An Interview With Paolo Lugari, Founder of Las Gaviotas

Paolo Lugari, the founder of Las Gaviotas in Colombia, describes how the incredible energy of the human spirit has made Las Gaviotas into a world-famous example of sustainable living in a harsh environment.
Paolo Lugari

Paolo Lugari, founder of Las Gaviotas, a self-sufficient, sustainable society in Los Llanos plains in Colombia, says of the location of his village, “They always put social experiments in the easiest, most fertile places. We wanted the hardest place. We figured if we could do it here, we could do it anywhere.”

Lugari explains how difficulty can motivate creativity, his belief that the only shortages we face are not of resources but of imagination, and why he thinks human ingenuity is the answer to creating sustainable societies as an alternative to those that contribute to climate change.


  • Gaviotas: Oasis of the Imagination: In the “big, wet desert” of los llanos, nothing grows except a few nutrient-poor grasses. Paolo Lugari said he could build a self-sufficient society there–and make it sustainable
  • 2010 Update: Gaviotas—Still Dreaming and Growing: Ten years ago in YES! We featured the story of
    Gaviotas, a sustainable village in the Colombian plains. Has the promise of this story turned into reality?