From Dornach we drove to Grenoble in France and then south to the tiny village of Chichiliannes, near Clelles. The place we stayed in was recommended by a French friend in New Zealand who had lived and worked in this area. We stayed here for two nights so that we could visit a place called Terre Vivante. This organisation has existed since 1979 when the magazine ‘Les Quatre Saisons’ was launched by seven passionate ecologists. In 1994 they began the development of a ‘discovery centre’ focused on demonstrating practical ecology. We visited this centre, with its blend of forest walks, gardens and demonstration sites, on a day when a bus load of school children were there to explore, experience and learn. Their presence strongly reinforced the value of providing a living learning environment for all age groups, aimed at demonstrating positive, attainable, actions for a sustainable and resilient 21st century.
In the evening I met with Remy Bacher, the editor of Les Quatres Saisons magazine. I told him how impressed I was with the Terre Vivante centre. It is an excellent educational and resource centre with practical examples of the very simple, local, solutions to many of the environmental problems we have in the world. I also talked about the importance of local people who provide leadership and an example for others to follow. This has been evident everywhere we have been. Remy said that not just Terre Vivante is providing an example for the rest of France, but increasingly the Trieves area as a whole, in the Rhone Alps where Terre Vivante is located. More and more people are aware of the work of Terre Vivante, of the high proportion of organic farmers in the area, and of a very beautiful and well balanced environment.