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Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World Paperback – 1 Sep 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co; 2nd edition edition (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603580565
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603580564
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,089,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

."..a book telling a tale too lovely for fiction, a lyrical, well-observed book that reports from the llanos of eastern Colombia, savannas tortured by guns and cows and cocaine, of an experiment in solar democracy in which 'appropriate technology' is anything but a sad product on the discount tables of broken, post-sixties idealism."--Tom Athanasiou, The Nation (This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title)

..".a book telling a tale too lovely for fiction, a lyrical, well-observed book that reports from the llanos of eastern Colombia, savannas tortured by guns and cows and cocaine, of an experiment in solar democracy in which 'appropriate technology' is anything but a sad product on the discount tables of broken, post-sixties idealism."--Tom Athanasiou, The Nation (This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title)

..".a book telling a tale too lovely for fiction, a lyrical, well-observed book that reports from the llanos of eastern Colombia, savannas tortured by guns and cows and cocaine, of an experiment in solar democracy in which 'appropriate technology' is anything but a sad product on the discount tables of broken, post-sixties idealism."--Tom Athanasiou, The Nation (This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title)

About the Author

Author of the critically acclaimed New York Times best seller The World Without Us, Alan Weisman is an award-winning journalist whose reports have appeared in Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Discover, and Orion, among others, and on National Public Radio. A former contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he is a senior radio producer for Homelands Productions and teaches international journalism at the University of Arizona. He lives in western Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 16 Sept. 1998
Format: Hardcover
When Jessie Jackson refrains, "Keep hope alive! Keep hope alive!" we were with him, but I, for one, was left wondering where this hope was. Alan Weisman's "Gaviotas", a chronicle of the Colombian village Gaviotas, is the real McCoy in black and white. Over and over again, "Gaviotas" details the hope-filling victories towards a smarter, more harmonious way of living with simple, clever, appropriate technology leading the way.
"Gaviotas" talks about the power of creative thought sharply focussed on simple, appropriate technology for totally ignored boonies of the Colombia's tropical plains. It talks about the creation of an extremely dedicated community out of an infertile, barren plains in the middle of war-torn Colombia. It talks about the seemingly miraculous transformation of grassland into rainforest and the tireless dedication of it's creators. It talks about the power of community, networking and partnerships with universities.
I was, however, disappointed by the relative lack of contact people, organizations, and publishings for people interested in creating their own community. The story of the Gaviotas community is so inspiring it deserves a newsgroup of its own on the internet!
Being an engineer by trade, I was left brimming with questions. How did they come up with the process for ultra-black copper sheeting? Where can I get the six films about Gaviotas made by Pepe Gomez? How can a roof focus and reflect heat away from a building? Can a Gaviotas be created here in the U.S. or is life too easy here?
"Gaviotas" is beautifully written; a real turner. I had to tear myself away from it each night so I could get to work on time in the morning and had dreams of creating my own Gaviotas in the U.S.
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Format: Hardcover
Come along as Alan Weisman deftly weaves the true story of one man's dream and many peoples making. A dream of hope for our planet and belief in the triumph of many human spirits.
Gaviotas is a dream that Colombian Paolo Lugari had over 30 years ago. A dream that Paolo never let go of and with the help of an indomitable group of engineers, teachers, doctors, students, musicians and native Colombian Indians he has succeeded in accpmplishing. Blessed along the way with grants from the United Nations as well as others, they have brought that dream, Gaviotas, to fruition.
Paolo always believed that a self-sustainable community could prosper, working with nature instead of against her. To that end he found a piece of environmentally challenged land in the Savannas of Colombia and began his dream.
The engineers went to work. Their solar technology runs everything from lights to phones to water pumps and heaters to water purification plants. They discovered how to ! get solar energy from the low light of rainy days, since the rainy season at Gaviotas lasts for 8 months of the year. The children's see-saw is used to draw water from the well. They grow their own food, then cook it with methane from cow manure. They"air conditioned" the hospital with centuries old techniques using not one whit of electricity. They've even managed to re-establish an ancient rain forest, and a thriving renewable industry to go with it.
This would be a remarkable feat anywhere. That it was accomplished in Colombia is astounding. Colombia is as battle-scared as any nation on earth. In one decade alone over two thousand poloticians and two presidental candidates were murdered.
Through all of this Gaviotas has thrived and willingly made changes when needed.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Twenty-seven years ago, a group of South Americans envisioned a society in which limited resources would form the base of a sustainable future. To bring their experiment to life, they chose a site in the sparsely populated and nearly arid plains of eastern Colombia. They called their village "Gaviotas" and went on to create a host of ingenious and relatively affordable technologies. Alan Weisman produced a documentary on Gaviotas for National Public Radio in 1994. After producing his radio documentary, Weisman maintained an avid interest in Gaviotas. He returned to the village several times in the past few years, and updates the Gaviotas story in his new book: "Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World." Weisman, a journalist based in Tucson, AZ, has covered some of the world's worst ecological disasters, but when he needs his faith in the future restored, he always returns to Gaviotas where, he says, "people seem to have gotten it right." This book documents the successful implemntation of a self-sufficient, harmonious, ecologically based community that is building a sustainable economy. Gaviotas comes as close as human society can to achieving a real Utopia - and perhaps will serve as a model for a more balanced way of life for all of us.
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Format: Paperback
I doubt I can add much to the other 10 reviews but I had to highlight the ingenuity and hope which this book brings. Yes, Weisman is a journalist telling a sellable story of this inspirational community and project in Colombia. Of course he picks the best bits of the story but that's what stories should do. We all know the realities of trying to achieve some lofty goal. But it's the number of things this group of people managed to do, the obstacles they overcame (including drug barrons and warlords) and their ability to persist which I loved the most. It tells of children's play things being designed to pump well water, of a forest regenerating where no one thought it possible, of equality and opportunity for all, of being promised funds only to be let down. It's all here (you'll laugh, you'll cry...) and I'd encourage you to read this if you've had just a bit too much of how hopeless everything is. An awesome book, in my opinion, and if you know an engineer - give them this book as a present. It might change the world!
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