The ecological centre shares tips on upcycling, plant-based cooking and rainwater collection.
Founded by Chris Dews nearly 30 years ago, ecology and education centre Casita Verde Ibiza aims to promote sustainable living through permaculture farming principles, alternative energy sources and reusing and upcycling materials. Nestled in the region of Sant Josep de sa Talaia, it’s a tranquil haven in the west of Ibiza.
The centre, which has sister projects in Granada and Poland, equips visitors with the tools to embark on their own sustainable journeys – and live greener lifestyles – by getting their hands dirty. “We offer experiential learning, which is a term we use to describe how we learn by doing experiments and working to improve our collective knowledge,” explains Chris.
Starting out, Chris would take groups of young people on “environmental orientation” walks in the countryside and host workshops that taught people how to make things from materials found in fields and forests.
“Back then I also did some local TV shows and visited schools on the island where I would dress in green and give classes on how to look after the natural world in a more sustainable way,” he adds.
The whole idea of visiting our main Casita Verde centre is that you go away with ideas to apply to your own lifestyle. We believe that everyone can make their own home into a kind of Casita Verde.
- Chris Dews, Founder
Casita Verde continues to offer these workshops and educational sessions, with the unwavering belief that change is only possible through awareness. These sessions take place on site, in the heart of the Ibizan countryside, amid structures made from upcycled materials and local rubbish, such as glass bottles, aluminium cans and wooden pallets.
Guests and volunteers can enjoy the green living spaces and communal areas, such as the tree house, the bottle house and a tiny wagon house made from recycled wood. Ablutions on site are in the form of composting toilets and the centre runs entirely off solar energy and rainwater.
“The whole idea of visiting our main Casita Verde centre is that you go away with ideas to apply to your own lifestyle. We believe that everyone can make their own home into a kind of Casita Verde,” says Chris. “We have a ‘Fifty Shades of Green’ pamphlet, which suggests ways you can move towards more sustainable practices in your own life – from supporting a circular economy to introducing simple green upgrades to your home, such as grey water collection and avoiding plastics.”
Casita Verde also has a recipe guide called ‘You Are What You Eat’ which showcases interesting plant-based meals that can be made with local ingredients. The recipes themselves are inspired by the centre’s onsite permaculture farm.
Though Chris will admit that the island is evolving in terms of sustainability, he still hopes for more drastic changes and a move towards ecotourism.
“I and all the other ecology groups now operating on Ibiza would like to see more appropriate infrastructure being installed, plus a very necessary rise in consciousness from both the local politicians and the island residents. This will undoubtedly change the behaviour of our tourist visitors and have less of a negative impact on our fragile local ecosystems.”
The main industries in which Chris hopes to see change are waste management, with a particular focus on the elimination of single-use plastic, and water management.
“We need an improvement in the way we deal with our water situation,” he explains. “Rainwater storage, sewage treatment and the reuse of wastewater would really help the environment in Ibiza – and everywhere else too. We also need to make much more effort to be energy independent, with more solar energy installations and a general energy awareness.”
For inspiration and practical information on how to live more sustainably, book a guided tour of Casita Verde.