Tower Insurance and GENOA funds Fijian ecovillage pilot project

ONE indigenous village community in Fiji will be funded $40,000 for a pilot ‘ecovillage’ that will help villages prepare for climate change and lead more sustainable lives there.

Insurance service provider Tower Insurance is funding the amount to be used to establish a pilot program in Fiji that will help in the transition to a sustainable regenerative eco-community, starting later this year.

Tower Insurance CEO Richard Harding said the pilot project would offer villagers the knowledge and skills they needed to not only prepare for climate change but also lead lives that were more sustainable.

“Tower recognises that climate change is resulting in more extreme weather and we are committed to a practical approach to help educate communities and mitigate the impact of climate change,” Mr Harding said in a statement.

“Extra focus is needed in Oceania where communities face the real threat of more storms and rising sea levels despite being some of the lowest contributors to carbon emissions.”

The insurer is partnering with GENOA (Global Ecovillage Network Oceania and Asia), which promotes sustainable living at a local level and is part of the wider Global Ecovillage Network.

GEN Australia executive director Andrew Olivier says an ecovillage is a community that’s consciously designed to regenerate social, ecological and economic aspects.

He said what made ecovillages unique was that they also honoured and celebrated the culture and worldviews of its community members, making it a whole systems design approach.
“For existing rural communities, that means designing their own pathway into the future, combining life-sustaining traditional wisdom with positive new innovation,” Mr Olivier said.

“Being an ecovillage is a process, not an outcome, and each ecovillage is unique because they’ve chosen their own path.

“Environmental sustainability is a key focus, but we also seek to strengthen economic self-sufficiency, and create a nurturing community. So, the types of initiatives seen elsewhere include building with upcycled materials, planting food forests, and installing solar energy,” he added.

Phase One of the program, already underway, involves researching and mapping existing villages, organisations, projects and enterprises within Fiji with a focus on sustainability, restoration and disaster resiliency.

The next phase is to introduce the ecovillage concept to key stakeholders, and to identify a suitable community that is willing and able to transit into an ecovillage.


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