Ross Jackson, March 2012
Gaia Trust was founded in 1987 on the initiative of Hildur and me with the support of eight or so Danish colleagues. Our objective was to support persons and organisations that were working for a more sustainable and spiritual world. We had no funds to speak of, the initial capital being about £1,000. However, I had been working for the prior 5 years developing and testing computer software to analyse and trade foreign currencies, a relatively new concept at the time.
My trading results in the marketplace were exceptionally good, so I donated the rights to Gaia Trust in return for 10% of the new company, Gaiacorp, of which Gaia Trust owned 90%. Over the next 5 years or so, Gaiacorp became a major international player in the currency options market and built up a net worth of about £20 million. We then had to decide how to best use the funds.
We decided early on to support projects that were not getting support from elsewhere, so that we might make a difference. Our view was that we knew the problems and we knew the necessary solutions. The major barrier was implementation.
Therefore, we decided to support the people that were actually implementing what we considered would become the mainstream lifestyle in the 21st century when things started to fall apart, namely ecovillages, although the name “ecovillage” did not exist until we and Robert Gilman coined it in 1991. Later, we added a second major program, education in sustainability principles, which led eventually to the establishment of Gaia Education.
While Gaia Trust has supported many other smaller projects over the years (over 300 in about 40 countries), including the first permaculture course in a dozen or so countries, GEN and Gaia Education have been and continue to be the two major projects that we have supported and continue to support. None of this would have been possible without an enormous contribution of time and energy by thousands of activists around the world, and for that we are very grateful.
I think we can all be proud of our accomplishments, but the battle is far from won. At the first meeting of Gaia Trust, I said that this project was probably going to take forty years to complete. We have still 15 years to go, so let us not rest until the job is done