About the GSR
More and more people around the world are choosing to travel without flying. If we are serious about the climate emergency we need to find an alternative to air travel. Till 30 years ago most people travelled overland, even between India and Europe. Why can we not do so again?
Yes, it takes more time, but then again maybe we would connect more with people if we meet them instead of flying over their heads. Just like the response to fast food and fast fashion is slow food and slow fashion, why not slow down our travelling?
Yes, it costs more money, but then again: what is included in cost calculations and what not? Is environmental impact included in the price of a flight ticket?
Besides, the plan is not just to fly less and do less damage. The plan is to do more good. Hundreds of years ago there was a forest connecting Europe to India, stretching all the way through Turkey and Iran. What if we could re-plant that magic forest?
We want to ask people in every country we visit how they see the future of the land around them. What does their dream environment look like? And when we talk about a Green Silk Road and this mythical forest, what are the images and stories that come to their minds?
We keep adding projects involved in the transition towards a regenerative culture on an interactive map, and we'll be sharing the stories we collect along the way.
How it all started
The Green Silk Road first took shape in 2018 with a trip from Auroville in South India to Amsterdam in Western Europe and back. It took 5 weeks each way, and while travelling through 14 countries we have met the most amazing people, projects and landscapes. We stayed with artists in Iran, and learned about the rich Persian heritage of herbal medicine, as well as the popular trend of Forest Schools. In Turkey we discovered a very inspiring network of school teachers convinced that Another School Is Possible. In Hungary we found out about Auroville Hungary. And all along the route we enjoyed making art with school kids, culminating into a collective exhibition in a gallery in Tehran.
The second version in 2019 was actually not one trip but three. While one group of 11 travelled from Auroville to the Himalayas (the second most common summer destination for Auroville residents escaping the sweltering heat), two solo travellers went overland to Europe, visiting many friends we had made during the first trip.
The Himalaya group went from Chennai to Hyderabad, where they had an exchange with youth organisations, then Bhopal, where we connected with sister project Jai Jagat and learned a lot about adivasi culture. From Bhopal we continued to Delhi, where we had a great time with the Creativity Adda and the Youth Alliance. Finally we arrived in Dharamshala where we stayed for a week at the Tibetan Children's Village near McLeod Ganj and then another week with NavGurukul.
The third version is happening in 2023 with another group from Auroville going West, but this time we tried passing via Central Asia (so far unsuccessfully). Meet the 2023 crew HERE.
We're excited to weave together more projects and regions. Every year our questions dig a little deeper into the systems and ways that need to change to make space for the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. We started exploring topics such as education, economy, food and ecology (landscape regeneration).
You can find out more about these in the thematic projects page.
We foresee groups of 10 or 20 travelling up and down this route every year. Each subsequent group is expected to share insights with the next, and so build a collective pool of experience, contacts and knowledge. So far it's going in that direction. We hope you will join us in developing this alternative way of moving, living and learning!