E-learning Gaia Education

Gaia Education Design for Sustainability
A virtual course based on the four core pillars of the Ecovillage Design Curriculum: the social, worldview, ecological and economic dimensions of sustainability. The curriculum draws on the experience and expertise developed in a network of some of the most successful ecovillages and community projects across the Earth.

Book your place in the Gaia Education Design for Sustainability or visit the Virtual Design for Sustainability Programme!
Download the Gaia Education Design for Sustainability e-annoucement

Course Objectives

UOC building
Gaia Education Design for Sustainability programme is intended to serve the purpose of educating for the transition to comprehensive sustainable culture – broadly global in scope yet determinedly local in application. It will focus on fundamental principles, themes, and aspects needing to be addressed in any comprehensive introduction to sustainability design and development.

The EDE curriculum can be described as ‘holistic’ – meaning that it endeavors to cover and present the many-faceted, diverse spectrum of sustainability design considerations as a comprehensive, interdependent whole. The EDE can also be described as ‘integrative’ – meaning that all the various essential considerations in a sustainability design are given equitable attention and representation, especially as they exist in relationship with one another, and to the whole. Finally, the EDE can be described as ‘holographic’ – meaning that the essence of the curriculum is distributed throughout and can be reconstituted from any of the parts; thus, understanding the purpose of the whole can be ascertained from any partial participation or exposure.

The virtual Gaia Education Design for Sustainability programme aims to create a pool of competent, informed, practicing Sustainability Designers. These graduates will be introduced to the tools, skills, and knowledge necessary to participate in any sustainable community/organization development context. The programme is application-oriented and solution-based and is meant to respond to the needs of real people in real circumstances in a rapidly changing world.

Gaia Education Design for Sustainability programme is consistent with and representative of key values in the greater ecovillage community, values that include: honoring unity through diversity; celebrating diverse cultures and creeds; practicing racial, cultural, and gender equality; promoting social justice and environmental awareness; striving for peace and local self-determination; raising consciousness and human potential; and, generally, respecting the living Earth as our planetary home.

Target AudienceGaia Education Design for Sustainability virtual programme will be of relevance to:
  • students with an interest in sustainable design
  • educators wishing to develop new skills and perspectives
  • community redevelopers & builders
  • members of NGO’s
  • urban, rural and regional planning professionals
  • community leaders in ecovillages as well as in rural and urban communities everywhere
  • professionals in architectural, engineering and building careers
  • permaculture and horticultural researchers and designers
  • renewable energy technologists
  • business leaders interested in social and environmental responsibility and ethical development
Course Outline

Social Design: October – November 2009
  • Module 1: Building Community & Embracing Diversity
  • Module 2: The Art of Compassionate Communication
  • Module 3: Facilitation Skills: Decision Making & Conflict Resolution
  • Module 4: Personal Empowerment and Leadership skills
  • Module 5: Celebrating Life: Art and Creativity
  • Module 6: Local, Bioregional and Global Outreach
Economic Design: December 2009 – January 2010
  • Module 1: Shifting the Global Economy to Sustainability
  • Module 2: Making Money our Servant rather than our Master
  • Module 3: Right Livelihood
  • Module 4: Social Enterprise
  • Module 5: Legal and Financial Issues
Ecologic Design: February – March 2010
  • Module 1: Whole Systems Approach to Ecological Design
  • Module 2: Appropriate Technology: Water
  • Module 3: Organic Agriculture and Local Food
  • Module 4: Appropriate Technology: Energy
  • Module 5: Green Building & Retrofitting
Worldview: April – May 2010
  • Module 1: Holistic Worldview
  • Module 2: Listening to and Reconnecting with Nature
  • Module 3: Awakening & Transformation of Consciousness
  • Module 4: Personal Health, Planetary Health
  • Module 5: Socially Engaged Spiritualitycourse outline
Download the timetable for the programme

Course Duration and Reading Hours

  • Duration: 1 academic year, from October 1th to July 1st; 2 months for each dimension; 1 month for the final project
  • Hours: 100 hours per dimension (= 400 hours), 50 hours for the final project (total 450 hours)

Course Languages

  • English and Spanish

Programme Team

  • Programme Director: May East
  • Academic Coordinator: Ulises
  • Authors: Ulises (Social), Jonathan Dawson (Economics), Michael Shaw (Ecologic), Hildur and Ross Jackson (Worldview)

Training Fees

  • For the whole programme = EUR 900
  • Per module = EUR 250

If you cannot afford the full fee, please check out our bursary guidelines. If you can afford to pay more than the full fee for this programme, your donation will be gratefully received and used to help those who cannot afford the whole fee.

Certificate Document

In order to get the final certificate students have to

  • attend regular activities
  • present a paper at the end of each module
  • present the application of the content into a real life situation - case study
  • spend 40 hours immersion in an Ecovillage or Sustainability related Institution/Organization