Maia Earth Village and Mandala Earth Story Project
Drawing members from a mixture of diverse cultures, nationalities, and spiritual practices, Maia Earth Village (Cooperation Circle with United Religions Initiative) and Mandala Earth Story Project help people work alongside each other as earth stewards in order to bridge cultural differences. Since the ongoing ecological crises affect all communities, building sustainable earth practices together simultaneously helps build sustainable peace.
Maia Earth Village leads its community in self-sustainability practices through permaculture gardening, appropriate technologies, waste management, natural home building, and conscious family and community living. One important aspect of Maia Earth Village’s approach is the Inner Village process, where each person’s relationship with the earth is understood within the context of understanding the self.
Other important projects include: the Inner Climate Change Campaign, which supports emerging global actions after the People’s Climate March in September 2014; Maia Earth Village’s Earth Village School and Earth Camps, which integrate the Inner Village approach with Ecovillage Design Models led by global ecovillage design platform GAIA Education; and a children-inclusive ecovillage ensign project to help with disaster and post conflict rehabilitation.
Sarah Queblatin, an eco peace artist living in an ecovillage, describes how she decided to join Maia Earth Village. “After responding to conflict and disasters, I was inspired to join the transition and ecovillage movement … and move to Maia Earth Village, realizing the need for whole system solutions.” She uses the symbol of the mandala to spread environmental education, cultural heritage, and peacebuilding, and humanitarian assistance. “My focus is neither change nor development,” she says, “rather resilience, using the circle and remembering our wholeness.”
Wholeness is a recurring theme in Sarah’s work, which began with crisis response using arts relief for psycho social support. “By working for wholeness, we transform sustainably; not merely as survivors, but as thrivers.” She explains her process in relation to facing global problems: “Whatever we have thought we have lost, we can go and give birth again. And in remembering, we co-create the new story of ourselves, our communities, and our planet.”
Through a community art project called Mandala Earth Story, Sarah weaves this message of inner resilience with outer resilience working from the self, the community, and the earth. Mandala Earth Story started out as her personal journey to work with eco-peace concerns in interfaith and intercultural communities. Today it expands as a community of cultural creatives and wisdom bearers guided by the earth wisdom across cultures and beliefs. Together with Maia Earth Village, it aims to support communities in transition from crisis to wholeness through creative placemaking as peacemaking integrating peace gardens, playgrounds, and the creative memorialisation of stories of hope and healing in places torn by disasters and war in the Philippines.
Sarah brought her message of wholeness and rebirth to the United States in San Francisco, California for the United Religions Initiative’s 12th annual Circles of Light Gala. Sarah was one of five Cooperation Circle leaders presenting their work on the forefront of local and global environmental efforts, which was honored with the 2015 URI Circles of Light gala’s environmental theme.
This article was originally published by United Religions Initiative on March 11, 2015, 12:22 PM, titled: