I met Evangelia in Bali a couple of years ago, when we both lived in a small eco-village near Green School. Evangelia was at the time writing a dissertation on the Green School called “The New Age Education”, and she is at the moment working on the prospect of starting up a Green School in Greece.
Evangelina is very engaged in permaculture and sustainable living. I remember having many through-provoking talks around the campfire at night with her. When we recently touched base I learned about her new projects and her new tribe.
The Tribe In Action is a NGO founded by Evangelina and her friend Iliana. The Tribe engages in projects that revolve around social entrepreneurship and reforestation.
In this interview Evangelia shares her visions for building a tribe focused on action and change-making, and she furthermore tells about her upcoming reforestation project in Kenya
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is a way of being. In its core, it encloses qualities that can be taught and impact one’s physical and mental health and therefore influence the society, the economy and the environment we live in. The world is one of influence.
Part of our energy is used up in the preservation of own body and mind. Beyond that, every particle of our energy is day and night being used in influencing others and are being influenced by them. Personality may be the personal magnetism that produces an impression. Real thoughts, new and genuine and actions that foresee the effect. An effect that follows the cause. So for me sustainability is a martial art that starts from the individual self.
How would you describe your current project and organisation?
As Iliana (the co-founder of our NGO) says, our guideline can be described by the phrase “Nature for Humanity and vice versa”.
We started The Tribe In Action because we were tired of actions of philanthropy that didn’t have a sense of sustainability and long-term thingking, and therefore wouldn’t last, and henceforth would leave people in need again and again waiting for the charity from others.
We believe in a neo-humanism that supports a sustainable development of existence. Whenever hunger exist, it means there is a lack of food-forests, and it furthermore means that there is a lack of water. It is well comprehended by the movie The boy that harnessed the wind. Watching the movie is an easy way to make awareness viral sometimes rather than explaining techniques and facts.
The Tribe In Action started as a vision (or obsession) of mine. Then Iliana joined and we were two – she says she joined because she loves me and because she dreams of a better world. Now we are a beautiful team of twelve passionate members as well as many volunteers whenever it’s time to act. We are growing, we are becoming a tribe, and it is really fulfilling.
It is also explorative as sometimes we define ourselves through our actions and we learn from each other and we adapt to each other while working as a team.
In our project in Kenya this August, along with Mutuku and our team there in SWECF, we design a land of 30.200 square kilometers, with 3 sand dams, 1 borewell drilling and we plant 60.000 trees while at the same time providing seminars for 24 schools about permaculture and sustainability. That literally means an impact in 500 communities that count around 30.000 people.
We will have an open call for Kenya soon, so whoever wants to join us in Kenya this August can book its seat to fly with us in our dreams and actions.
What do you view as the biggest environmental problem?
Fear and lack of empathy.
I find that these two elements are the source of all problems in the whole world. I too fall into that trap sometimes. As it is well narrated in the movie I referred before, everything is connected and affected and even a small action can bring a domino that you can not ever imagine.
When there is war it really doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, we are all wrong when this is happening. And the state we are at now started with war. War created terrorism. Terrorism created the attacks in the towers in NYC, this created a chaos in the economy worldwide, which led to companies (supported by banks and government in Africa) to ask for timber for very low prices. People in Africa accepted this because they were afraid of losing their jobs. Deforestation led to drought and flooding. Drought and flooding transformed a land of abundance into nothingness. No food, no water – so people literally starved. Right now many regions in Africa are trying to thrive again with a hope by the help of Chinese or Indians that have arrived in lands to reach cheaper labor costs. This flow is not sustainable.
Whatever we do, echoes to eternity. So let’s do something good.