Last night, I finished reading “Gaviotas: A Villlage to Reinvent the World” by Alan Weisman. The book is a beautiful chronicle of the events surrounding the founding and evolution of a town in the Columbian llanos, thought to be a virtually uninhabitable large rural savannah region. The villagers transform the landscape into a thriving town based on sustainable agriculture and renewable energy inventions and principles, many of which have been recognized by international development agencies and implemented elsewhere in the developing world. According to this account, university-educated engineers and scientists mix with the local native Americans to produce a unique culture and community including a school that teaches slum children from the city basic skills of rural development in an atmosphere that encourages music and dance as well as constructive community work and chores. Although there is some controversy about the veracity of the documentary, I feel that, even if parts are overstated, the Gaviotas project is a wonderful example for others to follow. It reminds me of my visit to the New Alchemy Institute in Massachusetts many years ago.

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