Adventures in mutual credit

Ecovillage economy tour: Damanhur

Most ecovillages are progressive outposts on the frontiers of a necessary transition. Damanhur however is the centre of a nascent civilisation. With over 500 adult residents and tens of thousands of connected souls it is the largest ecovillage in Europe; it has created its own culture and its own ways of living in community and understanding and practising spirituality.

Ecovillage Tour: Amalurra (Euskadi)

Amalurra, Basque for 'mother earth', was formed from a meditation group with life-coach Irene Goikolea over 20 years ago. Wanting to take their practice further, they bought an old seminary and oriented their lives around making it beautiful and offering hospitality. Fast forward to now, and there are several gleaming buildings, including a hotel, hostel, spa, cafe, restaurant, many spaces for meetings and workshops, a sweat-lodge next to a stream and extensive gardens.

Ecovillage economy tour: Lakabe

Perched on one of the foothills of the Pyrenees, in the Basque region, Lakabe was a tiny deserted village of 7 houses re-inhabited 34 years ago by a handful idealists fleeing the city life. There was no road, and no rooves on the houses, very little money for redevelopment, and certainly no tenure. Now there are 50 people, a bakery, a sustainable pine forest, and the village is 'official' although the property can neither be bought by the residents nor sold by the local government.

Proposed ecovillage tour

English | Espagnol

Many ecovillages are struggling to live the dream because they have yet to escape from debt and the need to pull money out of the global economy to meet their needs. Few of them are creating the things they need to live, so the majority of ecovillages are drawn into the main stream economy to meet basic needs.

Client-side caching in content management systems

Background

Users in developing countries are often extremely short of bandwidth. They don't want their browsers requesting pages that should already be cached. The HTTP protocol has excellent support for pages to declare expiry and last-modified dates, and for the server and client to decide whether to send a file accross the network or use one already cached.

Don't go it alone

I live and work in Geneva, the NGO capital of the world. Just in order to pay their overheads, organisations here need solid core funding. Switzerland must also have one of the highest costs of employing staff in the world. This usually means that when an NGO wants a funky web site, they can often afford to pay a commercial developer up to $1000 per person-day to build it.

(My mission in Geneva, by the way, is to lower that cost.)

My first Drupal module

I have just released my first drupal module, http_headers. This allows the administrator, for each contentType, to control cache settings in the browser and proxy servers. This means that in developing countries, better use of bandwidth can be made. To download and try the module, go to
https://www.drupal.org/project/httpHeaders

The easy bit

Some organisations I meet have a clear idea of the web sites they want, or think they do. They will write an RFP (Request For Proposal) which broadly outlines all the features of their desired web site and I think they expect that someone will walk in and build it as described. Using a modular system like Drupal it's very easy to allocate each feature to a module, and implement several features per day until the job is done.

Selling Local money

Perhaps you have heard of LETS, timebanks, or other community projects in which arbitrary currencies are created? Well, there is now a suite of modules to support communities trading in local money?

Currently the suite consists of three modules, a directory of members' offers and wants, an optional autocategorisation module, to help with consistent use of categories, and a transaction module. Later it will be possible to define multiple currencies, do taxation, and much more?

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