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Communication and Education
Education interns Kira Börner and Jana Westerhaus write about their educational activity regarding COP28 and the necessity of debt cancellation for the global South[1] as part of our fight for climate justice. 

What is the COP? 
COP stands for Conference of the Parties and includes countries that signed the original UN climate agreement in 1992, also known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The mission of the COP is to find collective solutions to stop global warming or at least limit temperature rise to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius. We started our educational activity with a short role play where we teamed up in pairs to investigate the achievements of the past most important COPs. Every duo got to research about one past COP and had to prepare a short pitch of why next year’s COP should take place in their country again.

Important COPs

UNFCC COP and Agenda21 in Rio de Janeiro (1992)
* Setting rights for the whole world for educational development
* First agreement on reducing emissions
* First agreement on protecting biodiversity
* Agreements on sustainable forest principles
* Agreements on fighting desertification

COP3 in Kyoto. (1997) Kyoto-Protocol
* Commitment of industrialized countries and economies in transition to limit and reduce (5,2% according to 1990) greenhouse gases and emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets until 2012. Agreement on flexible mechanisms – Joint-implementation – Clean Development – Emission Trade (ways of emission trades under different conditions)
* It works in terms of supporting more investment in projects abroad. The idea was that both parties would benefit from that. On one hand the receiving country takes advantage of, for example, given technologies and the money they would get for selling their emission rights. On the other hand, the investing country gains rights of emissions. (Mechanisms are concepts to support projects abroad. Through the emission trading, investing countries can count the emissions which have been cut in the receiving countries on their account. The Background: Reducing emissions where it is the cheapest, doesn’t matter where) (2005 the Kyoto-protocol started in its first period until 2012)

COP15 in Copenhagen (2009)
* High expectations on this one. Trying to extend Kyoto, the parties couldn’t agree, voluntary agreements.
* Global north agreed on mobilizing 100 billion dollars from 2020 every year to support the global south. Be aware of language here! Mobilizing!

COP18 in Doha (2012) and Kyoto II
* Tracking of achievements from Kyoto I
* Kyoto got extended until 2020 (US was never part of the agreement, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Russia quit the agreement (the biggest emitters; with the leftover parties in the agreement responsible for “just” 15% of the global emissions).

COP21 in Paris (2015)
* Kyoto-agreement is ending 2020.
* New climate agreement was arranged (Paris agreement)
* Including the 17 Development goals (Backbone for Paris agreement, common thread for 1,5°C limit)
* First international agreement for global north and global south including supporting each other in achieving the goals.
* Celebrated big in the world, but agreements were non-binding, with no consequences for not achieving…

COP27 Scharm el-Sheikh (Egypt 2022)
* Loss and damage fund was created (refers to the measures that we take to help a country to get back on its feet after being hit by a climate action).
* Stepstone in admitting that the countries that are suffering the most from climate change should get supported by everyone, because everyone and especially the global north has contributed the most to the climate crises.

After the pitches, we dived into the agenda items of this year’s COP28, held in Dubai. The following items are being discussed there: climate change mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage fund, fossil fuel phase out, and how to finance all the previous items. Additionally, we also talked about the controversy of holding the COP28 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the world’s top 10 oil producing nations that even now wants to increase its oil production. When it comes to the agenda item ‘loss and damage fund’, one has to know that 75% of the money that is supposed to help global South countries to deal with the climate crisis comes in the form of loans instead of grants. Moreover, the amount of money that is supposed to be paid (roughly 100 billion) is not even enough to cover all the costs related to the climate crisis. It’s estimated that by 2030, the global South will need around 350 billion US dollars every year to adapt to the climate crisis. Hence, global South countries have to pay for adapting to a crisis that they did not even cause themselves while global North countries and corporations continue to profit[2]. Due to that, the second half of our info session was about the necessity of debt cancellation for global South countries. 

COP28 discussion at sunseed desert technology education activity interns

What is debt? 
Every past culture had exchange going on, meaning that there is debt and credit: someone owes and someone else is owed. This process is underpinned by a sense of fairness and reciprocity and societies had mechanisms in place that would keep inequalities in check. When inequalities increased, debt forgiveness and redistribution of land were common actions to take; this was known, for example, as Jubilee in the Bible and also within many Jewish communities. At some point wealthy individuals began to demand interest when lending money, an extra amount of money for the service and risk of lending. There are two important differences to understand when it comes to the payment of interest: 1. Simple interest which is payment based on a percentage of the saved or borrowed amount and which stays the same over time. 2.  Compound interest which is not just based on the saved or borrowed amount, but also on the interest already earned so far. It’s “interest on interest” which is why a borrower can end up paying back way more than the initial loan, simply because the interest accumulates over time. 

How is debt linked to colonialism? 
It’s crucial to grasp that debt is all about power. Check out this video and document if you want to learn more about the interlinkages of debt and colonialism. The brief summary of it is that colonising nations benefited tremendously from exploiting peoples and nature in the global South and this exploitative system is still in place. Our global system is still organised along racist, colonial and capitalist lines and debt is just one of many tools used to maintain these structures. Former colonies were forced to compensate former colonisers for the ‘loss of their colonies’ after many global South countries gained independence. Additionally, many global South countries inherited debt accumulated by colonial powers during their time of rule and from dictators propped up by Western governments after the fight for independence. European powers transformed global South economies fit for export to feed the capitalist system in the West with cheap labour and resources. Many global South economies are still organised around this, making them very vulnerable to falling market prices. As stated by Jason Hickel in his book ‘The Divide – A brief guide to global inequalities and its solutions’ (2017), poverty gets created and doesn’t just exist in a vacuum. Hence, we need to understand why certain countries are rich and others are poor.

Oftentimes the dominant narrative is that the debt of global South countries is purely a technical/financial issue or that it would all be due to “corrupt” or “incompetent” governments. But this narrative completely erases the role that colonialism and capitalism had in indepting these countries and how, up to this day, many powerful actors use debt as a means to extract wealth and to exercise control. 

Who are the powerful actors that benefit from this debt system? 
Two of the most important institutions are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Both were set up in 1944 to create a more stable global economic system after the Second World War. The purpose of the World Bank was to finance the reconstruction and development of war-torn Europe, hence, focusing more on the long-term development of countries. The IMF’s focus was rather on short-term crisis response by having its focus on financing state spending in countries that were experiencing economic turmoil. However, this focus shifted in the 1980s when the West discovered its power as creditors that would enable them to dictate economic policies that wouldn’t threaten their access to cheap labour and resources.

Many newly independent global South countries had presidents that wanted to protect their countries from external exploitative influences and started pursuing their own agendas to build thriving economies. As also mentioned by Hickel[3], during the period from the 1950-1970s, global South countries were flourishing and the divide between rich and poor countries was closing for the first time in history. This undermined profits of Western corporations and geopolitical interests of the global North, which is why the West overthrew and assassinated several democratically elected global South leaders to replace them with dictators, friendly to Western interests. When the price of goods crashed in the 1980s, several global South countries whose economies were still strongly focused on export due to previous times of colonialism, struggled repaying their loans. The West decided to repurpose the IMF as a global debt enforcer: the IMF would ‘support’ the global South in repaying their debt under a series of conditions known as “Structural Adjustment Programmes” (SAPs). SAPs consisted of austerity measures, privatisation and trade liberalisation.

These reforms were sold as enhancing the development of the global South, but they ended up being “the greatest single causes of poverty in the global South, after colonialism” (Hickel, ibid.). The World Bank began to require SAPs as well for all their development loans for global South governments, regardless of whether a country was indebted or not[4]. Lacking enough capital to make their countries prosper after being drained for centuries by colonial powers, many global South governments didn’t have much of a choice but to borrow money from the World Bank and the IMF. Both institutions have been and still are driven by US interests and remain global key decision makers that are dominated by global North powers.

Here a brief list of several ‘fun’ facts about both institutions:
* The voting power in both the World Bank and IMF is based on each member nation’s share of financial ownership and major decisions require a 85% majority vote. Guess who holds 16% of the shares in both institutions and therewith has de facto veto power? Right, the United States.
* Both institutions are headquartered in Washington D.C.
* There is the unspoken agreement that the president of the World Bank is always American whereas the IMF’s president is always European.
* Plus one should assume that the World Bank’s presidents are development experts since that’s supposedly the focus of this institution. But they all have/had links to the US government/army, Wall Street or other multinationals. Extra highlight: except one president, they were also all White men.

Over the last decade, more and more private creditors have entered the scene, such as banks, hedge funds and oil traders. Some of the famous ones are BlackRock, Vanguard and Vulture Funds. Around half of the global South debt is now in the hands of private lenders. So who owes whom? Looking at all these facts, it becomes clear that it is actually the global North that owes a debt to the global South for the exploitation and destruction of people and nature, plus the appropriation of our atmospheric commons by being responsible for most Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions that are causing climate breakdown. But so far the global North continues to ignore its historic responsibility and most climate crisis support comes (again) in the form of loans. Due to that debt cancellation is a crucial step in our fight for climate justice! 

The global South has been calling for a democratisation of the World Bank and the IMF for decades but keeps getting ignored. This video also features a ‘great’ example from just a few days ago, showing how the EU rejects a fair global financial tax regime. 

Debt for Climate 

That’s why we need a global movement, putting pressure on governments, private lenders, corporations and powerful institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF. Debt for Climate is doing exactly that – it’s a global grassroots movement initiated and led by the global South, building power from the bottom-up by uniting workers, Indigenous, feminist, faith, environmental, social and climate justice movements in the global North and South, to cancel the financial debt of the global South in order to enable a self-determined, just transition.

Here are some impressions from their past actions, so check them out:
–> Global Mobilization of Debt for Climate October 2023 – YouTube
–> Debt for Climate on X: “💥Our video from the last global action is out!💥 We continue to grow and are coming together again to step up the game this month! Join us to turn the tables on financial colonialism Feb 27th, and hold the global North accountable for its #ClimateDebt towards the global South!” / X (


[1] The terms global North and global South don’t refer to geographic locations of countries. Rather they encompass the relative power and wealth countries have in the world. Global North countries (such as the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Japan and many European countries) have power and wealth, while global South countries (including many formerly colonised countries in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia) have less power and wealth on a global scale. 
[2] An article about debt relief in relation to COP28: New push for debt relief to help developing world fund climate action | Climate finance | The Guardian 
[3] From the book The Divide – A brief guide to global inequalities and its solutions by Jason Hickel, 2017, p.22. 
[4] The IMF’s focus was on supposedly helping countries deal with over-indebtedness while the World Bank’s focus should have been to support the global South in their ‘development’.


Communication and Education

Education intern Jana Westerhaus writes about her research into the necessity of decolonial and anti-capitalist education at Sunseed. 

Why do we talk about decolonial and anti-capitalist education in Sunseed?

The Sunseed project was originally founded as a charity project from the UK. From the 1980s until the 2000s, the project intended to research appropriate technologies for life in semi-arid regions, and to then ‘export’ this knowledge to African countries such as Tanzania. When browsing through Sunseed’s archive and old newspaper articles, the featured discourse of that time is how ‘nice’ it had been of the mostly British volunteers to ‘sacrifice’ their comfortable way of living to a) come to Los Molinos to experiment with alternative forms of living in semi–arid regions; and to b) do ‘good’ for what was then called ‘Third World Countries’[1]. When starting my research about Sunseed’s history (building upon the work that has been done by previous Sunseeders to investigate the project’s coloniality), I couldn’t help but see White Saviourism[2] scream all over these newspaper articles. After several unsuccessful attempts to ‘export’ Sunseed knowledge to global South countries, the focus of the project shifted to its current vision of discovering how to live a healthy and ecologically responsible life working in harmony with nature, rather than continuing colonial continuities with its action by trying to ‘save’ people in the global South without even understanding the local context.

So why did I want to investigate Sunseed’s history and focus more on decolonial and anti-capitalist education during my time here if the focus of the project has shifted?

The reason for that is that even though officially times of colonisation are in the past, in reality, we are still reproducing colonial dependencies today. The global North is still appropriating people and nature in the global South to fuel economic growth, rather than meeting human needs and respecting planetary boundaries. Today’s climate and biodiversity crisis are just a continuation of colonial and capitalist appropriation. Global North countries are for instance responsible for 92% of overshoot emissions, meaning they are responsible for 92% of the damages caused by the climate crisis while only representing 19% of the global population[3].

To be able to better understand the multiple crises that we are currently living in, I recently gave an introductory workshop regarding the importance of decolonial and anti-capitalist education. Throughout history, many voices have been silenced and/or not been listened to, while at the same time, uncomfortable aspects of Western history are oftentimes deliberately downplayed or ignored. Our current economic system that relies on exploiting people and nature for profit is largely still unquestioned even though climate collapse is becoming more noticeable. The famous quote ‘It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism’ seems to be more accurate than ever. 

Colonialism, referred to as belonging to a prior epoch in which European powers took control over countries and peoples in Africa, Asia and Latin America, encompasses much more than that. Ruling over land and people in the global South was based on a European worldview in which they placed themselves above other people, e.g. through racial hierarchies or “levels of civilization” which they themselves invented. This has resulted in great destruction, expulsions and genocide. Colonised peoples have resisted conquerors on all continents, yet to this day, colonialism continues to have repercussions on politics, society, interpersonal relationships, and individuals. 

To reflect on colonial narratives that we received throughout our lives, especially also within our countries’ respective educational systems, and to feature at least a minor fraction of voices that have been silenced for way too long, we did a game of quotes designed by glokal e.V. , a Berlin-based association for critical educational work and consulting. We tried to plot quotes from oftentimes silenced actors stemming from different time periods on a timeline. Thereby, realising how many stories have not been featured or downplayed within Western education and how patterns of coloniality are still present today even though a certain quote is already decades or even centuries old.

During our discussion and round of reflection, we realised how different these narratives are depending on whether someone grew up in the global North or South. One community member stressed that this marginalisation, oppression and exploitation wasn’t surprising or new for them since they are from a global South country that has been heavily influenced by outside Western interests, both during the colonial era but also during times of imperialism that followed thereafter and are still continuing to this day. Emphasising the need for building alliances and solidarity between global North and South inhabitants to unite forces in the struggle for an environmentally and socially just world, free from continued capitalist and colonial exploitation. If you’d like to play the game yourself, you can go to this page:

What’s next?
For my remaining time here at Sunseed, I’m planning on hosting a workshop regarding transformative initiatives, worldviews and practices different from capitalism which can also broadly be defined as a peoples’ pluriverse. Recognising the diversity of practices and views of people in regards to planetary wellbeing (including human wellbeing and reconciling with the fact that humans aren’t a separate part of nature). By respecting and nurturing the interconnectedness of all lives, these worldviews can serve as a powerful and inspiring source  of hope for creating and pushing for a world beyond capitalism and neocolonial appropriation.

In addition to that, together with another education intern, I will host two sessions regarding the sea of plastic – a local justice struggle, both on an environmental and human level. The greenhouses in Almeria, referred to as the sea of plastic, supply between 40-50% of all fruits and vegetables within the EU. This comes with several environmental and human rights issues, such as plastic pollution, groundwater depletion, groundwater and soil pollution due to chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and the exploitation of (undocumented) migrant workers due to bad working conditions and low payment, qualifying as a slave labour type condition. We will host one workshop to educate each other on the topic before going to visit a representative of the Andalusian Workers Syndicate the following week who is supporting migrants in their struggle for humane working conditions.  

[1] I’m not using the term ‘Third World Countries’ since this term stems from the Cold War era that was used to refer to former colonies that were seen as ‘underdeveloped’. Instead I’m using the terms global North and global South that focus on the hegemony of historical and present power of certain nations along political, economic, and social lines.

[2] I’m using the following definition of White Saviourism: symptoms of racism and white supremacy which places those in a position of privilege into the role of saviour over those who have been historically oppressed and exploited.

[3] From the book Less is More – How degrowth will save the world by Jason Hickel, 2021, p.115.


German version

Warum sprechen wir über dekoloniale und antikapitalistische Bildung in Sunseed?

Das Sunseed-Projekt wurde ursprünglich als Wohltätigkeitsprojekt aus Großbritannien gegründet. Von den 1980er bis in die 2000er Jahre zielte das Projekt darauf ab, geeignete Technologien für das Leben in semiariden Regionen zu erforschen und dieses Wissen dann in afrikanische Länder wie Tansania zu „exportieren“. Wenn man das Archiv von Sunseed und alte Zeitungsartikel durchstöbert, ist das Hauptnarrativ dieser Zeit die Frage, wie „nett“ es von den überwiegend britischen Freiwilligen gewesen ist, ihre komfortable Lebensweise zu „aufzugeben“, um a) nach Los Molinos zu kommen, um mit alternativen Lebensformen in semi-ariden Regionen zu experimentieren; und b) „Gutes“ zu tun, für „Länder der Dritten Welt“[1] wie sie damals hießen. Als ich mit meiner Recherche über die Geschichte von Sunseed begann (aufbauend auf der Arbeit früherer Sunseeder die die Kolonialität des Projekts erforscht haben), konnte ich nicht anders, als von all diesen Zeitungsartikeln Weißes Rettertum[2] (auf Englisch White Saviourism) schreien zu sehen. Nach mehreren erfolglosen Versuchen, Sunseed-Wissen in Länder des globalen Südens zu „exportieren“, verlagerte sich der Schwerpunkt des Projekts auf seine aktuelle Vision, herauszufinden, wie man ein gesundes und ökologisch verantwortungsvolles Leben im Einklang mit der Natur führen kann, anstatt mit seinem Handeln koloniale Kontinuitäten fortzusetzen, indem man versucht, die Menschen im globalen Süden zu „retten“, ohne den lokalen Kontext überhaupt zu verstehen.


Warum also wollte ich die Geschichte von Sunseed untersuchen und mich während meiner Zeit hier mehr auf dekoloniale und antikapitalistische Bildung konzentrieren, wenn sich der Schwerpunkt des Projekts doch geändert hat?

Der Grund dafür liegt darin, dass die Zeiten der Kolonialisierung zwar offiziell der Vergangenheit angehören, wir aber in Wirklichkeit auch heute noch koloniale Abhängigkeiten reproduzieren. Der globale Norden profitiert noch immer von der Ausbeutung von Menschen und Natur des globalen Südens, um das Wirtschaftswachstum voranzutreiben, anstatt menschliche Bedürfnisse zu befriedigen und planetare Grenzen zu respektieren. Die heutige Klima- und Biodiversitätskrise sind nur eine Fortsetzung der kolonialen und kapitalistischen Aneignung. Die Länder des globalen Nordens sind beispielsweise für 92% der überschüßigen Emissionen verantwortlich, was bedeutet, dass sie für 92% der durch die Klimakrise verursachten Schäden verantwortlich sind, während sie nur 19% der Weltbevölkerung repräsentieren[3].

Um die vielfältigen Krisen, in denen wir derzeit leben, besser verstehen zu können, habe ich kürzlich einen Einführungsworkshop zur Bedeutung dekolonialer und antikapitalistischer Bildung gegeben. Im Laufe der Geschichte wurden viele Stimmen zum Schweigen gebracht und/oder ihnen wurde kein Gehör geschenkt, während gleichzeitig unangenehme Aspekte der westlichen Geschichte oft absichtlich heruntergespielt oder ignoriert wurden und werden. Unser derzeitiges Wirtschaftssystem, das auf der Ausbeutung von Menschen und Natur aus Profitgründen basiert, ist weitgehend immer noch unhinterfragt, auch wenn der Klimakollaps immer deutlicher spürbar wird. Das berühmte Zitat „Es ist einfacher, sich das Ende der Welt vorzustellen als das Ende des Kapitalismus“ scheint zutreffender denn je zu sein.

Kolonialismus wird meistens einer früheren Epoche zugeschrieben, in der europäische Mächte die Kontrolle über Länder und Völker in Afrika, Asien und Lateinamerika übernahmen, aber der Begriff umfasst viel mehr als das. Die Herrschaft über Land und Menschen im globalen Süden basierte auf einer europäischen Weltanschauung, in der sie sich über andere Menschen stellten, z.B. durch Rassenhierarchien oder „Zivilisationsebenen“, die sie selbst erfunden haben. Die Folge waren große Zerstörungen, Vertreibungen und Völkermord. Kolonisierte Völker haben den Eroberern auf allen Kontinenten Widerstand geleistet, doch bis heute hat der Kolonialismus Auswirkungen auf Politik, Gesellschaft, zwischenmenschliche Beziehungen und Einzelpersonen.

Um über kolonial geprägte Diskurse nachzudenken, die wir im Laufe unseres Lebens gelernt haben, insbesondere auch in den jeweiligen Bildungssystemen unserer Länder, und um zumindest einen kleinen Teil der Stimmen hervorzuheben, die viel zu lange zum Schweigen gebracht wurden, haben wir ein von glokal e.V. entworfenes Zitatspiel gemacht. Glokal e.V. ist ein in Berlin ansässiger Verein für kritische Bildungsarbeit und Beratung. Wir haben versucht, Zitate von oftmals marginalisierten Personen aus verschiedenen Zeiträumen auf einer Zeitleiste darzustellen. Dabei wurde uns bewusst, wie viele Geschichten in der westlichen Bildung nicht thematisiert und/oder heruntergespielt wurden und wie Muster der Kolonialität auch heute noch vorhanden sind, obwohl manch ein Zitat bereits Jahrzehnte oder sogar Jahrhunderte alt war.
Während unserer Diskussion und Reflexionsrunde wurde uns klar, wie unterschiedlich diese geschichtlichen Erzählungen sind, je nachdem, ob jemand im globalen Norden oder Süden aufgewachsen ist. Ein Sunseeder betonte, dass diese Marginalisierung, Unterdrückung und Ausbeutung für diese Person weder überraschend noch neu sei, da sie aus einem Land des globalen Südens stamme, das sowohl während der Kolonialzeit als auch in den darauffolgenden Zeiten des Imperialismus stark von externen westlichen Interessen beeinflusst wurde und noch stets wird. Dies unterstreicht die Notwendigkeit, Bündnisse und Solidarität zwischen den Bewohnern des globalen Nordens und Südens aufzubauen, um die Kräfte im Kampf für eine ökologische und sozial gerechte Welt zu vereinen, frei von fortgesetzter kapitalistischer und kolonialer Ausbeutung. Wenn du das Spiel selbst spielen möchtest, dann kannst du diese Seite besuchen: 


Wie geht’s weiter?

Für meine verbleibende Zeit hier in Sunseed plane ich, einen Workshop über transformative Initiativen, Weltanschauungen und Praktiken zu veranstalten, die sich vom Kapitalismus unterscheiden. Dies wird oftmals auch als Pluriversum der Völker bezeichnet, welches die Anerkennung der Vielfalt der Praktiken und Ansichten der Menschen im Bezug auf das Wohlergehen des Planeten beinhaltet (einschließlich des menschlichen Wohlergehens und der Anerkennung der Tatsache, dass der Mensch kein separater Teil der Natur ist). Indem sie die Verbindung alles Lebens respektieren und fördern, können diese Weltanschauungen als kraftvolle und inspirierende Quelle der Hoffnung für die Schaffung und Förderung einer Welt jenseits von Kapitalismus und neokolonialer Aneignung dienen.

Darüber hinaus werde ich zusammen mit einer anderen Praktikantin im Bildungsbereich von Sunseed zwei Workshops zum Thema “Plastikmeer” veranstalten – ein lokaler Kampf um Gerechtigkeit, sowohl in Bezug auf die Umwelt als auch auf den Menschen. Die Gewächshäuser in Almeria, auch bekannt als das Plastikmeer, liefern zwischen 40 und 50% aller Obst- und Gemüsesorten in der EU. Damit verbunden sind mehrere Umwelt- und Menschenrechtsprobleme, wie z. B. enorme Mengen an Plastikmüll, Grundwasserknappheit, Grundwasser- und Bodenverschmutzung durch chemische Düngemittel und Pestizide sowie die Ausbeutung von (undokumentierten) Migranten, welche unter schlechten Arbeitsbedingungen und geringer Bezahlung leiden, sodass dieser Zustant auch als Sklavenarbeit definiert werden kann. Wir werden einen Workshop veranstalten, um innerhalb Sunseed über die Problematik und Komplexität dieses Themas aufzuklären, bevor wir in der folgenden Woche einen Vertreter des andalusischen Arbeitersyndikats besuchen, der Migranten in ihrem Kampf für menschenwürdige Arbeitsbedingungen unterstützt.


[1] Ich verwende nicht den Begriff „Länder der Dritten Welt“, da dieser Begriff aus der Zeit des Kalten Krieges stammt und sich auf ehemalige Kolonien bezog, die als „unterentwickelt“ galten. Stattdessen verwende ich die Begriffe „Globaler Norden“ und „Globaler Süden“, die sich auf die Hegemonie der historischen und gegenwärtigen Macht bestimmter Nationen entlang politischer, wirtschaftlicher und sozialer Grenzen konzentrieren.

[2] Ich verwende die folgende Definition von White Saviourism: Symptome von Rassismus und weißer Vorherrschaft, die diejenigen in einer privilegierten Position in die Rolle des Retters gegenüber denen versetzt, die in der Vergangenheit unterdrückt und ausgebeutet wurden.

[3] Aus dem Buch Weniger ist mehr – Wie Degrowth die Welt retten wird von Jason Hickel, 2021, S.115 (Englische Version).



Communication and Education

Last October we hosted Circle Permaculture’s, permaculture design course(PDC). I was lucky enough to be a participant in the course. The course was two weeks long and gave a thorough introduction to permaculture. Throughout the two weeks we learnt the twelve Holmgren principles of permaculture. These are twelve guiding principles to creating a strong permaculture design.

As we were learning these principles, I couldn’t help think about how I could apply them to situations outside of permaculture. So, I have picked my top 5 of the Holmgren principles and will explain how they can be applied to life in general.

1. Observe & Interact

In permaculture it is important to first observe the area you will be working on. This step can last from a few days to a few years. We observe an area to understand the natural patterns and flow. It is imperative we take this time before making any big changes to ensure we are working in the most effective way. We must also interact to learn how an area/environment reacts.

The majority of us live such fast paced lives that we barely have time for this observation and interaction phase. A lot of us will jump straight into action without taking the time to step back and observe how a system works. We are bombarded with information and stimulus so we are compelled to act quickly without taking time to understand our actions.

Let’s slow down and observe and appreciate our surroundings. Let’s slow down and interact with others, in real life, not through technology.

2. Obtain a yield

To obtain a yield in permaculture this means designing a system that produces something that can be used. This is most commonly thought of as food but can also be many other things such as shade, protection, balance etc. Effective permaculture will produce the most yeild from an area using resources in the most efficient way. It is up to us the designers to understand the needs of an environment. We can then use this knowledge to optimise the rewards.

In life, we can work to obtain these rewards. The rewards can be either intrinsic or extrinsic, these rewards need not be strictly financial. Perhaps the reward is making a customers day a bit better or making your coworker’s day a little bit easier.

Whatever the reward, we should strive to obtain a yield from as many situations as possible. Rewards are not solely positive, sometimes we get the greatest yield from a negative outcome.

3. Self regulate & accept feedback

In any situation it is important to accept feedback and especially in permaculture. We must adapt to this feedback by self regulation. This may be as simple as not planting a bush because we have seen the affect it has on other areas, or it might be complex like removing a tree that further down the line will become invasive and take over the area.

Self-regulation or self-control allows us to be accountable and it empowers us. It is a life long skill to practice and is aplicable to almost all areas of life. Feedback should be seen as a gift, it helps us see things we may not have seen before. This new vision helps us improve our ability to perform.

We need to practice the skill of self regulation and accepting feedback. This will help us become life long learners and improve exponentially over time.

4. Integrate rather than segregate

Modern agriculture is built on segregation. Just take a drive in the countryside and you will see monocrop fields as far as the eye can see. We have isolated certain crops and need to artificially add what nature provides in an integrated environment.

By integrating and creating diverse environments we can become more sustainable and resilient , as well as more productive and efficient.

This principle translates perfectly in how we should all live in harmony with each other by integrating everyone into our communities and valuing diversity.

5. Use small and slow solutions

It is very easy to speed through decisions, sometimes we need to slow down and think about what we have to do. It is also very tempting to jump right into a big challenge, sometimes it is best to start off small and build to that big challenge.

Permaculture uses small and slow solutions because they are easier to manage than bigger solutions and they allow for the use of local resources leading to more sustainable outcomes. While this may not always be feasible, sometimes we need big and fast solutions to solve some of society’s greatest problems.

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 principles. I also hope you have learnt something about permaculture and how you can apply Holmgrens principles to your own life.


Communication and Education

Something inspiring and powerful is being born. We are building another world with our hands and we are transforming ourselves in the whole process. Education, communication, networking and solidarity are vital elements for our transition to a better state of living, in harmony with nature, ourselves and other fellow humans.

The Contact Making Seminar (CMS) for the setting up of the Sustainability Transition Network (SUSTRANET) was realized on 7-15 September 2017 at Vlachia, Evia, Greece. The networking event was organized at the premises of Stagones ( by iliosporoi network (coordinator) and hosted in total 33 youth workers and trainers from seven different counties (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Latvia, Belgium), representing at least 10 organizations.

The CMS had as a primary focus to gather organizations involved in sustainability transition with the core objective to exchange experiences and best practices and set the basis for the establishment of a network of cooperation. In parallel, local trainers organized a thorough programme of learning activities to build the capacity of participants on project development and EU funding issues, as well as, on non-
formal education/ experiential learning methods.

During the course of 8 days, participants jointly carried out a programme of mixed activities (info sessions and presentations, debates, participatory seminars, practical workshops, simulation exercises, energizers, team building exercises, outdoor and social engagement activities) that enhanced their skills and competencies and allowed them to experience a multicultural simulation of living in an ecological
community. Project partners realized a mapping of their capacity and expertise and with the active involvement of their youth workers they will form a pool of trainers on sustainability transition that will transfer the acquired knowledge to other European regions and localities.

The CMS gave project partners the opportunity to engage participants in an intensive and participatory learning process that enabled them to get actively involved in a non-formal educational process for training of sustainability trainers and multipliers at local/ national levels. At the same time gave them necessary knowledge and tools to develop and manage projects, to develop networks of collaboration and undertake deliberative decision making.

Youth workers were able to develop skills and competencies on inter-cultural training for sustainability, including but not limited to: team work, leadership, self-awareness, analytical and creative thinking, visioning and participatory planning, project management and conflict resolution, monitoring and evaluation. In the long run these will contribute to their personal and socio-educational development and
will improve their employment prospects.

The project was carried out as a follow up to the successful implementation of SUSTRARES that was flagged as a best practice by the Greek National Agency.

SUSTRARES (Sustainability, Transition and Resilience) was a 10-day intensive training course for youth workers that focused on self-sufficiency, community building and sustainability transition issues through mostly practical workshops. SUSTRANET CMS focused more on team deliberation and building of concrete project ideas and proposals.

The main deliverables of the SUSTRANET CMS project include a dissemination poster for publicizing the network and attracting new members, a website (, a short aftermath video (, a networking reflection stories video (, and a training report (soon to be published). The main outcome of the project was that participants
as a final exercise they split into two groups and developed two concrete proposals to be submitted in the Erasmus+ programme. One of them is a Youth Worker Mobility on Zero Waste and the second is a Strategic Partnership for the establishment of sustainability transition hubs and an international pool of trainers.

The future is now, the present is ours. We learn how to become self-sufficient and aware, skilled with all the necessary competencies to create our own frugal abundance by developing and implementing a new paradigm and a new imperative of an emancipatory transition to sustainability.

Project partners and SUSTRANET founding organizations:
Iliosporoi Network (Coordinator, Greece), La Fabbrica Del Sole Onlus (FDS) (Italy), Gaia (Portugal), Arci Chieti (Italy), SEYN (Belgium), Agronauten (Germany), Ecobytes (Germany), The Latvial Permaculture Association (Latvia), The School Of The Earth ‘Nea Guinea’ (Greece), Sunseed Desert Technology (Spain). Funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.


Communication and Education

On Saturday the 25th of March a group of 55 students from the University of Almeria came to visit Sunseed in order to learn about our project and the environment that surrounds us. This was possible thanks to the “Arbol de las Piruletas” which is a non-profit association that develops activities aimed at promoting awareness for the conservation of the Environment and that can luckily participate this year in the Project Ecocampus Almeria as Technical Secretary. This is an initiative of the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente y Ordenaciòn del Territorio and the University of Almeria, founded by the European Union (80%). The students were from two different university courses: Environmental Science and Education.

After their arrival they had a Sunseed general tour in order to have a deeper understanding of this reality and our structures and goals. In each departments the respective coordinators gave a general explanation about their work and about the activities they can offer to volunteers. After a delicious Sunseed lunch prepared with local products, the Drylands coordinator guided the walk to the Nacimiento, the spring of Rio Aguas, the important river that many villages (including ours) rely on for the supply of water which is in serious danger.

The walk was an opportunity to speak about the Ecocide (the death of an eco-system) going on in this area and that this is the exact cause of why the river and all the villages that rely on this flow to survive are in so much danger. Because of an intensive agricultural activity due to olive plantations between Tabernas and Sorbas, the river is being overexploited by over 300% and the water flow is reducing quickly. It was measured by Professor Maria Calaforra of Almeria University and the reduction has gone down from 17 litres per second (in April 2015) to 10,4 litres per second (in july 2015). This will cause, firstly, a lack of water in some tracts of the bed of the river and so many species are now risking extinction because of the entrapment, as they won’t have vital space to move.

On the human side of the issue, many people have the opportunity to live in this area thanks to the water they can take from the river. The human consumption has always been respectful and sustainable so that, even in the driest periods, the water is still flowing. Due to this overexploitation, caused by the intensive olive plantations, the future of many people and the rare species in this area are at risk. The water here is fossil, which means that it has been locked underground for thousands of years and is not easily renewable, instead has a very small recharge from the rainy water, which in the area is very limited.

We were all very happy we could share this information with the students of the University of Almeria as they shared much interest about this issue and also about the whole Sunseed project. We hope more and more people will be aware of this situation and will come together to stop this abuse.

You can read more (in spanish) about the visit in two local newspapers: La Voz de Almería and Ideal.


Communication and Education, Courses and Events

Last week a group of 68 geography students from the Liverpool John Moores University spent an afternoon with us at Sunseed. They had the chance to visit the place where we live and to see how our community is living sustainably.

They walked the path that runs along our irrigation line and met the people who are working to restore it after the storm, allowing them to understand how important it is for the existence of our village. They also saw how the ram pump works: this system provides the whole village with running water without using any energy apart from gravity.

The students also shared a nice tea break with us and visited our gardens and the arboretum, a nursery where local plants are grown to repopulate the dry slopes around us. Here is where we investigate the interactions between the local flora and different species of fungus that can help it to face adverse climatic conditions. Other aspects they had the chance to discover were our waste water system and our solar panels.

Most of the visitors were impressed by the fact that such a lively community is able to live off-grid in this impressive and hard landscape. For us this was a grat opportunity to get all the team and volunteers together to welcome them and to share the valuable learnings we have here.

Sunseed, as an educational center, welcomes visits from schools, universities and individuals interested in learning from our experience of more than 30 years living sustainably in a semi-arid region. If you are interested in our activities, please contact us!


Communication and Education

In this workshop we explored the Nature around us which we are a part of, marvelling at the wonders of Gaïa, and reconnected to our own Human Nature, our instincts and raw emotions. Members of the off-grid, self-sustainable learning centre, Sunseed, came together in our peaceful meditation garden, and through a series of activities, we remembered Nature.

We first interacted with the space through an unguided observation, where we tried to refrain from making any judgements, letting Nature speak to us freely.

We moved into learning some basic bushcraft skills, such as walking delicately and silently, feeling the earth with our feet. We discovered the depth of sounds with the ‘deer-ears’ technique, and finally explored how wide our peripheral vision could be.

We became more aware of our presence, and of our environment.

Once we had remembered these powers of ours, we partnered up, one person leading the other that had closed eyes. As the viewer found an interesting element, they would orient the blind and tap them to open their eyes – suddenly revealing the singled out element chosen for them.

Remember Nature workshop 2

These few seconds created strong sensory moments, revealing minute patterns and details previously overlooked.

Finally, sitting back to back with each other, we sang in harmonies, letting air flow in and out of our lungs, connecting with each other and our environment.

Remember Nature workshop 3

We left feeling relaxed and refreshed, noticing we had connected with our environment, ourselves, and each other.

Find out more here:


Audio and Video, Communication and Education

Bruce Charles also known as Bill was born in 1928 in Tasmania, Australia. He is known as one of the first people to discuss the idea of permanent agriculture. He founded the Permaculture Institute of Tasmania to teach others how to live sustainably. His ideals correlate to the goals of Sunseed. For example,

Screen shot 2014-09-18 at 12.01.24 PM

His most popular text is …


Summary video in English here –>

There are free versions of the text in PDF form with full color pictures on the internet. The book is available on Amazon for 78 euros to 311 euros for the collectible.


Next Course organised by our partner association Cultura de la Tierra – Earth Culture is

Permaculture Design Certificate Course – 90 hours . From 17 to 31 October 2014

This course will introduce ways of using permaculture design in your life, to re-design aspects of your personal life as well as to create sustainaible and resilient human environments. Permaculture can be applied to where do you live, work and play. 90 hours course with PDC International Certificate.

More info and bookings

Poster PDC October 2014

Permaculture offer us new ways of thinking, doing and being that can be use individually and collectively to create sustainable human cultures in harmony with nature.

The course program includes: ethics and principles, design processes, basics of ecology, water management, soil building, plants for permaculture systems, ecobuilding, energy, new economies, with regenerative ideas for: home, garden, neighbourhood, community, region….all supported by practicals, and additional topics such as deep ecology, Dragon Dreaming design, Ecovillages, Transition,….

During these 2 weeks we will have the opportunity to experience Permaculture alive in our day by day, as we will be living in an off-grid low impact “eco” village Los Molinos. We’ll be part of a community of teachers, participants and collaborators, creating spaces for inter-conexion, skills exchange and self organise workshops; and also spaces for dreaming and celebrating together!!

Teachers: Monika Frank, Kirsty Heron, Mark Biffen, Jef Carrick y Patricia Cañas.

Other guest facilitators to confirm…


575 € booking before 31 of August

605€ booking after 1 of September

That includes all sessions, materials, the Certificate in Permaculture Design , all meals and accomodation in low impact projects– Sunseed y El Mirador.


We would like to offer a reduction to one person with low income that is involved in environmental or social projects. We will only be able to confirm this after 18th September.

We are also open to exchanges, reductions for help before, after and during the course, for one or two persons that can’t afford the course full fee.

Venue: Los Molinos del Río Aguas – a low impact off-grid village located in the Natural Park of Karst en Yesos de Sorbas – in Almería Province (South Spain)

Organized by: Cultura de la Tierra – Earth Culture

in collaboration with: Sunseed, La Pita-Escuela y El Mirador.

For further information and booking: – phone 0034 639842719



This course will introduce ways of using permaculture design in your life, to re-design aspects of your personal life as well as to create sustainable and resilient human environments. Permaculture can be applied to where do you live, work and play.,

The course includes the 72hours curriculo recognised by the internatinal permaculture community plus more than 18 hours extra that will enrich the experience, such as:

* Introduction to Dragon Dreaming –participatory design process;

* Transition Towns;

* Ecovillages – sustainable communities,

* The Work that Recconects from Joanna Macy – deep ecology,

* regenerative techniques for arid lands

There will be practicals in organic gardening, eco building and/or other practicals of sustainable living.

During the course we’ll have several guided tours.

One to the Sunseed project (gardens, technologies, low impact); other to the village of Los Molinos and other to the Pita-Escuela project (working with agave wood from the desert).

In this course you will learn how to design or to refine your design skills, through practical and enjoyable exercices under the guidance of experienced designers.

You will learn skills in observation and reading the landscape enabling you to develop a deeper understanding of a place. You will learn about map drawing and interpretation, about understanding and using patters in nature to use in the designs; and why and how to take care of the soil, the water and the air.

You will learn how to design food production systems and water collection systems at different scales; bioregional strategies, forest garden growing, alternative economic systems, renewable energies and design of healthy homes and buildings, domestic liquid and solid waste treatment.


Communication and Education, Courses and Events
DSCF1975Sunseed was recently at the reggae festival Rototom in Benicassim to communicate the project and spread the word. We were there for a week publicising Sunseed and interacting with people interested in coming to Los Molinos. We used the Sunseed Yurt for the first time this year and brought with us again our Sunseed models and games. A big thank you to everyone who helped !Here are some images of our stall. DSCF1984DSCF1990DSCF1987DSCF1989DSCF1985