Cora’s Journey in Los Portales ecovillage

Cora has been living since October 2018 in Los Portales, an ecovillage founded 40 years ago in Southern Andalusia. She moved there with her partner Jan and their two children, Sam and Yuma, 12-and-9-year old right now. Her passion for nature led her to a bachelor’s degree in International Forest Ecosystem Management and a master’s degree in Global Change Management. That’s when she discovered the world of ecovillages and Los Portales.

When I think back of how I got here, she says, I remember that it has been a long journey full of joy and also doubts, a path of personal growth as an individual and as a couple, filled with moments of clarity and total uncertainty. In many moments I have been driven by my intuition and a trust in a deep feeling within me wanting to change my life and to give it a deeper meaning within me. It was definitely not a quick decision, but one that was carefully considered and tested over a longer period of time.

She realized it was a place where her children could grow and unfold their full potential. In her day-to-day life, she works on land regeneration projects such as building key line canals for water conservation, reforesting with local trees, exploring new natural fertilization techniques. She also supervises the vegetable production,   develops wastewater recovery systems for watering orchards. Meanwhile, after school, her daughter loves welcoming visitors, milking goats and helping out in the bakery. Not to mention watering the “baby” trees. 

When I look back on the six years I’ve been living here, I feel very grateful. I am amazed at the transformation I have been able to go through thanks to the community. It has not always been easy and I totally let go of the romantic idea I had about living in community. It gave way to a grounded reality in which I have learned that human relations are never easy, but I am learning to do my part and to accept the other the best I can. Maybe alone I might be faster but being part of a community I can go much further. 

I feel like I live in a place where I can still learn so much on different levels. I feel like I can live out my passion for nature and the ecosystem through sustainable agriculture and regenerative ecosystem management. I am amazed that I have found a place where I can live out these passions, and more than ever before, I am realising how deeply connected they are.

But often I feel sad and frustrated that despite all the effort we put into regenerating our land in the ecovillage, the land degradation and droughts in Andalusia seem to be worsening. I’m very concerned about the climate conditions my children will have to endure in the future”

Cora’s story shows us that it is possible to have a positive socio-ecological impact by caring for people and nature as the basis of all life. 

However, right now the choice to live well within planetary boundaries is out of reach for most people in Europe for systemic reasons. We need politicians to create the systemic conditions for mainstreaming diverse, sustainable lifestyles by changing the economic system towards care for people and the planet.

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