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G. K. Hartmann,  H-G. Flepp  K. C. Hsieh, E. Schircks, M. G. Ritter, et al.



As the technologically advanced nations are lifted by the tide of mercantile globalisation, there remain large pockets of populations, which do not benefit from the generation and flow of material wealth. In these desolate areas, while the population in their more productive years are struggling to make a living, the young and the old on the two ends of the age spectrum are often left with insufficient material and spiritual care. Often the technology introduced to these desolate areas as a solution turns out to demand for resources beyond the means of the community and/or damage their physical environment. Specifically life threatening is the increasing desertification and famine in arid regions.



To revitalise some communities in desolate areas, especially in desert or arid areas by providing technologies and introducing living arrangements with a production/trade structure that are appropriate to each community's geographic, ecological, cultural and economic setting and to reduce migration from the country to the cities.  


We offer a triad - SEC - as the means to achieve our goal:

Sure-tec: Low-cost and low-risk technologies that are appropriate for specific geographical, cultural and economical settings supporting the “subsidiarity” principle.

Eco-bridge: A production and trade structure that is environmentally not harmful, but just and economically viable.

Caring-circle: A living arrangement that enables the two ends of the age spectrum to meet each other's needs and the needs of those in the middle of the age spectrum.  

Main message

“Creating Self-sustaining, Cross-generational Communities in Desert Regions: Pilot Project Proposals”.

1.       ECOVILLAGE (ECOVILLA 1988, Mendoza, Argentina)

2.       DEREMOTOX (Russia, 1999).

3.   SURE-TEC.COM (March, 2000)

            Details can be found in the files chronicle1.pdf and 33months.pdf

1. The first component of the triad is Sure-tec. It takes advantage of the desert environment, which is richly endowed with sunshine. Sure-tec harnesses this solar energy to provide the basic needs of clean water and electricity with low risk technology that can operate within the local environmental demand and the human and material resources with high resource efficiency (sustainability; conserving utilisation). Sure-tec also strongly supports “subsidiarity”. The term means more than help for self-help, namely also the shift of democratic decision authority to local, small communities. Subsidiarity is constitutive for the European Community.

2. The second component of the triad is Eco-bridge. It is based on the social setting provided by Caring-circle and supplies useable energy, water, soil, and air by means of Sure-tec as a livelihood the community, including the design of living space and the development of an economy. In both fields, indigenous ingenuity and entrepreneurial creativity are essential. Benefiting from Sure-tec, integrated planning and the resource-efficient (sustainable) use of regional materials and methods  provide suitable housing and infrastructure. With the aid of information and management skills, the communal effort can give rise to the production of goods and services to meet the needs of the community. Basic bartering with other communities can lay the basis for future more developed commerce. Eco-bridge provides a test of the new concept of „moderate, just and entrepreneurial house keeping“ (optimal sustainable economy), a synergistic combination of the following socio-economic-ecologic concepts and activities:

a)       The entrepreneurial knowledge society (M. Miegel;  iwg.bonn@t-online.de )

b)       The knowledge based political economy (F. Lehner & F. Schmidt-Bleek; biofsb@wanadoo.fr ; mail@factor10-institute.org ) ; http://www.factor10.de )

c)       The principles of natural capitalism (P. Hawken et al.; http://www.rmi.org )

d)       Defensible spaces ( O.Newman; http://www.defensiblespace.com/start.htm )

e)       A village project (M. G. Ritter; http://www.a-7.de )

f)         Solar cooking (K.-H. Weiler, W. Dissinger) http://spot.fho-emden.de/hp/weiler/solar.html ; further development for: Solar Reflector Water Destillation (SRWD) in the Sonora Desert for the seven indigenous tribes.A pilot project proposal. See new projects.

g)       Climax greenhouse (G. Reisinger; G.Reisinger@t-online.de ) 

h)       Soil conditioning (J. U. Kügler; ib.kuegler@t-online.de)

i)         Phytotoxicological monitoring ( L. Weissflog; lw@san.ufz.de  )


3. The third component of the triad is the Caring-circle. It is a social setting that provides and nourishes human resources. It lets the young who need parental care and supervision, often orphans, live within or near senior citizen homes. This living arrangement energises the two ends of the age spectrum when they meet one another’s need in health, education and social interactions. Cultural values and skills can be transmitted in this congenial setting. Simultaneously, Caring-circle frees the most productive segment of the age spectrum to engage more fully in the management of the community and the production of goods and thus to counteract migration from the country to the cities.

 The pilot project proposals were influenced by the successful activities of the August Hermann Francke Foundation founded in the 17th century and that of the present “Albert Schweitzer Familienwerk” (http://www.albert-schweitzer.de ).   


The SURE-TEC.COM Team right now consists of the authors and some further sure-tec partners. The team likes to invite other interested persons, groups, and institutions to participate in this project which has to be adapted to the local needs under the motto:

Global thinking and local acting with an intercultural, interdisciplinary and intergenerational dialogue  


Notice: The authors are not responsible for the content of foreign linked pages