The main political activism and movements on the streets today are focused mainly on resistance, not growth. Their efforts are towards preventing the advancement of corporate interests over the common good, human and labor rights, nature devastation, concentration of knowledge in few dominating minds and lives of many, etc. The strategies of many collectives (institutional or grassroots) are composed of a menu of protests, manifestos, declarations, congresses, meetings, debates, critical approaching, policy training and endless networking. All these are well incorporated inside the actual system and are not effective strategies for a true paradigm shift. It’s as if, in the lack of better ideas or methodologies, these tools become self-fulfilling, and being discontent becomes an accepted aspect that justifies a reality that refuses to evolve and change. Online petitions and social networks campaigning help conscientize and organize more people towards resisting around one cause, and sometimes some politician is convinced to step back from a previous measure taken. Unhealthy or unsustainable products are exposed, and companies are forced to improve their products. Many citizens are saturated with information concerning slavery or environmental destruction by corporations, and boycott it’s services until some change in behaviour is observed. There’s basically so much to control and fight against that it seems that most of the political activism is busy cutting the edges of injustice, watching and reacting. In this mode, there is no time to imagine new ways of living, test new alternatives and create fresh paths in this mindset.
Even as we recognize the importance of the resistance and that it has in fact slowed down the devastation of the planet and corruption of life itself, it is clearly not enough. Slowing down does not mean changing it’s trajectory, and the corporate interests’ advancement on all common goods continues unabated. And still, there are so many people still completely disconnected to any kind of participation in society. It’s as if a big slice of mankind is fast asleep and these political issues do not affect or interest them.
It is important to start thinking about new models of living, new definitions of inter-relationship, new thinking strategies, new cultural paradigms that are interesting, happy and beautiful. A vision of a future possibility that is different from our own and that is worth awakening to. It seems that connecting collective living spaces, creating communities, traditional and ancestral knowledges, mystical spiritual practices, trance tribal dancing with permaculture, deep ecological consciousness, alternative banking, open software, decentralized solutions and media ideologies mixed with generous amounts of creativity, expression and art, something new may pop up. It’s the gathering of the many alternatives that have been slowly in the making for the past few decades, together in one space, in one narrative, in one plan.
We believe in the opening of a portal of possibility, through a collective experimentation of many alternatives at the same time. Set in a natural scenario and held within the timeframe of official conferences that gather activists from the entire world, we wish to be able to present another option besides official or parallel social movements, our current traditional (and disfunctional) options. We believe in creating a safe space and attracting the right people that might be able to rethink the future and make unseen connections between unexpected ideas.
- Jungle House History
The Jungle House was born in 2011, during COP17 (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa. It was a spontaneous gathering of activists involved in either the official conference or the parallel activities such as #occupy and the Peoples Spaces (Civil Society Zones) that were without sleeping facilities for financial or logistic reasons. This organically formed group found themselves staying in a collective community house that was reclaimed and repurposed into a flash hostel.
In South Africa, over 30 activists from all around the world came together, got to know each other and experience living in an international collective space, sharing ideas and merging projects. Beyond this, a networking strategy and real relationships were formed. The general feeling was that that gathering was no coincidence, those people were put together to meet and share new perspectives of the future and skills for some reason.
As the conference developed, the house became a HUB for more people than just those that were living there together. The Open Office meant people could update blogs, run online components of campaigns and research easily and for free. The space was also fitted to facilitate meetings, brainstorming sessions and networking parties. The rumor spread of this amazing free thinking place that gathered not only activists but artists interested in artivism and in new ways of connecting experiences and new ways of living in the planet. Perfect connection was made and other activists involved in the activities all around Durban came to visit and share. The result was unexpected and revolutionary. After the conference, this place was the mourning space for the failure of the negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol and other policies. Looking back, the activists had a vision that the projects and relationships built in the Jungle House were more meaningful and transforming that any other official or parallel event and that interconnecting activists from different backrounds with other knowledges such as art, dancing and spiritual meditation and practices could be the catalyst for a true awakening strategy and building of a new path for humanity.
Nobody is certain how the collective house became a project with a name. As spontaneous as the people that arrived, people started to refer to this place simply as the Jungle House because of the natural scenary in which is was built. The house had a wonderful wild garden and fighting for nature made much more sense while living in such connection with mother earth. Breathing clean air, having conversations around a fire, getting some sun during breakfast seemed to help activists enthusiasm during the rest of their official activities.
One of the major advantages was the true connection between activist focused on the official process, major groups and negotiations, with the paralell activities such as protesting, direct action and grassroots projects. It was clear that these two branches of forest defenders were not used to exchanging information and we were able to recognize a major gap between both visions and ideas for the way the planet was heading. In a very respectful manner, for days, the people were able to see their similarities and respect their differences and soon aligned to what matters most: we are all humans and humanity is at risk. How can we put out skills and ideas together, connecting not only our similarities but our differences?
With this question, the network that was formed during the three weeks in Durban decided to repeat the experience during the Rio+20 Conference (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development) in Rio de Janeiro, six months after the Durban event. We wanted to see if the effect of collective living, experience exchanging between official and parallel activist and nature scenario would prove as efficient for rethinking our part in the planet, and how we participate in effective changing methods, independent of governments, politicians or institutions. After Durban, many fell in disbelief of the traditional methods of policy making and ended up connecting with the grassroots projects and started thinking alternative routes for change. So many were excited to keep the Jungle House alive as a learning and experimentation space of alternative possibilities of activism and world thinking. So Rio+20 would be the next experiment.
After 6 months, many of those that met in Durban made their way independently to Rio de Janeiro and in sunny Brasil, rented a house in a natural scenario, just like the previous experience. They financed the cost of rent with their own finances to allow the autonomous free thinking and experimentation to flow because autonomy was and will remain central to the ideas purity of intent. The basic components of living space, kitchen, open office and workshop/art space were included in this second installation. It was still too delicate a project to connect it with institutions or fit it in any proposal or idea that would not let Mother Nature herself organize the activities through the natural flow of events and people that came to the house. In order to allow the right people to come, those that could pay for staying at the house did, those that couldn’t also did and paid their stay using their talents at housing chores or sharing their skills. It was the first difference from the previous house, economical planning and abundance focusing. We also began thinking about alternative economical models that could be applied to our needs, solidarity economy was strongly planned for next house generations. Make it an open space possible to house anyone in equal terms and value all ideas and intentions the same.
During Rio+20, Jungle House 2.0 as it was autonamed, seemed to attract the right people, and many new activists came to learn more about the project and live together, creating and experimenting with fresh and new ideas and skills. Even though many were involved in the official conference, many were focused on the People’s Summit Youth Space and had many innovative and radical ideas. For many nights, long meetings in the house happened and people from many countries around the world united to create a strategy that was called RioT20 (a completely non-violent network that defined direct action differently from what is commonly understood. RioT20 defined direct action towards awakening perspectives such as permaculture seed bombing and planting, trance dancing to connect with ancient tribal rituals, fire communicating, xamanic energetic practices, art producing, alternative economy, deep ecology workshops and free thinking interacting moments).
After Rio+20 it was clear that the model of this alternative space for living and learning was one of the most effective experiences for transforming people’s minds about the possibilities of the environmental movement, opening up not only eyes but hearts for new relationships with other people and with nature. The mystical feeling of the whole thing brought back ancient roots of civilization and made bodies ache for the long lost sensation that all is connected through an invisible network that is the universe. Each of the “direct action” extrapolations fulfilled their mission to make people feel instead of think. To win hearts instead of business cards, and to form a network of true friends that are activists and want truly to see change.
We are now ready to take the space to a new level. With delicate planning and funding we aim to make this alternative place a consistent learning and exchanging space for all activists, artists and others, present in the cities of the major conferences, to come and feel the other possibilities for the environmental movement and to open up hearts and minds to mystical rituals, deep ecology workshops and debates to improve the feeling of connection, not only to nature but to each other. All this will be accompanied by permanent media crew to register and spread all information about the events and new ideas. We specially want to focus on web radio shows, allowing people to speak their ideas in a informal communication methodology – talk show.
The major objective is to open minds and prepare and skill people to be the creators of the new world. Every single person that went through the Jungle House came out feeling more confident about their mission, their interests and their creativity. Many joined other programs, started alternative projects, invested in communication preparation and opened up for spirituality and connection to nature in new levels.
- General objective:
To open minds and prepare people to be the creators of the NU world by making the inside outside connections during environmental conferences.
3.1 Specific Objectives
- Collective living and community experimenting in a house set in a natural scenario that inspires and confirms our inherent connection to nature.
- Creative thinking and networking of ideas and different world views by housing as many different people from as many different backrounds as possible.
- Activities during the day that inspire new ideas and connections such as workshops, debates, permaculture, yoga, meditation, radio hosting, skills sharing, media producing and dancing.
- Permanent hacklab experimentation with different open software technologies, radio broadcasting, video making, social networking, writing and programing.
- Mystical practices to improve body consciousness and connection to the invisible and impossible, as well as regaining lost ancestral tribal practices that inspire future ways of community organizing such as dancing (electronic music), fire, rituals, space observation, astrology studies, storytelling and other mystical ancient possibilities.
Collective living in community standards.
Day 1 – Opening Circle
Participants sit down in a circle to introduce themselves and share their expectations.
They set some rules for collective living if necessary.
People take on tasks as cleaning and cooking.
Times for meals are set.
One house meeting every 3 or 4 days to circle tasks and debate improvements in living situations. These ‘house meetings’ will operate within open and horizontally democratic consensus models.
Day 14 and 15 – Closing Circle / Assembly
Participants plan next steps, share ideas and compare results with expectations. This is a long conversations that will take 48 hours.
PERU [COP20] PROGRAM (this is a base but open activity submissions will be sent through relevant networks)
01 – Opening Trance Ritual
02 – Day 1:
Opening House Circle
World Café of Four Elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Wind)
FIrst Radio Transmission – Presentation of free radio movement and organizing of programming schedule
Vegan cooking class to prepare dinner
03 – Day 2:
Debate: Official x Parallel Conferences
Workshop: Permaculture Flower
NU World Brainstorming
Tibetan Night Ritual
04 – Day 3:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: Children and Youth
Recovery from Western Civilization
Children: indigo, crystal
NU World Brainstorming
05 – Day 4:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: Indigenous
Deep Ecology: A New Paradigm
Practice of the Wild
NU World Brainstorming
06 – Day 5:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: Rural
Cultured or Crabbed
Ritual – The Pattern that Connects
Modern Enviormental Consciousness
NU World Brainstorming
07 – Day 6:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: Women
Ecocentrism and the Anthropocentric Detour
NU World Brainstorming
08 – Day 7:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: Business and Industry
Equality, Sameness and Rights
Leaving Earth: Space colonies
NU World Brainstorming
09 – Day 8:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: Local Authorities
NU World Brainstorming
10 – Day 9:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: NGOs
The human body potential
NU World Brainstorming
11 – Day 10:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: Scientific and Technological Community
The collective uncountious
Sincornicity, sensibility and telepathy
NU World Brainstorming
12 – Day 11:
Mayor Group Inside Outside Debate: Workers and Trade Unions
Ancient Living today
Open software movement
NU World Brainstorming
13 – Day 12:
Copyright, copyleft, creative commons
NU World Brainstorming
Opening of Trance Festival
14 – Day 13:
All day Trance festival with xamanic rituals
15 – Day 14:
Opening of closing debates and planning of the future
16 – Last Day
Closing of debates and planning of the future
Ayurveda, vegan and raw meals
Xamanic Morning Practices for Body Energy and Connection
Yoga, Qi gong
Astrology and Tarot readings
Permanent fireplace with circular firekeeper
Radiostation open mic and scheduled programming
One of the key components of each JungleHouse space has been the ‘Open Office’. By creating and hosting an open office with free internet connection and desks/stationery/calenders, the space facilitated synergetic harmony between media projects as well as rapid development of platforms/ media campaigns. The Open Office allowed many people to update blogs, translate material, post pictures and reports to engage with the world. In COP17, we set up an independent media lab at a local university, which allowed you tube videos to be edited and uploaded using powerful machines and solid internet connections. In Rio+20, we noted that the Open Office allowed more material to be translated, as this became integral at some late stage of the conference. Even during the Nomad Experiments (JH2.2), having a connection to the internet and being able to share it proved to be a powerful enabler.
The Hacklab forms another important element of the JungleHouse project, as it brings people together under the search for knowledge and sharing. It will facilitate more quality media being released, more networks being activated and a quicker dissemination of information while experimenting with decentralized information technologies.
The Radio Station
The Radio Station is a powerful symbol of freedom of movement of ideas and sounds. During the major convergences that the JungleHouse projects are executed, we wish to have an autonomous news channel where we can spread ideas, share stories and broadcast our message to the world. The Station will be an internet station with the entire suite of social media tools attached to help share and spread information accurately and consistently. The external media platform (blogsite/website) will be built to facilitate exchange and encourage discussion through forums and comment blocks.
The station will also want to have a physical transmitter to broadcast around spaces associated with the conferences.
Content will be produced from the JungleHouse events and talks, including but not limited to interviews and reports from civil society, the Major Groups and global citizens at large. The channel will also be made accessible and available to people gathering inside and around the conference and it’s themes, an open platform for people to share stories and present ideologies and potential solutions. The radio format also allows us to incorporate music, which is an essential element of connectivity and consciousness evolution.
The radio station portal platform can be activated to produce content between and leading upto conferences, including post-analysis.
It is beyond contemplation as to how essential pure creativity is, to these processes. Each JungleHouse has had dedicated ArtSpaces, where painting, building, fashion and other creative artforms were employed towards creative actions, manifestations and the Global Day(s) of Action.
The ArtSpaces have enabled the creative community that flows and forms around JungleHouse spaces to support a wide range of civil society and direct action groups in their quest to tell their own stories. We see this module of functionality always having context and remaining vital to activating and harnessing creativity into the re-definitions we are all working towards.
As a NU World-focused HUB, we believe that the relationship with time must be the first shift. Alternative timing will be manifested.
It is impossible to expect a specific outcome of the project since our intention is to let the new happen and we cannot predict what we don’t know. What we can and want to do is to create the perfect environment for creation and understanding of alternative paths for a better future. Our best output scenario would be to create a roadmap plan to expanding the JungleHouse model to other countries and conferences and creating a global movement of new world thinkers and planners. It would be a great dream to get a vision of this new world order and to be able to tell this story, spread the news of the creation of a new global civilization.
The media center will produce many texts, blogs, articles, photos, videos and radio podcasts to be collated into a media package downloadable through the internet.
Texts and pictures can be organized into a publication.
- Applicability across regions and disciplines
Our intention is to multiply this experience to as many places as possible. We can put together a “Grow your own JungleHouse” toolkit to expand the model through the world. As this is a multidisciplinary project, it’s main objective is to connect all knowledge and ideas in a decentralized and openly accessible manner, helping to test and create permanent solutions.
- The Jungle House Process (PERU to Paris)
Previous experimenting houses, mixing models:
1.0 COP17, Durban, South Africa
2.0 Rio+20, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
2.1 World Social Forum, Tunis, Tunisia (incomplete)
2.2 Nomad, Coast of South Africa
2.3 Jungle CobHouse, United Kingdom
2.4 Urban Collective Hub Stellenbos, South Africa
The Project reaches maturity and gains form and structure for planning and implementing further, opening the idea for institutional support and funding and organizing the crew:
2.5 COP20, Lima, Peru
The bigger picture focuses on COP21 (Paris) but in order to have the perfect Jungle House experience ready for that conference we have agreed to a one year preparation plan that starts in COP20, Lima. This house will be the first space with months of ahead planning, open applications for workshops, defined program and communication strategy. In order to test all possible gaps in the model and to observe the results and how they can be improved in the future. This is a laboratory for the evolved version of the project.
2.6 Preparational upcoming convergence (potentially World Social Forum Tunis 2015)
2.7 Preparational upcoming convergence
After Peru, we have planned other two smaller experiences in different continents in strategical time periods yet to manifest, hopefully with the Peru closing and next steps assembly. These are focused on learning new skills and networking more people from different backgrounds and expertises.
2.8 COP21, Paris, France
At COP21, Jungle House will serve as a safe place for presenting alternatives and making outside decisions to compare with official negotiations and future proposals. We hope to encourage many people to take the environmental crisis seriously and at the same time fall in love with nature and the connection possibilities it provides. Final closing and next step assembly hopefully leads to the decentralized spreading of Jungle Houses all around the world.
2.9 Worldwide (where people use models developed and shared, and add their own to create multiple iterations of JungleHouse’s uniquely suited to its environment)
3.0 Final Jungle House
The world is saved.
During this year between conferences the permanent communication platform and radio station launched in Peru will be active and working on connecting with activists inside and outside the conference, following negotiations, debating on Major Group decisions and networking alternatives for the Paris experience.