All About Earthville: Mission, Objectives, Vision, & Methods

On this page, we walk you through the big picture of Earthville in a few small steps — what we’re about and what we’re working to achieve. If you’re looking for nuts-and-bolts explanations of what we do on the ground, you can jump to our Projects page.

Our Mission

The Earthville Network makes a better world by educating and empowering responsible global citizens, engaging them as compassionate change agents, and connecting them in innovative collaborations for learning, service, and sustainable thriving.

Our Vision

Earthville envisions a worldwide network of people and initiatives engaging the power of human creativity and caring to forge a more compassionate global village in which sustainable thriving becomes the norm, for people and the planet.

Our Objectives

  1. Educate ourselves as informed world citizens exploring the most important issues of our times, especially in the spheres of responsible global citizenship, sustainable thriving, holistic personal development, and the arts and media.
  2. Empower people of all backgrounds (especially learners, leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, volunteers, and activists) with the skills and sensitivities to achieve effective, positive transformations in ourselves, our communities, and our world.
  3. Engage these caring global citizens in lifelong learning, volunteer service, and professions that benefit both oneself and others.
  4. Connect these compassionately engaged citizens and their initiatives, locally and globally, building communities of purpose and cultivating mutually supportive relationships.
  5. Innovate in the fields of education, charitable work, and responsible business by leveraging the limitless resource of human ingenuity and caring to engineer holistic solutions to our personal, societal, and global challenges and contribute to a more harmonious and sustainable global village.

Our Long-Term Trajectory

The five objectives above come together in Earthville’s main long-term focus: developing an integrated organizational model for learning, service, and sustainable social entrepreneurship.

Take three of society’s fundamental institutions — schoolcharity, and enterprise — and put them together in one place where they’re all working together toward the same ends: a more compassionate and sustainable community, locally and globally. Here, nonprofit initiatives are seen as natural partners for socially and environmentally responsible business endeavors, and vice versa. And this dynamic and stimulating collaborative environment becomes the real-world campus in which learners of all ages educate and empower themselves as the leaders and laborers of positive transformation — on the personal, community, and global levels. That’s the idea behind the Earthville Institute.

Now, take this one step further and imagine integrated institutes like this spread across the world, connected in meaningful exchanges, sharing people and ideas, learning from one another, and enjoying mutually beneficial collaborations. That’s the essence of our long-term vision of a global campus for learning, service, and sustainable thriving.

Our Programs

Earthville pursues its mission through a global network of local initiatives addressing social and environmental issues in an integrated way. We “think globally and act locally” all across the globe. We catalyze mutually-beneficial relationships between these people and programs, cultivating a borderless community of purpose: Earthville.

That sounds great, but what do you actually do?

Here are a few examples to give you the flavor of Earthville’s diverse charitable activities:

  • Experiential education: We’re developing an innovative, integrated model of lifelong experiential education and service-learning for responsible global citizenship, sustainable thriving, and holistic personal development.
    → Earthville Education • Earthville Education Blog
  • Sustainability: We’re building a sustainable development campus in the Indian Himalayas, which provides green jobs and vocational training for local villagers and life-enriching service-learning opportunities for international students and volunteers.
    → Dharmalaya Institute for Compassionate Living
  • Arts & creativity: We leverage the power of the arts and creativity to catalyze personal and community transformation, and we run a pioneering nonprofit record label producing great music from across the globe and channeling proceeds to support artists and causes.
    → Earthville Arts • Earthville Music • Lotus & Lightning
  • Peacemaking & cross-cultural collaboration: We provide logistical and material support grassroots peacemaking initiatives for youth and adults in the Middle East and in the US.
    → Sulha Peace Project • Human Family Peace Project
  • Sustainable social entrepreneurship: We help emerging social entrepreneurs with promising ideas to launch and incubate their charitable projects.
    → The Earthville Umbrellavator • ASEC • NADA India
  • Networking and community building: We link all these initiatives (and others) together in a web of mutual support in which cross-pollination and other synergies can flourish (hence the “Network” part of our name).

For more information on Earthville’s charitable projects and programs, see our What We Do page and our Events page.

Our Tools

We see the whole world as our toolbox, but here are some key tools for transformation that we use every day in Earthville:

  • Service-learning:  Much of Earthville’s activity involves the union of experiential education and voluntary service — learning useful things in a real-world context by doing things that make a difference. Of the myriad possibilities for experiential education, service-learning is one of the most effective means to make a lasting impact on a learner while she’s making a positive impact on the world. The heart-opening activity of service deeply engages the learner and profoundly enhances her understanding of the matters at hand, while doing some good for others in the process. Earthville provides a variety of opportunities for service-learning around the world.
  • The arts and creativity: Creativity is about more than just making stuff — it’s a powerful resource for making solutions, and for making ourselves. But even simply making the world more beautiful and involving through the arts is also a service in itself. Creativity is the DNA of problem solving, so when the world is facing unprecedented problems, there’s an urgent need for unprecedented creativity. In Earthville’s activities, we love to put the arts and altruism together to multiply the impact  — on ourselves and on our world.
  • Media and technology: It’s the age of content, and the media and technology (when in good hands) become high-impact, low-cost tools for education and transformation. Earthville uses digital media and the Internet to educate, inspire, and engage the global public, through stories, photos, videos, music, and more.
  • Compassionate commerce: To change the world, and even to live sustainably and comfortably in modern society, one needs money. The model of the impoverished charity is bankrupt, and charitable giving is currently insufficient to meet the needs of our nonprofits, so new revenue sources are needed urgently. We seek to mine the great human gift of entrepreneurial creativity to incubate responsible business enterprises that generate revenue for good causes and comfortable livelihoods for the good-hearted people who dedicate their time to those causes, while making the world a better place in the process.
  • Contemplative explorations: Change, sustainability, and harmony — they all begin with the individual. Who and how we are in the world makes at least as much difference as what we do in it. The better we understand ourselves, the better we can understand the world. The more profoundly we’re able to transform and empower ourselves, the more we’ll be able to help transform our local and global communities in more effective and sensitive ways. Clearer thinking and feeling supports inspired planning and elegant execution. This inner tool of contemplative exploration enhances the impact of the four outer tools above because all of these things come down to people dealing with people, and that tends to go better with greater self-awareness, deeper sensitivity to others, better communication, and more skillful interactions.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Earthville’s approach is the integration of all five of these tools into most of our activities. We don’t treat them as separate disciplines. We consciously use them together, addressing the whole person and the whole problem to generate whole solutions.

A Current & Concrete Example…

If you were to show up for one of Earthville’s “Sustainable Living Work Retreats” in the Himalayas, what could you expect? Not just another volunteer/service-learning program, but a richly multi-faceted (and often life-changing) experience in which you can study Indian village culture and get your hands in the mud to learn the arts of building traditional adobe houses by working alongside our charming local craftspeople and other interesting kindred spirits from across the globe. But there’s also yoga and meditation to start and end the day well, and to provide opportunities to reflect on what you’re learning about the work, about the world, and about yourself. Some friendly and bright young architecture students are building a clay oven or working in the organic garden, and they’re happy to have you join them. You take part in all of this with the knowledge that your participation in the program is supporting the host organization to provide green jobs for low-income villagers, helping to keep their daughters in school, and helping the institute develop its pioneering model for immersive, educational ecotourism. And all of this is being photographed and filmed for the purpose of creating documentaries, online curricular materials, and more — and you can play a part in that, too, if you’re inspired. All the five tools above in one experience, and everyone wins.

→ If this particular example has whet your appetite, check out the Dharmalaya Institute page and see our Events calendar. There are also opportunities to help create similarly holistic environments and experiences in the US and elsewhere.

Our Integrated Strategy

In short, Earthville brings together people, places, and programs advancing our progress toward sustainability and harmony with solutions and models that are locally appropriate and globally replicable.

  • People: Educate, train, and empower agents of personal and global transformation – the leaders and laborers who make positive change happen in their communities and in themselves.
  • Places: Establish campuses, facilities, and community hubs for learning, service, research, healing, collaboration, and community-building. → Locations
  • Programs: Provide a complementary selection of courses, workshops, service-learning opportunities, and other empowering experiences in support of holistic personal development and sustainable global development (because the two go hand-in-hand). → Events
  • Solutions: Research and develop practical solutions enabling low-impact, high-value living, drawing on both traditional wisdom and creative innovations.
  • Models: All of the elements above (people, places, programs, and solutions) together comprise models for sustainable and compassionate living that we seek to incubate locally, refine through experimentation and collaboration, and then replicate globally by supporting locally appropriate adaptation of the models, recognizing the unique needs and resources of every person and community.

Again, none of the elements above is unique in itself, but the way Earthville brings them together creates a fertile world of possibilities for personal and global transformation.

Where to from Here?

Your tour of Earthville has reached a fork in the road:

Looking back: For a quick overview of what Earthville has accomplished since its founding, see our Milestones and Results page.

In the present: For an introduction to Earthville’s current projects and program activities, visit our Projects page and our Events calendar.

Looking forward: For a glimpse of the far horizon, see Earthville’s long-term vision for a global campus.


Earthville’s accomplishments to date →

A concise introduction to Earthville

Get Involved

We welcome you to explore Earthville,  find your place within it , and add what only you can bring.

  1. Sign up: Drop by the “Earthville Embassy” page to become a “Citizen of Earthville.”
    →  Join
  2. Explore: Make your way around the Earthville website to discover what inspires you.
    →  Quick Tour  •  Stories  •  Resources for Global Citizens
  3. Participate: Connect with the Earthville community, online and on the ground.
    →  Social  •  Events  •  Volunteer  •  Participate
  4. Chip in: Give whatever you can to support our charitable work. Any amount helps.
    →  Give