The Movement

flickr photo shared by garryknight under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license


In almost every corner of Europe there are grassroots initiatives engaging in creating a more sustainable and socially just society. The continent is literally boiling with environmental and solidarity initiatives, reflecting the critical times that we’re groing through. Some of these grassroot initiatives are part of the transition town movement, which focuses on resilience of urban areas. It all started as a student exercise. The students were given the task to come up with guidelines on how the town could become more sustainable and less fossil fuel-dependent. The transition movement grew out of permaculture, which is another world-wide movement focusing on practical holistic solutions in all areas of life. All over the world there are also thousands of sustainable community initiatives, generally called ecovillages, developing models for sustainable living. Equally important, there are also the left communes, with more focus on outreach and political activism which represent invaluable models of socially just and ecological settlements.  

In this exercise we’ll explore the grassroots in our neighbouring area!

Activity Type

Individual / Experiential


Once you are in, you can’t get out. Everlasting. smile

Learning Outcomes

  • To get acquainted with the social and environmental initiatives in your area and beyond

  • To experience the power of collective work for an egalitarian and socially just society


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Investigate different grass roots movements:

    1. Transition towns network

    2. Permaculture

    3. Federation of Egalitarian Communities

    4. Kommuja Network

    5. Longo Maï

    6. Radical Routes Network of radical co-ops

    7. Las Indias

    8. Freetown Christiania

    9. Global Ecovillage Network Europe

    10. Indignados Movement

    11. Friends of the Earth Europe

    12. Global Social Justice

    13. Greenpeace

    14. Incitement

    15. Climate Justice and Network

    16. Global Debout

    17. Service Civil International

    18. We are sure you might know some more!

  2. Find a grassroot group / initiative in your area that appeals to you.

  3. Visit one of their events.

  4. If impossible to physically connect with the movement/initiative, try contacting them online to check if there is a way you could get involved via the internet.



  • Is the work of this group/initiative important for creating a more sustainable and fair society? If so, why?

  • What would help the group/initiative to grow and have more influence?

  • How did it feel to attend the grassroots event? Was it empowering/inspiring? Do you see the value of connecting with a group of people that shares your values?

  • If there is no such group/initiative in your area, why is that?  What would be required for it to appear?

  • Are grassroot initiatives important for changing society? Why? Why not?

Instructions for Submission

If possible, take a picture of the event that you visited/helped organise and upload it in Moodle. Write a reflection piece with around 200 words on the grassroots initiative of your choice, answering the reflection questions from the Reflection section above and submit it in Moodle. Instructions on how to upload photos and how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading

Instructions for Assessment

Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback

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