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PLANET EARTH:OUR LOVING HOME The Magic of Findhorn: An Eco Eden on Earth - P1/2    
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Greetings, natural-loving viewers, and welcome to this week’s edition of Planet Earth: Our Loving Home featuring the first in a two-part series on the Findhorn EcoVillage, a global community that grew from the concept of environmental, social, economic and spiritual sustainability.

In his book, “The Magic of Findhorn,” author Paul Hawken describes this Eco Eden on Earth as follows:
“There have been stories in the press and other media about a small community in the north of Scotland called Findhorn, where people talk to plants with amazing results – stories of vegetable and flower gardens animated by angelic forms, stories of plants performing incredible feats of growth and endurance: 40-pound cabbages, eight-foot delphiniums and roses blooming in the snow – all a short distance from the Arctic Circle on a cold, windblown peninsula jutting into the North Sea with soil as sandy as your local beach.”

Hallo, my name is Noémi. I come from France and I am here for the ‘Experience Week.’ It’s a very beautiful week. It is very high in emotion, since we are still here. And now we must choose during the week an area to work in and I chose to come in the gardens because in France, I work in gardens and I am interested in working with Earth in a conscious way. They call it ‘Works in Love.’

This surreal place, the Findhorn Ecovillage, situated in the Findhorn Bay of Moray in northeastern Scotland, is a green community emphasizing harmony between human beings and nature. The residents work to create an environment that improves the fundamental quality of life for all. Following the simple principle of not taking away more from the Earth than one can give back, such communities strive to reduce their ecological footprint in all aspects of daily life.

And to date, the Findhorn Village has achieved a footprint that’s about half the UK’s national average! Even more impressive, a 2007 study by GEN-Europe (the Global Ecovillage Network) in partnership with the Sustainable Development Research Center concluded the site has the “lowest-ever ecological footprint of any community in the industrialized world.”

The community is very much about being at peace and co-creation and doing what’s good and not doing harm, and being open, it’s very much about being open. I was a vegan before I came here. And of course the food here is locally grown, organic, so that’s also good, and seasonal, so the main principles of a good, healthy diet are held here also, so it’s easy to get it.

Findhorn began in 1962 when Peter and Eileen Caddy and their three sons along with Dorothy Maclean arrived at a caravan park in the seaside village of Findhorn. The group came seeking temporary residency as their employment at a hotel in the nearby town of Forres had come to an end.

So Peter, Eileen and Dorothy, and there were six of them living in just this tiny little caravan. And they were waiting and thinking that they would be here just for a short time and they were just simply waiting for employment, and while they were waiting, they were staying here. And they were only living on eight pounds a week, which wasn’t very much money to feed them and feed their children, so they decided to build a garden around them.

For years, Peter, Eileen and Dorothy had followed disciplined spiritual paths and practiced meditation. Thus, following guidance from within, in no time the three transformed the previously lifeless, barren, sandy soil of the Findhorn Bay area into vibrant, fertile land.

Eileen was listening to her inner voice; what she called the God within.

And Dorothy was able eventually to connect with what she called the nature realms and the nature spirits. And she called it the deva, for want of a better word, the devas, where she found that she was able to get in touch with the essence of the plants and the nature kingdom as a whole.

And Peter was very much a person, a guy of putting things into practice, so, he would talk to Dorothy and he would talk to Eileen and listen to what their guidance was and then try and put that into practice. Peter would ask Dorothy questions about, "How much compost should I put in here? How should I work this soil?" And Dorothy would get answers through her inner work. And from that the garden became a bigger and bigger success.

Word spread quickly about the magic of Findhorn and people came to join the Caddys and Dorothy in their work. Soon the original group of six grew into a small community in the village of Findhorn.

We were growing very, very large vegetables, and people couldn’t understand because it's essentially, very soily earth. So people did not understand why we could get such good vegetables in such poor earth, not very soily earth, very sandy earth. These were sand dunes. So, that also drew more people here and then there was some books written about Findhorn.

One particular one was called “The Magic of Findhorn,” which was written by an American author, Paul Hawken, and that drew a lot of Americans over here. And so it became very international. The community then formed a charity, which is now known as The Findhorn Foundation.

When Martin Roche-Nishimori, currently manager of the Health and Safety Department at the EcoVillage, first heard about this special community, he never thought that it would become his permanent home.

And one day my wife was reading a magazine and she heard about this place called Findhorn, this magical place called Findhorn. She read the article and it sounded very, very interesting and then she read the book “The Magic of Findhorn,” and told me all about it. I then read “The Magic of Findhorn” and we thought, “Great! This sounds like a really interesting place. Let’s go and visit it.”

Let’s join the jolly residents of Findhorn EcoVillage to learn more about their planet-friendly lifestyle! To date, the Findhorn Ecovillage has constructed approximately 61 ecological buildings, all of which respect and honor the environment. We were fortunate enough to be invited to the home of Carin Bolles, member of the Communications team at the EcoVillage, and learn about many of the community’s fascinating green initiatives.

It's about 10 years old. It was the second house that was built on what we call the “Field of Dreams,” this area here. And it's an eco-house basically because it's designed to maximize the passive solar heat gains. So you can see there's lots and lots of glass on the southern side here. We’ve got a big conservatory that wraps around the front of the house.

And in summer or even in winter, we actually manage the heat coming into the house by opening or closing the doors. In summer it can actually get too hot but on a day like today when there’s sun we actually heat the house by the passive solar heat gain that comes from the conservatory. The walls are insulated with it's like a recycled newspaper that's gone into a pulp and then pumped into the walls.

So at the time that this house was built, it was much more insulation than was the code in Scotland. The code now is about the kind of insulation that we use here. The new development that is happening over there will actually have 500 millimeters of insulation in all their walls. So they basically get down to being carbon neutral.

The other thing that's great about the house is we have what's called a “breathing wall” system. In such a humid climate, you can get so much build-up of moisture actually inside the house. So it works like a Gore-Tex jacket where your moisture comes in and moisture goes out. So it's actually a really incredibly healthy place to live in because the house actually breathes. The moisture level kind of gets equalized and we have special breathing paint so that again the moisture can actually go through the walls.

Each household also grows its own organic vegetables and fruit!

We have some lettuce seedlings that we will be putting into the cold frame and it will go back on the garden over there. And so it extends the time that we can grow lettuce and then we will start putting plants in for next year. So this year we actually grew a lot of pumpkins in there. So we have some really beautiful spaghetti squash that we will eat over the winter that grew in our cold frame. So you can see lots of other things growing in the garden. We've got a lot of cabbages; we've got the Brussels sprouts.

You can see there, just the last of our raspberries on the raspberries canes through here, which was pretty amazing, it's November and we’ve still got a few raspberries. We’ve still got a few strawberries coming through. We’ve got tons of leeks, and sorrel and lots of herbs and things like that. So we are incredibly fortunate. We’ve still got carrots and celeriac to harvest. We've got lots of potatoes. And this is just in our little back garden.

The people of Findhorn live simple lives in the bosom of nature. Martin spoke about how Findhorn transformed his life.

I’ve noticed that there is a lot of release, a lot of dropping off that’s happened to me since coming here. Before I loved the idea of being spiritual and now it’s more just mundane, day-to-day, everyday things that’s important and it’s kind of dropped away, these other desires. I think that’s made me a very much more peaceful person. I notice how things don’t bother me and I notice how I feel more loving and more caring and, if you like, my lenses have changed. I see the world very, very differently now.

Blessed viewers, please join us again next Wednesday for Planet Earth: Our Loving Home and the concluding episode on the Findhorn EcoVillage when we’ll learn more about the inspiring Findhorn community and its Earth-friendly architecture and facilities.

For more information on the Findhorn EcoVillage, please visit www.EcoVillageFindhorn.com
Find out about the Findhorn Foundation at www.Findhorn.org

Treasured viewers, thank you for your company on today’s program. May our lives be forever greened with nature’s abundance and love.
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