What’s it like to grow up in an ecovillage?

Jan 23, 14 What’s it like to grow up in an ecovillage?

tanji_ulitan_share_experience copyTHURSDAY . SHARE EXPERIENCES

Following our youth theme of the week, here are some interview clips from the magazine Aam Terra Nuova, an interview with five youth from 14 to 23 years old who grew up in different ecovillages in Italy:

Elena from La Città della Luce
Ada from Noceto
Ludovico, Mattias and Guglielmo from Upacchi
Setna from Damanhur

What’s an ecovillage to you?
Mattias e Ada: It’s where people have decided to live together in a place that offers them the possibility to realize their desires, both in self-sufficiency and personal growth. It’s important that an ecovillage is interested in nature and that its inhabitants respect the values of nature.

Why do you think adults from your community chose to live in an ecovillage?
Setna BerniniSetna: To be poetic, in order to change the world. Because they are motivated by strong ideals to struggle for a life that is rich with dreams and experiences, where others are really a part of ourselves, living as a harmonious part of the natural environment, creating a place in the world where we can create a new paradigm instead of following those that have brought the planet and human civilization to where it is now.

What are the main causes of tension in your community? How do you experience these moments of tension?
Guglielmo-Marino_article_bodyGuglielmo: I think they are basic misunderstandings about the expectations that each inhabitant had for this place. Moments of tension are normal, I think. They happen even in everyday life, without needing to manage a village, and they are also necessary because they bring unresolved nodes to the light in order to resolve them.

How do you think adolescents are considered in your community?
Setna: I think they are very loved by the whole community, which sometimes might not be able to communicate with us how we would like, but they celebrate all of our successes and if a youth intends to participate in the life of the community or take on responsibilities, everyone is willing to leave him or her space to do so.

When you realized that you lived in a home that’s different from your friends at school, how did you feel?
Mattias-Schweitzer_article_bodyMattias e Ada: At first we felt fortunate. We had completely different experiences than the other kids, and most of all, we were never bored, even without TV. Then when we were adolescents, when everyone tries to fit into his or her generation, we felt different and were afraid of not being accepted. But all things pass in time, and we still feel fortunate.

What relationship do you have with other youth of your community and with your peers who live elsewhere? What’s the biggest difference you notice?
Mattias e Ada: With the kids in the community, we have a more sincere relationship, probably because we share many experiences and the stories of our lives, and this makes us feel more like ‘brothers and sisters.’ This is the biggest difference we notice.

What do you like the most about living in community? … and what do you like the least?
Ludovico: The thing I like most about my village is the noisy silence of nature, the sound of the celebrations and laughter, and of course the amazing wood oven pizza! What I like the least is when I feel there are tensions or I feel that there isn’t the spirit and strength to go forward and improve as an ecovillage, and being young, I feel impotent.

What’s your relationship with nature?
ELENA-GIVANI_article_bodyElena: Really nice… when I was little, I spoke with the wind, and my mother called me, ‘Sings with the Wind.’

Mattias e Ada: Nature has always been fundamental for us. We have learned to respect it, to love and know it. We have discovered its importance: it gives us all that we need to live, drink and nourish ourselves, and heal.

When you think of the future, what do you feel and why?
Setna: Enthusiasm and positive thoughts. I think it’s possible to choose our future even if it seem like a gigantic task, but if we’re with others, it’s not!

What advice to you give to parents who are going to live in a ecovillage?
Ludovico-Ravelli_article_bodyLudovico: They’re making a good choice for their kids. They’ll be in contact with a world that is real and genuine, getting their hands dirty, in touch with the earth. I would also advise them to let their kids study outisde the community so they can have other experiences and create a real pathway for themselves, with their own interests and opinions.

When you are older, where do you dream of living? In an ecovillage, an apartment, in the city, in a community, with your peers?
Elena: I want to live in another country, in London or the USA, have my own home and travel all over the world.

Ludovico: Definitely in a green place, immersed in a place where I feel good and that I share with others, but I don’t know where. Maybe in a jungle or on a beach near the ocean or still in my village, who knows. I certainly can’t imagine myself in an apartment in the city!

foto-Ada-Keller_article_bodyMattias e Ada: The world and our dreams are constantly changing, but we definitely don’t want to go back and live fixed in our ecovillage anytime soon. First we want to give space to new experiences, then we’ll think about it.

Setna: In a community, probably mine.



What do you want to ask ecovillage youth? Comment below, and we’ll give you their answers!




  1. Interesting. I guess part of me was curious if any of them might want to consider in the Ecovillage, but it makes sense. Since they are healthy, most want to get out and see the world. My hope is to get there before long and join in.

    • Hi! Setna and a few of the others seem to be considering staying in their ecovillages. Even so, we encourage our youth to have experiences in the world to become more complete and to make a more complete choice if they do want to stay in Damanhur as citizens. They have lots of opportunity to do so, from travel trips with the Damanhur School all through their youth to attending public high school, studying and working abroad.

      Whenever you’re ready to come to Damanhur, you’re welcome!

      con te!