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Exclusive interview: Rob Drexel, Founder Earth Angel Village

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Rob Drexel turned a young 60 last year and has had wide life and work experience. He truly enjoy building useful things – from houses, boats and many other projects in his youth with my father, to his adult life where he have built his off-grid home, organic solar greenhouses, renovations, alternative buildings and solar building projects, river cane patios, and more too numerous to list. A true “jack-of-all-trades”, passionate about solving real-life practical needs with functioning, ecological, low cost solutions. His new project Earth Angel Village will be a living & education center with a commitment to intelligent, low-impact, low-cost, sustainable, ecological and comfortable human living. Located in central Portugal. He speask to Blue & Green.

In 140 characters or less – what is Earth Angel Village?

a)  Earth Angel Village will be a living template demonstrating  how humans can exist comfortably in our ecosystem with little or no footprint.

b) The Earth Angel Village mission is to show and teach how to live creatively in comfort using low-tech, low-impact and sustainable practices.

c) Living well while doing no damage to our ecosystem is the Earth Angel Village commitment to teach and live the change our world needs now.

What was the driver for creating Earth Angel Village – what gap did it fill?

a) EAV was birthed in response to an overwhelming need to transcend the marketing dishonesty sweeping the world with false promises of “green” and “natural”, terms fast approaching meaninglessness.  The tools to create comfortable, beautiful and truly sustainable living for humans  exist now but are (mostly) low-tech, low-impact solutions are not commercially marketable for big profits, thus little overt, publicized support for these methods.  EAV will be a living showcase – a functioning demonstration of how we can solve our energy, food and shelter needs with simple yet comfortable solutions.

b) Even the most jaded consumer now knows that their unrestrained habits have consequences in the natural world.  However,  we have been brainwashed to believe that the solutions are yet other consumer products.  EAV will be a showcase demonstrating that non-damaging, low-impact and sustainable solutions can create a life reconnected with our natural world yet with creature comforts that we all enjoy. All this is possible without expensive, natural-resource draining high-tech gadgetry or complex technology.

c) The last 50 years have seen the widest, most ecologically destructive period in human history.  By virtually all accounts, we are consuming the resources of the earth at a mind-boggling, wholly unsustainable rate to support a consumerist lifestyle that neither fits our real needs or makes us happy.  Earth Angel Village is a response to a massive need – the need for thousands of such living villages and communities that STOP damaging our environment and live comfortable. sustainable lives re-connected to our neighbors, friends, family and the natural world that nurtured us for millions of years before the “modern” age.

Who does it primarily serve?

Ultimately, Earth Angel Village is meant to serve all of humanity with knowledge and education on how to live a good life with minimal resources. But more specifically, it will serve as a home and an education center for an international group of people wishing to live in harmony with the planet and help and teach others do the same.  We intend the initial group at EAV to be about 10, and then over 1-3 years, and depending on the land and facilities we can achieve, 18 to 30 people in the village with seasonal facilities for 30 more (camping, glamping).

What difference does Earth Angel Village want to make?

Again, we want to show, experiment, demonstrate, prove and teach low-impact, sustainable solutions to meet energy, food, shelter, cultural and spiritual needs for a comfortable and fulfilled human existence on this planet.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

The current socioeconomic system requires us to create and build EAV within the current paradigm using established monetary instruments – in other words, we need money.  Earth Angel Village must also have a strong outreach program to integrate what will be a distinctly different village into the local Portuguese culture.  We are committed to creating a self-sufficient food supply which means the intelligent and effect development of productive gardens and food forests.  We also have to learn to work with, and perhaps around the oft-unreasonable constraints of zoning, building and land use.  It is helpful that our chosen location – rural central Portugal – is severely economically depressed and local municipalities are both anxious to see development and often flexible if approached diplomatically with new ideas.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

The monetary assistance is going to be asked of our growing community of supporters – both those who have already heard of us and those that will  – when we launch our crowdfunding in January 2016.  We will ask the greater community of ecologically-minded people do donate – even just a little  – to help fund the fist phase of EAV. We are building team member now – we have a Portuguese-speaking central Portugal owner of a yoga retreat assisting us with our land search, an experienced agroecologist/permaculturalist on board to consult in the development of our gardens, and we have quite some energetic virtual world promoters working on our social media reach, mostly via Facebook (but could always use more!).

Is public education for purpose in issues of low-impact, low-cost, sustainable, ecological AND comfortable human living?

If you are seeking to eliminate your negative ecological footprint, then the re-education must be full-spectrum, ie, you must work to raise peoples awareness of the wholly unsustainable (and often unnecessary) expectations that modern consumerist society has created on one side, while simultaneously creating and refining the pragmatic solutions designed to better create comfortable living conditions.  It’s a double edge approach where the meeting in the middle is an undamaging yet physically comfortable, fulfilling and happy way of life.

How can people – individuals and organizations – find our more about Earth Angel Village?

As usual in this day and age, via our website www.earthangelvillage.org or on our Earth Angel Village Facebook page (just search Earth Angel Village).  Persons with specific questions not answered there or with other information or resources can write to me directly rob@earthangelvillage.org

Who should support your fundraising effort and why?

You can support the project here.

Along with the actual village we will create, we want to also create a virtual community that in engaged in Earth Angel Village even if they never get to come there.  We want to expose and educate well beyond the bounds of our physical property in central Portugal.  We heartily invite anyone who cares a hoot and understands what must change about the way we are living in order to save our species!  This village will be a showplace in the virtual world as well – people can live and learn with us from wherever they are in the whole world.

Environment

Why Going Green is Good For Your Furniture

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These days, it seems like the planet can use all the help that it can get. Worrisome changes in the environment have made it crucial for humans to step up and make necessary changes to their lives to protect the future of the world. While it might feel like one person can’t make much of a difference, there are actually plenty of ways that the individual can create positive changes. Online mailbox has some useful bits of advice to share about how going green with your furniture can make a positive impact on the environment.

Eco-friendly furniture boasts a number of benefits to both homeowners and the planet. The decision to switch out your current decor for something that can help the environment is one worth considering.

Financially Sound

Many people worry that eco-friendly products are too costly. This is a general misconception about going green that has prevented a large number of homeowners from taking action. Still, looking at the numbers can help you to see the reality. Most of the materials found in eco-friendly furniture options are much more affordable than other options. Experts have been working for years to craft sustainable and less expensive materials for use in a variety of goods. This means that you are likely to save a bit of cash when you opt to go for this type of furniture.

Clean Manufacturing

A great deal of the goods and produced across the world harm the environment in the way that they are created. The chemicals released into the environment during some of these processes can do serious harm to the air, soil, and water. Furniture made up of eco-friendly materials will not damage the planet in this way. This is because the process to manufacture these options is much safer and does not release the same deadly byproducts. By cutting back on the more dangerous production practices, a bit of pressure can be taken off the planet.

Preserve Resources

Since most eco-friendly furniture options consist of synthetic materials, it allows fewer trees to be cut down each year for the purpose of crafting goods. Trees are an incredibly important aspect of the planet’s survival. Plants, trees specifically, are responsible for producing clean oxygen and offering shelter to an array of lifeforms. Protecting trees for the future is a must for the survival of all life on Earth. When you make the choice to switch to a new kind of furniture, you are able to help reduce the need for wood and preserve the forests of tomorrow.

The world is facing more problems now than ever before. In order for positive changes to be made to the environment, people must stand up and make the right decisions. Taking manageable steps like being selecting in the goods that you buy can be a great way to do your part. Consider the benefits of switching to eco-friendly furniture. This is a choice that can help you to protect precious resources, eliminate harmful byproducts created from manufacturing processes, and save a bit of money all the while. Explore your options and make a decision that will help preserve the planet.

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Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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