Cycling Alternatives * NEOlution
Start date: 01 Aug 2014, End date: 01 Nov 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Cycling Alternatives * NEOlution project originated from the 2013's Cycling Alternatives Tour, when about 30 young people from different European countries cycled from Berlin to Warsaw (see www.cyclingalternatives.org). Out of this positive experience the group felt the need to continue. The reasons are mainly threefold: (A) Most of us felt a disconnection and powerlessness with multiple dimensions of our lives - which can be identified as "alienation". A topic seldom addressed in political/global education. We, as engaged European youth, didn't want to simply accept this apparent discomfort with the currently expected ways of living, but want to learn how to empower ourselves. (B) We realized that there are possible alternatives to overcome this alienation already practiced. Therefore we want to learn from and exchange with those who live these alternatives. (C) Already in 2013 we were experimenting with an alternative and innovative seminar method which we call "mobile community". Accordingly, our vision for this project was “to contribute to a society that allows more time, space and power for people to lead the lives they want to lead. Lives less determined by external necessities and characterized by alienation from our natural and social environment, ourselves and others.” Derived from the vision, our objectives were: (a) The participants are more aware and reflect on alienation and the good life. (b) They collectively identify, experiment, live and practice ways to address alienation in their individual lives, together with others and in society as such by the method of the "mobile community". (c) Empower the pps with theoretical and practical skills to lead self-determined lives and improve their capacity for cooperation and their networking and social skills as well as the capacity to start their own local initiative (d) The pps exchange about their different personal experiences of alienation, discover similarities and differences and thus practice intercultural understanding. (e) By exchanging about practical solutions to alienation, and ways how to implement them in their personal life and community, the pps strengthen European Citizenship. (f) We will document what we experience and make it accessible to the public by creating a movie, materials for conferences and a methodological handbook. In order to reach the objectives, our project had the following project logic. The underlying problem analysis and project frame was the phenomena of alienation. With the innovative seminar method "mobile community" we practiced a non-alienated way of learning together. To make the complex phenomena tangible, we approached alienation by focusing on three dimensions of positive and possible solutions. The first dimension addressed social connections to (N)ature by experimenting with permaculture as an integrative approach. The second dimension is related to (E)conomy focusing on degrowth as an answer to the ever present economic necessities. The third dimension placed self- (O)rganization as a means for taking ownership of one’s surroundings in the centre. Together, these three dimensions combined to the NEO - lution project – an integrative journey and open learning process for finding ways to tackle alienation in our today’s time. In line with our three main dimensions, three simultaneous bicycle tours started from different places in Germany and Poland and cycled in a star ride towards the common meeting point in Valec, Czech Republic. And at exactly this point, where the three groups met, we opened and created a space for exchange and brought together the three dimensions of the NEOlution and the experiences as mobile communities. This final event is the youth exchange seminar for which we applied. The youth exchange took five full days, plus 1 day for arrival and departure each, from 11th of August to 17th of August. The youth exchange created a space for 65 young Europeans who took part in theoretical and practical workshops, learned from each other and their surroundings. We practiced general sensibility for each other and did many practical workshops. The pps took ownership for the seminar as we cooperatively planned parts of the seminar while cycling and collectively built the facilities of the seminar. By organising and creating the seminar together with people from 6 different European countries, we practiced intercultural understanding and strengthened European citizenship. This youth exchange at the Final Event was the crucial part of the project, without which, the objectives could not have been reached. The three "mobile communities" met and thus reflected alienation from its different dimensions, exchanged on the experience as mobile communities and evaluated the pedagogical method. At the same time, the phenomena of alienation was placed in an European context through the experiences of pps and the people met.

Coordinator

5 Partners Participants