EcoSur: 20 years of networking

Kurt Rhyner, coordinador internacional de la Red EcosurOctober 1991, San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic... some 20 people from 11 countries, all of them convinced that it was possible to revert the trend towards ever larger production units and promote sustainable small production units.The micro-concrete roofing tile (MCR) was the immediate means, but our visions went further.

by Kurt Rhyner*

Networking was rather clumsy in those days... what is now called "snail mail" was our main means of interactive communication, telephone calls were too expensive, faxes worked on and off. There was a meeting every year... an expensive but also very rewarding way of working, friendships were formed and differences cleared, often with a bottle of rum.

In 1996 the scope was enlarged, the "MCR network" evolved into EcoSur, meanwhile we were all connected by e-mail and aspired to set up a website, something still rather uncommon at that time. The website simply copied texts, it kind of walked behind the printed information... just as many websites still do. Early in the new millenium EcoSur became a dynamic website, with news and frequent updates... some 10,000 visitors honor that every month.

The physical meetings have become less frequent but much more universal... the EcoMaterials Conferences every four years draw regularly more than 150 participants from all continents and have achieved a remarkable level of scientific and practical interchange.

20 years old or 20 years young ? 
Age should signify accumulated knowledge, even wisdom... judging by the awards our leading partners hve received and the number of UN-best practices and good practices we can claim some success in our work, and as new generations of colleagues enter the core group and the "old ones" are still generating new ideas, we can probably claim to be young. Maybe it has been helpful, that the network as such never received outside financing... that it always had to struggle to survive with voluntary labor and contributions from the partners... fighting spirit keeps you active !

Series of publications
In the next few months we will be posting a series of reflections and a few interesting "stories" from the last 20 years, as well as the step by step publication of Cuban experiences when the country had to learn to live with little oil... .and the creative solutions that emerged. It is kind of a flash forward for the rest of the world....considering that oil will become scarce earlier than most people think.

*Kurt Rhyner, co-coordinator and founding member of the EcoSur Network

You are here: Home Experiences 20 years EcoSur EcoSur: 20 years of networking


Kathryn Pozak
Swiss and Canadian
Political Scientist and Journalist
English, Spanish, spoken German.
General concepts and synergies, backstopping, evaluations


Teja de MicroConcreto
MicroConcrete Roofing Tile machine
The tevi model TM5 may works with a 12V inverter or with solar panels or a car batery, by itself. A well trained, 2-people team, can produce up to 350 tiles per day
Read more ...