working on an high-quality educational content of these workshops. 4 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

21 20 Accompany the creation of ecovillages Our actions The ecovillage concept is the synthesis of the best ecological choices. 75% of the French greenhouse emissions comes from heating, transport and food production and one can understand the interest of self-sufficiency, efficient eco-building, locally-produced renewable energy and local, low meat-based and organic food. But the ecovillage concept is much more than an ecological concept, it is also a place of sharing, of life in community and the return of the community’s traditional values, where everyone had a place, where nobody was excluded and where the social aspect was a vector of happiness for everyone. This concept gives answers to a complete vision of ecology, including the social and economical needs of humanity. An ecovillage gathers people, with different skills, but sharing the same ideal of a life filled with sharing, exchanges and respect of Nature. GreenFriends-France believes in the future of such a concept and is thinking about the best way of supporting the creation of a first ecovillage before proposing its experience on a wider scale, being at the service of a more ecological and more blossoming way of living for all. An ecovillage is the gathering of people in rural or urban areas trying to maximize their well-being and at the same time trying to minimize their ecological footprint. An ecovillage gives a large place to self-sufficiency in the respect of the ecosystems and of economical and cultural relocalization 5 G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

22 21 Participation Support our actions Our projects need financial supports, in particular we need donations. All people involved in the organization are unpaid and voluntary, thus the whole donation goes straight into the realization of a project. Cheques are to be made out to GreenFriends-France Become a part of it ! GreenFriends-France projects need very diverse skills. We do not have all of them. Please do not hesitate to propose your service and to come and participate to the different projects. Receive our newsletter To be informed of the progress of the organization, the evolution of the projects, the different events and programs going on, please ask (by email) to receive our electronic newsletter GreenFriends-France our electronic newsletter. Everyone is welcome to bring his time, motivation and skills to the different GreenFriends-France projects.

23 22 Contact phone : 00 33 1 47 49 71 52 (Claire Carrat - treasurer) or 00 33 6 77 40 30 98 (Mathieu Labonne – member of the Board of Directions)‏ email : Contact : And of course you can visit our website : GreenFriends-France Centre Amma, Ferme du Plessis, 28190 PONTGOUIN G r e e n F r i e n d s – F r a n c e SEPTEMBER 2008

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