Tamera 2018: Our Highlights in Review

In the last hours of this year, we look back to a very challenging year globally and at the same time, are deeply grateful for the successes in Tamera and our network. 40 years after its founding, our project is in full swing: starting a new educational pathway for peace workers from all over the world, taking the first steps in implementing the model settlement “Blueprint200,” enhancing the “Defend the Sacred Alliance,” deepening our internal education, publishing our new website and much more…

Martin Winiecki, December 31 2018


Our 40th Anniversary

We celebrated our anniversary with 80 long-standing partners and former co-workers in March and looked back on 40 years of radical research into the foundations of a humane culture.

Our co-founder Sabine Lichtenfels said, “Going through a thousand ups and downs, through smear campaigns, construction bans, conflicts, cooperation with the guidance from within, births, longings and struggles in love, peace work in many countries and so on, we’ve matured, changed and yet, stayed faithful to our vision – creating new social structures and peace between and among the genders as foundations for a truly humane world.

We give thanks to all those with whom we have walked a common path in the past years and decades. Thank you for your friendship and solidarity! Let us honor our past and, at the same time, look out towards the future – to a deepened cooperation for a nonviolent world. May the seed of the Healing Biotopes Plan flourish and blossom around the world.”

In this interview, Dieter Duhm, co-founder of Tamera, who was a spokesman of the “new left” in the 1968 German students’ movement 50 years ago, speaks about how he has furthered the anti-imperialistic ideas from back then and how we could liberate ourselves from all kinds of violence and fascism today.

Start of Our New Educational Pathway for Creating Healing Biotopes

It is our desire to put the treasure of knowledge and experience of our many years of research at the service of the growing global quest for credible alternatives. Over the last one and a half years, a new generation of young leaders has come up with the concept of a three-cycle educational pathway for dedicated peace workers – for all those who want to take an active role in building Healing Biotopes.

The first test run of the program – a three-month intensive training course – took place in Tamera from August to November, with 55 participants from Europe, North America, Latin America and the Middle East. It was a great success. Highlights in the course, led by Momo-Jana Mohaupt, Dara Silverman, Andy Wolfrum, and team, were the vision quest, practical environmental education, community training, and political education. At the moment, we are preparing the next modules and we are considering whether we can offer a next three-month basic training in 2019. More soon…

As in recent years, we again ran a two-week youth camp for 13 to 18-year-olds this summer. It’s an intensive time in which teens experience community life, find friends and discover a new view of the world and perspectives for a future worth living. It was a time of extraordinary depth – both politically and interpersonally. More in the report by Nora Czajkowski…

Internal Deepening

At the same time, we see that by building far-reaching educational programs for the world, we want and need to deepen our own internal training and research. In 2017, our founders Dieter Duhm and Sabine Lichtenfels launched the “Akron School” in the Political Ashram for this purpose. A second cohort of 20-30 young students, accompanied by Mara Vollmer, underwent an intense spiritual education from April to July – and many then led external training courses. In addition, the entire Tamera community met once a month between April and November for several days of internal love school for studying, forum work and experiential spaces.

At the beginning of the year, a group of friends offered us a large amount of cryptocurrency money to encourage a shift towards communitarian gift economy and abundance consciousness. The first cash flow of ~160,000 euros came through the so-called “What Do You Need Fund” into the community. Many co-workers could name their needs, receive gifts and so, no longer need to go out to work during our internal vision and planning time this winter.

The “Defend the Sacred Alliance” is Growing

From August 1–10, more than 80 people from 30 countries met at Tamera: Activists from liberation movements, Indigenous people of different cultures, peace workers from slums, refugee camps and crisis areas, thinkers, civil rights activists and community founders.

It was the second meeting of a growing alliance to create a social, spiritual and political platform for “Defend the Sacred” – an alliance of diverse activists and movements based on shared values, prayer, community and strategy building for global system change. More in the report by Leila Dregger.

The book “Defend the Sacred: If Life Wins, There Will Be No Losers,” edited by the Grace Foundation, will be published by Verlag Meiga in March 2019. The book is a compilation of revolutionary thoughts, images, speeches and reports by and about the protagonists of the Defend the Sacred Alliance. You can already pre-order it here: www.verlag-meiga.org

Our annual “Global Love School” in May is another key part for the growing alliance, where peace workers dedicate themselves to healing the collective wound in love and sexuality. For the first time, partners of the Global Campus from countries in the Global South took part this year.

In a world of structural injustice and escalating political, social and ecological crises, alliance building often, first of all, means practicing solidarity. At their urgent request, two delegations from Tamera accompanied our Colombian sister community San José de Apartadó in March and October/November. Since the alleged “peace process,” threats and attacks against the community have actually intensified and large parts of their lands have been besieged by right-wing paramilitaries.

To support our partners in the Middle East, delegations from Tamera participated in the annual Youth Festival in the first Palestinian ecovillage, Farkha, led by Aida Shibli, and in a vigil at the “Lighthouse” near Gaza in July.

Successes in the Struggle Against Fossil Fuel Extraction in Portugal

Together with a coalition of Portuguese environmental activist groups, we ran a successful campaign to stop the planned offshore oil drilling off the coast of Aljezur (Algarve). We aimed to have all remaining contracts for oil and gas exploration cancelled and to make Portugal a leader for the just transition to a regenerative society. For us, this has been one logical expression for the global imperative to defend the sacred everywhere.

One highlight of the campaign was our “aerial art action,” facilitated by John Quigley, with around 800 people at a beach outside Lisbon on August 4, 2018, one of the hottest days ever recorded in Portugal.

The actions and prayers proved successful: just 9 days after the action, the Court of Loulé (Algarve) accepted an injunction filed by the activist group PALP and suspended the license for the energy corporations ENI and GALP to drill near Aljezur, which was due to start on September 15. And on October 29, both companies surprisingly declared their voluntary withdrawal from seeking oil extraction and said that they would not want another contract with the government after the existing one expires (January 2019). Whether this is the actual end of the companies’ efforts to search for oil off the coast of Portugal is yet to be seen. One thing, however, is certain: people who rise together to defend the sacred do make a difference!

We are now supporting a growing movement in Portugal’s central region against gas drilling, potentially through “fracking,” in dangerous proximity to the most important agricultural regions in the country, the Catholic sanctuary of Fátima and the surf mecca of Nazaré, which is scheduled for 2019.

Other Events in Our Portuguese Network

Since May, we have organized quarterly weekend meetings to connect dedicated activists for ecological restoration, regional autonomy and community building, and to launch joint initiatives. In June, in our neighboring village of Relíquias, under the direction of Birger Bumb, the “A Onda” opened, a café and restaurant with regional organic products and regular cultural events, which we want to develop into a cultural center for regional autonomy over the next few years. At the same time, our emerging “Escola da Esperança” is experiencing an ever-increasing numbers of families from the Portuguese neighborhood sending their children to our school. In our dog project, we were able to offer a healing environment to 5 dogs who lost their owners through tragic human circumstances. More here.

Advances in Our Solar Test Field

The highlight of our technology team was the technology month in June, through which we could expand the range of solar cooking options used in our Test Field. The German association “Solare Brücke e.V.” gave us a solar oven and we were able to purchase a tracking system for the main mirror in our kitchen – both adapted to the mirror and its capacity. This will enrich our possibilities in the kitchen. The visit of open-source pioneer Dave Hakkens gave us the impetus to make the energy technology we’ve developed, tested and used available to all interested people on an open-source platform in the future. We continue to work on the transfer of our membrane mirror to our Indian partners. In the new year, we look forward to Felix Hediger, a Swiss artist and technologist, spending a longer time with us. The preliminary name of the project he will be working on is “Water & Sun,” the combination of a water pump that moves water by natural principles, inspired by Viktor Schauberger, with the SunPulse Water system, a stand-alone low-temperature Stirling engine developed by Juergen Kleinwaechter and team. Juergen Kleinwaechter will also be visiting us for a longer vision and writing time in the coming year. Know more…

Earthworks for the Settlement Model “Blueprint 200”

In the fall, we laid the foundations for “Blueprint 200,” a first demonstration site in Tamera for a 200-person camp, constructed along regenerative design principles, that could later be implemented in other parts of the world, such as refugee camps. The demonstration site is at our guest center. In September and October, our ecology team created the basic ecological framework for the future camp: a terrace design in cooperation with nature, allowing for decentralized rainwater retention. More information in the brochure: “Blueprint200 Earthworks”.

“And They Knew Each Other”: New Book from Our Founders and Germany Tour

Under the direction of Monika Alleweldt and Leila Dregger, our Meiga publishing house has completed one of its most successful business years. This spring, we decided to publish the book “And They Knew Each Other: The End of Sexual Violence,” by Sabine Lichtenfels and Dieter Duhm, written from over 40 years of experience of love and partnership in the frame of peace work. The book, which first appeared in German in October, has been highly demanded right from the very beginning, not only by our own network, but also in the public book trade. The second edition was already published before Christmas. The highlight of our sales work was a five-week reading and seminar tour through Germany and Switzerland in October and November, including two weeks with Sabine Lichtenfels and Benjamin von Mendelssohn. Almost everywhere we were received with overwhelming warmth, interest and openness, and the thoughts of truth in love and healing in sexuality met with great resonance. We were particularly impressed by the number of emerging communities and political initiatives that ask for this knowledge. Many people want to stay in touch with us, study the thoughts and work on a field of consciousness for these topics. We will work on a structure for this cooperation in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, in Tamera, the community also worked deeply with the book through study groups and love school. This created a deeper basis for knowledge in love and sexuality, which serves the community very well. In Tamera, we’ve had the same experience as many of the groups with whom we have worked on the tour: by reading a chapter from the book together, we create a space of insight through which even difficult topics can be seen in a different light, from a healing perspective.

Meanwhile, the book has been translated into English and will be published in March 2019. You will be able to order it as an e-book and hardcover worldwide, either in your local bookstore or at: www.verlag-meiga.org.

On November 9, the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, we celebrated the Global Grace Day together with friends around the world: a day for the opening of inner and outer walls, reconciliation, healing and finding a vision for a nonviolent world.

Our friends John Quigley, Pat McCabe, Gabriel Meyer, Mena Vieira, and others were on Mt Sinai, Egypt, on November 9. Together with the 8 Bedouin tribes of Sinai and a regional religious leader, they sent a message of global peace to the world.

The Process to Change the Land Use Classification Has Officially Begun

After 5 years of preparation, the so-called “PIER process” began in June (Portuguese: “Plano de Intervenção no Espaço Rural” – Intervention Plan in Rural Areas). On behalf of the municipal administration of Odemira and a team of architects from Lisbon, we will work over the next 3 years to rezone Tamera, so that a village infrastructure can be made possible.

In the first three months of the new year, we will enter an intensive planning period to agree on common goals and concrete plans for the next 12 years. Parallel to this master plan, various working groups in Tamera have been working on the direct preparation of the PIER since fall, as well as some detailed and basic information.