Sophia Maravell (MA ’15) received the Goddard Entrepreneur Sustainability grant for starting her business Ecología Rising. Sophia writes: “Ecología Rising grew out of my work in Community Education at Goddard College with the guidance of key faculty members Jackie Fischer and Karla Haas-Moskowitz.”
The word ‘ecología’ expresses a Greek philosophy that Sophia adopted and encountered while conducting research in her ancestral home. The word captures the integration of community, culture, history, family and place throughout all time, present, past and future. The concept of ecología can be useful in healing what Social Ecologist Murray Bookchin describes as the the physical and socially constructed environmental split between humanity and nature. The idea of Ecología necessitates place.
Ecología Rising’s mission is to free individuals’ and communities’ imaginations to visualize and then create socially, ecologically and economically just communities. The Ecología Community Process is a collective, imaginative, dynamic and cyclical process used as a guide for creating, repairing and reforming communities. This process helps people to collectively create future self-determining, beloved communities while taking into account past history and culture.
In the six months since graduation Sophia has worked as a vision facilitator with Ecología Rising in two other communities. The first was Long Way Home, a nonprofit in Guatemala founded by Goddard alumnus Matt Paneitz (BAS ’12, MA EDU ’14) that builds schools out of waste and recycled materials. The second organization, The Rochester Folk Art Guild, is an intentional community, folk art guild and farm that is navigating a transitional and pivotal time for the organization’s future.
Sophia’s philosophy, as she works with communities and organizations, is that communities and people rarely stumble into their ideal future, but that vision is created intentionally. She views her work as healing work on a community level, walking the line between holding the community in a way that can relieve communication tension and allow people to express their thoughts, ideas and concerns, with balancing when it is necessary to ask hard questions that push people to imagine what the future could hold. What are the core social and ecological needs and issues that are the basis for our communities’ existence? The answer to that question could be the need for creativity and expression through the form of the traditional crafts. An aim of Ecología Rising is for communities and organizations to get in touch with, and then expand and inspire the underlying purpose and vision of a community.
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